Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 floorstanding speaker

Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 floorstanding speaker

It should be powerful working within the Bowers & Wilkins R&D division; the speed at which they produce new product strains is blistering. It solely looks like yesterday that the 800 D4 sequence got here to market (apparently it was a few years in the past) and the final S2 vary of 700 sequence fashions will not be so much older however market demand by no means sleeps it appears and it’s important to wonder if Bowers’ engineers do as nicely.

The 702 S3 is the biggest mannequin in Bowers & Wilkins penultimate vary and harbours extra bass drivers than some other loudspeaker that the corporate makes, there are bigger drivers within the 802 and 801 however not three of them. It advantages from a substantial amount of the tech developed for that vary and actually has the identical midrange driver because the 802. The driver in that mannequin has the benefit of its personal machined aluminium ‘head’ enclosure nevertheless it’s basically the identical chassis, motor system and cone. Which on condition that it’s a couple of quarter of the value makes the 702 S3 appear to be relatively good worth. I’m right here to inform you that for this and lots of different causes it’s.

Trickle down 

This speaker is tall however not very imposing due to a slim sub eight-inch entrance baffle that’s solely barely wider than the 4 drive models that it helps, you don’t typically see drivers that just about attain the sting of a cupboard like this. At a look the entrance baffle appears to be like flat however it’s actually curved in part with the motive force trims inset into it. This provides a lovely distinction between the flat of the encompass in opposition to the baffle. The drivers are the place Bowers’ 800 sequence developments are to be discovered, particularly within the midrange which has a woven Continuum cone. This cone is made within the firm’s Worthing, West Sussex facility in an effort to defend their IP (mental property) and whereas it superficially resembles the yellow Kevlar cones of earlier generations, the weave is clearly finer when the 2 are contrasted, this and the method by which the cones are produced is Bowers & Wilkins’ secret sauce.

Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3

The different key improvement that seems on this midrange unit is invisible, it’s the so-called spider that holds the voice coil former centrally inside the magnet. Bowers calls this biomimetic suspension, suggesting that it imitates nature, which on condition that it’s so environment friendly in the way in which that the minimal of fabric is used to realize the specified consequence has some credence. Essentially it’s a six-spoked plastic ring that’s significantly lighter and thus much less mechanically noisy than the material spirals discovered on most different drivers. At current, you solely get this suspension on midrange drivers, which implies three-way designs (or larger) such because the 702 S3. 

Pure carbon

The three bass drivers on this mannequin are described as 165mm varieties, thus bigger than the 150mm mid that seems to be the identical measurement, go determine. These have Aerofoil profile cones which whereas they appear typical have a sandwich development with a foam core that’s thicker within the center and thinner on the internal and outer edges in an effort to maximise stiffness with out extra mass. Again that is discovered within the 800 sequence fashions albeit at a bigger scale. At the highest of the field is the distinctive Solid Body tweeter housing with a everlasting grille defending the motive force. The machined aluminium pod is longer than in earlier generations in an effort to give the rearward power from the motive force more room to dissipate in, and it’s mounted on two factors which permit for a larger diploma of compliance and thus isolation from power coming off the cupboard.

The tweeter dome is a decoupled carbon dome. This is made up of a layer of carbon coating (by means of Physical Vapour Deposition) over an aluminium dome, with a further carbon ring is used to bolster the dome round its base and thus improve stiffness, which in flip raises the break up level.

Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3

The cupboard differs from the 702 S2 by advantage of a downward firing reflex port that’s raised about an inch above an integral plinth by 4 aluminium legs. This will get across the tilt take a look at points addressed by a separate and seemingly huge plinth in earlier variations with out trying so huge, the plinth is 290mm vast by 410mm deep however the black model under a black loudspeaker doesn’t look out of scale. The bi-wire cable terminals are organized in a horizontal line close to the bottom and look swanky in a shiny, perhaps stainless, end.

Position, place, place

Loudspeaker positioning is as crucial as location is to retail and with this and different fashions within the new 700 sequence it appears to be extra so than common. When the fellows from Bowers introduced these audio system spherical they spent half an hour setting them up with toe in ending up virtually straight towards the listening seat and with about 40cm to the rear wall. It clearly sounded good to them, so I lived with them that method for just a few days, nevertheless, whereas extraordinarily detailed and resolute the steadiness was so lean that they lacked appeal and musicality. Eventually I gave up with minor system tweaks and put them nearer to the rear wall and turned them in order that there was little or no toe in, solely then did issues begin to change into inspiring. This positioning had additionally proved to be useful with the 705 S3s once they have been within the system, I actually ought to have considered it earlier.

I think that an engineer’s concept of sound is not going to at all times line up with a music lover’s, they’re most likely in search of the minimal of room interplay to maintain tonal steadiness linear whereas I need some heat and coronary heart in my music and can’t survive on element alone. Once this was sorted nevertheless I used to be blown away by the sheer amount and coherence of musical element that the 702 S3s managed to ship, that midrange driver is in a category of its personal at this value level and the bass and excessive frequency drivers are fantastically aligned with it. The transparency to vocals is outstanding, I obtained to grasp lyrics that I’ve heard many occasions over with out comprehending them, and I realised that the singer within the ostensibly American band The God in Hackney is certainly a Brit. This readability applies to devices as nicely in fact, Esbjörn Svensson’s piano taking part in is so expressive, the recording on his solo album Home. S-sounds are slightly laborious edged however the timing with these audio system is so good that it’s not a problem. Also, the instrument has the load and physique you’d count on.

Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3

Despite the amount of bass drivers this isn’t a heavy or fats sounding speaker, shove it right into a nook and it would change into that method however when positioned optimally you get simply the correct amount of low finish weight and power to steadiness out the remainder of the band. What it does do exceptionally nicely is cease and begin, play heavy dub by it and the diploma of articulation of bass strains is high notch, they’ve mass and power however completely no bloom until it’s on the file. The higher the recording the higher the sound in fact, Rumer’s model of ‘Don’t Interrupt the Sorrow’ is plush and open with oodles of wonderful element that the 702 S3s resolve with ease, digging into the reverb and pushing again the wall behind them. An older recording in Andy Bey’s soulful ‘Celestial Blues’ (Experience and Judgement, Speakers Corner) is revealed to have extra power and vitality than it normally provides up, thanks largely to the low noise of those audio system. All the work that went into decreasing coloration and preserving drivers remoted is audible within the quieter sounds which can be normally masked. 

It’s fascinating to notice that Bowers’ engineers are engaged on decreasing noise in loudspeakers differently however with the identical purpose as electronics specialists are attempting to cease noise from undermining the standard of digital streams. The supply could differ however the finish consequence is similar, decrease noise equals extra sign being revealed and better constancy being achieved. 

High def

The Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 makes life very troublesome for different loudspeaker producers. It delivers extraordinarily excessive definition with very low coloration at a value that few can start to compete with. You want a fairly highly effective amplifier to get the perfect out of this mannequin, most likely a minimal of 75 good high quality Watts, however nonetheless that is a powerful achievement in a professionally executed bundle. Just keep in mind to set it up rigorously. 


Technical specs

  • Type: Three-way, five-driver, floorstanding loudspeaker with bass reflex enclosure
  • Driver complement: One 25mm (1 in) Decoupled Carbon Dome tweeter; one 150mm (6 in) Continuum cone FST midrange; three 165mm (6.5 in) Aerofoil Profile bass drivers
  • Frequency response: 46Hz–28kHz +/-3dB
  • Impedance: 8 Ohms (minimal 3.1 Ohms)
  • Sensitivity: 90dB/2.83v RMS/1m
  • Dimensions (H×W×D): 1138 inc tweeter & plinth × 192 × 354mm
  • Weight: 33.5kg/every
  • Finishes: Satin white, Gloss black, Mocha
  • Price: £5,500/pair


Bowers & Wilkins


+44 (0)1903 946173

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February 13, 2024 at 06:28PM

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