EXCLUSIVE: Bowers & Wilkins 705 Signature Edition Loudspeakers First Impressions
When a brand with such prestige as Bowers & Wilkins tags a loudspeaker release with 'Signature', you know it is bound to be something special.
And special it is, with the launch of the UK-based brand's 705 stand mounter and 702 floor stander Signature loudspeakers. According to B&W, like their predecessors, the new Signature models have been “carefully upgraded and lavishly finished” and “represent the apex of current Bowers & Wilkins design, engineering and manufacturing processes.”
Where other brands might release a Limited or Special Edition that simply sports a new finish or style, not so with the Signature release. In fact, it is much more than that - “A huge amount of care and attention has been paid to improving their acoustic performance via an upgraded crossover design, and also to carefully crafting the luxurious new cabinet finish.”
Both models are said to now feature specially treated and upgraded bypass capacitors sourced from Mundorf, larger heatsinking and, in the case of the 702, an upgraded LF capacitor on the bass section of the crossover.
Then there is the striking finish that must be seen in the flesh to be appreciated truly. The stunning new Datuk Gloss ebony-coloured veneer exhibits a distinctive, beautiful grain. “It combines the beauty of exotic real-wood veneers with the environmental benefits of a sustainably-sourced supply, in this case from specialist Italian wood company Alpi.”
What's more, is that each pair of speakers is unique, with no two models sharing the same grain pattern or figuring. The rich deep finish is finally completed with nine coats of finish – including primer, base coat, and lacquer.
StereoNET was fortunate to receive an early sample of the 705 Signature edition exclusively. This stunning looking bookshelf loudspeaker redefines what is possible from an affordable bookshelf, with refinement, smoothness, and accuracy. It is a detail-oriented loudspeaker that digs deep to extract everything out of the music and then presents it in a most colourful and palatable manner.
There is not the slightest hint of harshness, metallic or overly bright sound. Instead, the listener is presented with an exceptionally smooth and balanced sound that seems to do a Goldilocks act and get it 'just right'. The midrange is wonderfully natural with an excellent rendition on vocals, without looking to favour either male or female voices. Both are equally portrayed with subtlety, detail and fullness that makes listening to music a delightful experience. The sheer size of the soundstage that this loudspeaker delivers is wonderful, and its delivery is a highlight of the design.
Another early highlight is the excellent articulation and fluidity right throughout the midrange that is often missing in some designs, but an essential element for good sound. The lower region has not been overlooked either, with a beautiful smoothness in the progression from lower midrange to upper bass. The 705 Signature defies its compact nature too, with notes that effortlessly go lower and harder than you would have imagined. With suitable amplification, there's punch and a dynamic bottom end that would easily embarrass some larger loudspeakers.
From pop to classical, to jazz to acoustic, all genres seem to be reproduced even-handedly, no doubt because of the smoothness of the frequency response. Piano, along with the natural decay of the notes as they are played, sound natural and full, filling the room with beautiful tones. Good recordings are rewarded by sounding fantastic.
There is no doubt that Bowers & Wilkins' latest release in its 702 and 705 Signature models are well-designed loudspeakers. There is a high level of enjoyment and great value offered here, and as I work through my detailed review that will be published shortly; I am continually impressed.
Both the 705 Signature and 702 Signature models are available from Bowers & Wilkins specialists from July and will sell in Australia for $4,999 RRP, and $8,500 RRP a pair, respectively. My advice - reserve your pair now.
For more information, visit Bowers & Wilkins.
Starting his first audio consultancy business in the early ’80s whilst also working professionally in the electronics industry, Mark now splits his time between professional reviewing and AV consultancy.
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