Bowers & Wilkins 700 Speaker User Manual

HI-FI CHOICE november2003
B&W’s new 700-series neatly fills the gap between its ‘budget’ 600s and upmarket Nautilus 800s
he largest of all the specialist hi-fi
speaker brands, Worthing-based B&W is
noteworthy for the considerable
resources it devotes to research and
development, with a small army of engineers
operating out of a well-equipped, purpose-
built facility some miles away from the main
factory in Steyning.
It’s this research effort that lay behind the
very advanced and radical Nautilus 800
models in 1998, and their subsequent
Signature upgrades, and something of the
same has now ‘trickled down’ to the brand
new 700-series models, which very much fill a
gap between the 800s and their ‘budget’
600-series brethren.
There are three 700s all told: an £800 per
pair 705 standmount; a £1,300 per pair 704
two-and-a-half-way floorstander; and this
£2,000 three-way 703 floorstander, which
arrived just a couple of weeks too late for
inclusion in this month’s group test.
In a sense, these 700s replace the CDM NT
models, though perhaps supplant is the better
word, as they by no means fit into the same
price slots and are claimed to deliver much
more of a mid-point level of performance
between the widely separated 600s and 800s
than their predecessors.
The industrial design brief here was to make
reference to the cabinet shape of the
outgoing CDM NT series – specifically the
concept of mounting an external tweeter on
top of a sloping cabinet top – but also to
incorporate the bent-wood technology that
was pioneered in the Nautilus 800s. A further
requirement was to reduce the rather angular
appearance of the CDM NTs, and also to take
acoustic factors into account.
The new speaker looks less fussy than its
predecessor, with cleaner lines and
construction that promises some performance
advantages. The front and top are formed
from a single piece, giving great strength,
while the curve under the top-mounted
tweeter will give greater ‘scatter’ than the flat
surface used before. The radiused edges have
disappeared now, but the enclosure is subtly
tapered front to rear, so the only parallel
surfaces are the front and back, which will
help to de-focus the internal standing
waves. Classy real-wood veneer covers all
the faces, our samples coming in an
attractive American walnut.
Crucially, this 703 uses a version of the
‘surroundless’ FST (Fixed Suspension
Transducer) midrange driver that was
TYPE 3-way floorstanding loudspeaker
PRICE £2,000
KEY FEATURES Size (WxHxD): 23x101x36cm
Tube-loaded alloy dome tweeter
165mm Kevlar
midrange driver
2x 165mm paper/Kevlar bass drivers
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