Backbone-tingling sounds from Bowers & Wilkins 705 S2 audio system

The Bowers & Wilkins 705 S2 speaker in satin white

Bowers & Wilkins

Final 12 months, the Bowers & Wilkins 805 D3 was the Audiophiliac’s Speaker of the 12 months, so I could not flip down an opportunity to pattern the corporate’s new 705 S2 within the CNET listening room. Decked out in a beautiful satin white end, the 705 S2 regarded sharp; it’s extremely a lot a 21st-century stand-mount speaker. It is also obtainable in gloss black or rosenut wooden finishes. Priced at $2,500, £1,800 or AU$three,500 a pair, this new mannequin is aimed on the high-end audiophile/luxurious market.

Cupboard construct high quality and end are excellent, and the 705 S2 is topped off with a milled-from-a-solid-block-of-aluminum tweeter pod, impressed by that of the 805 D3. That speaker contains a diamond dome tweeter, whereas the 705 S2 sports activities a 1-inch (25mm) “carbon” dome tweeter that Bowers & Wilkins claims presents improved sound over the earlier era audio system’ aluminum tweeters. The 705 S2’s different huge attraction is its 6.5-inch (165mm) “Continuum” cone driver, just like the drivers used on the 800 D3 Collection fashions. That is huge information proper there, as B&W audio system have lengthy featured Kevlar drivers. The brand-new Continuum driver is a sandwich consisting of a metallized weave and a foam core that is stated to be lighter and stronger than the Kevlar cones, and which the corporate says ends in decrease distortion.

I want I might have straight in contrast the 705 S2 with the 805 D3, however that one was returned to Bowers & Wilkins months in the past. No worries — I do know the 805 D3’s sound, and the 705 S2 may be very a lot the identical taste, with a smidgen much less decision.

Bowers & Wilkins 705 S2 audio system in gloss black

Bowers & Wilkins

It is not precisely small — the 705 S2 measures 16×7.eight.x11.2 inches (407x200x285mm) and weighs a not insignificant 20.5 kilos (9.3kg). Impedance is rated at eight ohms, however dips down to three.7 ohms, so I would not plan on utilizing the 705 S2 with AV receivers which have a tough time driving low-impedance audio system. I used a Rotel RA 1592 stereo built-in amp for all of my listening assessments, which was an ideal match.

The speaker’s sound was low in distortion and excessive in readability, so guitarist Ry Cooder’s darkly atmospheric rating for the movie “Paris, Texas” had oodles of element together with the scratchy texture of his acoustic guitar. Extra than simply decision, the 705 S2 introduced again the sound of the guitar’s wooden and its metallic strings, it was all there. Treble was properly prolonged and simple to hearken to.

Then, with Alt-J’s “Relaxer,” the 705 S2s simply delivered the opening observe’s ample low bass basis, and on some quiet tunes like “Home of the Rising Solar” and “Pleader” you may hear the musicians shifting about within the room, the audio system decision was that good.

As for midrange, Frank Sinatra’s vocals instructed the story — the 705 S2s all however disappeared and let the person converse for himself. Soundstage depth was good, however the stereo picture wasn’t terribly vast within the CNET listening room.

Nonetheless, the one space the place the 705 S2 did not get excessive marks was with rock music — it simply did not have the center to slam me in opposition to the listening chair with the Pixies’ “Doolittle.” The audio system performed loud sufficient, however dynamic kicks held again a smidge. Switching over to the Klipsch Forte III audio system glad my lust for rock thrills, however that speaker cannot contact the 705 S2 for refinement and readability.

With prime drawer audiophile music from Reference Recordings and MA Recordings the 705 S2 was a pleasure to hearken to. The sound was palpably actual, low in distortion, and bass definition was wonderful.

If I’ve piqued your curiosity, however you want one thing smaller or extra inexpensive, take a look at the CNET evaluate of the 705 S2’s child brother, the 707 S2 bookshelf speaker ($1,250, £800, AU$1,500 per pair).

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