- Killer build quality
- Elegant design
- Detailed sound
- Plenty of scale and bass
- Review Price: £799.00
- 5-inch Continuum cone mid-range driver
- 1-inch Carbon Dome tweeter
- FlowPort technology
- Bi-wirable binding posts
- Satin White, Gloss Black and Rosenut finishes
What is the Bowers & Wilkins 707 S2?
The 707 S2 is pair of compact bookshelf speakers from Bowers & Wilkins’ new 700 series, which replaces the popular CM range. B&W says the 700 series is ‘inspired by recording studios and made for living rooms’.
The 707 S2 is the smallest of three bookshelf speakers in the range, designed for use in smaller rooms, whereas the step-up 705 S2 and 706 S2 provides more grunt for larger spaces. They all use technology trickled down from B&W’s high-end 800 Diamond series, delivering it inside more affordable, living-room-friendly boxes.
Elsewhere in the range are three floorstanders (702 S2, 703 S2 and 704 S2) plus two centre speakers (HTM71 and HTM72), and a DB4S subwoofer for those who fancy a full home cinema system.
Bowers & Wilkins 707 S2 – Design
The 700 series’ design philosophy is ‘elegant simplicity’, which fits the 707 S2 to a tee. It’s a gorgeous speaker, but not in a showy, reinventing-the-wheel way. Instead, its visual kudos comes from clean, chiselled lines and a compact size (280mm high by 165mm wide) that makes the speakers easy to accommodate.
My samples were dressed in eye-catching Satin White, but the 707 is also available in Gloss Black or Rosenut. All three are guaranteed to look great in any living room.
On the front, the drivers are jazzed up by shiny trims and alluring textures. Even more impressive is their build quality. Heavy, solid and seamlessly assembled, they’re the definition of luxury – but at this price, I’d expect nothing less.
There are four robust binding posts for bi-wiring on the rear of the speakers, and a dimpled FlowPort that reduces noise as air moves through the cabinet.
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The 707 S2’s 5-inch mid-range driver cone is made from Continuum – a woven, coated material developed by B&W that promises less distortion than the Kevlar cones favoured by the CM series. B&W says Continuum provides ‘highly controlled break-up, resulting in a more open, neutral mid-range’.
The 707’s 1-inch Carbon Dome tweeter is a brand-new technology that’s been purpose-built for the 700 series. It improves on B&W’s aluminium double-dome tweeter by raising the break-up threshold to 47kHz, resulting in ‘pinpoint imaging accuracy and detail’.
Bowers & Wilkins 707 S2 – Performance
Set the 707 S2s to work and they deliver an authoritative, insightful performance. Impressive punch and attack keeps music exciting and engaging, while rich, powerful bass provides a surprising sense of scale for so-called compact speakers. They’ll have no trouble filling a small- to mid-sized room, and they’ll give big rooms a run for their money too.
There’s wonderful solidity and cohesion to the 707 S2’s sound. When playing ‘Space and Time’ by Darkhouse Family, the warm electronic bassline fuses tightly with the hip-hop beats and jazzy keys, without individual notes losing their shape or clarity.
These low frequencies don’t drown out the other elements; they sit perfectly in the mix, fleshing out the overall sound in a hugely satisfying way.
As we move up the frequency range, mid-range elements such as vocals, guitar lines and synths are well-rounded and tonally well-judged. There are no harsh edges or jarring noises – it’s a smooth, refined listen, whether you’re listening at low or high volumes.
In fact, crank up the volume really high and they stay remarkably composed, maintaining clarity and organisation when some rivals might start losing their heads.
Moving to something a little more ‘organic’, Gregory Porter’s beautiful song ‘Water Under Bridges’ reveals the 707 S2’s stunning detail reproduction. As Gregory croons over emotive piano chords, the B&Ws achieve a sense of intimacy that borders on the indecent. The distinctive husk in his voice is picked out with consummate ease, while the colour and texture of the piano is laid bare.
The 707 S2’s devilishly detailed presentation doesn’t only apply to gentle ballads. Whack on a bit of hip-hop or rock and you’ll get the same attention to detail, from twanging guitars and crunchy snares to crisp hi-hats and vocal nuances.
The B&W’s innate transparency allows music to shine, and its stereo imaging is excellent. Accurate placement and wide dispersion ensure a truly involving soundstage, putting you inside the recording in a way that compact speakers rarely do.
Why buy the Bowers & Wilkins 707 S2?
All in all, the 707 S2s are accomplished bookshelf speakers that more than live up to B&W’s esteemed hi-fi heritage. Their sound is detailed and transparent, giving music an astonishing sense of intimacy.
Even more impressive is their room-filling scale, given their relatively compact size. Bags of power and punch make songs sizzle, while their impressive composure practically goads you into cranking up the dial to 11 at the earliest opportunity.
The only downside is the price – £800 is a fairly hefty outlay, given that a pair of similarly impressive bookshelf speakers such as the Monitor Audio Silver 50 can be snapped up for £500. Having auditioned both, I’m not sure there’s a £300 step up in performance here – but price comparisons aside, the 707 S2s are certainly hard to fault.
B&W’s bookshelf beauties are a mesmerising listen, offering an intimate, detailed presentation and terrific authority for compact speakers.
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