Bowers & Wilkins 700 S3 Signature Series Speakers

When Bowers & Wilkins introduces a Signature Series speaker, the audio industry takes notice. Recording studios all over the world mix and monitor using Bowers & Wilkins including legendary Abbey Road Studios, which several Gramophone employees were lucky enough to visit in the summer of 2023

The 700 Series 3 Signature is the 8th generation of Bowers Signature series! The Signature Series is really important to Bowers & Wilkins from a historical perspective. Signature speakers are a tribute to John Bowers, who founded the company in 1966 in Worthington, England.

Bowers has now introduced a new Signature lineup, the 702 S3 Signature Series tower speaker, and 705 S3 Signature Series bookshelf speakers. Both products impress us. What do they offer that’s new?

The Signature Series features distinct technologies, and unique finishes, not found in other products from Bowers & Wilkins. The goal is pushing the envelope; in other words, what happens when the Bowers engineers get turned loose on a product? Signature products differ from similar model numbers from acoustical, mechanical, and electrical perspectives.

What do you hear when you compare these against the original? Better dynamics. Better bass. Improved resolution and spatial detail (imaging). Vs the 800 series, a more domesticated fit and finish, less demanding on electronics, not quite as accurate or able to play as loudly without strain as the 800 Series, but in more domestically friendly cabinets.

A big difference from previously is that this time, you can do a Signature Home Theater system, as there is a first-of-its-kind matching center speaker that is really good, the Signature Center Channel HTM 71 S3.

Finishes: there are two premium finishes, midnight blue metallic, and an engineered wood called Datuk, which is similar to ebony, but with extreme figuring that you don’t find in nature. 9 coats of lacquer follow a smoothing process on the cabinet; it gleams like you can’t believe it. Signature products are not available in Bower’s traditional finishes.

The metal parts (tweeter body) are finished in satin black. Both tweeter and driver components are trimmed with gold color diamond cut trim bezels, offsetting the components for a really professional look.

The rear speaker terminal plates have the 702 / 705 Signature logo above the newly revised and very robust brass speaker terminals. These terminals actually conduct signal better than the original ones, signal flows to the crossover network better than in standard ones

A solid body Carbon Dome tweeter is the same as in 702 and 705, with a longer tube loading system so that back waves don’t bounce back and muddy up the direct sound. The decoupled tweeter housing is milled from a single solid block of aluminum so it doesn’t ring.

The tweeter’s breakup threshold is raised to 47k to minimize distortion and offer excellent imaging. The grille mesh is a small detail, but it makes a sonic difference as it now has the upgraded, open-hole pattern tweeter grille mesh, like the 801 and 805 D4 Signature Series. That makes the highs really sing: a more open-sounding cymbal crash, flute, etc.

The drive unit motor systems have new suspensions, including the mid-bass driver in 705 and midrange and bass units in 702. You’ll hear better dynamics as the speaker can respond more quickly to a musical signal. Clearer midrange notes, and better, tighter bass are the result.

Yes, the crossover network gets upgrades, too! Remember that the crossover network is essentially a traffic cop, directing the signals to the appropriate tweeter or driver. We don’t want full-range bass notes plowing into the tweeter and blowing it up.

New Mundorf Silver Gold Oil capacitors with Angelique lead-outs are found in both midrange and bass drivers. The combination of silver/gold materials along with the hand potting process to finish the capacitors means almost zero chance of microphonic noise on the circuit board.

To sum up, what do the Bowers 702 S3 Signature and 705 S3 Signature Series bring you?

  • Incredible finishes, a speaker you will look at and admire every time you see it!
  • A proprietary Decoupled Continuum midrange drive unit;
  • The tweeter on top technology, with an elongated tube housing;
  • Open mesh grille on the tweeter;
  • Improved crossover networks with better capacitors;
  • Better drivers with upgraded suspension systems;
  • Upgraded speaker terminals;

What does all that tech talk translate to when you hear music? Better dynamics. Better bass. Improved resolution and spatial detail, with better imaging. You need to hear these new Signature Series speakers to believe what you’re seeing!