What are the B&W 702 S2?
It was at all times going to be a troublesome ask for Bowers & Wilkins to exchange its standard CM collection. But the brand new 700 collection isn’t any David Moyes to the CMs’ Sir Alex Ferguson – and the range-topping 702 S2 are undoubtedly the star participant.
These are three-way floor-standing audio system that borrow a load of tech from the British firm’s top-end 800 Diamond collection – however price a fraction of the worth. Just so you recognize, the B&W 802 D3 price £16,500 per pair.
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B&W 702 S2 – Design and construct
Bowers & Wilkins has upped the ante in seemingly each division with the 700s. For starters, the styling is extra stylish, thanks partially to the choice to ditchthe CM collection’ silver driver surrounds.
However, the large enchancment comes from the brand new Continuum driver cones. Continuum is a woven materials developed by B&W, and guarantees to distort lower than the Kevlar used on the outgoing CM fashions. Even visually, although, it’s a step up – the silver weave seems far nicer than the outdated yellow Kevlar.
In the case of the 702 S2, this Continuum mid-range driver is mounted above three Aerofoil bass drivers, and it’s decoupled from the cupboard in the same type to the system used within the 800 collection.
Also introduced over from the 800s is the tweeter-on-top design. A 1-inch carbon dome tweeter is fitted in a decoupled aluminium physique that sits atop the primary picket cupboard. This tweeter has been designed particularly for the 700 collection, and guarantees treble efficiency that’s super-close to B&W’s flagship diamond tweeters. The tweeter grille is unbelievably sturdy, by the way in which – belief me, I attempted standing on one – so that you shouldn’t want to fret an excessive amount of about broken tweeters at any level.
Around the again is a single bass port and a set of terminals for bi-wiring. Speaker grilles are provided and are held on by magnets, which is how they need to all work.
Plinths are provided to supply further stability for these tall, heavy beasts, however B&W has made no secret of the truth that these non-obligatory plinths degrade sound high quality. For one of the best efficiency, it is best to connect the provided toes or spikes on to the underside of the cupboard.
As with all of the fashions within the vary, the 702 S2 can be found in a alternative of finishes: Rosenut, Gloss Black and Satin White. I obtained to see all three at a go to to the Bowers & Wilkins manufacturing facility in Worthing, and it didn’t change my opinion that B&Ws at all times look greatest in black. It’s most likely the reminiscence of seeing these first Nautilus audio system, gleaming and inky, approach again in 1993.
The end on every speaker is impeccable, and the lengths B&W goes to so as to obtain this near-perfection is spectacular to behold.
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B&W 702 S2 – Sound high quality
I principally listened to the 702 S2 wired as much as the sublimely clear Leema Acoustics Tucana II Anniversary amplifier by way of Atlas Mavros cables. The supply was a laptop computer utilizing the Chord Hugo as a DAC, plus the occasional document spun on a Rega RP8.
Starting gently, I fed them Josh Ritter’s ‘Acoustic Live Vol.1’. Instantly I used to be struck by the readability and determination of that carbon tweeter and Continuum mid-driver combo, however then by the sense of airiness; the cupboards melting away and actual peak given to the efficiency. In the monitor ‘Galahad’, the guitar-picking shimmered however with each notice stopping and beginning on a sixpence, whereas the vocal was rock-solid and I may hear the venue spreading out and upwards.
The tweeters are simply barely on the cruel facet, maybe, making the guitars on ‘Wings’ just a little fatiguing. But their excellent treble extension, and the superior mid-range texture created by these Continuum drivers, continues to be the stuff of desires.
As you would possibly anticipate from huge audio system with triple bass drivers, there’s loads of the low stuff right here. There’s no flab to be discovered, nonetheless. Playing Deadmau5’s ‘Seeya’ (from ‘While 1<2’), there’s gut-punching thump aplenty; quick but weighty, pulsing together with good timing.
This is a wonderful all-round efficiency at this value. Aside from that slight lack of sweetness to the treble, the one disadvantage is just a little fussiness with regards to positioning. You’re going to wish greater than a foot of area behind that rear port, and the candy spot can be comparatively slim. These are fairly directional audio system, greatest suited to a single listening seat.
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Why purchase the B&W 702 S2?
Bowers & Wilkins has executed a shocking job with the 702 S2. They’re nice floorstanders, providing not simply width but in addition peak with their splendidly resolved soundstage. Bass is tight and thumping, whereas the mid-range is extremely detailed. The treble is mild and ethereal, if a tiny bit harsh.
If you’ll find the area to allow them to breathe, and also you don’t thoughts their directionality, these are a should to audition.
However, it actually isn’t a large soar in price to the Q Acoustics Concept 500, that are most likely pretty much as good all-round audio system as you’ll discover at nearly twice the worth, and supply that further sweetness that the 702 S2 are missing. It’s nonetheless a soar in price, although.
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Big, thoroughbred audio system that provide wonderful efficiency – however they require cautious positioning.