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B&W 705 Signature Measurements | Stereophile

MZKM

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https://www.stereophile.com/content/bowers-wilkins-705-signature-loudspeaker-measurements

At a $1000 premium over the $3K 705 S2, it features a higher end finish and an optimized crossover.
705-s2-signature_5f05c22c4a39b_1200.jpg

Stereophile measured the original 705 in 2004, where the price was $1500 (inflation calculator puts that at ~$2075). I’d thought it’d be interesting to compare the performance.
https://www.stereophile.com/content/bw-705-loudspeaker-measurements
B&W_705_550.jpg

Sensitivity
2004: 89.2dB
2020: 87.6dB

Cabinet Vibrations
2004:
705fig03.jpg


2020:
1120BW705fig03.jpg


Horizontal Listening Window
2004:
705FIG05.jpg


2020:
1120BW705fig05.jpg


Horizontal Dispersion (Normalized)
2004:
705fig06.jpg


2020:
1120BW705fig06.jpg


Vertical Dispersion (Normalized)
2004:
705fig08.jpg


2020:
1120BW705fig07.jpg


________
Hopefully, with Sound United now as the owners, they can go back to making some pretty excellent speakers.
 
Last edited:

BillH

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https://www.stereophile.com/content/bowers-wilkins-705-signature-loudspeaker-measurements

At a $1000 premium over the $3K 705 S2, it features a higher end finish and an optimized crossover.
705-s2-signature_5f05c22c4a39b_1200.jpg

Stereophile measured the original 705 in 2004, where the price was $1500 (inflation calculator puts that at ~$2075). I’d thought it’d be interesting to compare the performance.

Sensitivity
2004: 89.2dB
2020: 87.6dB

Cabinet Vibrations
2004:
705fig03.jpg


2020:
1120BW705fig03.jpg


Horizontal Listening Window
2004:
705FIG05.jpg


2020:
1120BW705fig05.jpg


Horizontal Dispersion (Normalized)
2004:
705fig06.jpg


2020:
1120BW705fig06.jpg


Vertical Dispersion (Normalized)
2004:
705fig08.jpg


2020:
1120BW705fig07.jpg


________
Hopefully, with Sound United now as the owners, they can go back to making some pretty excellent speakers.
Great post!
this is a great example of how one major player in the home loudspeaker market has clearly chosen a sound signature over accurate reproduction.
 

ferrellms

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I had the original 805 Matrix. I loved them until I took my little 300 dollar Mackie powered studio monitors out the bedroom studio and replaced them, on the same stands, just temporarily out of curiosity.

The Mackies killed the B&Ws! (IMHO YMMV)
 

pozz

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New mountains in that landscape. Moral of the story is clear: listening is less fun if the journey goes too easy.
 

A Surfer

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And to the point, picking a sound signature is perfectly fine, and perfectly valid for a manufacturer to do. If the customers find it pleasant that is all that matters in the end. If we all wanted the same thing that would be ever so dull. We could get everything reduced to having a single entry in ever category because things could be reduced down to as neutral and accurate as possible. No need for multiple companies beyond cosmetics. I am a huge fan of objective data, but I also understand that the experience of enjoying your system is ultimately subjective so if B&W have developed a subjectively derived sound signature, that is great for them, and for their customers who respond to the signature.
 
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Tangband

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https://www.stereophile.com/content/bowers-wilkins-705-signature-loudspeaker-measurements

At a $1000 premium over the $3K 705 S2, it features a higher end finish and an optimized crossover.
705-s2-signature_5f05c22c4a39b_1200.jpg

Stereophile measured the original 705 in 2004, where the price was $1500 (inflation calculator puts that at ~$2075). I’d thought it’d be interesting to compare the performance.
https://www.stereophile.com/content/bw-705-loudspeaker-measurements
B&W_705_550.jpg

Sensitivity
2004: 89.2dB
2020: 87.6dB

Cabinet Vibrations
2004:
705fig03.jpg


2020:
1120BW705fig03.jpg


Horizontal Listening Window
2004:
705FIG05.jpg


2020:
1120BW705fig05.jpg


Horizontal Dispersion (Normalized)
2004:
705fig06.jpg


2020:
1120BW705fig06.jpg


Vertical Dispersion (Normalized)
2004:
705fig08.jpg


2020:
1120BW705fig07.jpg


________
Hopefully, with Sound United now as the owners, they can go back to making some pretty excellent speakers.
I think its all about surviving in a tough market in a hifi-store. A loudspeaker thats flat at 10 KHz is not a speaker that stands out in a comparison. Its gonna sound ”less detailed” , but that coloration is gonna be very annoying in the long term.
Its expensive loudspeakers, so its buyers gonna be in the 50.s of age, with a bit of a hearing loss at 10 KHz.

The cabinet of the old 705 is much better shaped regarding diffractions from the tweeter.
For me its a mystery why people buy those speakers - you have the Genelec 8030c thats much better in every respect.
I guess its all about marketing.
 
Last edited:

MattHooper

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I dunno about the new ones but I remember hating those old B&Ws. I worked with a bunch of guys and we’d do occasional jaunts to the nearby audio store when those B&Ws came out. My first impression was spacious and detailed but not long after I found the high end too bright and “detached” sounding. Perhaps it was the “look at me!” design of the tweeter, but a bunch of the guys bought them including a set for our workplace and I tired of them quickly.
 

MrOtto

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I have the original B&W 705, I've had them for about ten years, but I'm wishing it had some more dB in the lower frequencies. I really have to play it loud to enjoy them, but for example on acoustic guitars and vocals I really like them. I was about to sell them, but then I upgraded the amp from a low end Yamaha AVR to a 100W 8ohm stereo amplifier, and the 705 wasn't the only reason for my system lacking the lower frequencies, I then felt. Now I've moved them to a much larger room, and I think it's too large for them to handle so I'm considering buying floor standers.
 
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MarkWinston

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B&W nowadays certainly has that wow factor when you first listen to it. In a properly setup showroom, it can make you sign on the dotted line right away after listening to it for just 15 minutes. The clarity, the air, the details... amazing. Youll be hearing stuff youve never heard before on a track. Incredible. I can understand why people like that. Just dont look at the measurements or listen to it for too long or your ears will start to bleed, especially the lower end models like 600 series.
 

MattHooper

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I just realized per my comment above I was thinking of the CDM1 and their horrible (looking at least) yellow Kevlar cones.
 

atsmusic

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B&W nowadays certainly has that wow factor when you first listen to it. In a properly setup showroom, it can make you sign on the dotted line right away after listening to it for just 15 minutes. The clarity, the air, the details... amazing. Youll be hearing stuff youve never heard before on a track. Incredible. I can understand why people like that. Just dont look at the measurements or listen to it for too long or your ears will start to bleed, especially the lower end models like 600 series.

You said if you "look" at the measurements your ears will start to bleed lol So the person enjoys them until they "look" at the measurements, then all of a sudden their ears start to bleed lol
 
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MZKM

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You said if you "look" at the measurements your ears will start to bleed lol So the person enjoys them until they "look" at the measurements, then all of a sudden their ears start to bleed lol
That user was talking about in a showroom, the elevated treble won’t get to you until you own it and listen to it for a few hours.
 

atsmusic

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That user was talking about in a showroom, the elevated treble won’t get to you until you own it and listen to it for a few hours.

He actually said once you "look" at the frequency response. I just thought that was a little telling and funny.
 
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MarkWinston

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You said if you "look" at the measurements your ears will start to bleed lol So the person enjoys them until they "look" at the measurements, then all of a sudden their ears start to bleed lol
Dont look at the measurements because most low/mid tier models have a frequency response of a rocky mountain. They never measure well, tonality wise.
 
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zeppzeppzepp

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Maybe the 600 series is not good.
But 705 is not that bad as measurement shown like.
It's just like you crank the bass and treble EQ on the old amplifier.
Those frequencies actually are not so fatigue for hearing.
In my experience for traditional 2 way bookshelf design, the most fatigue sound is from less satisfied low mid/bass weight coupled with wide dispersion hot signal around 4-6khz.
 

atsmusic

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Maybe the 600 series is not good.
But 705 is not that bad as measurement shown like.
It's just like you crank the bass and treble EQ on the old amplifier.
Those frequencies actually are not so fatigue for hearing.
In my experience for traditional 2 way bookshelf design, the most fatigue sound is from less satisfied low mid/bass weight coupled with wide dispersion hot signal around 4-6khz.

I used to have a tube Conrad Johnson pre-amp. I sometimes got a little tired listening to music. But once I replaced that CJ pre with something else it no longer happened. So just saying I think sometimes you have to look somewhere besides the speakers.
 

richard12511

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The Harman/NRC research shows that neutral speakers with smooth directivity are preferred on average by most people, but that's it. Based on the studies so far, the correlation (r) is 83% for all types of speakers(monopoles, dipoles, etc.) with no control on bass, and 96% for monopole speakers with equalized bass. I'd say that's decent at predicting average preference for all types of speakers with no bass management, and great at predicting average monopole speaker preference with subs in play. Thing is, that's an average preference. There will always be a place for individual preference. There will be people that prefer the BBC dip, narrowing woofer to widening tweeter, and elevated treble.

From a marketing/sales perspective I can actually see where it's a good idea to target the completely unique directivity/FR curve that B&W does. Even if 90% of folks prefer a neutral response and even directivity(which seems likely), that target is split against 100 competitors(Revel, JBL, Infinity, KEF, Elac, Ascend, Genelec, Neumann, D&D, Kii, Focal, Dynaudio, etc.). From a marketing and sales perspective, I can see where it makes sense to target a more unique target. There are very few speakers that measure like B&Ws. There are many that do the v-curve(Paradigm comes to mind first), but very few that combine that with the wide-narrow-wide-narrow directivity that B&W offers.

Personally, I've heard the 802 or 800D3( honestly don't remember which it was) at an audio show, as well as the 805D3 at a dealer, and both experiences were extremely positive. I know, different rooms, different times, so take that for what it's worth, but I've been very impressed with the 800 series B&Ws I've heard. This is coming from someone who has several Harmanesque "perfect speakers".
 
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zeppzeppzepp

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The neutral speaker theory is within limits.
The concept of sounding good or bad can't be tested with all the conditions and environments.
For B&W or similar style speakers, I'll say the bass performance is really important to compensate the brightness.
I'm sure to stay away smaller ones like 607.
 

MarkWinston

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The neutral speaker theory is within limits.
The concept of sounding good or bad can't be tested with all the conditions and environments.
For B&W or similar style speakers, I'll say the bass performance is really important to compensate the brightness.
I'm sure to stay away smaller ones like 607.
If bass compensates for the lifted treble, it is what we call V shaped and will still sound thin right in the middle. That is why outright balance is such an important thing to many here, it has to be balanced throughout and just not the extreme ends. Ive always been impressed when I hear B&Ws because Ive gotten used to a flat sound, that sparkle, that solid bass but the more I listen the more I realized why I chose total neutrality in the first place.
 

preload

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That user was talking about in a showroom, the elevated treble won’t get to you until you own it and listen to it for a few hours.
That's a common B&W myth I see perpetuated a lot. I'm going to start challenging it when I see it. I'm speaking specifically about the 800 series towers.
Like the majority of loudspeaker designs, the treble balance can be adjusted by toeing in/our the speakers, and the relative bass intensity can be adjusted by relative distance from the back wall. It's not rocket science. And a quick review of the spinorama and focusing attention on the off-axis response can confirm this.
 
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