In my previous reviews of the Bowers & Wilkins products, the headphones and 702 S2 were discussed. In this review, we take a closer look at the Bowers & Wilkins 705 S2. The smaller brother of the 702 S2. How we like it, you can read about it here!
Let’s start the specifications first with a short video about where the 705s come from and what has been improved compared to the ‘older’ series.
2-way open system
Decoupled Carbon Dome tweeter
Solid tweeter housing
Continuum™ conus bass/midrange
1x ø25mm (1 in) Decoupled Carbon Dome high frequency
1x ø165mm (6.5 in) Continuum conus bass / midrange
-6dB at 45Hz and 33kHz
50Hz – 28kHz ±3dB
88dB spl (2.83Vrms, 1m)
2nd and 3rd harmonics (90 dB, 1m)
<1% 100Hz – 22kHz
<0.5% 150Hz – 20kHz
8Ω (minimum 3,7Ω)
Recommended amplifier power
30W – 120W into 8Ω on unclipped programme
Height: 340mm (13.4 in) cabinet only 407mm (16 in) including tweeter
Width: 200 mm (7.8 in)
Depth: 285mm (11.2 in) cabinet only
301mm (11.9 in) including grille and terminals
9.3kg (20.5 lb)
Grey (only Satin white)
Gloss Black (gloss black is like the color of the 702 S2 in the previous review)
Satin White (the color from this review)
Unlike the previous review of the Bowers & Wilkins 702 S2, I was able to unpack the speakers on the 705 on my own, while shooting. As you can see it was around December that I got the speakers. It is now a few (half a year) months later and the time has come to write something about these great speakers. Because that’s what they are!
In addition to the Bowers & Wilkins 705s (with the stands), I also received the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Duo on loan. I’ll be dedicating another comprehensive review to that!
Well, this review is only about the Bowers & Wilkins 705 S2 and the FS-700 S2 (the latter are the stands).
Of course, the speakers are neatly packed in bags, and manuals, two foam plugs, and caps for under the speaker are included – should you want to put the speakers on a table and not damage them / make everything vibrate.
Once unpacked, the 705s look pretty neat. I must confess that I find the satin white variant very neat. The shapes of the Bowers & Wilkins 705 S2 are the same as those of the entire 700 series. However, the 702 S2 and 705 S2 both have the tweeter loose/on top of the speaker.
Gray dust caps are included with the Satin White variant.
What I also find about the 702 S2 is that the speakers look very nice without the dust cap. It is a true work of art.
The chosen colors with the Bowers & Wilkins logo at the bottom (small) looks fancy.
As with Bowers & Wilkins 702 S2, the tweeter is neatly shielded separately from the speaker, in an aluminum housing, placed ‘on top’ of the speaker. This creates a different pattern in sound.
In the chapter ‘Technology’ I return to the cone of the speaker. There is no tweeter inside the speaker, which is of course loose on top of the 705 S2.
The dust covers are held magnetically. That works a lot better than those plastic sticks that you had to push into a speaker to hold a dust cap. That would break off and then your dust cap would be loose. Such a great solution! The dust cap is neat, but otherwise not very special.
The speakers can be adjusted just a little bit with the supplied ‘foam plugs’. The plugs allow the lows to come through just a little differently (less). Of course, that depends on the place where they are placed (for example, close to a wall might be nice). The included foam plugs are actually two in one. Either slightly open or completely closed.
For speakers such as the 705 and 702, there is a possibility for single or bi-wire. In both cases, I use the AudioQuest cables (Type-9 and the Rocket-88).
The sides of the speakers are otherwise clean. In short, a very neat set.
Time to grab the stands! The screw holes on the bottom of the Bowers & Wilkins 705 S2 are used to screw it to the stands. And then they stand … like a house!
Bowers & Wilkins will in any case ensure that the stands and speakers are neatly shipped and arrive!
Manuals, screws (and tools) are of course included in the box of the FS-700 S2. Bowers & Wilkins also supplied needles and caps to set up the stands, I’ll show them in a moment!
Normally you don’t give much thought to the baseplate of a stand. But I must confess that it is a neat design. I think the cool thing about the FS-700 S2 and the 705 S2 is that it doesn’t scream ‘Bowers & Wilkins’ so loudly. It’s not distracting. Just like those polo shirts from a certain brand where you see a polo player all over your upper and lower body. 😀
It goes without saying. Stop the screw holes from the ‘pillar’ in the base and tighten them with screws.
What is smart is that the hole where the cable comes out has just been ‘milled’ a bit. This allows the cable to make a slight kink so that it is not pressed into the floor to make that turn there.
I think it’s a cool color scheme, especially with those white speakers. The metal accents finish it off in this case.
Bowers & Wilkins supplies both needles and caps with the FS-700 S2. Since I have laminate flooring, I put the caps underneath. I had picked up needles for a while with the 702 – they were readily available… Well… I knew it… Pits in the laminate flooring…
The FS-700 S2 is of course not just a stand to peek at. You can even run your cable through it. And that results in a very ‘clean’ image. Make sure that your cable is long enough, as you also need to have a small meter (to one and a half) extra.
Yeah, I’m fast with this review. Around December I received the speakers, we are now heading towards summer, so of course, it’s time to post the review where a Christmas tree is prominently displayed next to it! 😀
The speakers have been playing on an almost daily basis for more than half a year. And then you get an opinion about it. I will come back to this in the chapter ‘Music & Movies’.
It is of course not mandatory to place the speaker on a stand. Due to the small rubber caps, they can also be used as bookshelf loudspeakers. I think they look much nicer on a stand.
And I like the speakers without the dust covers. What a beautiful sight.
The color scheme of the 705 S2s matches the standards nicely.
In addition to the LG Oled and Naim Uniti Atom, the 705 S2 got to work for a while. And they certainly have. It has been played with on an almost daily basis, music, and movies. Even watching standard TV with a good audio set is better than the sound of the television. And that while the LG OLEDs already sound pretty good. The difference is truly bizarre. Clear and wider, so you hear more.
Of course, the speakers and stands have also been moved to a more open place – where the TV has also been moved. This is of course not a perfect angle for the speakers.
However, by also using the foam plugs in such a situation, the very deep tones – which may not sound so nice – can be smoothed out.
What a beautiful set! I personally like these speakers better than the KEF LSX series.
For those who find the technology of these speakers interesting, I would like to zoom in a little deeper on what Bowers & Wilkins has applied to technology.
Today, B&W no longer uses Kevlar, but continuum.
The summary below describes the highlights according to Bowers & Wilkins regarding these changes.
– The Continuum cone design is based on the concept of optimized and controlled flexibility.
– It helps prevent abrupt transitions between piston-like and break-up behavior that drastically affects the openness and neutrality of a conventional loudspeaker unit.
– It provides better sound quality but there are similarities with Kevlar, like that material it is a woven structure that gives high control over break up.
– Continuum is a triumph of experimental work, with more than 70 materials tested and eight years of research before it came to market.
– First used in the 800 Series Diamond and already in the new 700 Series.
The video below explains what continuum is and how it differs from Kevlar.
As shown in the photo below, the cone is woven.
Carbon Dome Tweeter
Bowers & Wilkins uses a new kind of tweeter. According to B&W, the explanation of the Carbon Dome Tweeter is as follows:
The new 700 Series uses an entirely new tweeter technology for Bowers & Wilkins: the Carbon Dome.
The Carbon Dome tweeter bridges the performance gap between the 600 Series Aluminum Double Dome and the 800 Series Diamond Dome.
The first break-up occurs at 47kHz, this positions this tweeter perfectly between the 38kHz of the 600 Series Aluminum Dome and the 70kHz of the 800 Series Diamond Dome.
The Carbon Dome is made up of two parts.
The front part consists of an aluminum dome that has been made stiffer by vaporizing a 30-micron thick coating of Carbon PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition).
The second part consists of a 300-micron thick Carbon Ring that is secured on the inside over the entire height of the voice coil carrier to prevent it from twisting under load.
The result is exceptional stiffness and resistance to deformation with low mass.
Solid Body Tweeter
The Solid Body Tweeter has also been addressed by Bowers & Wilkins.
On the 705 S2 and 702 S2, we have used our Solid Body Tweeter technology for our tweeter-on-top designs.
The design is entirely derived from the approach used in the 800 Series Diamond models and has the same advantages where playback quality is concerned.
Instead of the hollow zinc housing, the 705 S2 and 702 S2 use a completely resonance-free housing made from a single piece of aluminum weighing more than 1 kg.
This design also uses the housing as a heatsink for the tweeter, and we used the same decoupling system and HF Grill as with the 800 Series Diamond. – So says B&W.
B&W 700 series
Like the 702 S2, the 705 S2 is available in the following colors. I wasn’t able to quickly find an image of the 705 in the color scheme below. Thus an image of the 702, which are of course also beautiful speakers! 😀
Bowers & Wilkins 700 series
The entire 700 series lineup is as follows:
1 x 130mm bass/midrange + 1 x 25mm tweeter
1 x 165mm bass/midrange + 1 x 25mm tweeter
705 S2 – that’s what this review is about.
1 x 165mm bass/midrange + 1 x 25mm tweeter-on-top
2 x 130mm bass + 1 x 130mm FST midrange + 1 x 25mm tweeter
2 x 165mm bass + 1 x 150mm FST midrange + 1 x 25mm tweeter
702 S2 – this one is covered in a previous review.
3 x 165mm bass + 1 x 150mm FST midrange + 1 x 25mm tweeter-on-top
2 x 130mm bass + 1 x 25mm tweeter
2 x 165mm bass + 1 x 100mm FST midrange + 1 x 25mm tweeter
Speaker stand for use with 707 S2, 706 S2, and 705 S2, available in silver or black.
Music & Movies
Where I had previously connected the Bowers & Wilkins 702 S2’s to a Rotel RAP-1580, I connected the Bowers & Wilkins 705 S2 to a Naim Uniti Atom.
The Bowers & Wilkins speakers play classical music as if it was made for it (music for the speakers).
In Bach’s songs – although they are ‘small’ speakers – the bass come through very well. The string section is beautifully reproduced by the speakers.
From classic to a little louder – to test the bass.
DJ Isaac’s Hardstyle Session, regularly used, is presented quite nicely by the 705’s. This applies to both movies and music. The speakers perform well in a small to normal room. The deep sounds sound fine. If you’re missing some extra punch, you can always add a Bowers & Wilkins subwoofer.
AC/DC is also an example of music for the speakers. Where I used to use Kef iq30 speakers, this is a VERRRRRYYYYY different caliber. If the 705s could smile, they would play this song with a smile as well. The guitars and drums come through wonderfully. The deep tones also sound good again.
Well, Above & Beyond… in almost every review I bring this song back, purely to listen to the instruments and vocals. And this time too, the 705s don’t disappoint me. What a beautiful sound, from both the vocals and the instruments. What a beautiful set.
By the way, I am aware that placing YouTube links – in an audio review – is of course special. It’s a pity I can’t share the FLACs. Then you hear – if you also have such a set, the splendor, the sound of the songs.
In the case of watching action movies, I am quite satisfied. Still, I prefer the 702s (I haven’t been able to listen to the other 700 series speakers yet, so I can’t give an opinion on that – maybe the 704 S2 is a great option). The 705 S2s lack just a bit of depth (they only play along from 50Hz). However, that can be filled up again with the Bowers & Wilkins DB4S (1000-watt subwoofer). This makes a 2.1 stereo set. However, in an apartment, it’s neat to make sure your neighbor isn’t vibrating off his couch. And the 702s did have the power to accomplish that. So if you have a small to medium-sized room where you want to put these beautiful speakers… Do it!
Of course, the 705s are also ideal as surround speakers – at the back, if you have the space for it.
Back to the movies! When watching different movies, it is clear that the 705s such as the 702s are great. I’ve had the 705s in two rooms. In my living room, and a study. In the study (because it is smaller than the living room) the speakers performed much better than in the living room. Whereas at times I felt I lacked some punch in some of the movies, it came into play in the smaller study room.
A lot of movies and series are played out in this house. And the 705s played them all away with a smile. The speakers reproduce the sound beautifully, wide and clear.
However, I must also confess that a subwoofer would not be out of place with this set. The aesthetic set makes up for this, also with the stands.
Music moves you and it does. When listening to the song below, I got the feeling again that I was a year old 14, and was riding my bike to school. Oh, I listened to a lot of music back then – Coldplay, Nickelback (yes, has those phases), and all sorts of things.
As said; while listening I could enjoy the song and the instruments again. And how full, and powerful does that sound. The piano can also be heard so beautifully when playing this song. The sounds and music ‘light up the room’. The 705s stand their ground here.
Where I ended the review of the 702 with the Noisia Radio podcast. Pick up on that with a podcast from Vision (sequel to Noisia Radio).
As deep as those songs can be the podcast below. The 705s are perfect for my rooms here.
My wife and I used a cheaper set of speakers and an amplifier years ago. We often had the impression that we didn’t hear half the text/speech because the music and sound in movies can be so incredibly loud. You constantly have the feeling that you are missing speech or elements of a movie. I can be brief about this with the 705s; I/we hear more with these speakers than my set that I had before. With such a stereo set you also hear a lot more than a lot of soundbars that I have been allowed to review.
To use the Bowers & Wilkins in all ways, I also pulled out a turntable from the closet. The Audio Technica AT-LPWW40TN has been able to play for quite a few hours with the Naim Uniti Atom and 705 S2. The music was great to listen to again. Records by Frank Sinatra (LP from 74), Above & Beyond – Sirens of the Sea, and classical (Mozart, Bach, etc.) all sounded wonderful. With the records, I don’t miss the really deep tones. These are reproduced correctly to my feeling.
Funny, I remember I genuinely fell “in love” with the 702 S2s when I got to listen to them. I’ve been listening to a lot of music for quite some time and staring at the speakers with goosebumps. This happened to me again with the 705s.
Audio that can be reproduced beautifully, in sound, makes for much more fun. The enjoyment is multiplied when displayed properly. You get into an ecstasy, overwhelmed. It creates emotion. That is exactly the case with this set of speakers. There is an essential difference between a domestic set and a really good set. In my opinion, watching movies and listening to music are really multiplied. After all, you get sucked in. You hear things that you wouldn’t hear otherwise (e.g. with cheap earplugs). The great thing about music is that you also keep discovering things.
The 705s are not only aesthetic, but they also sound beautiful. It almost starts to sound like an advertorial, and that is certainly not the intention. But the 705s are very good.
The fact that they cannot go very deep in terms of sound is of course logical because there are no bass speakers in them, such as the 704 S2 or 702 S2. The Continuum cone takes care of the bass and midrange. Still, in my opinion, the 705’s are not very focused on getting the bottom end (in terms of bass) either. If you still feel that you are missing something, you can also expand with the subwoofer. In a small to ‘normal’ (living) room, the Bowers & Wilkins 705 S2 is a really good loudspeaker. I would recommend buying a good amplifier for it. After all, you cannot expect an Onkyo of 50 euros to be able to operate these speakers to their max.
As mentioned before; “music moves you”, and with such a setup that is done faster than you think!
After many (really many) hours of listening I can only confess that I have become a huge fan of both the 705 S2 and the 702 S2. Probably in the future, I can review a speaker in between or even an 8 series. Because Bowers & Wilkins has those too.
Yes, I am certainly aware that the price is quite high, but in my view, you really get something in return.
The Bowers & Wilkins 705 S2 and FS-700 S2 get 5 out of 5 stars from me. And that is more than deserved.