Bowers & Wilkins 705 Signature Speaker Review & Comments

Evinger

Well-known Member
Thanks for the Review, Ed.

Maybe I am just stupid, but is there a reason that some of the pictures look like there is a film over half of it - is that a copyright thing?
 

Ed Selley

AVF Reviewer
Thanks for the Review, Ed.

Maybe I am just stupid, but is there a reason that some of the pictures look like there is a film over half of it - is that a copyright thing?
No it's a 'they're so reflective you can see your face in them' thing.
 

Saabas

Member
Don't exactly know why, but I have always found B&W speakers to be a rather letdown in the price range compared to other manufacturers like KEF, Focal, and Dali. Remember when I tested BW CM10 S2 against KEF R-series and Focal Arias in the same listening room. By judging only on the sound I would have guessed that the B&W would have been much cheaper than the rivals. Or maybe Naim and B&W just don't come together. Haven't heard these thou, maybe I'll give them a chance if I ever come across one.
 

fordster

Member
Don't exactly know why, but I have always found B&W speakers to be a rather letdown in the price range compared to other manufacturers like KEF, Focal, and Dali. Remember when I tested BW CM10 S2 against KEF R-series and Focal Arias in the same listening room. By judging only on the sound I would have guessed that the B&W would have been much cheaper than the rivals. Or maybe Naim and B&W just don't come together. Haven't heard these thou, maybe I'll give them a chance if I ever come across one.
The smallest 700s (706?) sounded pretty decent with a Naim ND5 XS2 and Nait XS 2 but not any better than my old CM1s and Rotel RA-1062. I do like the B&W sound personally but haven’t listened to any KEFs for a long time and not at all to any Focals. If/when I upgrade I’d like to go with B&W 805s and either a Naim Supernait 3 or (more likely) Rotel Michi X3. My dealer sells both Naim and B&W (also a limited range of KEF speakers but strangely only headphones from Focal).
 

Jason72

Active Member
Ed, I fully understand this review is for the B&W 705, but you mentioned that the new Dynaudio Special 40's were different to the previous ones (which I have a pair off that are still not run in). I thought it was just a cosmetic change. Any idea what the tweaks are, and can the originals be upgraded ?
 

Jokerr

Well-known Member

Evinger

Well-known Member

Jefke13

Member
Ed, I fully understand this review is for the B&W 705, but you mentioned that the new Dynaudio Special 40's were different to the previous ones (which I have a pair off that are still not run in). I thought it was just a cosmetic change. Any idea what the tweaks are, and can the originals be upgraded ?
Hello, you can find the tweaks online, maybe contact dynaudio for the upgrade
 

martinthorn1

Active Member
TV reviews on avforums have lots of excellent measurement results: is there a plan to do similar with audio? A mix of subjective and objective with measurement data makes for a powerful review!
 

buzz_lightclick

Well-known Member
Great review, cheers Ed, I'm very tempted to get them!
 

keithwiggins

Well-known Member
TV reviews on avforums have lots of excellent measurement results: is there a plan to do similar with audio? A mix of subjective and objective with measurement data makes for a powerful review!
specs tell you nothing other than how a speaker performs in an anechoic chamber. Your ears are the only instrument you need.
 

martinthorn1

Active Member
specs tell you nothing other than how a speaker performs in an anechoic chamber. Your ears are the only instrument you need.
That's why I suggested both measurements (done the same way for all speakers ideally, not necessarily in an anechoic chamber) and subjective information from someone else's ears(same reviewer ideally) would be an optimum review mix. The original inner-fidelity website was great for this with headphones.

Since everyone's hearing is different then an in person demo would be even better than a review, but that's not always possible hence why review sites/magazines are popular..
 

keithwiggins

Well-known Member
That's why I suggested both measurements (done the same way for all speakers ideally, not necessarily in an anechoic chamber) and subjective information from someone else's ears(same reviewer ideally) would be an optimum review mix. The original inner-fidelity website was great for this with headphones.

Since everyone's hearing is different then an in person demo would be even better than a review, but that's not always possible hence why review sites/magazines are popular..
as i stated earlier measurements are futile. An engineer can use them whilst designing a product as they generally do, but only up to a point, thereafter everything else is decided by ear.
 

martinthorn1

Active Member
as i stated earlier measurements are futile. An engineer can use them whilst designing a product as they generally do, but only up to a point, thereafter everything else is decided by ear.
Completely disagree, measurements are not futile if done consistently over many reviews (again, look at the TV reviews on this site and in the past headphone reviews on inner-fidelity- mix of subjective and measurement). Several times in the past on avforums the TV measurements have flagged up processing problems. And any reputable audio company will measure & test their product throughout design, development and manufacture.

Yes, subjective only reviews can be interesting to read, but are just that, subjective and as such subject to that individual's tastes, perhaps mood and even health (colds can affect hearing, age can affect frequency response).

All I'm saying is that in addition to descriptive language about aural feelings, I'd prefer to also see some numbers/graphs - a well engineered speaker should stand up to some independent engineering scrutiny don't you think?
 

bjd

Distinguished Member
as i stated earlier measurements are futile. An engineer can use them whilst designing a product as they generally do, but only up to a point, thereafter everything else is decided by ear.
Taking such a narrow attitude would also render all reviews pointless. After all, it's the reviewer's ears listening in the reviewer's room on the reviewer's equipment to the reviewer's choice of music. No good to me really.
So don't measure, don't read reviews - just cart endless speakers home for demo until you find ones you like.
 

keithwiggins

Well-known Member
Completely disagree, measurements are not futile if done consistently over many reviews (again, look at the TV reviews on this site and in the past headphone reviews on inner-fidelity- mix of subjective and measurement). Several times in the past on avforums the TV measurements have flagged up processing problems. And any reputable audio company will measure & test their product throughout design, development and manufacture.

Yes, subjective only reviews can be interesting to read, but are just that, subjective and as such subject to that individual's tastes, perhaps mood and even health (colds can affect hearing, age can affect frequency response).

All I'm saying is that in addition to descriptive language about aural feelings, I'd prefer to also see some numbers/graphs - a well engineered speaker should stand up to some independent engineering scrutiny don't you think?
we will agree to disagree then.
 

keithwiggins

Well-known Member
Taking such a narrow attitude would also render all reviews pointless. After all, it's the reviewer's ears listening in the reviewer's room on the reviewer's equipment to the reviewer's choice of music. No good to me really.
So don't measure, don't read reviews - just cart endless speakers home for demo until you find ones you like.
really what could they measure on a speaker that would benefit a reader? you have a range of reviwers with different sources/amps/cables/stands/ears and rooms playing there choice of music etc , so what could be measured thats of any use?
All they do is give a sense of the flavour of the speaker, eg bright and thin, treble recessed, forward midrange etc.
Any good retailer has demo room , they will demo speakers to help a customer decide, but even then the same rules as above apply, they will have different equipment and a different room but it will help give a flavour of what a speaker can sound like, a measurement will not.
 
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bjd

Distinguished Member
Yeah, OK. The whole science of acoustics is pretty much a waste of time. I'm sure speaker designers just sit around with a random set of components and experiment until they get the sound right.
A speaker will always be measured and tweaked during design, and where measurements are available it would seem ludicrous to simply ignore them when making comparisons. Neither a reviewer's opinion nor a set of numbers will guarantee that I will like the sound of speaker, or that it will definitely perform well in my listening environment, but the more information I have available the easier it is to narrow down choices.
 

martinthorn1

Active Member
"you have a range of reviwers with different sources/amps/cables/stands/ears and rooms"

Actually the point I was making is that a review site could have fixed measurement kit, sources & room and thereby make the same independent measurements on all speakers *in addition* to the subjective review.

The reader can then compare and contrast subjective and objective views themselves, eventually across several/many speakers. I do appreciate that this takes more time, investment and expense hence why not many do it and may not even be feasible economically in the age of internet-funded-by-cookie/ads.

TVs are subject to that kind of scrutiny here, why not speakers? What makes you think sound is less measurable than light?
 

martinthorn1

Active Member
(and just to be clear, I enjoyed reading this review, just wanted a 'page 2' with measurements showing perhaps for example what the crossover frequency response looks like now some elements of the driver/tweeter crossover circuit removed/changed)
 

keithwiggins

Well-known Member
"you have a range of reviwers with different sources/amps/cables/stands/ears and rooms"

Actually the point I was making is that a review site could have fixed measurement kit, sources & room and thereby make the same independent measurements on all speakers *in addition* to the subjective review.

The reader can then compare and contrast subjective and objective views themselves, eventually across several/many speakers. I do appreciate that this takes more time, investment and expense hence why not many do it and may not even be feasible economically in the age of internet-funded-by-cookie/ads.

TVs are subject to that kind of scrutiny here, why not speakers? What makes you think sound is less measurable than light?
tvs are far more easily measurable , nits , hdr etc are all very understood and measurable by a well defined industry. Tvs are very spec driven and reviewers understand this and how to measure it. Speakers are far more subjective, measurements such as sensitivity are useful but thats about it. Bass response is very much room and positioning dependant so pretty useless to the man in the street, treble up to 25khz tells you nothing as its out of the hearing spectrum so again useless.
 

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