Bowers & Wilkins 703 Floorstanding Loudspeaker Reviewed

Bowers & Wilkins 703 Floorstanding Loudspeaker Reviewed

Sitting in the middle line of B&W speakers the 703 gets you a lot of the technology from the 800 series at a much lower price point. These are great speakers for those starting out in the high-end world or for those aspiring to it.

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I remember the first time I experienced the mighty Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series loudspeakers. I sat there thinking to myself, “Does it get better than this?” If you have the money, probably not, but those of us who live in the “real” world have to search for more affordable options. Thanks to Bowers & Wilkins, you don’t have to search very long, evident in the 703 loudspeaker reviewed here.

Retailing for $3,000 a pair, the 703 represents a tremendous bargain in a crowded marketplace and may just be the best all-around speaker in terms of price and performance that Bowers & Wilkins has ever made. Finished in your choice of Black Ash, Cherry, Maple, Rosenut and/or Walnut, the 703 is a more traditional-looking loudspeaker for Bowers & Wilkins, though their signature free-mounted Nautilus tweeter, resting atop the 703, lets you know you’re still in good company. The 703 is a three-way, four-driver loudspeaker, featuring dual six-and-a-half-inch bass drivers below a single six-inch Kevlar midrange driver, rounded out by the one-inch alloy dome tweeter.

Additional Resources
Read a review of Bowers & Wilkins Top of the Line speaker – the B&W 800 Diamond
by Andrew Robinson from HomeTheaterReview.com.

The 703 has a reported frequency response of 38Hz-25kHz and bears a sensitivity rating of 90dB into a eight-ohm load. The 703 is crossed over at 350Hz and 4kHz to ensure a rich, full-range sound and to keep the sensitivity up, making the 703 an easy speaker to drive with most integrated amps, budget separates and/or home theater receivers.

Continue on to Page 2 to learn about the high points and low points of the 703s.

High Points
• The 703’s free-mounted Nautilus tweeter is so sweet, composed and agile that you can listen to it for days on end without fatigue, even at high volumes. Because it is essentially free of coloration from a cabinet, it is pinpoint-accurate and allows for a larger than normal sweet spot, as well as injecting a bit more detail into the 703’s soundstage. 
• The 703’s midrange performance is almost unheard of at its price, rivaling speakers costing twice if not three times as much. Female vocals (and film dialogue) especially shine through the 703. 
• The 703’s bass response and definition is taut, quick, a touch dry and plenty deep in most rooms, making it a very full-range loudspeaker in most rooms and/or situations. If you want to rock the floorboards, you can add a subwoofer, though it’s not quite the necessity it is with other speakers in the 703’s class.
• Dynamically, the 703 isn’t going to make you jump out of your seat at first, for it doesn’t shout, but rather simply applies emphasis to its already stellar musicality and detail. It’s a weird effect at first, but completely natural and, when compared to other speakers, makes the competition sound artificial and/or fake in some ways.

Low Points
• As far as Bowers & Wilkins speakers go, the 703 is not going to win any beauty pageants. While not ugly, the 703 is more traditional and plain-looking than the rest of the well-dressed family. 
• The 703’s speaker grilles make the speaker look a bit goofy, in my opinion. Removing the grilles adds a dash of presence to the speaker, while allowing it to look a bit more tasteful. 
• The 703’s binding posts are adequate, but their placement and spacing makes connecting certain speaker wires more of a chore.

Conclusion
You can’t throw a rock in the audiophile or home theater community without hitting a $3,000 to $5,000 speaker. While the 703 sits towards the bottom of that pricing scale, its performance is anything but low. The 703 is getting on in years and I wouldn’t be surprised if Bowers & Wilkins updates the entire line soon, but in the meantime, the 703 is still an insane bargain and an even more insane speaker.

Additional Resources
• Read a review of Bowers & Wilkins Top of the Line speaker – the B&W 800 Diamond
 by Andrew Robinson from HomeTheaterReview.com.

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