B&W’s new 700 series loudspeakers

The new series includes five models with surround- and center-channel designs as well as two new active subwoofers, all of which incorporate technology developments.

The new B&W lineup ranges from the floor standing 703 and 704 and stand-mount 705 pairs, through the HTM7 center-channel model and the adaptable DS7 dipole/monopole surround speakers. The resultis a variety of loudspeaker models that can be combined in numerous ways to satisfy a wide range of system needs (and budgets), while retaining reproduction quality.

Each of the 700 Series’ fresh designs spring from a handful of key B&W technology refinements, largely derived from the firm’s Nautilus loudspeakers. The new range features B&W’s unique,shaped cabinets with a one-piece multi-ply, sloping top and baffle—a technique taken directly from the Nautilus series—that contributes to freedom from both vibration and internal acousticreflections. The 700s’ tapered sides smooth any remaining internal resonances according to B&W.

The five new models retain the B&W FlowPort™ dimpled, computer-shaped enclosure vent, which helps eliminate turbulence for cleaner, “faster” bass.

The 700 Series drivers incorporate advances to meet B&W’s Balanced Drive concept, derived from the latest findings of advanced, laser-enabled distortion analysis at B&W’s Steyning ResearchCenter. Balanced Drive mandates the most linear possible transducer movement both electro-magentically and physically, over the widest possible dynamic range, reducing several seldom-recognizeddynamic distortions for audible gains in “detail retrieval” and dynamic integrity.

An all-new 6.5-inch bass-midrange unit is employed with variations across the new series. B&W uses a woven-Kevlarâ„¢ diaphragm material for its resistance to higher-amplitude breakup distortions,and benefits as well from important Balanced Drive refinements. A copper sheath and aluminum “cap” at the magnet pole-piece together yield uncommon linearity of inductance over the full (and veryextended) range of the transducer’s excursion. Along with a revised bullet dust-cap arrangement, this reduces both linear and non-linear distortions for significant audible gains in detail,quickness, dynamic linearity, and high-output integrity.

The 703/704’s 6.5-inch Kevlar bass unit also employs the Balanced Drive motor concept, and adds B&W’s “mushroom” construction with ring-girder design to enhance the stiffness for even greaterbass slam and dynamic accuracy. The family’s sole three-way design (the 703) gets an improved version of B&W’s fixed-suspension FST midrange, a candidly low-distortion, transient-capabletransducer with detail and texture, using a redesigned surround and fixed center “bullet.”

In the new lineup this transducer features a flexible tapered-tube loading “enclosure” that absorbs rearward energy for Nautilus-like clarity and definition even at very high outputs, in a versionthat permits mounting in the 700s’ more compact designs. And throughout the front-stage models, this tweeter is mounted in a separate “pod” housing whose smaller baffle area and time-alignmentspromotes “airy” and “ boxless” sound.

The 700 tweeter also incorporates its own Balanced Drive pole-piece copper sheath arrangement, yielding dramatically more linear inductance, and a redesigned coil-to-dome union for reduced mass withgreater strength; together these extend accurate, linear response to 50 kHz.

The 700 Series alsoemploys custom, air-core inductors throughout for minimized distortion, and careful circuit topology and physical layout to optimize signal transfer between amplifier anddrivers.

The B&W 700 Series begins with the model 705, a 6.5-inch two-way optimized for stand-mount placement. The HTM7 is essentially the same speaker with the same performance, re-engineered forcenter-channel use with a low-profile cabinet and spatial response optimized for center-channel use.

The floor-standing model 704 adds a second 6.5-inch driver, a bass unit covering only lower frequencies in a “two-and-a-half-way” configuration. The model 703 adds an additional, dedicated 6-inchFST™ “surroundless” midrange evolved from the Nautilus 800 Series, and employs dual-6.5-inch bass units together to produce more extended bass with greater ultimate output potential.

The remaining 700 Series member is the DS7, a unique, dedicated surround-channel speaker, a configurable design optimized for on-wall or shelf/bracket placement. The DS7’s shallow design (just 8inches in depth) is intended to encourage correct home-theater layout, as are its supplied on-wall mounting plates. Here, the 700 Series 6.5-inch bass/midrange and 1-inch tweeter are joined by dual,4-inch mid/high-frequency drivers on opposing surfaces: a user-accessible switch permits selection of dipole or monopole (in-phase) operation, as taste, room acoustics, or program type suggest. Asecond switch permits selection of the “in-phase” mid/high unit in dipole mode, while a third tailors the tweeter level to the acoustic needs of the system or environment. Further, the DS7 provides a12-volt “trigger” which allows the programming of dipole/monopole options depending on source selection with certain processors, i.e.: Dolby Digital, DTS, SACD, etc.

Four of the five new 700 Series models are offered in a choice of five elegant, hand-rubbed real wood veneers: Black Ash, Cherry, Roseunt, Walnut, and Maple. The DS7 surround speakers are availablein matte black or white. The 700s are available immediately, at manufacturer’s suggested pricing as follows:

Model 705 $1500/pair
Model 704 $2200/pair
Model 703 $3000/pair
Model DS7 $750 each
FS-700 stands $300/pair
Model HTM7 $750 pair

Pictures and discussion can be found here:
http://forums.designtechnica.com/showthread.php?s=&postid=19937

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