Bowers & Wilkins 700 Series 3 Signature Speaker Overview

This article is on the Bowers & Wilkins new 700 S3 Signature speakers. If you are a Bowers & Wilkins fan, you know their Signature Series of speakers is something anticipated, like a new luxury sports car or fine rare wine. These models only come out every few years and have a limited supply. They are always about taking a speaker that was already fantastic and giving their engineers in Southwater, U.K., free reign to make it even better with the best available parts and finishes. This is one reason every release tends to sell out quickly and become somewhat of a legend among speaker lovers. Some of their original Signature models command very high prices on the used market even 30 years later!

Bowers & Wilkins showed the world their first Signature speaker in 1991 to celebrate their 25th anniversary. In that 33-year time span, there have only been 6 Signature releases. Yes, if you are doing the math, that makes Bowers & Wilkins almost 60 years old, which is incredible in its own right.

Since its modest start in 1966, Bowers & Wilkins has become one of the world's largest speaker companies, and without question, it is the largest when you enter the high-performance realm. They are used in hundreds of studios around the world every day, including Lucas Films and Abbey Road. And if you own Sergeant Pepper’s or Pet Sounds, both of those famous recordings were mixed using Bowers & Wilkins speakers. 

Bowers & Wilkins have pioneered cutting-edge testing to develop new speaker technologies, and as you’ll see, the 700 S3 Signature line is loaded with lots of new technology. And for the very first time, we now have a Signature center channel speaker to enable you to create a complete Signature home theater system.

Bowers & Wilkins 700 Series 3 Signature Technology

We will first review the technology shared by all three models, then dive into each one to review the details.

Cabinet Technology

Let's start with the cabinets themselves, which are strikingly beautiful but with some interesting tech inside. All three models are available in radiant Midnight Blue Metallic paint or Datuk Gloss veneer. Bowers & Wilkins uses several coats of paint or lacquer, which gives them an extremely rich finish. All of the metal parts shown are finished in Satin Black, with the tweeter and driver surrounds trimmed in a gold-colored bezel. So yes, they look fantastic!

The curved front cabinet on the bookshelf and tower is something Bowers & Wilkins pulled from their legendary 800 Series. The curve helps reduce internal cabinet reflections and allows them to mount the drivers proud of the cabinet itself. With the cabinet being only about as wide as the largest drivers, you get the sonic benefit of a speaker that totally disappears when set up properly. There is hardly any area for the soundwave to bounce off the front of the cabinet, which helps make it sound so open.

Another thing we like about this design is that it just looks so darn cool with the speaker grills off. But should you wish to hide them, the sculpted grills magnetically attach.

Carbon Tweeters

While the top-of-the-line Bowers & Wilkins Diamond models use a tweeter that uses diamond dust, their engineers set out to find a more cost-effective technology with similar audio characteristics. This led to the development of the Carbon Double Dome tweeter.

Laser analysis is nothing new to the Bowers & Wilkins engineers, and they used it to come up with a design that has both an outer and inner dome. These are lightning fast, silky smooth, and perform way past our hearing all the way up to 47,000 Hz. When you hear cymbal brushes on these, you will think the drummer is right in front of you.

In the 2023 800 Signature Series, Bowers & Wilkins developed a new tweeter protective grill that was far more acoustically transparent. The new 700 S3 Signature tweeters all get this high-tech grill which provides protection from prying paws or fingers and lets you hear all of the qualities of the Carbon Double Dome tweeter.

Solid Milled External Tweeter Assembly

Just like the 800 Diamond series, all three models put the tweeter on top of the cabinet in a totally separate housing. The solid aluminum housing sits on a decoupling system to reduce any possible resonance. When you look at them, they look almost identical to the ones in the 800 models, which is pretty cool as they are almost the same length. The benefit of this high-tech separate housing is that it has far better imaging than mounting a tweeter on the face of a cabinet. This design has been a Bowers & Wilkins hallmark for many years and helps give them the super open sound they are known for.

Continuum Cone

In all of the 700S3 Signature models, a distinctive silver driver might catch your eye. This midrange/midbass driver is made from a material called Continuum™. Bowers & Wilkins's engineers spent eight years perfecting this material, testing 70 different versions to find one with less distortion and breakup at high volumes compared to their famous Kevlar drivers.

Continuum™ drivers hold their shape better during movement than any material previously measured by Bowers & Wilkins. First introduced in the 800 series, this special material delivers effortless midrange sound, free of distortion. Listeners often praise the realism of wind and string instruments, as well as the intimate feel of vocals, thanks to Continuum™ drivers. They just bring a lifelike quality to the listening experience that's hard to match.

These also deploy the new Biomimetic Suspension system Bowers & Wilkins developed to reduce noise coming off the rear of the midrange driver. While these may look the same externally as the standard 700S3 series, Bowers & Wilkins has upgraded the poles with larger venting and lower inductance. This was also applied to the woofers in the new tower and center as well.


The part you will never see is actually where lots of new technology was passed down from the 800 Diamond Signature models to the 700 S3 Signature.

A speaker crossover is the critical internal component that takes the incoming signal, divides it up, and then sends it out to the correct drivers. Poorly designed crossovers can ruin the sound of the signal coming in, and you’ll never get a chance to hear the music as intended. Or, a good electrical design might use cheap parts, which also rob you of the true sound. The crossovers in the 700S3 Signature models are a big jump up from the standard 700 S3 models. This is a little technical but if you’re an audio geek like us, we hope you appreciate it. 

Both the midrange and tweeter section of the crossover get Mundorf EVO Silver Gold Foil caps with expensive Angelique wire lead outs. The polypropylene caps for the midrange also get Bevenbi caps with zinc foil. The bypass caps on the board were also reconfigured for improvements. 

We were curious about these Mundorf caps and did some parts price checking, and were amazed to see the starting price for these is around $30 and goes way up from there. That is called dedication to quality when you start putting capacitors of that cost in your crossover!

Speaker Connections

We really loved the updated speaker connections on the new 700S3, and these get even better. Many times, the connections are too close to each other to allow an easy connection of heavy gauge speaker wire. These are very well spaced and the Signature models got upgraded to solid brass. You will not have any trouble tightening down beefy spade lugs with these! And while you are there, you will see the Signature badge across the rear.

As you can tell, there is some pretty serious speaker tech in the new 700 S3 Signatures. Now let’s take a peek at each new model and go over some use cases.

Matched Drivers All-Around

The matching driver types found in all of the models assures you for home theater systems you will get perfect integration as surround effects move around the room as the tonal and dispersion characteristics are the same throughout the whole series. You can mix and match bookshelves with towers for a great home theater system

As you can tell, there is some pretty serious speaker tech in the new 700 Series 3. Now let’s take a peek at each new model and go over some use cases. With three floor standing, three bookshelf, and two new center channel models, there is a lot to cover!

Bowers & Wilkins 700 S3 Signature Speaker Models

705 S3 Signature Bookshelf Speakers

The 705 S3 Signature is the bookshelf model in the new Signature Series. Many of us at Audio Advice are big fans of great bookshelf speakers. If you put them on a solid speaker stand, like the optional FS700S3 from Bowers & Wilkins, and spend some time setting them up, they can produce a marvelous three-dimensional sound. 

With all of the new tech in the 705 S3 Signature in the drivers, crossover, and more, it can put out a soundstage that, while not all the way there, is close to the 805 Diamond at less than half its price.

We think the 705 S3 Signature will be a great choice for a medium to small sized room. Their bass performance can reach down to 50 Hz which is quite low for a bookshelf. And if your room is large or you want to augment the bottom end, a fast subwoofer like the Bowers & Wilkins DB3D would be a great match.

  1. Bowers & Wilkins 705 S3 Signature Stand Mount Speaker Bowers & Wilkins 705 S3 Signature Stand Mount Speaker
    Final Price $4,500.00

702 S3 Signature Floorstanding Speakers

The 702 S3 Signature gives you even more great tech to produce a sound that just might raise some goosebumps!

This one is a floor-standing speaker with a far larger cabinet than the 705 Signature. The glossy finish just looks amazing on something this size. But heads up, if you're planning to place them on each side of a TV, the shiny finish will act like a mirror, which could be kind of distracting.

In the 702 S3 Signature, they've exclusively used the Continuum™ for the midrange frequencies, which is pretty cool. They borrow this fancy tech from the top-notch 800 series, and it's neat how they've applied it here. First off, the driver has practically no surround; the material stretches right to the edge. This helps reduce midrange distortion since there's no surround to cause distortion. They've put the driver in a cast aluminum basket specially designed to cut down on resonances. And to top it off, they've isolated the whole setup from the cabinet using a pretty unique method.

  1. Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 Signature Floorstanding Speaker Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 Signature Floorstanding Speaker
    Final Price $4,500.00

But the midrange improvement does not stop there as the 702 S3 Signature gets the super cool Biomimetic Suspension. All midrange drivers have something called a spider. The voice coil of the speaker sits within the inner perimeter of the spider, while its outer edge is connected to the basket. Essentially, the spider's job is to maintain perfect center alignment of the voice coil with the magnetic gap at the bottom of the basket. Most spiders we've seen are made of some flexible yet somewhat rigid material with small ridges. This material moves back and forth with the musical signal.

After extensive research, Bowers & Wilkins's engineering team discovered something intriguing: the spider acts like a miniature speaker as it moves, generating air movement. This air movement collides with the rear of the midrange driver, causing a bit of distortion. What's fascinating is that they made this discovery in 2007, but it wasn't until the launch of the new 800 series in 2021 that they found a satisfactory solution. Their ingenious fix is what they call a Biomimetic Suspension, which functions like a spider but is completely open, thus avoiding any air movement.

For the bottom end, the 702 Signature features three, 6 ½” Aerofoil™ cone woofers. This is another special material crafted by Bowers & Wilkins, designed to have lower distortion compared to their previous woofer materials, thanks to the tapered cone and the specific material used. With three smaller drivers, you get the surface area equivalent to a large woofer but with the speed of smaller drivers. Think super fast, tight bass!

For optimal performance from the 702 Signature, we recommend positioning it at least 18” away from the back wall and slightly angling (toeing) it towards your listening chair. Make sure to use a tape measure to ensure they're equidistant from the rear wall and angled in the same direction. Additionally, we highly recommend installing the optional support plinth if you're placing them on a carpeted surface. While it might not maintain the same sleek appearance, it will enhance the sound quality with the optional spikes and prevent any rocking on the carpet. 

The sound of the regular 702 S3 is very special to us, and the 702 S3 Signature, with its improved crossover parts and drivers, steps it up even further. When you take these great drivers and cabinets and give them so much 800-level technology, the sound is simply stunning. They are starting to compete with the 804 Diamond, which is almost double the price.

HTM 71 S3 Signature Center Channel Speaker

We were so happy to finally see a matching center channel in the new Signature Series! The regular HTM 71 S3 which the Signature version is based on, is one of our favorite center channel speakers to start with. You get all of the tech found in the 702 in a center channel configuration. Yes, the minimal surround Continuum™ midrange with the Biomimetic Suspension, the Aerofoil woofers, and that amazing tweeter. We thought the normal S3 version did an amazing job at revealing subtle emotions in performers' voices, but with the improved crossover; you can hear even deeper into those subtle cues that draw you into the movie. And when there are big dynamic contrasts in the center track, it sails through.

  1. Bowers & Wilkins HTM71 S3 Signature 3-Way Center Channel Loudspeaker Bowers & Wilkins HTM71 S3 Signature 3-Way Center Channel Loudspeaker
    Final Price $3,300.00

We’re here to help!

We hope this brief overview of the Bowers & Wilkins 700 S3 Signature Series has given you some insight into which model or models will work best for your music or home theater system. If you have further questions, contact our experts via chat, phone, or email. Or simply visit one of our world-class showrooms to experience speakers, projectors, TVs, and everything in between for yourself before you make a purchase! 

If you’re planning your home theater or media room, check out our Home Theater Design page, where we have everything Home Theater related, including our FREE Home Theater Design Tool.

When you buy from Audio Advice, you’re buying from a trusted seller since 1978. We offer Free Shipping, Lifetime Expert Support, and our Price Guarantee. We look forward to serving you!

Featured Products

  1. Bowers & Wilkins 705 S3 Signature Stand Mount Speaker Bowers & Wilkins 705 S3 Signature Stand Mount Speaker
    Final Price $4,500.00

  1. Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 Signature Floorstanding Speaker Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 Signature Floorstanding Speaker
    Final Price $4,500.00

  1. Bowers & Wilkins HTM71 S3 Signature 3-Way Center Channel Loudspeaker Bowers & Wilkins HTM71 S3 Signature 3-Way Center Channel Loudspeaker
    Final Price $3,300.00


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