B&W 705 Bookshelf Speakers

705

2-way vented-box system, 6.5" woven Kevlar® cone bass/midrange, 1" alloy dome tweeter, 46Hz-25kHz ±3 dB, 89dB sensitivity, 42lb/pair.

User Reviews (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10  
Victor   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 14, 2013]

I just want to say that these are an incredible set of speakers that provide a nice sound stage
With warmth and natural sound. My system consist of a yaqin el34 tube amp, music hall 25.2 modified CD player, nordost super flatline speaker cables and a set of flatline silver interconnects. The sound is amazing. Precise, bass is nice and tight, vocals are natural...simply amazing. I forgot to say that I'm running my speaker cables shotgun style with a set of silver speaker jumpers which provide more depth and ambience. To make these speakers sing you need to check your system. Tweek you're system and hear it come alive my friends. Happy listening!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Paul   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 17, 2012]

I have bonded with these speakers. Their forte is filling a room without drawing attention to themselves. I have read the other reviews and I realize that I am not listening the way that some of the doubters are listening. Clearly some of those that have not enjoyed these speaker are looking for a sound studio and a perfect recording of a very complex work of music. For their price these speaker put out an extremely clear and seemless sound. With a large open floor plan house I am alway impressed with the power of these little speakers.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Crols   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 25, 2011]

I'm going to start off by saying that ultimately, these speakers were not for me. I lived with them for 4 years and finally decided to sell them.

First I'll start with what the speaker does well. It has an excellent tweeter, very clean, and very open sounding with excellent extension. The same generally goes for the mid-range was well. Every instrument is easily discerned, with plenty of ambient detail. Imaging is pinpoint and wide, that goes for breadth as well as depth. Tonality is also excellent, every note is almost dead on.

With all these good points, what is the deal breaker? Ah, well, let's start with bass. While every bass note heard is easily discerned and in no way muddy... there simply isn't a lot of bass, even for a bookshelf. The extension is decent, but the volume of the bass itself leaves much to be desired. On an visceral level it's quite anemic sounding. Then there is the dynamics issue. Micro dynamics are handled well, minor transients stand out. Unfortunately when it comes to the life of the music, this speaker is like a high resolution black and white photo. There is absolutely no fun factor. I would listen for a bit, and be impressed with the high resolution of the sound, and the excellent imaging and so forth, but would always end up feeling bored and switch my system off.

So, all in all, these speakers were not for me. If others can listen to them, and not feel put off by the lack of macro-dynamic swings they will probably love the speakers. They aren't my cup of tea. Just my opinion.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
Harry Manzini   AudioPhile [Sep 23, 2009]

I have owned some decent equipment over the last few years. Nothing overly "reference" but dencent in a mid-fi range. I started out with some Rotel RA-1062 amp and 1072 CDP hooked up to some B&W CM1's....that lasted about a month....then I upgraded my CDP and amp to the Sim Audio Moon i1 and CD1....Big improvement....Dumped the CM1's for some older B&W Matrix 804's....Very nice....then i upgraded the amp and CDP to a Audiolab 8000q pre and 2 8000M monoblocks....nice but I decied the speakers should be upgraded so i got the Sonus Faber Grand Piano Homes with a REL T1 sub....This was an exceptional setup, partnered with a Cambridge Audio 840c CDP... NIcer....Then I got into DAC's with computer audio source (In this case AIF lossless from a MAC, running through a Lavry DA-10) This killed the Cambridge Audio 840c CDP, even as a DAC.....(Don't worry, I am getting to the 705 part, but it helps for you to know what I have had and what I thought of it. It's all about matching the right components properly) Bear in mind i have normally always used Nordost Red Dawn Rev.2 interconnects and speaker cables, with the excpetion of Audioquest Rockefeller Bi wired speaker cables with the 72v power unit on them, as well as an ISOTEK Sigmas power conditioner and Grant Fidelity hospital grade power cables for every component.....Currently it's all red dawn with the latter....
After fiunding that the Sonus faber speakers were not the greatest for rock and metal (Which I like to listen to 70% of the time) I went to the B&W 705's. prior to this change I upgraded my CDP to a Cary 306/200 HDCD CDP, and a Musical Fidelity 300A integrated (original gold volume and trim) I also included an ASL AQ-2001DT tube pre between the Cary and the MF A300 and that seemed to open it up nicely with some detail. I found the 705's to be absolutely phenominal at this price point. I preferred the SF GP's for jazz and classical, but these 705's were awesome for EVERYTHING, including rock metal....I did put a Pinnacle Digital600 sub in this array and that helped the bass shyness of these bookshelf speakers....(I like a little bit of bass and I have yet to hear any bookshelf speaker to supply the ample bass I require. Don't get me wrong, I am not into rap and hoip-hop and dispize the roaring thunderous bass that comes from the liuttle decked out Honda civics you might see on the road.......
In short, I have had some decent mid-fi equipment over the last couple years and these B&W 705's are a great buy. (However, even though I think these are worth the money I did get them for almost half the preice on a sale Sound Hounds was having...otherwise I might have given a 4 on the overall for price...In other words, if you are able to get these a little cheaper, they are WORTH it)
One note on the many reviews I have heard on these where people have commented on the brightness. These are a bit bright. However, you can tame them with the right placement and cabling. This is a known issue and I will concur, however, that brightness that people have commented on in extreme situations are mostly due to the gear that is hooked up (Rotel for example) and of course placement and cabling. Most of these auditions were in the store where there is not the best surroundings for a proper listening test. (Most likely)

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Peter   AudioPhile [Sep 05, 2009]

WOW! These are so neutral. A tad bass shy, but what is there is very musical. No complaints, and without the heavy bass of my former speakers, my neighbors are happier, too.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
clinton   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 11, 2009]

amazing

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
johnny p   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 16, 2008]
Strength:

Very crisp, but not to the point where I would say it's too bright.

The Rosenut finish is amazing. They certainly gain a lot of attention.

Weakness:

none that I've found yet.

For the price you are upgrading the sound marginally over the new 600 series.

I have recently gotten the 705s, and the matching stands from B&W. The stands are very nice, but I'm not sure they warrant the $400 price tag, but the fact that you can secure the speakers to the stands with the supplied hardware was a key selling point. The speakers still need broken in, but I now find myself searching the DVD collection for audio-heavy movies, and for the first time in a long time I'm purchasing new CDs. These speakers have given me a new appreciation for audio.

I have the 705's matched with the HTM7 center, and I am using the new 686's as surrounds. My subwoofer is a Cerwin Vega Model -150 15" downward firing beast, and it will be replaced with a powerful 10" sub, but I haven't decided what one that will be. The 705's offer a lot of nice punchy bass for stand mounted speakers.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Cyrile   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 29, 2007]
Strength:

Sound!
Aesthetics. They certainly are a very pretty cabinet to look at, the butterfly laminations are second to none in terms of quality and beauty (Nordic design for you.)

Weakness:

For home theatre, deep bass response is lacking

Otherwise, I haven't found any yet.

O.K. so this review will be a little biased. I've been a longtime B&W fan. I started with a pair of 201's way back in the early '90's and then moved up to the 601 s3's a couple of years ago. And just last month I took the plunge and bought a pair of 705's. I was in Boston during their anual "No tax" weekend...you do the math.

Now, having said that, I do have a fairly good ear and am rather picky about what is hooked up in my apartment. When I got these babies home and hooked up to my NAD reciever and CD player (Bi-wired of course) my mind basically started oozing out of my ears. I couldn't believe what I was able to hear. Granted they are a little shy on deep rumbling bass but since I mainly listen to jazz, classical and Putumayo discs, I don't need the earth rattling bass that say a home theatre user would, in any case if I do ever hook them up to my home theatre system, there'll be a sub as well.

On to my impressions of these speakers. At first they were indeed a little prominent in the higher frequencies but nothing that would make me like these any less. At first. But now after having driven them for a good two weeks, they've settled in and the drivers have come to life. I have the soundtrack to "The Beatles LOVE." and holy cow! I have never heard the Fab Four in all their glory and this album does just that. There are things on that album that I didn't know ever existed. There are nuances in every instrument and with these speakers, I could even go so far as saying that that you can finally really feel the personality of the vairous instruments. In fact these speakers are so acurate that I have condemed many of my CD's to my Ipod. (older U2 and the less well recorded jazz cd's) I put in "War" and had to eject it within 8 seconds.

I have seen a bunch of less than raving reviews of this cabinet and I can agree that in some instances these speakers would be lacking but for my purposes and the use they are seeing in my apartment, they are absolutely the greatest things I have ever heard. Of course having made my own custom speaker stands helps too. The tweeters are at exactly the right height for my ears while sitting on the sofa. Dead level. Solid hardwood helps too.


Similar Products Used: If you can say they are similar, B&W 601 s3
KEF although I don't remember which (it was at an audio shop)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
michelescov   AudioPhile [Jan 18, 2005]
Strength:

Big scenario, excellent detail, crisp treble, clear midrange, musical speakers, no distortion, separation between instruments, aesthetics, price.

Weakness:

Bass, but it is a bookshelf! You need good recorded music, 'cause it plays all the errors in bad records. You have to pair them with good electronics.

I purchased these speakers for my room, I also have the N805. The sound after they have been broken in is amazing. The treble is crisp, letting you hear ne sounds in your old songs with high level of detail. The voices and midrange is very clear, female voices (maria carey, nelly furtado, etc) are awesome in these speakers. The bass is good for speakers of this type, if you like HT you will have to use a subwoofer, but for music in stero mode, they are perfect. The image is great, you can hear the music behind the speakers, and the scenario is also well defined, with air between the instruments, if the music is well recorded. Distortion in the 705 doesn´t exists, or if it does, it ouldb be at very high volume levels. They play louder than the N805. The definition of the N805 is better than in the 705, but the 705 gets very close. The treble in the 705 is sweet, more than in the 705 and also plays some things that the N805 don´t, I think there as an improvement there. The midrange is better in the N805, but that one in the 705 is also good, I think here the crossover of better quality of the N805 makes the difference. I like more the bass of the 705, they go more deep and loud compared to the N805, but in the 805 the bass is tighter. Altogether the 705 is an excellent speaker, with a very musical sound, great construction (the N805 has a better construction, that may contribute in the neutral sound of them, beautiful shape and excellent price for what you get. At this price I think they are one of the best bookshelf speakers. The only one I have hear that I prefe is the dynaudio audience 52 special. if you want a better speaker you´ll have to spend like $500 bucks more to buy something like a N805 a contour, a krell.

Similar Products Used: B&W N805, DM 602 s3, CM2, Dynaudio audience 52, contour line, definitive technology Bp6, klipsch, Jbl, Totem.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Mike A   AudioPhile [May 21, 2004]
Strength:

The clarity of sound, quality of construction, SOUNDSTAGE!

Weakness:

None

For those who are shopping for a small but high quality set of speakers, I would definitely recommend putting the B&W 705's high up on the list. Having upgraded from another set of B&W speakers (603 s3 floorstanders-decent speakers in their own right), I have been nothing short of amazed at the incredible amount of sound that the 705's produce, not to mention the width and quality of the soundstage. The quality of the veneer cabinet construction is second to none-not even the slightest of joinery mismatches or blemishes even at close visual inspection (kudos to the Danish cabinet builders who produce these fine wooden speaker enclosures). Judging from the sound, it would seem that B&W has matched the quality of the electronic components with that of the cabinets: from the "golf-ball" flow port to their signature bullet-centered Kevlar woofer/midrange and the externally-mounted tweeter (a derivation from the B&W Nautilus 800 series). Upon getting these speakers home, I set them up about 18 inches from the rear and side walls (room placement is not super-critical with these speakers, but it is best to place them some distance from any walls and large furniture). The sound at first was predictably a bit restricted and "closed-in", but after about 20 hours or so at moderate volumes they "opened up" to produce some of the cleanest and most precise sounds I have heard from any speaker in its class. After 100 hours of listening, they have improved subtly even from there (in fact I would recommend playing them for at least that amount of time before forming a final opinion on their sound). The result: while I have long been an active listener (someone who sits or stands in front of the stereo and listens closely to the music, as opposed to simply playing it for background "sound"), these speakers have converted me into even MORE of an active listener. The high frequencies have a silky quality and balance beautifully into the rest of the sound, and the lows are nice and crisp with NO boominess (being small speakers, there are some limitations on the extremely low frequencies, but if that is an issue consider the purchase of a subwoofer). Of note is the accuracy of the midrange frequencies, particularly with vocals and smooth-sounding instrumentation such as pianos, violins and jazz guitars. In short, with high quality recordings I have found these speakers to be revealing to a point where I am hearing new sounds in long-familiar music (one can easily pick out, for example, the acoustic guitarwork in "Roundabout" by Yes, not to mention the previously hard-to-discern percussion in some Steely Dan music). On the flip side, poorly recorded or executed music tends to sound AWFUL through these speakers (such as music on old cassette tapes, out-of-tune vocals or instrumentation, bad job by the producer, etc. etc. Due to the revealing nature of these speakers, my musical preference has actually changed somewhat, as prior to purchasing them I was not aware of just HOW awful-sounding some of those bad recordings were... While the 705's are classified under the category of "bookshelf" speakers, I tend to think of them instead as "stand-mounted speakers, & included a pair of these along with the speaker purchase (for optimum sound, B&W recommends mounting the 705's on designated stands rather than on bookshelves, tabletops, or other such common household furniture surfaces). I also have my speakers bi-wired with good quality speaker cable (the need for high-quality speaker cable is no doubt a hotly debated topic among some, but I for one believe the added sound quality one gets is worth the expenditure). Last but not least in the list of recommendations, I run these speakers with a quality preamplifier and amplifier system (not just any run-of-the-mill amplification will suffice for these speakers; they need high quality equipment capable of producing a decent amount of wattage when called for). Bottom line: this is one audio purchace I have not regretted in the least. I look forward to many hours of fine musical enjoyment!

Similar Products Used: Too many to mention...
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 10  

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