I recently heard the B&W 703s with some excellent equipment in a relatively well setup room. The sound? HORRIBLE. The highs were tizzy and bright, the midrange un-realistic, dynamics were lacking, bass was boomy and ill-defined. In all honestly, it was the worst sound I've ever heard a real system sound. Maybe it was a synergy thing, but I doubt it.
Try Dynaudio, Quad L series, compare to Dynaudio, or Quad L series (for less money) and you tell me which you like better.
Then there was a problem with set-up or the speaker.
I thought they sounded great in two channel and in a home theater setup, but it was at my house with my set up. I ended up purchasing a more expensive speaker from a different manufacturer, but I can at least say the 703's were pretty darn good.
Wow! Two very different assessments. I have heard that the 703's sound very forward and harsh until properlly broken-in. I sure hope this is the case, as I have few options.
Thanks for the advice.
It may be that the 703s are very amplifier dependant. That would seem to be the suggestion from the two posts above, and it is something that always comes up with the love-em or hate-em nautilus line from B&W. I'd recommend taking your amplifier along to the dealer when you demo the 703s so you get a better impression.
The thing with audio equipment is that if you taje 10 people and send them out to look at speakers they will all come back with different opinions.
I think it unrealistic to say that a pair of speakers that costs 3K + CDN is a bad speaker.
Consider this if you compare these 3K+ speakers to those from 10 years ago that were 5-10K you will find they perform better in almost everyway.
We need to keep focus. In most cases speakers on show room floors have 40 minutes of play on average because the sales guys do demos once or twice a week for 3 minutes. How can you really judege a speaker under those conditions, a 703 needs 100-200 hours of full bandwidth playing to really perform.
That being said I think for the money there is an incredible amount of technolgy in a 703, and the speaker makes use of all of it.
Thank you skyhawk. I agree with you about the need for a long break-in for speakers, especially the 703. I did think that the dealer's demos were very forward and somewhat harsh sounding. But, then I listened to my co-worker's 703's which he's had for more than seven months, with lots of hours on them, and I thought they sounded very good. So now I'm trying to remember what my co-workers really sounded like. I may have been somewhat infuenced by happy hour at his house, whereas, I was stone-sober at the dealer demo! Thus, my thread on the 703.
I always appreciate the opinion of others. I just hope I can trade the 703's down the road and not lose too much. I never see any 703's listed here. I don't know if that's because no one wants them or if the owners are happy with them and don't want to part with them!!?? I hope it's the later.
Who knows if the ones that I heard were broken in or not - I really don't know.
However - I would strongly recommend auditioning speakers from other brands before buying the B&W 703, based on the lackluster audition I had with them. I have heard many pairs of ~$500-$1000 speakers that sounded MUCH better than what I heard.
Gee, I must get my hearing checked because I would love to find some $500 -$1000 speakers that sound MUCH better than the 703's. I thought the speakers sounded great when I heard them powered by some Rotel separates, but a little bright when powered by a Denon receiver. I would suggest a good amp to tame the highs and you'd have a good combination.
What if what you heard was not a good representation of the 703's? You seem so convinced that noone else could like the sound of these speakers, yet there seem to be many positive responses for these speakers. Does this bother you? Is there an agenda that we should know about?
FYI, both previous posts are mine (I wanted to add that question in the last post and remembered to log in with my user name).... sorry for the confusion.
I bought my 703s in March of this year(upgraded from ESS AMT10bs). Yes lots of burn in as they sounded real bad when i forst got them home. MF 3.2cr, AR 7 cd player, bi wired audio note blue, B&W ASW1000. The harshness seemed to persist though and I added a cary 303/200 Cd player. Still using a pedestrian IC. The sound opened right up with the Cary and the listner fatigue dropped right off. They do need more power and im looking at upgrading that next. I listen to rock and like it loud even under powered the sound is great at levels. Its also great to put on some Bacharch then throw in back in black and be hapy with that sound too.
Oskar - Chizzill. I said that I don't know if the ones I heard were burned in, who knows. The electronics were good, (middle of the Classe range gear) the room was pretty good, the sound was bad. I certainly am not convinced that no one else could like them - but I would also certainly recommend hearing what else is out there before buying them.
$500-$1000 speakers I've heard that sounded better than the 703s when I heard them-
GR Research Paradox 1
GR Research A/V
Klipsch KLF 20 (with SET amp)
Von Scweikert VR1
Bottlehead Straight 8
Granted, some of those are standmounts and are missing the bottom hz, but add an Adire Audio Rave sub for $400, and you're in business full range.
I'm glad you mentioned which ones you thought sounded better because I've heard all of these exept the GMA Europa and GR Research and none came even close. I'm glad my ears are my ears.
Well, I suppose I will chime in here for one last comment, and then let this thread die.
I now have the 703's in my 2 channel system. I did notice that they were too harsh and bright right out of the box, but this was to be expected; the Kevlar used for the mid-driver is a very rigid material that needs to "soften up".
Now with more than 400 hours on them, they sound very good; much "bigger" and fuller- sounding than any stand-mounts that I've heard. I like them, but I realize there are better speakers on the market. I do like the way they play very loud and remain in control; the bass is fast and tight and the mids are actually quite lovely. B&W utilize a metal dome that, like all metal domes, imparts a metal sound, which some may describe as bright. The best way to position B&W's is to toe them out, slightly away from the ears, as this tends to eliminate much of that "direct" contact with the tweeter (still "toed-in", but not as direct as with some speakers). Theyre a good solid speaker, built by a company that is very serious about how its products stack up in the market place. They would try VERY hard not to release a product in this price-range that failed in comparison to products costing less than a third what they retail for...common sense. B&W has way too much competition to slack off and they have the R&D capabilities to design and build some pretty darn good stuff.
If I had the choices, I would probably have gone with a different manufacturer, but I was limited. All told, I am not unhappy with the 703's. They do sound better after a long break-in and utilization of lots of good clean power.
Thank to all