Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 Signature Floor Standing Review

Recently, the new 700 series with the Signature upgrade, Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 Signature, has been available for purchase. We looked closely at the improvements using the flagship model as an example. Tested at 8500 Euros / $9,087 (pair).
8/10 (Expert Score)
Authentic Bowers & Wilkins Signature Sound Very Elegant Finishes Available Downfire Bass Reflex
  • Balanced, Powerful Sound
  • Brilliant Detail Resolution
  • Flexible Placement Thanks to Downfire Bass Reflex
  • Significantly Higher Price Than 702 S3

Introduction – What is Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 Signature?

In 1987, John Bowers, the founder of Bowers & Wilkins, tragically succumbed to a severe illness far too early. To honor him, the engineering team at the Steyning Research Establishment developed a special edition speaker that embodied all of John Bowers’ visions and everything he stood for. Ultimately, this speaker was a personal homage to the company founder, bearing his unmistakable “signature.” In 1991, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the British HiFi company, this speaker was released as the compact Silver Signature speaker.

Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 Signature, both speakers in room

However, the B&W Silver Signature was not the only speaker to receive this “signature.” To mark the 30th anniversary, the Signature 30 was introduced, and in 2001, two models from the legendary Bowers & Wilkins 800 series were “signed”: the Signature 805 and the Signature 800. In 2006, Bowers & Wilkins celebrated its 40th anniversary with the special model Signature Diamond. Over the past 33 years, six-speaker lines from B&W have been adorned with a Signature line. The latest representatives in this venerable series are the three models 702 (floor standing), 705 (compact), and HTM71 S3 (center) from the 700 S3 series of Bowers & Wilkins.

But what exactly has been changed in the Signature variant of the 700 S3 series?

Key Improvements

The most noticeable change is undoubtedly the color scheme, as the 700 S3 Signature models are available in two elegant and exclusive finishes: Midnight Blue Metallic and Datuk Gloss. Our test model, the 702 S3 Signature – the flagship of the 700 Signature series – came to us in the Datuk special finish.


In Bowers & Wilkins’ top models, the tweeters are known to be housed in a separate enclosure on top of the speaker. This Tweeter-on-Top principle is a hallmark of the British brand. The so-called Carbon Dome tweeter in the 702 S3 Signature is housed in a decoupled Tweeter-on-Top enclosure made of aluminum and measures 25 millimeters in diameter. Carbon offers the advantage that the breakup frequency of the membrane is reached at 47 kHz.

For those who may not remember, The breakup frequency of a tweeter is the frequency at which the tweeter’s membrane starts to behave in a non-rigid manner. Above this frequency, the membrane begins to break up, meaning different parts start to move independently. This leads to unwanted resonances and distortions in the sound, which can impair sound quality.

Typically, the operation of a tweeter is kept below its breakup frequency to ensure clean and precise sound reproduction. Therefore, the 702 S3 Signature plays “only” up to 28 kHz at ± 3 dB. Unlike the “regular” 702 S3, the Signature variant has adopted the new tweeter grille from the 2023 introduced 800 Series Signature. This is intended to provide an even more open sound.

Midrange Drivers

The 150-millimeter midrange driver in Bowers & Wilkins uses three key company technologies. First, there is the Continuum cone. This is made from a woven composite material that minimizes unwanted resonances and allows for more even and detailed sound reproduction.

Second, the FST (Film Simulation Technology) technology is used. Instead of a conventional rolling surround, FST technology uses a fixed surround. This construction minimizes unwanted resonances and distortions. The fixed surround also drives the cone more directly and precisely.

Third, the midrange driver features the biomimetic suspension. Its main function is to minimize unwanted resonances and distortions. The special structure of the suspension improves control over the cone’s movement, resulting in cleaner and more precise sound reproduction. Lastly, the midrange drivers also utilize midrange decoupling.

Here, the midrange driver is mechanically decoupled from the rest of the speaker enclosure. This is achieved through special mounting methods or damping materials that break the direct connection between the midrange driver and the enclosure. Decoupling prevents vibrations from the speaker enclosure or other drivers (such as woofers) from transmitting to the midrange driver. This reduces unwanted resonances that could distort the sound. All these mentioned techniques are already used in the 702 S3. However, in the Signature version, they have been further refined to achieve the desired Signature sound.


The B&W 702 S3 Signature floor standing speaker features three bass drivers, each with a diameter of 165 millimeters and utilizing the Aerofoil profile. This profile is characterized by its variable thickness, which varies from the center to the edge of the cone. This allows for better control over the cone’s movement, providing an optimal balance between stiffness and damping. In other words, the cone is stiff enough to minimize distortions but flexible enough to enable precise bass reproduction. In the Signature variant, the driver suspension has been optimized further, achieving even clearer bass sound.


The crossover has also been reworked. Enhanced capacitors from Mundorf are used, and the coils have been improved. Along with the reworked bypass capacitors, this aims to increase transparency.

Even the small details have been considered. In the new Signature line, the speaker terminals have been optimized, now made from high-quality brass for better signal flow. All in all, it is fundamentally still a 702 S3, but the Signature version extracts everything possible from the speaker.


The Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 Signature speaker operates as a 3-way bass reflex system with the bass reflex port located at the bottom. This down-firing system allows the speaker to be placed close to a wall without significantly affecting bass strength.

The 702 S3 Signature covers a frequency range from 28 Hz to 33 kHz (-6 dB) and offers a frequency response from 46 Hz to 28 kHz (±3 dB). Harmonic distortions are minimal, with less than 1% in the range from 86 Hz to 28 kHz and less than 0.5% in the range from 110 Hz to 20 kHz, measured at 90 dB at one meter distance. The nominal impedance is 8 ohms, with a minimum of 3.1 ohms. The recommended amplifier power ranges from 30 to 300 watts at 8 ohms. With a sensitivity of 90 dB SPL (2.83 Vrms, 1m), the 702 S3 Signature should provide impressive volume even at low power.

Sound Quality

We start the sound test with our new favorite album, “LOM” by Taranczewski. The perfectly mixed tracks are so delicately staged that they sparkle even from very inexpensive speakers. The anticipation is high to see how this jazz album sounds on the Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 Signature. These are connected to one of the most musical amplifiers ever, the Musical Fidelity M8xi. The CD is played on the Arcam Radia CD 5. The favorite track “Spring” starts with Olaf Taranczewski’s piano, which presents itself wonderfully tangible and room-filling.

We notice a second accompanying instrument behind the piano for the first time. It seems like a Hammond organ or E-piano, but these are not listed as instruments anywhere. Curious. But these are the insights that a top-notch speaker provides. They allow us to hear new details that we previously overlooked or did not perceive at all.

After a phone call with Olaf Taranczewski, the composer of this test piece, we learned that only the piano was playing. The accompanying chords likely sound like another instrument because of a slight delay and a very long, quiet reverb on the instrument track. Again, this proves how finely detailed the Signature speakers from B&W work here.

However, the best part of this song is the change in rhythm – an almost danceable section starting in the late third minute. The piano chords are struck rhythmically, bass and drums join in. A brilliant feeling that unfolds here. The Bowers & Wilkins play wonderfully with the tones across the entire frequency spectrum: balanced and detailed, with a lot of heart. They make the feeling conveyed by the song an acoustically palpable experience. Only exceptional speakers can achieve this.

But let’s leave acoustic jazz and move on to classical music. Here, we can’t miss Stravinsky’s “The Firebird.” This classic must simply be heard on the 702 S3 Signature because it’s amazing how these speakers project the threatening strings at the beginning of the piece into the room. Close your eyes and feel like you’re in the concert hall? No problem! We hear not only the instruments themselves but also the movement of the musicians, the setting of bows on strings, the breathing of the wind section before they begin.

The 702 S3 Signature reveals all these fine details in our listening room – or should we say concert hall?! But the best part is that they understand music as a complete work of art. Then we turn to danceable songs. Among them is Yaeji, who had her brilliant track from 2017, “Raingurl.” The Korean-American singer, producer, and DJ is known for her unique mix of house, hip-hop, and pop music. She blends a very catchy beat with a hypnotic synthesizer in this house song. Super danceable and captivating.

The Bowers & Wilkins deliver the bass perfectly placed, without booming even for a moment. We immediately want to head to the next club and give ourselves to Yaeji’s rhythms on the dance floor. However, it would probably never sound as good as with the Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 Signature.

Sound Test

Makoto Shinkai’s anime “Suzume,” known for earlier works like “Your Name” and “Weathering With You,” is not only a visual highlight but also an acoustic one. If you want to watch it, don’t be put off by the unintentionally funny dialogues at the beginning; the film gains compelling depth. However, this review is not about the film itself, but about how well the voices manifest in the room and how the atmospheres build almost three-dimensionally around us.

The Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 Signature would render most home theater setups obsolete. This may sound unbelievable, but it’s true. The same applies to our audiobook test. For example, “Dschinns,” based on the novel by Fatma Aydemir, offers insights into the lives of Turkish guest workers across generations. It’s highly worth listening to, though quite narrative. This audiobook is excellent for testing the voice capabilities of the 702 S3 Signature. The voices are rendered intensively, richly detailed, and tangibly present in our test room.

We stand beside them as they tell us their family stories from individual perspectives. When the subtle background music or sound effects appear, everything becomes vividly alive, creating a fascinating atmosphere in the listening room. The Bowers & Wilkins speakers demonstrate how well they handle all audio genres beyond music, leading to many beautiful test moments with the Signature series. What a shame to see them end.

B&W 702 S3 Signature Tech Specs


  • Device Class: Floor-standing speaker
  • Price Category: High-end
  • Manufacturer: Bowers & Wilkins
  • Model: 702 S3 Signature
  • Dimensions (W/H/D): 29 x 111 x 41 cm (including base and tweeter)
  • Weight: 35.26 kg
  • Information:

Technical Specifications (according to the manufacturer):

  • Design: 3-way bass reflex
  • Frequency Response: 46 Hz – 28 kHz (±3 dB)
  • Power Handling: 300 W at 8 Ohms
  • Room Recommendation: from 15 m² to 35 m²
  • Individual Sound Adjustment: no
  • Inputs: 2 x banana plug/terminal (bi-wiring)


Sound Evaluation:

  • Bass Reproduction: 20/20
  • Midrange Reproduction: 20/20
  • Treble Reproduction: 20/20
  • Spatial Imaging: 10/10
  • Overall Sound Quality: 70/70

Features and Build Quality:

  • Features / Build Quality: 9/10
  • User-Friendliness: 8/10

Interim Result: 87 out of 90 points

Overall Result: Reference class 95%


Pure sound paired with a unique, perfectly balanced, and wonderfully powerful sound signature – these are the hallmarks of the Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 Signature. They paint the smallest details in the room and allow new nuances to be discovered even in the most familiar pieces of music. Add to this the classic, elegant design of the British brand, a truly good efficiency, and a frequency range that will make Hi-Res fans happy.

Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 Signature Floor Standing: Price Comparison
Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 Signature 3-Way Floorstanding Speaker -...
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