Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

To Hans Wetzel,

I just read your review on the Bowers & Wilkins 704 S2, which I will be auditioning [soon]. I noted what you liked and did note your comment: “Bowers & Wilkins’ 704 S2 loudspeaker doesn’t offer the ruler-flat frequency response boasted by some of its competitors.”

I’m looking to spend approximately $3000-$3500/pr. on the front [speakers in my home theater] and am finding so many options -- my head is spinning. I listen to music from my youth, like Supertramp, Phil Collins, Genesis, etc. Mostly the fronts will be used in my 4K surround environment with a center and subs. I am replacing my old Paradigm Monitor 7 floorstanders, CC-300 center-channel speaker, and PDR-10 subwoofer. I was also considering the Paradigm 75F floorstanders.

If you were me with my budget what speakers, would you recommend I go listen to? If it matters, I have a Marantz SR7013 receiver.

Bill Maynard
United States

Prog rock, eh? Well, I don’t blame you for getting lost in the sheer number of options available to you, as there are a LOT of good speakers at the price point that you’re exploring. Let me say it up front: If you like the way the 704 S2s sound, buy a pair and don’t look back. Your hearing and personal preferences matter far more than mine. Just make sure to buy the matching center speaker, as you no doubt intend. Regarding Paradigm’s Prestige 75F, I would hold off -- they’re a little long in the tooth, and I think there are better options out there.

As for other speakers to explore, there are several. Revel’s Performa3 F206 isn’t exactly a looker, and it’s in no way new, but it’s one of the best-measuring and best-sounding speakers we’ve seen at (or near) its price point. KEF’s new R5 is a far newer design that should combine textbook engineering principles and advanced technology, while imaging something fierce due largely to its Uni-Q driver array. GoldenEar Technology’s Triton Two+ tower offers a pretty much full-range sound courtesy of its powered bass section, allowing you to dial in however much bottom-end slam you prefer. Finally, two speakers that might offer a similarly vibrant sound to your outgoing Paradigms: Dynaudio’s new Evoke 30 and MartinLogan’s recently updated Motion 60XTi. The former is only a two-and-a-half-way design -- the only one in this list that isn’t a three-way -- but Dynaudio makes great, great speakers, and their recent designs have an exciting tonal balance. The latter’s Folded Motion tweeter and dual 8” woofers should complement your copy of Invisible Touch nicely. Happy listening . . . Hans Wetzel