Originally Posted by Gyroscopics
I actually own the B&W 705s2 - one of the speakers the OP is asking about. But I dare not speak about it on this forum for fear of getting condemned.
I do own neutral speakers (Philharmonic BMR, JBL 306p Mk2, AA+[DIY]) among other colored ones. I enjoy them all in different situations. I own speakers more than my house can accommodate. But I rotate among them to have variety and avoid monotony. It would defeat the purpose if all of them were neutral right?
There are things in this world you are restricted to one (a spouse for example) but not speakers. Cheers!
If you've owned neutral speakers with excellent normalized off-axis response, and own B&W and still like the B&W, then you do not need to be ashamed to speak out! It's great that you've found what works for you
If there is ever a "problem" when people recommend B&W, the issue is not that their experience or preference is invalid!
Of course your subjective experience is valid to you and your music, but that's the thing -- it's only valid to you
In contrast, when I recommend speakers to others, it's no longer about what I
prefer. In this case, there's nothing better than using the established science on how to select the speaker most likely to be preferred in general. Scientifically, we know that when compared in a blind test (to remove aesthetic biases, brand perception biases, and much more), speakers with a more consistent and smooth normalized off-axis response (i.e. off-axis frequency response closely matching the on-axis response) are preferred by the vast majority of people, over the widest range of music genres.
Moreover, speakers with good normalized off-axis response are EQ'able to fit just about any preferred target frequency response curve you prefer! EQ is completely fine and should be encouraged -- there is nothing less "pure" about it despite old myths, and if nothing else it's vastly superior to buying an entirely different speaker just to achieve a mildly different tonal balance. EQ will work fantastically well on good speakers that have well-behaved off-axis response. In contrast, speakers whose off-axis response differs wildly from the on-axis response (like pretty much all current-gen B&W's) cannot ever be EQ'ed
to fix issues related to this.
When I first received my Ascend Sierra RAAL Towers, I found them better than the B&W 702 S2 in most, but not all ways. I still enjoyed the B&W 702 S2 more for some tracks, and in some ways (particularly bass-related). But with a simple EQ of the Ascends to my liking, I found their sound quality and subjective enjoyment suddenly exceeded the B&W 702 S2 in every
way. You might be surprised how much of the different 'flavors' you experience between different speakers are just due to frequency response. You don't need different speakers for that; all you need is the ability and willingness to play around with EQ.
Now, maybe there is some remaining preference for the idiosyncratic off-axis response that differs wildly from the on-axis response. If so, it's just that we know from the science that you would be an extreme outlier with such a preference.