Originally Posted by SpeedDemon
Are you using ARC?
How many cubic feet is your room?
The 704 S2 is a great, but surprisingly power hungry speaker. The size of the drivers doesn't play a role in this as much as the sensitivity of the speaker and the fact that it regularly dips below 4 ohms.
I have B&W CM8s (early predecessor to the 704 S2) and I've always found that it sounded best if bi-amped and driven with plenty of power (>100W continuously at 8 ohms).
The 702 S2 is a great speaker and would be an impressive upgrade unless you have a smaller room that the 704 S2 is better suited for.
My room's about 2,000 cubic feet - 12x24x7 carpeted, finished basement. I have mostly used ARC, but I've been going back-and-forth the past week, trying to determine if I prefer it without. It's difficult to judge, as overall levels are a lot louder just by turning ARC off so it gives an impression of being more dynamic right away, but I think that's just a matter of needing to adjust volume levels.
I know the 702s2 would be an improvement, I listened to them alongside the 704s2 when auditioning, but they were then and still are very much beyond my budget. Even the 703s2 are beyond budget, I just happen to have found a used example for a price I can probably swing. I'm just not sure if I'm just going to be in the same boat as I am now, just with less money to spend on an amp.
When I auditioned, everything was powered by some massive McIntosh, and sounded sublime. At that point comparing speakers had very little to do with dynamics or volume, and more to do with actual differences in how they reproduce sound instead, and given that context I came out absolutely gobsmacked by how good the 704s2 can be, and again by how awesome the 702s2 are. I'm afraid I don't have McIntosh money, but if a used 702s2 pair were to suddenly show up for a price I can swing, I would pick those up without hesitation.
So I guess my question is really: should I get the bigger speakers (in this case referring to the 703s2), or should I instead get a nice amp (thinking - used Parasound Halo A21, or maybe Rotel RMB-1582). I don't always listen at reference level, but when I do I want to be "wow"ed each time.