Review: Bowers & Wilkins 600 Series Offers Impressive Immersion at Affordable Price Point
The newly launched Bowers & Wilkins 600 Series of speakers bring high-performance attributes to homes for as little as $300 per speaker.
Introduced this past summer, the Bowers & Wilkins 600 Series line of loudspeakers are designed to bring high levels of performance to the market at reasonable price points.
Drawing from a lineage that has enabled Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) to become one of the biggest names in consumer audio, its products are featured in some of the most impressive stereo and home theater systems across the world.
For the 600 Series, the company’s engineering team utilized a trickle-down technology approach in which it employed some of its more advanced technologies, including B&W’s Continuum Cone midrange driver and its Decoupled Double Dome Tweeter technology.
Trying out the smallest speakers in the new line, the 607s, I used the speakers in tandem with amplifiers from Bryston, cables from Straight Wire, a CasaTunes streaming device, a Pioneer Elite disc player and a restored Thorens turntable.
Bowers & Wilkins 600 Series Features and Setup
- B&W 600 Series employ Continuum Cone midrange drivers and Decoupled Double Dome Tweeter technology
- Available in a choice of 603 floorstanding model, 606 bookshelf model, 607 bookshelf model, and the HTM6 center-channel speaker
- Bowers & Wilkins also offers its ASW610XP, ASW610 and ASW608 powered subwoofer for home theater applications.
- Available in a choice of either a matte black or satin white finish
The 607 is the smallest speaker in the 600 Series, and the two-way ported loudspeaker incorporates a 1-inch Decoupled Double Dome Tweeter and a 5-inch Continuum midrange unit.
The 84dB sensitive 607 is also rated as an 8-ohm load, and its specified frequency response 52Hz to 28kHz.
Externally, the 607, like the other 600 Series speakers, are available in a choice of black or white finishes and features Bower & Wilkins’ latest industrial designs.
Pulling the speakers from a single box, the small-footprint 607s were placed on a pair of 24-inch stands, and after yanking the binding-post inserts, I connected a set of Straight Wire speaker cables with banana-plug termination.
After finalizing the speakers’ placement, including a little bit of toe-in, I used a CasaTunes CT-4 streamer and some streaming audio to break in the speakers.
Bowers & Wilkins 607 Speakers Performance and Final Thoughts
After putting about 50 hours on the 607s I started listening to the speakers with some CDs from AC/DC, Avenged Sevenfold, and Alice in Chains.
Initially, I noticed a lot of level of top-end extension with a lot of midrange detail.
Judging the speakers purely by their size and not my ears also proved to be a bad move. The speakers’ bottom end is a lot richer than what would normally be expected of a small-footprint speaker.
Later, I was listening to more rock and content from Billy Squire, Extreme, and AWOL Nation, as well as some pop music from Lorde, and was completely impressed with the 607s’ midrange transparency.
I found it detailed, neutral and involving. Hearing the slight bit of reverb (maybe about 300ms worth) added to Squire’s voice on "Lonely is the Night," and the delay repeats that decayed on Nuno Bettencourt’s guitar on "Am I Ever Going to Change" highlighted the level of detail the speakers delivered.
Sometimes a speaker will sacrifice soundstage and image for detail, but that’s not the case with the 607.
Hearing Lorde singing "Teams" with doubled vocal tracks on the song’s pre-chorus and chorus and experiencing how huge it sounded through the speakers really impressed me. The 607s portray a big image that produces a really nice listening experience.
When I switched mediums and listened to vinyl records from The Cars, Stevie Ray Vaughn and others, I was equally impressed. Immersing myself in songs such as "Moving in Stereo" and "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)" produced lots of fun by balancing the warmth of analog with nice amounts of detail, good dynamics, and a wide soundstage.
I did hear a bit of high-frequency “peakiness” when placed in my listening space, which is designed as a live end/dead end environment with the speakers located in the “dead end.” The additional bit of energy I heard was most prominent in cymbal crashes and the harmonics of these instruments.
Checking the response in my room (which is not a perfect listening environment), I did measure a rise at 6.3kHz. Compared to my Aerial Acoustics Model 6 speakers, the 607s did produce a bit more energy and I think that is what I was hearing with real-world content.
The speakers really came to life at 80Hz in my room and measured smoothly through the midrange.
I wrapped up my time with the Bowers & Wilkins speakers by listening to Frank Sinatra and Count Basie’s classic album Sinatra at the Sands. The 607s smoothly handled the dynamics of the orchestra’s horn section with ease and Frank’s voice had a natural presence through the speakers.
Packing up the speakers to ship them back brought some sadness to me since I really enjoyed listening to the speakers.
I would go as far to say that out of all of the Bowers & Wilkins speakers I’ve heard—and I’ve been lucky enough to hear the 800 Series Diamond and the Custom Theater CT800 speakers among others—I would say the 607s are now my favorite Bowers & Wilkins product.
I say that because they are easy to identify as great sounding, well-engineered products. It was my experience that the 607s did exactly what the company’s engineering team had strived to do: Bring a high level of value and performance at a price point that a lot of people can afford, and that makes them a favorite.
As a regular guy, I commend Bowers & Wilkins for engineering a product that people like me can afford without sacrificing style and functionality.
CE Pro Verdict
- Outstanding sound quality for the money
- Contemporary industrial design
- Choice of models to provide lots of system flexibility
- The 607 exhibited a bit of a peak in its high-frequency response
- This is a small nitpick the Bower & Wilkin’s naming process can be confusing in trying to remember exact product names.
- 603 is $900 each
- 606 is $400 each
- 607 is $300 each
- HTMS6 is $600 each
- ASW610XP, ASW610 and ASW608 powered subwoofers are $1,200, $650 and $500 each respectively
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Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org
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