Skip to main content

Bowers & Wilkins’ upgraded 600 Series speakers hit stores

Bowers & Wilkins 607 speakers
Bowers & Wilkins

Bowers & Wilkins has unveiled its latest speaker lineup, and there are two things to be especially excited about. First, the new speakers — the sixth iteration of the company’s 600 series line — are extremely budget-friendly compared to the brand’s other speakers. Second, thanks to some impressive upgrades borrowed from the splashy 800 series, they sound better than ever. (Thank you, trickle-down technology.) And as of Tuesday, September 18 the new lineup is available in stores.

We got a chance to hear the speaker line, which includes four new speaker models, at an event in Boston ahead of their official release. But before we get to the sound performance, let’s break down what’s changed for the latest models in the 600 Series.

What’s new

The four new models include the flagship 603 floorstanders, the 606 bookshelves, the more compact 607 bookshelves, and the HTM6 center channel speaker.

The biggest advancement in the new line is the replacement of the speakers’ midrange driver cones, trading their signature kevlar construction for cones made from B&W’s patented material known as “Continuum.” Continuum Cones were first employed in the company’s pricey 800 Series, and later made their way into the mid-range 700 Series.

The name sounds like something you’d find in an X-Men comic, and B&W is more secretive about its makeup than the Pentagon, but from what we’ve heard thus far, Continuum makes a serious difference. Today’s announcement marks the first time it is available in the company’s entry-level speakers.

Other than the new midrange cones, Bowers & Wilkins has also updated the 600 Series’ Decoupled Dome tweeters, adding a more powerful neodymium magnet and repositioning the driver to be closer to the grill. In addition, the brand replaced the speakers’ riveted acoustic screens for magnetically attached screens, and swapped out the black vinyl, faux-woodgrain cabinet finish for new matte black and satin white painted finishes.

The performance was immediately impressive, with the new speakers sounding more organic, less colored, and more accurate, to boot.

The company has also made a few additional changes to the smallest model in the range, the 607, adding nickel plated terminals and swapping the port at the front for a backside location. On top of that, the company has added new paper-cone woofers to the flagship 603 floorstanders.

As fans of the 600 Series speakers will note, B&W has also simplified the 600 Series model numbers to line up with its 700 and 800 lines — essentially just dropping the “68” from the model number — as well as dropping some of the line’s “less popular” models, including the 684 S2 floorstander, the HTm61 center channel, and the DS3 surround satellite model.

You can check out the full lineup with pricing at the bottom of this post.

Better sound for your dollars

We were a bit surprised to get an invite to fly across the country from our Portland headquarters for what might appear to be a minor update to Bowers & Wilkins’ entry-level speakers. After getting some cursory ears-on time with the speakers, however, we realized why B&W is so excited about the new lineup. Shuffled into an acoustically tuned room in the brand’s Boston HQ, we were treated to an impressive demonstration that seemed to prove the brand’s Continuum technology is far from just marketing speak.

Bowers & Wilkins 606 speakers
Bowers & Wilkins

With staff on hand to swap between the previous 600 Series models and their upgraded counterparts, we were able to hear the speakers back to back. The performance improvement was immediately impressive, with the new speakers sounding more organic, less colored, and more accurate, to boot.

The most evident difference in our audition came from the middle of the lineup in the new 606 bookshelf speakers. Listening to a gorgeous recording from John Lee Hooker’s Canned Heat sessions, the 606 instantly outpunched their 685 predecessors. The guitar was smoother, warmer, and more natural sounding, while Hooker’s voice had more pepper to its tone thanks to better detail and more easily accessible nuances..

The 600 Series revealed smoother, more detailed sound and better accuracy than their predecessors.

We had a similar experience with the floorstanding 603 speakers. When compared to the 683 on a Bob Dylan track, the 603 offered a smoother, warmer tone to the guitar’s nylon strings, less harshness and bite to the harmonica, and notably better clarity from ambient sounds such as the cicadas at the beginning of the track.

On the next song from deadmau5, the 603 were able to reproduce a massive amount of bass for just a stereo pair, to the point that we could actually feel the bass in the air without hearing a single trace of audible distortion.

Overall, first impressions of the 600 Series revealed smoother, more detailed sound with a broader soundstage and better accuracy than their predecessors. And at these prices, that’s something to be excited about.

We’ll be getting more time with the latest from the 600 Series soon, so we’ll see if our initial impressions translate in a full review. For now, here’s the full lineup and pricing:

  • 603 floorstanders ($900 each): Decoupled Dome tweeter, FST Continuum Cone midrange driver, dual paper-cone woofers
  • 606 bookshelves ($400 each): Decoupled Dome tweeter, 6.5-inch Continuum Cone midrange driver
  • 607 bookshelves ($300 each): Decoupled Dome tweeter, 5-inch Continuum Cone midrange driver
  • HTM6 center channel ($599): Decoupled Dome tweeter, dual 5-inch Continuum Cone midrange drivers

The lineup is also supplemented by three previously available subwoofers (now with matching finishes), including the ASW610Xp ($1,200), the ASW610 ($650), and the ASW608 ($500).

You can find out more about the speakers, including order information, at Bowers & Wilkins’ website.

Updated on September 17, 2018: This post has been updated with ordering information as the speakers are now available.

Editors' Recommendations

Ryan Waniata
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Ryan Waniata is a multi-year veteran of the digital media industry, a lover of all things tech, audio, and TV, and a…
Common Amazon Prime Video problems and how to fix them
Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power on Amazon Prime Video.

Can you remember the last time you popped your Death to Smoochy DVD in? Neither can we, and that’s because we spend most of our time streaming movies and TV shows on Amazon Prime Video these days. Not only is it one of the top streaming platforms for new and old titles alike, but you’ll be able to enjoy a wide selection of these films and shows in 4K, HDR, and even Dolby Atmos.

Read more
Rock your next garden party with Victrola’s solar-powered speakers
Two Victrola Rock Speaker Connects in a garden.

Victrola is mostly known for its turntables, but the company is taking audio outside with its Rock Speaker Connect, a Bluetooth landscape speaker designed for the backyard, garden, or patio. What really sets it apart is that the speaker is solar-powered, so you don’t have to worry about running wires or plugging it in to keep it powered up.

Designed to blend in with all types of gardens via its Stone, Sand, or Granite finishes and realistic rock texture, the durable speaker is IP65 dust and water resistant. This rating means the outdoor speaker is protected against light water pressure jets, like your sprinkler or rain, as well as sprays and splashes.

Read more
Best TV deals: LG, Sony, Samsung, TCL, and more

A new TV can be all the difference between a great viewing experience and simply watching TV. Right now a new TV can make a big difference on your wallet as well, as all of the top electronics retailers have TV deals taking place. And whether you’re shopping Best Buy TV deals, Walmart TV deals, or Amazon TV deals, almost all of the best TV brands are seeing models discounted. We’ve tracked down all of the best TV deals to shop right now, and among them are various sizes that include 65-inch TV deals, 70-inch TV deals, 75-inch TV deals, and 85-inch TV deals. Reading onward you’ll find some impressive Sony TV deals, Samsung TV deals, LG TV deals, TCL TV deals, and more.
TCL 50-inch S4 4K Smart TV — $220, was $260

Value is front and center with the TCL 50-inch Class S4 4K LED Smart TV, as it’s a nice balance of affordability and features. It delivers impressive 4K picture quality with four times the resolution of Full HD, as well as endless entertainment with easy access to your favorite streaming services. Google Chromecast is built right into the TV, allowing you to easily stream movies, shows and photos from your Android or iOS device. It also has 3 HDMI inputs, which makes it great for gamers who need to connect several consoles, or for anybody looking to connect some great peripheral equipment to their home theater.

Read more