EXCLUSIVE: BOWERS & WILKINS ANNOUNCES NEW 600 SERIES RANGE & FIRST LOOK
British speaker brand Bowers & Wilkins are ready to lift the veil on its brand new range of 600 Series loudspeakers. The new range includes the 607 and 606 stand-mounts and the 603 floor-standers. There is also a new centre-channel speaker in the HTM6.
StereoNET was present at an exclusive first showing of the full range at B&W's London offices recently. It is still our opinion that the 600 Series continues to prove excellent value for audiophile quality speakers.
The 600 Series of speakers is Bowers & Wilkins' longest continuously serving speaker range after their flagship 800 Series Diamond. For 20 years, over a million listeners have enjoyed the B&W sound thanks to the 600 Series.
Many will identify B&W speakers through their yellow Kevlar cones that appeared in the 600s after their first four years being on sale, in 1999. The new Kevlar technology also saw them receive many awards. As well as the addition of paper/Kevlar bass units, 1999 saw the 600 Series 2 receive an improved flat-ring suspension tweeter and Nautilus tube loading. The 600 Series has since undergone many improvements throughout its life, many trickling down from its flagship sibling.
The new B&W 600 Series
The new 600 Series receives the Continuum cone from the 700 Series, as well as many other technologies. Additionally, B&W has dispensed with the old, and sometimes confusing, 68-prefix and are reverting to the 60-prefix. This naming convention also aligns better with the 700 Series and 800 Series.
Starting from the top of the 600 you will notice that it has adopted the tweeter grille mesh design from the 700 Series as also featured on the 800 Series Diamond. Additionally, replacing the black ash vinyl wrap on the cabinet is a more modern lightly textured black finish. Don't worry, the white finish remains.
Behind that grille is the proven Decoupled Double Dome tweeter as used in the outgoing range. The dual-layer aluminium diaphragm has a first break-up of 38kHz. However, B&W has improved the tweeter's performance by using an upgraded Neodymium magnet from the 700 Series. There has also been a subtle, yet effective, repositioning of the dome within the diaphragm mounting plate that is said to improve time alignment.
The signature Kevlar cone makes way for the all-new in-house designed Continuum model. The Continuum is still a woven composite like the Kevlar cones and based on the concept of optimised and controlled flexibility, factors that help avoid abrupt transition from pistonic to "break-up mode behaviour that impairs openness and neutrality."
The grille pegs have been removed to give the fronts a sleeker look, employing magnets instead. The relocation of the ports further unclutters the frontage. The 600 Series now use the same ports and terminal-tray parts as the 700 Series. This augmentation also means that the loudspeaker has a reduced height so that the 607 (the replacement of the 686), for example, will now sit easier on a bookshelf.
The B&W 600 Series range
So, let's take a closer look at the new line-up in more detail.
The 607 is a 2-way vented box stand-mount loudspeaker. Fitted with a 130mm Continuum bass/midrange driver and a 25mm Decoupled Double Dome tweeter (DDD), it will be available in matte black and matte white finishes. The replacement of the 686 S2 will cost £399.
Next up is the 606, another stand-mount 2-way, this time loaded with a 165mm Continuum bass/midrange driver paired with the 25 DDD tweeter. Again, the speakers are available in matte black and matte white. These will be priced at £549 and replaces the 685 S2.
Stands for the 607 and 606 are available in black for £99.
The largest of the new 600 Series stable, the floor-standers are a 3-way vented-box loaded with a pair of 165mm paper-cone bass drivers. Additionally, they also feature a 150mm Continuum FST midrange driver and the ubiquitous 25mm DDD tweeter. Finishes are the standard matte black or white choices. The 603 replaces the 683 S2 and will have a £1249 price tag.
For home theatre lovers, the HTM6 replaces both the HTM62 S2 and HTM61 S2. Here you have a 2-way vented box loaded with two Continuum bass/midrange drivers and a 25mm DDD tweeter. The finishes match the rest of the range and will have a £399 asking price.
There are no technical changes to Bowers & Wilkins 600 Series subs; the ASW308, ASW610 and ASW610XP.
The new range has its UK release scheduled for September 2018.
For more information visit Bowers & Wilkins.
StereoNET UK's Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He's captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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