Home Theater Review


Bowers and Wilkins (B&W) 602 Bookshelf Loudspeaker Reviewed

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HTR Product Rating

4 Stars
4 Stars
4 Stars

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B&W_602_bookshelf_speakers.gifShould reviewers distinguish between the wares of giant manufacturers and the cottage industry? I say, 'No'. After all, no handicaps are applied in favour of, say, tiny TVR when car magazines place one in a shoot-out against the Fiat-owned Ferrari or Ford-owned Aston-Martin. David v. Goliath: it's merely a fact of life. (And remember: Senegal kicked France's ass...)

So keep in mind that B&W is one of the world's five largest speaker makers when you read this review, because the DM 602 Series 3 is one of those products which delivers so much back for the buck that it's almost freakish. Understanding B&W's size and the breadth of its resources goes a long way to explain how they can cram so much advanced technology into the '602, a speaker selling for only £299 per pair. And why you'd probably never find this much cutting-edge know-how in similarly-priced speakers from the small if valiant cottage industry makers. Unfair? In some ways, yes. But the bottom line is that this is still a two-speaker with a £299 price tag, yet what it offers will terrify smaller players:

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A light oak finish which looks like something you'd find on a £1000 speaker. Construction which cannot be faulted, including a front baffle whose tooling probably cost what some companies would consider a decent monthly turnover. A Nautilus tweeter with its tapered rear tube, derived from those found in B&W's five-figure systems; it's been modified for Series 3 with a stiffened voice coil and bobbin to raise the -6dbB cut-off all the way up to 42kHz, 'in order to take full advantage of...SACD and DVD-A.' A 7in woven Kevlar woofer, mounted on a newly-designed chassis. Redesigned connectors. The company's trademark flared and dimpled 'Flowport', which linearises airflow and removes harshness from bass notes. A cutaway wooden sub-baffle, to reduces 'tunnel effects' behind the cone drive units. Sspeciall-arranged absorbent wadding to reduce the level of internal resonance that might emerge from the port as midband coloration. As B&W spokesperson Danny Haikin put it, 'It's evolved so much beyond its predecessor that it's like a completely new model.'

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