Bowers & Wilkins 683 Loudspeaker Reviewed
By: Brian Kahn,
HTR Product Rating
- 3 Stars
- 3 Stars
- 3 Stars
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• The 683s offer great bang for the buck, with numerous B&W features not previously available from B&W (or anybody else for that matter) at this price point.
• The voicing of this speaker is neutral with minimal coloration, allowing you to hear what the artist (and/or recording engineer) intended. That's why studios like Abbey Road use Bowers and Wilkins speakers.
• The high-frequency response was very clean and extended in ways you might expect from speakers costing significantly more than $1,500 per pair.
• The 683s offered good dynamics and frequency response for speakers of their size.
• The vinyl cabinet coverings are not up to par when compared with B&W's higher-end products or even some similarly-priced competitors from China, notably PSB.
• The high frequencies can sound a bit forward, particularly if electronics are not properly paired. It's part of the B&W sound. Without question, these speakers will work with a solid receiver but they sound even better on a Rotel or Classe' amp and preamp.
• There were times when the HTM61 couldn't keep up with the dynamics and pace of the 683s. A larger, more output-capable center speaker might be a good addition to the line for those looking for extreme volume output from movie soundtracks in larger rooms like mine.
The 600 Series provides serious bang for the buck, especially for stereo set-ups. I found them to be open, neutral and musical to listen to in ways I expect from audiophile speakers costing $3,000, not $1,500. The 683s replaced Dynaudio speakers that are more than twice as expensive. With no disrespect to the Dynaudio transducers, which I liked a lot, I was able to quickly fall in love with the B&W 683s at half the price. Were the 683s as refined or detailed as the Dynaudios? No, but they weren't worlds behind, the 683s' price might suggest. I highly recommend that those shopping for a floor-standing speaker in the $2,000-a-pair price range take a look at the new fourth-generation B&W 600s. They pack serious technological and musical heat without the audiophile price tag.