The original Bowers & Wilkins 600 Series of speakers was introduced a quarter-century ago and is the company's bestselling home speaker line. So, needless to say, when the line gets revamped, it catches our attention. The 600 Series Anniversary Edition line celebrates 25 years of production comprising six generations of engineering improvements and the sale of over one million units.
The new 600 Series Anniversary Edition is the seventh generation of the 600 Series and is comprised of four speaker models: the floor-standing 603 S2, the 606 S2 standmount, the 607 S2 bookshelf, and the HTM6 S2 center channel. The company has also released a bundle dubbed the 600 Series Anniversary Edition Theater, a 5.1 speaker package comprised of the 603 S2, 607 S2, HTM6 S2, and a ASW610 subwoofer.
We received a review sample of the 600 Series Anniversary Edition Theater system the day before the official release date, which left me little time to evaluate it as a whole before the announcement. But I did have time to give the 603 S2 Anniversary Edition ($1,998 per pair if purchased separately) a bit of close attention.
The speakers were securely packed in cardboard boxes with clear instructions on the outside, which made unboxing them a breeze. I installed the base plinth in just a moment using the four bolts and the Allen wrench included in the box. The 600 Series Anniversary edition are available in four finishes: black, white, oak, and special-order red cherry. My review samples were matte black. Connecting the 603 S2s to Naim's Uniti Atom with Austere speaker cables was a simple task, and then I was able to start my listening.
The 603 S2 speakers are compact for floorstanding towers and have a plain, but modern finish that somewhat belies their shared DNA with B&W's reference-grade speakers. The new lineup benefits from crossover technology and components used in the more expensive 700 Series Signature range.
That becomes apparent once you sit down for an initial listening session. The midrange had more detail and less coloration than I recalled from the last pair of 600 Series towers I reviewed nearly a decade ago. The 603 S2s also had punchy bass with more weight and extension than I expected given their modest size. Billie Eilish's "Bad Guy" (via Title) had a solid beat, and while it may not have had the impact or resolution of more expensive, similar-size speakers, the 603 S2s performed very well given their price point.
I will, of course, tinker with positioning and connected electronics before continuing my critical listening, and I need to add the center, sub, and surround speakers to get a good sense of how the 600 Series Anniversary Edition Theater performs as a whole. But my initial impression is that the 603 S2s punch above their weight, both figuratively and literally.
Look for a comprehensive review of the Bowers & Wilkins 600 Series Anniversary Edition Theater soon at Home Theater Review.
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• Visit the Bowers & Wilkins website for more information