Bowers & Wilkins 600 S2 5.1 Speaker Package Review

steve sph

Distinguished Member
As so often with proprietary home cinema packages, it seems like the sub is the weak link - for the wrong side of £500 a BK would blow it out of the water.
I know this may upset the B & W enthusiasts out there but personally I've always considered their products to be a tad overpriced in relation to their performance.
That said, I'm sure it will find it's market with folks who want an all-in-one solution.
 

lgans316

Distinguished Member
The sight of this makes me feel sad as I downgraded from separates to 7.1.4 soundbar in April. :(
 

Cameron583

Well-known Member
As so often with proprietary home cinema packages, it seems like the sub is the weak link - for the wrong side of £500 a BK would blow it out of the water.
I know this may upset the B & W enthusiasts out there but personally I've always considered their products to be a tad overpriced in relation to their performance.
That said, I'm sure it will find it's market with folks who want an all-in-one solution.

Hmm, I’m not so sure I’d agree. Nothing is overpriced if it sounds good - and good is individualistic.

I personally enjoy the sound of B&W stuff, so spending less money on something else isn’t good value to me :)
 

daveb975

Well-known Member
Hmm, I’m not so sure I’d agree. Nothing is overpriced if it sounds good - and good is individualistic.

I personally enjoy the sound of B&W stuff, so spending less money on something else isn’t good value to me :)

Indeed. I’m a big B&W fan and have something from them in all my systems.

I do agree about the sub in this package though. I’ve got the smaller ASW608 paired with a set of MM1s as my computer sound set up in a small room and it is excellent for that.

I’m sure that the ASW610 would make an ok sub for a full set up, but it would be left wanting compared to the (cheaper) BK XXLS400.

I never think subs have been B&W’s strong point - the ASW610XP might be better, but that is another price point altogether.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Indeed. I’m a big B&W fan and have something from them in all my systems.

I do agree about the sub in this package though. I’ve got the smaller ASW608 paired with a set of MM1s as my computer sound set up in a small room and it is excellent for that.

I’m sure that the ASW610 would make an ok sub for a full set up, but it would be left wanting compared to the (cheaper) BK XXLS400.

I never think subs have been B&W’s strong point - the ASW610XP might be better, but that is another price point altogether.

The ASW610XP (799£) looks to have good build quality. Purely performance wise it will struggle to keep up with BK XXLS400 (399£ often grade-b new) judging the measurements. SVS SB2000 (649£) would also be noticeable upgrade to this for much less. Remembering some of the amp issues related to 600 / PV1D subs and twice the price to BK it`s quite poor option. B&W has mostly changed the finishes since 2010-11 these models were introduced first time.

 

Roohster

Distinguished Member
One thing that bugs me about a lot of these packages (from most manufacturers) - none of them offer wall mountable surrounds.

I love my three B&W fronts (the original CM1s and a CMC) but had to go to another manufacturer for surrounds, rears and Atmos speakers.

This package is fine for people who have loads of room to use the standmounters as surrounds, but many people don't have that much space to spare.
 
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DaveWillo

Member
One thing that bugs me about a lot of these packages (from most manufacturers) - none of them offer wall mountable surrounds.

I love my three B%W fronts (the original CM1s and a CMC) but had to go to another manufacturer for surrounds, rears and Atmos speakers.

This package is fine for people who have loads of room to use the standmounters as surrounds, but many people don't have that much space to spare.
It's disappointing that they don't manufacture Atmos modules.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Hmm after reading the review I don't know what to do; return a Sonos arc and get these or stick with what I have...tough call

Well i think the answer would depend of your room / order. If some small room with the fireplace middle and tv thrown in corner with the soundbar below then i could imagine this system would be so tricky to get sounding good there. If there is more space and you have "free hands" with locating the speakers some what optimally then it would be different scenario. The soundbar wouldn´t come anywhere close.

The most important part: The Bowers & Wilkins 600 S2 Anniversary Edition benefits from a few minor sonic tweaks, but based on memory it sounds largely the same as the previous generation.

And as you can still get the previous gen much cheaper you would save big bucks. Subwoofer should be swapped though (SVS, REL, BK, Arendal..) I hope people don´t get too fooled with the new range which is mainly refresh. It´s way to create hype and for the PR team to throw out nice sounding words about the changes. Below is the old range on sale:
 

Rizvan

Well-known Member
Hmm after reading the review I don't know what to do; return a Sonos arc and get these or stick with what I have...tough call
I will be honest, the whole high-end Atmos sound bar vs AVR + Speakers is never going to be a straight forward comparison.
I had the Samsung HW-N950 and the LG SN11 RG 7.1.4 ch and both give you a really excellent Atmos bubble.... the the dynamic range and bass is much better on a dedicated speaker setup but the localization of the effects is better on the sound bars, probably due to their smaller more direct focused drivers.
What I mean by that is that you can tell which direction the sound is coming from more easily..... especially with the Atmos height effects.
On my 5.1.2 AVR setup, the bass and LFE are just simply amazing, no sound bar will match it, over-all it is more natural sounding experience and the effects blend in nicely, its a lot harder to determine where the sounds are coming from as they are everywhere lol.
 

Stealth Spin

Active Member
Well i think the answer would depend of your room / order. If some small room with the fireplace middle and tv thrown in corner with the soundbar below then i could imagine this system would be so tricky to get sounding good there. If there is more space and you have "free hands" with locating the speakers some what optimally then it would be different scenario. The soundbar wouldn´t come anywhere close.

The most important part: The Bowers & Wilkins 600 S2 Anniversary Edition benefits from a few minor sonic tweaks, but based on memory it sounds largely the same as the previous generation.

And as you can still get the previous gen much cheaper you would save big bucks. Subwoofer should be swapped though (SVS, REL, BK, Arendal..) I hope people don´t get too fooled with the new range which is mainly refresh. It´s way to create hype and for the PR team to throw out nice sounding words about the changes. Below is the old range on sale:

Thanks for the advice and tip about the old range being on sale!

I'm pretty fortunate in that I have quite a large living room, although it is quite long and thin. We have the TV and sofa down one end with the dining table and piano at the other. For that reason it might be difficult to find the best location for the speakers.

I think I will wait until the shops reopen and see if I can hear the 600 series in action and make a decision then.
 

KWB1

Well-known Member
Well i think the answer would depend of your room / order. If some small room with the fireplace middle and tv thrown in corner with the soundbar below then i could imagine this system would be so tricky to get sounding good there. If there is more space and you have "free hands" with locating the speakers some what optimally then it would be different scenario. The soundbar wouldn´t come anywhere close.

The most important part: The Bowers & Wilkins 600 S2 Anniversary Edition benefits from a few minor sonic tweaks, but based on memory it sounds largely the same as the previous generation.

And as you can still get the previous gen much cheaper you would save big bucks. Subwoofer should be swapped though (SVS, REL, BK, Arendal..) I hope people don´t get too fooled with the new range which is mainly refresh. It´s way to create hype and for the PR team to throw out nice sounding words about the changes. Below is the old range on sale:
The original 606’s are even cheaper than that now at £329 - bargain
 

AndyThorn

Active Member
Just replaced my entire system (Q Acoustic 3020's & 3090) with 4x 607 and HTM6 and have to say that even pre run in, I am very pleased with the results. These are paired with my existing BK xls200 sub which seems ample for the room it's in. Happy camper given the sale price of the older 607's!
 

paulw77

Active Member
Just replaced my entire system (Q Acoustic 3020's & 3090) with 4x 607 and HTM6 and have to say that even pre run in, I am very pleased with the results. These are paired with my existing BK xls200 sub which seems ample for the room it's in. Happy camper given the sale price of the older 607's!

How are they different/better @AndyThorn ?

I currently have the 3020i/3090Ci combo and I've always found it lacking. Maybe it's just personal taste but I think they're too warm and laid back. Considering changing them and have been looking at the B&Ws.
 

AndyThorn

Active Member
How are they different/better @AndyThorn ?

I currently have the 3020i/3090Ci combo and I've always found it lacking. Maybe it's just personal taste but I think they're too warm and laid back. Considering changing them and have been looking at the B&Ws.
Very different sound signature to my ears (I'm no audiophile), a cleaner sound if that makes sense? Seems like they pull more detail out of source material. I've listened to a lot of music over Xmas period and noticing new things within tracks I am very familiar with (Howl & The Hum - Alternates EP sounds incredible through these).

Space constraints prevented me going the 606 route and I was worried about FOMO, but they genuinely don't feel like a compromise.
 

paulw77

Active Member
Very different sound signature to my ears (I'm no audiophile), a cleaner sound if that makes sense? Seems like they pull more detail out of source material. I've listened to a lot of music over Xmas period and noticing new things within tracks I am very familiar with (Howl & The Hum - Alternates EP sounds incredible through these).

Space constraints prevented me going the 606 route and I was worried about FOMO, but they genuinely don't feel like a compromise.

That's the sort of difference I would hope to hear if I changed my Q Acoustics setup for the B&Ws. The Qs are just a bit too wooly/indistinct for my liking.

What amp are you using @AndyThorn if you don't mind me asking ?
 

AndyThorn

Active Member
That's the sort of difference I would hope to hear if I changed my Q Acoustics setup for the B&Ws. The Qs are just a bit too wooly/indistinct for my liking.

What amp are you using @AndyThorn if you don't mind me asking ?
I'm using a Denon X4500 pal. Seems like a good match as I believe the Denon has a warm sound, so balanced out nicely with the slightly brighter B&W's
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
That's the sort of difference I would hope to hear if I changed my Q Acoustics setup for the B&Ws. The Qs are just a bit too wooly/indistinct for my liking.

Hope you can fit the 606 mains in your room! When doing upgrade it won´t hurt if the size also grows with cab and drivers! These new B&Ws seem quite bright, but one can alter the toe in. If angled in toward listener can be overly bright which is evident on the "on-axis" graph below. I believe the 606 and 607 are very similar to this 603 towers at Audioholics:

image


" The 603’s foremost flaw is, in my opinion, the elevated treble response around the on-axis angle. Listening on-axis could make some recordings sound quite harsh, especially rock or pop music. It also gives many vocals a sibilant sound where the T, S, and CH parts of speech were overly emphasized. This can be greatly alleviated by positioning the speakers to be facing straight ahead so that they have no toe-in angle toward the listening position. As I said before, my hunch is that this is how they were intended to be positioned, but that isn’t stated anywhere in B&W’s literature for these speakers. For the best sound, keep the listening position around a 30-degree angle with respect to the on-axis angle as that will provide the most neutral direct sound. "
 

Wilas

Standard Member
Was looking to upgrade aging 5.1 system and was looking at ex demo equipment came across the 603s for £749 2018 models, made a few inquiries got talking at Sevenoaks and for a brand new set £849. Ordered a pair of 603s and a HTM6 £249 will pair with 606/607s and BK PR sub when the wife's calmed down ;)
 

Ach0w

Standard Member
I will be honest, the whole high-end Atmos sound bar vs AVR + Speakers is never going to be a straight forward comparison.
I had the Samsung HW-N950 and the LG SN11 RG 7.1.4 ch and both give you a really excellent Atmos bubble.... the the dynamic range and bass is much better on a dedicated speaker setup but the localization of the effects is better on the sound bars, probably due to their smaller more direct focused drivers.
What I mean by that is that you can tell which direction the sound is coming from more easily..... especially with the Atmos height effects.
On my 5.1.2 AVR setup, the bass and LFE are just simply amazing, no sound bar will match it, over-all it is more natural sounding experience and the effects blend in nicely, its a lot harder to determine where the sounds are coming from as they are everywhere lol.
If you can't place sound position in your AVR setup, then you either have a bad AVR or you've not wired your speakers correctly or not placed them correctly (e.g rear speaker connected to front right or something).

I've got an inexpensive (less than £1200 all-in) AVR 5.1 setup, and I can accurately locate sounds in space. While playing video games with multichannel sound mix, I can for example tell that something is behind and to my left. On this setup I noticed that the xbox main menu sounds also move around... That is, if you navigate to a menu item central to the screen, the sound is louder through the centre speaker and so on.
 

Rizvan

Well-known Member
If you can't place sound position in your AVR setup, then you either have a bad AVR or you've not wired your speakers correctly or not placed them correctly (e.g rear speaker connected to front right or something).

I've got an inexpensive (less than £1200 all-in) AVR 5.1 setup, and I can accurately locate sounds in space. While playing video games with multichannel sound mix, I can for example tell that something is behind and to my left. On this setup I noticed that the xbox main menu sounds also move around... That is, if you navigate to a menu item central to the screen, the sound is louder through the centre speaker and so on.
Hi,

sorry I should have probably been more clear, its hard for me to explain what I am hearing with my ears but will try again.....
what I should have said is, because the sound bar setup has smaller driver units and smaller rear speakers, the sound field / beam is narrower, so the sound is more direct, with my AVR setup the speakers are bigger with more driver units, so the field is a lot bigger which gives a more natural field rather than a direct beam..... I probably won't be able to explain it via words.... ultimately the AVR + Speaker setup is my preference........ :D
 

Toon Army

Well-known Member
Just replaced my entire system (Q Acoustic 3020's & 3090) with 4x 607 and HTM6 and have to say that even pre run in, I am very pleased with the results. These are paired with my existing BK xls200 sub which seems ample for the room it's in. Happy camper given the sale price of the older 607's!
Hiya,

Any more thoughts since installing your B&Ws? I'm looking to buy soon and these are on my shortlist. I would like 606s however SWMBO may veto that idea.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
@Toon Army Peter Tyson has the S1 model still at 450£, they went 379£ while ago so i think there is some air if you ask about further discount down to 400£ at least. If you read AVF review of the S2 they sounded very much same to S1 so you can probably save 200£ alone on these main speakers. 606 S2 is 599£.


Here is ex-demo center channel cheaper, further savings.

I would call them is it still available, if sold then try to haggle good price for LCR with Peter Tyson cause the price is bit too high for soon to be discontinued product.
 

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