Bowers & Wilkins 603 S2 Anniversary Loudspeaker Review & Comments

MrSmithers

Standard Member
Great review Ed, I like the Golf GTI analogy (and the footy) - pretty spot on. I have the 605 s1 as part of a surround set up and it’s interesting the newer crossover makes that difference. Small tweaks here and there obviously do help…

I may consider these as new front channels and move the older 605’s to the rear. But I listen to a lot of quadraphonic and surround music so kinda want to keep all speakers the same size. How would you rate the 605 s2? Would they still come in around an 8? Hmm maybe I should just look at 4 603’s?!

Always enjoy the podcasts too…

Cheers
 

password1

Well-known Member
Quite expensive for budget floorstanders that may seem like the floorstanding versions with tweaks of the small much cheaper 607 and 606 speakers.

The 607 and 606 to me are rivals to the Monitor Audio Bronze 50 and 100 and Dali Oberon 1 and 3 but these floorstanders are at the price point of the MA Silver and Dali Opticon mk2 floorstanders rather than Bronze or Oberon floorstanders money.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I’ve demoed the Bowers speakers last summer.

They sound quite good the midrange (voices particularly), but the upper midrange sounds shrill in my ears.

Bass is extended, deep yet not as punchy as I’d expect from class leading speakers.

Treble sound metallic too.

If Dynaudio has less expensive speakers I’d rather buy them
 

bogart99

Well-known Member
I’ve demoed the Bowers speakers last summer.

They sound quite good the midrange (voices particularly), but the upper midrange sounds shrill in my ears.

Bass is extended, deep yet not as punchy as I’d expect from class leading speakers.

Treble sound metallic too.

If Dynaudio has less expensive speakers I’d rather buy them
A lot of people do not like B&W tweeters, apparently.
 

acgingersnaps

Active Member
A lot of people do not like B&W tweeters, apparently.
Like me. I had 685 s2's and found them incredibly fatiguing. Wanted to swap them out after a month, but couldn't afford to for nearly 3 years.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I really believe if you’re going to buy B&W speakers there some factors to consider.

One: More less a perfect listing room

Two: The right amplifier.

In my opinion Arcam is probably the best match.
 

password1

Well-known Member
I think it has something to with the continuum drivers, not sure though, so the color needs to be the same.
I don't see why they can't have the drivers in a different colour unless the material makes it impossible. Other manufacturers have changed the colour of their cones without affecting sound quality. Monitor Audio Monitor series are available in black cones (4g) as well as the orange cones (3g) and the specs are exactly the same. Dali have made the cones darker in the Opticon mark 2 series.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Looking the earlier 603 model review which is going to be close to S2, measurements and owners thoughts from another sites they have said the speaker can sound very different depending of toe in. James at Audioholics felt that only slight toe in max is needed or shooting straight ahead, they can become overly bright (see on-axis). Also the dip at 2kHz is not ideal. Typical B&W house sound? Actually quite many says "show room sound" and bit tiring for long term, although one should definitely play with the toe in angle. For movies something like Audussey will flatten the response if doing full range correction.

image
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
For reminder! Steve Withers said 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.

With that in mind if someone is considering these at 1500£ he could pick the black S1 version for 799£ in mint condition!
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Looking the earlier 603 model review which is going to be close to S2, measurements and owners thoughts from another sites they have said the speaker can sound very different depending of toe in. James at Audioholics felt that only slight toe in max is needed or shooting straight ahead, they can become overly bright (see on-axis). Also the dip at 2kHz is not ideal. Typical B&W house sound? Actually quite many says "show room sound" and bit tiring for long term, although one should definitely play with the toe in angle. For movies something like Audussey will flatten the response if doing full range correction.

image
Yesterday I was listing to these speakers with Hegel H190.

The sound is so nasal in the midrange it is unbelievable. Although voices at times can sound prey good (think Mark Knopfler).

Still I was utterly perplexed that the Dali Oberon 7 plays so much better. Warmer sound, although at times a bold treble. Still they have much better bass response.

As mentioned it’s shame Dynaudio floor standing are so expensive. That top end is to die for.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I don't see why they can't have the drivers in a different colour unless the material makes it impossible. Other manufacturers have changed the colour of their cones without affecting sound quality. Monitor Audio Monitor series are available in black cones (4g) as well as the orange cones (3g) and the specs are exactly the same. Dali have made the cones darker in the Opticon mark 2 series.
Remember those yellow drivers. 😂
 

bogart99

Well-known Member
Like me. I had 685 s2's and found them incredibly fatiguing. Wanted to swap them out after a month, but couldn't afford to for nearly 3 years.
This is exactly the reason listening to speakers for an hour in a demo room makes no sense in most cases. One has to live with them a while.
 

iFi audio

Active Member
AVForums Sponsor
Living with the speakers for a while is surely the best option, but that's not always possible. Another weak point of demo rooms is that they often offer a different audio system than the one you have at home, so it is hard to compare. It is also hard to replicate the demo room acoustics in your listening room/living room at home.
 

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