Disappointed with recent B&W 606 purchase

lowrider007

Novice Member
I recently grabbed the B&W 606 (s1) for a good price, coming from my old DM602s2 I thought this would be a no brainer but after a week of listening not so sure, I'm really not gelling with the midrange, it sounds very veiled/muddy, if I'm being honest the speaker in general sounds quite 'bloated', the bass seems to overshadow the mids, I've a/b the 606 vs my dm602s2 and although the 606 does some things better, notibly timing, the midrange is a lot less apparent on the 606's, the sound signature of 606's actually reminds me of the old bbe button on old Aiwa mini systems, I know a lot of people back in the day used to love that DSP, I guess that's why these speakers are popular, they sound 'fun' I guess?

edit -

I just wanted to further comment that I've read quite a few people mention that they find these speakers 'harsh' or 'bright', in case you're reading this contemplating these speakers, they are not harsh, they are very warm speakers, they have a smiley EQ sound to them, if you're looking for clear, neutral sounding speakers these are not that, look elsewhere, tbh I'm a little bewildered with all the positive press reviews these receive!


Anyway back to business, luckily I am within the return period for these, that being the case, what speakers do your guys recommend I try with better midrange, more analytical/neutral sounding for around the £500 mark?
 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
What amplifier are you using? And can you list your room dimensions?
 

matthewpiano78

Active Member
Having owned (and sold) 606s I'm puzzled by your experience of them.

What is the rest of your system, and what kind of music do you listen to? Also, how do you have them positioned?
 

lowrider007

Novice Member
Sorry for the late reply as I've been late working tonight,

In answer to your question's,

Amp: Yamaha rxv685 used in stereo pure direct mode

Room size: 12ft x 10ft

Speakers are 5cm from wall on Nexus 6 stands, spaced just under 6ft apart.

Music tastes vary a lot, atm I'm enjoying Anne Bisson, Max Richter, Marina Kaye, Susannah Mc Corkle, Chaleur Humaine, and some chilled lounge, stuff like OM Lounge, love that series of albums.
 

Costello

Well-known Member
The first thing to try is to pull them away from the rear wall by about 30cm. The 606 are rear ported. If they’re too close to a back wall, you’ll get over bloated bass which could be swamping the whole sound. Then try toeing them in so the tweeters are pointing at your ears, try and make as much of an equilateral triangle with you and the speakers as possible.
 
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matthewpiano78

Active Member
I agree with @Costello. 5cm is too close to the wall for most speakers, and even more so for rear-ported ones. 20-30cm is the minimum for the 606s to give their best.

I would also suggest the 606s might be shining a light on the deficiencies of your amp. B&Ws tend to do that, and won't sugar coat anything.
 

Orobas

Well-known Member
I've found that the B&W range tend to be either mid recessed or mid prominent.. this is what you are experiencing with the yamaha.. Yamaha typically set their "sound shape" to favour what they call "natural sound" which is a more pronounced midrange.. in the case of the 606.. the mid is more recessed which you have found out.. altering the speaker position will help to a degree.. but a slighter brighter amp may be in order here or one with a bit more finesse than the yamaha
 

lowrider007

Novice Member
Thanks for the advice but unfortunately I really don't have the space to pull them out much more, my apartment is a shoe box, I will try doing it just to see if it helps with the bass, that will at least tell me that's the problem or not, from what I've read about these speakers they should not have bloated bass.

It's annoying really because when you look at the marking material B&W show them on a sideboard quite close to the wall, It gives gives you the impression that you can place them anywhere.

 

Kapkirk

Active Member
You might find the Dynaudio Emit M20 better given your lack of space, They are quite forward sounding speakers with faster tighter bass response. My experience of that particular Yamaha receiver tells me you should not be lacking mid-range either. As others have rightly said and in my own experience if they are too near a rear wall the bass will boom and swallow the mids, I had the same problem with my Focal Aria 906.
 

Damp Squid

Active Member
Try using the port bungs, it may help.
 

acgingersnaps

Active Member
I previously had the front ported B&W 685 s2. 5cm was way too close to wall for yhem as well.
On a diffrrent note, i never really got on with the sound either and always regretted not getting the Emit 20 mentioned above. I was thinking about upgrades form a couple of months after getting them, but had to live with them for over 3 years!
 

Orobas

Well-known Member
It's annoying really because when you look at the marking material B&W show them on a sideboard quite close to the wall, It gives gives you the impression that you can place them anywhere.

Yes you can indeed with the correct environment and correct amp... in your case though this is not applicable.. advertisers pay huge money to make their products look attractive and set up their demo rooms accordingly. Sadly alot of people fall into the trap of seeing something and copying and then having the dissatisfaction when it doesn't work out right. That's the power of the money spent in advertising at work

The speakers are not at fault here re the bass... that is a combination of your room construction and the amps sound at play. Swapping the amp over will change that sound immediately. Put a rotel on the b&w and they will immediately become airy and vocal and play as b&w designed them for example....

ironically.. that photo looks like they have a Rotel RA-12 or 14 amp with the B&W as it is!
 
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matthewpiano78

Active Member
I agree that experimenting with the 2-part bungs is worthwhile and could help to ameliorate your problems.

I would caution against Dynaudio in your circumstances. I have a pair of DM2/6 (the predecessor to the current Emit 10). They need plenty of space from the back wall to avoid sounding bass-heavy and to open out the mid-range, which can adopt a hooded quality when given insufficient breathing space.

A good option worth trying, if you can't make the 606s work, is the Monitor Audio Silver 50. They are compact and not remotely prone to boom, and with a nice open midrange.
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
Room size: 12ft x 10ft

First thing is to try and make the 606 speakers work for your situation. Only when all possible solutions have been exhausted should you look for alternatives. Lots of good tips/suggestions to try in the preceding posts. Have to say, any half-decent speaker (not intended for wall mounting) will benefit from a good few inches clearance from the wall behind.

But if nothing gets them sounding right for you...

Whilst I appreciate that you found the (slightly larger?) B&W 602 S2 to work well in the same room, I personally consider both these B&W speakers too large for an 11 sqm room. Speakers that are too large for the room typically result in a heavy bass and 'muddy' mid or lower-midrange. However, sizing speakers for rooms is a contentious subject, and not everyone would agree. Many folk are content to use speakers I consider too large in small rooms and vice versa.

I think you'd be better off with speakers that have a single 5" bass/mid driver in each cabinet. Seeing as you want a tonally even and clear sound (and I note from your musical tastes that a clean, open midrange would be far more important than big bass), I would opt for active speakers - though I don't know how they could be made to work with the rest of your setup. From another thread I've seen on these forums, I half expect to see a pair of excellent pre-owned Acoustic Energy AE1 actives for sale in the classifieds sometime soon. Although passive, I'd expect a pair of the original Kef LS50 to work well in the room. Pre-owned examples may be within budget.
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
It's annoying really because when you look at the marking material B&W show them on a sideboard quite close to the wall, It gives gives you the impression that you can place them anywhere.

dvertisers pay huge money to make their products look attractive and set up their demo rooms accordingly. Sadly alot of people fall into the trap of seeing something and copying and then having the dissatisfaction when it doesn't work out right. That's the power of the money spent in advertising at work

Only too true, but is it acceptable or is it false advertising?

(And the speakers are on the same surface as the turntable! B&W - you're better than that).

Had Donald Trump purchased the B&W 606 speakers, positioned them in accordance with the advertisement and found sound quality lacking, I'm sure he'd take legal recourse.
 

NifkinFZ6

Active Member
Weird how the right speaker in the photo is sitting at the rear of the media unit, almost touching the wall, and the left one is sitting at the front edge of the unit, on some sort of plinth of its own. I agree it's silly having the TT on the same surface as the speakers also. I wouldn't pay too much attention to how the marketers have set up the equipment for the shots: i doubt any of that stuff is actually plugged in!
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
Weird how the right speaker in the photo is sitting at the rear of the media unit, almost touching the wall, and the left one is sitting at the front edge of the unit, on some sort of plinth of its own

It's not, it's a reflection.
 

Onlythesound

Active Member
If it helps at all, mine are shown here when not sharing duties with my Concept 20s. Position wise, they are about 40 cm from the wall, no bungs in and toed in slightly to the listening position about 4.5 metres away.
 

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Hampy1972

Distinguished Member
I'm using a pair of 602s as fronts in a Dolby set up...loving them..what a bargain.
 

Helix Hifi

Active Member
I’m not surprised you like your older B&W speakers better. The older versions are more fun to listen too.The 606 have very closed in midrange. Perhaps that is why do not enjoy them. Perhaps KEF, or other speakers with a bit more forward sound is a better match. Though B&W are great speaker in their own right. It just that they need careful matching.
 

lowrider007

Novice Member
Update:

I've finally had a few spare days to test properly, I also have a spare set of Kef q100's I threw in for testing,



Right, first up, I tried pulling out the 606's from the wall to about 30cm, didn't make a whole lot of difference, 50cm, ummmm, a bit, a metre, then I notice the boominess drop off a bit but it's still quite ample.

I have a couple of conclusions from this, my small room with it's hollow plasterboard walls just isn't compatible with these speakers and they essentially turn it into a subwoofer!, or these speakers just kick out a lot of bass, more than my old 602's, especially sub bass, both speakers are rated to go down to 52Hz but the 606 has tons more bass so I don't really understand, you would presume the much larger 602's would dominate the room with bass, but then could this be the effect of front ported vs rear ported.

I was only watching this video the other day from Steve Guttenberg regarding port position,


I like Steve but I don't really agree with him here, yes he states that no speaker should be too close to a wall but front ported speakers may, and probably do suffer less ill effects.

I tried the using the two part bungs and with the centre parts filled, so full bung essentially, that made a big difference, to my ears the bass was now at a much better level, not as boomy in the lower regions, but I'm still deciding whether to keep them in as I'm finding the midrange a little thin and the tonality is effected for vocals, the bungs work for chillhop style of music, but not with Alela Diane (The Pirate's Gospel), I guess 80% of my music is more the latter these days to be fair.

I have burned the speakers in quite a bit to the annoyance of my partner and neighbours, that has helped marginally I believe, but ultimately I'm still not happy with the 'boomy' bass on some types of music, I'm inclined to believe that it is combination of speaker position, rear porting, and room size.

I guess the only way I'm going to find an answer to this is when I visit my nearest city next is to audition the 606's in a listening room from a dealer to try and get a base reference of how the 606's are 'supposed' to sound in a better environment.

Also I tried my old Kef Q100's, this was in interesting comparison, I had very good audio memories of the speaker, I fired up some tunes and immediately the bass was less overpowering, very good imaging, I expected the mid-range to be much better from memory but after a good bit of a/b testing I actually preferred the 606's mid-range, it was sweeter, less grainy, especially for female vocals, that's one aera the 606 does quite well.

I think I know what B&W tried to accomplish with these speakers, they imo are trying to get a 'full-range sounding' speaker from a small box, I can kinda see why see how that appeals to people, but I think the bass tuning on 606 is off, maybe in an anechoic chamber they sound right, but out in the wild, not so sure sure, I think they need a lot of space, makes me wonder how these speakers are tested, I wonder if they have different faux rooms setup in a lab to simulate real world usage.

Long post I know, but thought at least I'd provide a conclusion and I appreciated the advice some of you guys had to give, I have gone past the return period now so I'll work with them and explore the sound more for a while.
 
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Onlythesound

Active Member
Hmmm.. ...very interesting post nevertheless and an interesting exercise in trial and error. It just goes to show how room specific sound can be and almost always is.
It made me think about my own set up and how the deployment might differ from yours. In no particular order, obviously our amps/sources differ but apart from that mine have their rear ports firing towards the solid outer wall and given their proximity to curtains and corners, there’s bound to be interaction there. Also I have them mounted on Q Acoustics’ Concept 20 stands which, according to the pundits, should tighten up sound even with ‘3rd party’ speakers.

Chucking another firework into the mix - I’m actually using my Concept 20s as rears at the moment on Fisual stands - thanks @Paul7777x for your tip in another thread - because I’m deaf in my right ear and the Fisuals put them at ear height. Also the 20s are in the corners behind me with about 30cm clearance, unbunged. The walls are quite solid but pretty bare so the only absorbent materials are rug, sofas and curtains.

Logically, none of this makes sonic sense but when driving both sets of speakers, the Denon amp appears to show the merits of the 606s (unbunged by the way) and the C20s to good effect.

Sorry to go on but I guess I’m trying to say keep playing around with the set up and hopefully you’ll find an optimum that suits you.
 

Helix Hifi

Active Member
Update:

I've finally had a few spare days to test properly, I also have a spare set of Kef q100's I threw in for testing,



Right, first up, I tried pulling out the 606's from the wall to about 30cm, didn't make a whole lot of difference, 50cm, ummmm, a bit, a metre, then I notice the boominess drop off a bit but it's still quite ample.

I have a couple of conclusions from this, my small room with it's hollow plasterboard walls just isn't compatible with these speakers and they essentially turn it into a subwoofer!, or these speakers just kick out a lot of bass, more than my old 602's, especially sub bass, both speakers are rated to go down to 52Hz but the 606 has tons more bass so I don't really understand, you would presume the much larger 602's would dominate the room with bass, but then could this be the effect of front ported vs rear ported.

I was only watching this video the other day from Steve Guttenberg regarding port position,


I like Steve but I don't really agree with him here, yes he states that no speaker should be too close to a wall but front ported speakers may, and probably do suffer less ill effects.

I tried the using the two part bungs and with the centre parts filled, so full bung essentially, that made a big difference, to my ears the bass was now at a much better level, not as boomy in the lower regions, but I'm still deciding whether to keep them in as I'm finding the midrange a little thin and the tonality is effected for vocals, the bungs work for chillhop style of music, but not with Alela Diane (The Pirate's Gospel), I guess 80% of my music is more the latter these days to be fair.

I have burned the speakers in quite a bit to the annoyance of my partner and neighbours, that has helped marginally I believe, but ultimately I'm still not happy with the 'boomy' bass on some types of music, I'm inclined to believe that it is combination of speaker position, rear porting, and room size.

I guess the only way I'm going to find an answer to this is when I visit my nearest city next is to audition the 606's in a listening room from a dealer to try and get a base reference of how the 606's are 'supposed' to sound in a better environment.

Also I tried my old Kef Q100's, this was in interesting comparison, I had very good audio memories of the speaker, I fired up some tunes and immediately the bass was less overpowering, very good imaging, I expected the mid-range to be much better from memory but after a good bit of a/b testing I actually preferred the 606's mid-range, it was sweeter, less grainy, especially for female vocals, that's one aera the 606 does quite well.

I think I know what B&W tried to accomplish with these speakers, they imo are trying to get a 'full-range sounding' speaker from a small box, I can kinda see why see how that appeals to people, but I think the bass tuning on 606 is off, maybe in an anechoic chamber they sound right, but out in the wild, not so sure sure, I think they need a lot of space, makes me wonder how these speakers are tested, I wonder if they have different faux rooms setup in a lab to simulate real world usage.

Long post I know, but thought at least I'd provide a conclusion and I appreciated the advice some of you guys had to give, I have gone past the return period now so I'll work with them and explore the sound more for a while.
Did you toe in your speakers? By placing your speakers like a upside pyramid you well get a much more balanced sound. Less reflexions from the walls. Regarding the bass boom you are mentioning, it is probably because of room issues. If you’re not 100 percent happy. I would check out Dynaudio Emit 10. Even the Dali Oberon 5 could work. Yes, they are floor standing speakers. Still I think they we’ll suit your room well. I went from small speakers to floor standing speakers that I use in my room. It works great. Also try and sand fill the speakers stand. Using blue tack under the speakers may also work. Don’t give up trying to get the perfect speaker placement. It takes awhile.
 
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matthewpiano78

Active Member
I think you are right that room issues may be playing a significant part in this. I never found the 606s bass heavy, and one thing I don't like is any boom or bass overhang.

The issue I had with the 606s was how upfront the sound is, and how bright the tweeter can sound.
 

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