From time to time I like to stare through the window of an audiophile emporium and imagine what I'd buy if I won the lottery or inherited huge sums from a long lost relative. That's because I know how good high-end audio kit sounds and unfortunately I also know how far beyond my budget the good stuff is.
So it's great to see a premium brand, which is behind some of the best wireless speakers and best stereo speakers, offer similar levels of luxury as its higher end models without also charging a similarly hefty price. The price of the new Bowers & Wilkins 600 Series speakers, the new 600 Series, is comparatively low for what promises to be an amazing audio experience.
The new 600 Series consists of the floor standing 606 S3, with an all-new 1" titanium dome tweeter, a six-inch FST Continuum Cone midrange driver and two 6.5-inch paper-cone bass drivers. If that's a little on the large size for your room the 606 and 607 S3 can be stand-mounted or placed on a bookshelf and contain the same dome tweeters and either a 6.5-inch or 5-inch Continuum Cone mid and bass driver.
If you're planning a home cinema setup there's the HTM6 S3 centre-channel speaker with twin 5-inch Continuum Cone mid/bass drivers and the 1-inch titanium dome tweeter, and the ASW608 and 610 subwoofers deliver extra low-end thump.
Serious sound made even better
This is the eighth generation of one of the hi-fi world's most-loved speaker ranges, and there are some significant upgrades here to what was already an award-winning formula. The new titanium dome tweeter is probably the most significant: it's a two-part tweeter with a super-thin but very strong 25-microm main dome that's brand by a 30-micron titanium ring and a new, elongated tube-loading system that's similar to the one in the 700 Series S3.
According to Bowers & Wilkins, the new design reduces the resonant frequency behind the dome, leading to a more open sound that's less affected by the cabinet it lives in. It also has the new, more open grille design previously seen in the 800 Series Signature models.
The other big upgrade here is that the 600 Series gets the Continuum Cones from the 700 Series. These offer more power with lower distortion than before, and updated crossovers deliver higher resolution and better transparency.
The cabinets have been improved too. The tweeters and main drivers are now closer together for better, more accurate imaging, and the internal bracing is made from higher quality woods for better bracing and stiffer cabinets. And the base of the 606 S3 and 607 S3 now have metal threaded inserts for secure stand mounting.
Despite all the improvements, the 600 Series isn't expensive by pro audio standards. The priciest speaker pair here, the 603 S3, is £1999 / $2500 / €2300; the 606 S3 is £749 / $1100 / €1000; and the 607 S3 is £599 / $900 / €800. The centre-channel HTM6 S3 is £649 / $900 / €750 and the subs are £550 / $599 / €650 and £700 / $899 / €800 respectively.
There's also a theatre bundle consisting of two 603 S3s, two 607 S3s, the HTM6 S3 and the ASW610 subwoofer. That's £3947 / $5199 / €4650. The full 600 Series range is available now from the usual outlets. If you see my face pressed up against the window do say hello.