Audio manufacturers tend to refresh their ranges regularly, it’s a fact of life. Two years ago in Sept 2021 speaker manufacturer B&W introduced the 4th iteration of its top 800 Series, the D4 range. A year ago it was the turn of the mid-level 700 Series, now in its 3rd iteration. No prizes for guessing what B&W has just announced – its new entry-level range, the 600 Series. Now in S3 form. 

Entry-level is relative, in this case meaning £599 / US$900 / €800 for the compact standmount 607 S3. Yes you can get plenty of speakers for less than that. B&W’s heritage goes back a long way though. Its size also brings economies of scale that cottage manufacturers can only dream of. Meaning the 600 S3 range should deliver on all fronts. 

The range encompasses a floorstander, two standmounts (with optional dedicated stands) and a centre speaker. All models share a new tweeter derived from the 700 Series, complete with tapered tube behind it to absorb reflections and give a clearer sound. 

Further aspects of the 700 series have trickled down to the 600 S3, including new motor assemblies for the drivers and some crossover components. Cabinets have also been improved, with better bracing to reduce unwanted vibrations. Finally the two standmounts have threaded inserts on their bases for those dedicated stands (don’t underestimate the importance of the speaker / stand interface).

The specific models comprise: –

    • The 603 S3 floorstander, featuring the new 25mm Titanium Dome tweeter, a 150mm Continuum Cone midrange driver plus two 165mm paper-cone bass drivers. Standing just over a metre tall on its plinth, the 603 S3 reaches down to 46 Hz at -3dB, extending to an impressive 29 Hz at -6dB. Sensitivity is also higher than average at 90dB, meaning you shouldn’t need a monster amp to drive it. Prices are £1999 / US$2500 / €2300.costs
    • The 606 S3 standmount costs £749 / US$1100 / €1000. It’s specifications are fairly typical for a standmount of its size. Bass goes down to 52 Hz at -3dB, extending to 40 Hz at -6dB. Sensitivity is 88dB, and the speaker stands 344mm tall by 189mm wide and 300mm deep. In addition  to the new 25mm tweeter it has a single 165mm driver to cover both bass and midrange frequencies. 
    • The second standmount is the 607 S3, costing £599 / US$900 / €800. It retains the 25mm tweeter but uses a smaller 5” mid/bass driver. Sensitivity is quite low at 84dB. Coupled to a minimum impedance of 3 Ohms that implies a more powerful amplifier may be needed to get the best from the speaker. 
    • The HTM6 S3 is a centre speaker for home cinema use and costs £649 / US$900 / €750. It too has the 25mm tweeter but uses two of the 5” mid/bass drivers.  
    • The FS-600 S3 stands for the standmounts cost £279 / $300 / €300 a pair and come in black or silver.
    • And finally a 5.1 home theatre package is also available for £3947 / $5199 / €4650. That buys you a pair of 603 S3, two 607 S3, and HTM6 S3 plus the existing ASW610 active subwoofer.

Finishes include Oak, White and Black, plus Cherry for the Asia Pacific markets. On paper the oak finish looks particularly pleasing to these eyes. And the 600 S3 series started shipping on 23rd August so pop along to your local dealer now for a listen.

Given its position in the market a new entry-level series from B&W is an important announcement. We look forward to hearing the new ‘babies’ of its range. We’ll also try to get one of the two standmounts in for review. Watch this space.

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