Are the Bowers and Wilkins 606 S2 Anniversary Edition Worth the Hype?
When I found a pair of Bowers and Wilkins 606 S2 Anniversary Edition at my local Best Buy for the open box price, I knew I had to buy them not only to share my findings with all of you but because I have never personally owned a pair of B&W's.
These have had some conflicting reviews within the YouTube community of reviewers, so I wanted to know whose ears don't align well with mine.
This is the season to consider some significant purchases, and within those purchases could very well be a pair of speakers. So, let's find out if the Bowers and Wilkins 606 S2's are up to snuff and whether these could be your next favorite speaker.
These speakers are celebrating the series 25th anniversary, which is excellent and worthy of much praise that they have lasted the test of time all the way back to their legacy days. This edition of the 606 S2 Bowers has made a few upgrades to the speaker. The 1" Aluminum Dome Tweeter has a decoupled double dome design, and the 6.5" Continuum Cone is used in their higher-end offerings like the 800 Diamond series. The sensitivity is rated at 88db; however, don't let that number intimidate you since these were partially designed using an amp only providing 30 watts per channel, so they aren't hard to drive. Bowers has declared the frequency response from 52hz-28khz, which judging from the bass response I experienced right out of the box, I can say they would more than likely perform way lower than 52Hz.
The speakers are rear-ported, and I noticed that if you pull them out a few feet from the wall, the experience changes considerably. The speaker's rear has two sets of five-way binding posts in case you are bi-amping or bi-wiring. I only used two out of the four because that's just the way I decided to test them. There is a vast majority that more than likely won't spend hundreds of dollars on the cabling for bi-wiring, so keeping it simple felt like the right thing to do. I am using the Cambridge EVO 150 to power these speakers and using Qobuz to play my favorite music through these speakers.
I had a few first impressions upon playing these speakers for the first time. My first was wide the soundstage presented itself. I was very impressed. I wasn't expecting such fantastic imaging from these smaller stand-mount speakers.
The second characteristic to jump at me was the copious amounts of bass that these bookshelf speakers provide. These loudspeakers really hit. I had to play a little hip-hop straight away, and they performed very well. The highs were nice. A smidgen on the brighter side of things, but not fatiguing. What I didn't really care for was the midrange. I felt it sounded a bit colored; the accuracy of the midrange didn't feel natural at all. However, it depended on what I was playing. It only sounded flawed when I played tracks with dynamic vocals or live recordings. So I decided to run them for a week or two to see if the midrange works itself out with a bit of burn-in time.
As I suspected, after a couple of weeks of running them nightly, using a mixture of movies, shows, and music, the midrange mellowed out quite a bit. These speakers showed their genuine sound signature after a bit of break-in.
I felt these speakers would be great for someone who wants to own a pair of Bowers and Wilkins speakers. Let's be honest B&W's sound isn't for everyone; sometimes, their sound signature is an acquired taste. However, the 606 S2's were a pleasure to listen to and exceeded all expectations with their punchy bass response and lively top end, creating a lot of detail and providing one of the most expansive soundstages I have heard from a pair of stand-mount speakers.