The new Bowers & Wilkins 600 Series is said to dramatically improve on the existing range’s combination of value and audio performance with every element of its design having being improved in the six new models.
The new 600 Series utilises Bowers & Wilkins engineering solutions from other ranges – Double Dome Tweeters derived from the CM10 speaker, Anti-Resonance Plugs for mid/bass drive units first seen in the PM-1 and Kevlar® too. Added to these technologies are new advances developed specifically for the new 600 Series, including new Dual Layer aluminum bass drivers and new tweeter decoupling technology.
The Decoupled Double Dome tweeter comprises two separate aluminum domes, the second with its center portion cut out and glued to the rear face of the first dome for lightness and rigidity. The entire tweeter assembly is then decoupled, being physically separated from the cabinet by a cushioning gel ring.
The 683 is the largest speaker in the new 600 Series – a floorstander that features the new Decoupled Double Dome tweeter, an FST™ midrange driver and new Dual Layer aluminum bass drivers. This new Dual Layer design sees an aluminum bass cone reinforced around its periphery with a second layer of aluminum, for a more effectively damped cone and higher break-up frequency.
The new 684 floorstander is now slimmer, has improved Kevlar bass/midrange drive units and the Decoupled Double Dome tweeter. 5” mid/bass drivers replace the 6.5” drivers of the current 684 and Anti-Resonance Plugs are used in the drivers. The 684 is a 2-way design compared to the 2.5 way of the previous model. The smaller drivers have broader off axis response at higher frequencies, allowing the use of a simpler crossover.
The new 685 is at home on a stand or bookshelf and combines new Decoupled Double Dome tweeters, Kevlar cones and Anti-Resonance Plugs. The new 685 is destined to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors, the 601 and the outgoing 685.
The new 686 is just 6.3” wide x 12.4” high x 9” deep and is the most compact speaker in the new 600 Series. It too uses the new Decoupled Double Dome tweeter and improved Kevlar driver with Anti-Resonance Plug. Its main 5-inch driver features a 25mm voice coil for higher sensitivity, and it now has a front rather than rear-firing Flowport™, making it suitable for placement near a wall or in a bookshelf. The 686 features a built-in bracket for easy wall mounting.
The HTM61 centre speaker has probably seen greater change than any other in the range. The outgoing model, in an effort to minimize baffle area while still offering a full 3-way system, had only a single bass driver and an asymmetrical horizontal dispersion pattern around the upper crossover frequency. The new model takes a similar design philosophy to the CM Center 2 and has grown considerably as a result. Placing the tweeter directly above the 4” FST midrange driver to give a symmetrical dispersion and the extra bass driver matches the power output of the 683, with which this center speaker is designed to be used in a home theater installation.
HTM62, the smaller of the two center speakers, carries over the twin 5” bass/midrange with central tweeter concept of the outgoing model. The cabinet height has been reduced in the same way that the 686 width has decreased, but in order to keep the same internal volume without increasing depth, the cabinet width has increased a little. However, both center speakers retain rear-facing ports. The speaker may be considered as a 684 on its side, with the tweeter moved to a position between the bass/midrange drivers to guarantee a symmetrical horizontal dispersion. Typically, it would be included into any 600 Series home theatre system that did not feature the 683 at front left and right.
The new 600 Series is available in a Black Ash finish only from March 2013.
The 683 is priced $1,650 per pair.
The 684 is priced $1,150 per pair.
The 685 is priced $700 per pair.
The 686 is priced $550 per pair.
The HTM61 is priced $750 each.
The HTM62 is priced $450 each.