Review: Bowers and Wilkins 606 AE Tweaked and improved

Source: added 28th Nov 2020

  • review:-bowers-and-wilkins-606-ae-tweaked-and-improved
  • review:-bowers-and-wilkins-606-ae-tweaked-and-improved

If you pair it with a decent amplifier, the Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 in its price range is one of the best all-round speakers. Now the British manufacturer is bringing an Anniversary Edition that has been adjusted on details. Are we going with this from â ???? very goodâ ???? to â ???? excellentâ ?????

Who 600 – 800 wants to spend euros for a pair of speakers, it won’t be easy. And not because there is little choice or a quality problem at that price point. On the contrary, for that amount you can now even choose from a number of high-quality products. A name that is absolutely not on the list of speakers to investigate during your quest. may be missing is the 606 S2 from Bowers & Wilkins . It’s a slightly larger bookshelf speaker that combines a no-nonsense look with high-end trickle-down technology 800 Series units of the British brand. It guarantees a beautiful, exciting reproduction. But now Bowers & Wilkins is launching a new version of this audience favorite, the 607 S2 Anniversary Edition. Not a completely new loudspeaker, that is immediately clear, but a further refinement of the concept. Is this version still as good as its predecessor? Will it remain a good choice for people who want to place a nice music system in their living room without emptying their bank account? We investigate this in this review of the 749 – euro per pair costing 606 S2 Anniversary Edition.

A quarter of a century old The addition of the â ???? Anniversary Editionâ ???? – label in honor of the 25 th anniversary of this popular entry-level series at Bowers & Wilkins suggests that we are viewing a limited edition here. But the new S2 Anniversary Editions â ???? we will from here usually â ???? AEâ ???? write because we are lazy â ???? are full-fledged, permanent successors to the 606 S2 family 2018 was introduced.

A quick look at the â ???? oldâ ???? 606 S2 we have standing for tests and the new AE- edition sent by Bowers & Wilkins suffices to see that this is not a major innovation. Rather it is a “refresh” as car brands now use three years after the introduction of a new model. Tweaking, tuning, freshening up, that’s how you can often summarize it with them, and that is actually the case here. Is that a complaint? Not as the starting point of such a â ???? refreshâ ???? is a good speaker. Making something better is never bad.

A term like â ???? refreshâ ???? also does not mean that Bowers & Wilkins has only changed cosmetic matters. The technology has also been tinkered with, in particular the crossovers, says the manufacturer. We immediately think of the beautiful Signature editions of the 700 Series that Bowers & Wilkins presented earlier in the year and which we also tested. Improving the crossovers was also one of the significant interventions for those speakers. Bowers & Wilkins then replaced the capacitors with better Mundorf versions. And that is exactly what happened with the 606 S2 Anniversary Edition .

Hip color version There has been some technical adjustments to the new speakers. At the same time, one of the eye-catchers at the 603 S2 Anniversary Edition speakers slightly aesthetically pleasing. Bowers & Wilkins delivers the speakers in a new trendy finish that combines sides in a light oak with a white front. It looks really good and gives the speakers a high Scandi design content, so that they will not look out of place in more modern interiors. The familiar matte black or white versions will of course also remain. It is even the black edition that we received a visit. When we â ???? blackâ ???? reading on the label of the packaging, we thought at first: “Sorry”. But the matt character of the housing is actually very chic and modern, so that we quickly concealed that disappointment.

Incidentally, there is a fourth color option, a reddish cherry wood. However, the British speaker builder expects little demand for that version in Europe. Cherry will be for sale elsewhere in the world, but those who really want it will have to order this version from us in the store.

In this review we look at the 606 S2 Anniversary Edition, a slightly larger bookshelf speaker that also fits well on a stand and is available in stores for 699 euros per pair. If you are looking for something smaller, the compact 607 AE with a more modest woofer rightly so, who swears by floorstanders will find what he likes with the 603 S2 Anniversary Edition (a review of which will be published here soon). The HTM6 SE Anniversary Edition is the latest addition to the new AE family, a center speaker for the surround enthusiast. The three ASW 600 subwoofers have not been renewed and remain the preferred choice according to the manufacturer if you have a home theater based on 600 S2 Anniversary Edition speakers builds.

Three modern colors In terms of shape and dimensions, not much has changed with the 606 S2 AE. It is a rectangular speaker that would seem very classic, were it not for the fact that Bowers & Wilkins made a few smart choices. To start with, there is the woofer with the silver cone made of the mysterious Continuum material that the brand is so proud of. The big advantage of the stiff but light Continuum is that it reacts very predictably, which fits perfectly with the approach of the technique-driven Bowers & Wilkins.

The woofer also stands out visually very well with the matte black of our test speakers. The effect is slightly less strong with the white and the new white-with-oak versions, but these versions also look very chic due to the combination. The tweeter grille with aluminum outer ring gives the 607 S2 AE also extra class . Overall, the build quality is excellent, especially if you take that price into account. Of course you will not find a gloss lacquer that has been applied in many layers, such as with the more expensive 700 Series, yet this 606 S2 AE exudes the necessary luxury from. It’s in the finish level, so you can’t see any seams despite the sharp edges on the case. There are also no visible bolts or screws on the front. The supplied speaker grille clicks on magnetically. All details, but the total sum does yield a very positive result.

The Bowers & Wilkins speakers are also just finished at the back, which is nice if you want to place the speakers freely in a larger room. At the back we discover very solid speaker terminals, times two. So you can bi-wire or bi-amp these speakers.

All-rounders with a fine nose for detail In our test room we have the 606 S2 Anniversary Edition first listened to with the NAD C 658 – DAC / Preamp and the C 298 – output stage with Purifi amplification. A somewhat expensive combination for speakers of this price range, but the purity of the C 298 allows us to focus on what the speakers can and do themselves. But to keep it a bit more realistic, we then connect the speakers to a Sonos Amp in the living room. It may seem like a curious choice to some readers, but when we tested this little amplifier from Sonos at the time, we found the match with the previous generation 606 S2 really add up.

Initially that was surprising, because the Bowers & Wilkins speakers do have some demands on speakers and for the old Sonos Connect: Amp it would not be feasible have been. The Sonos Amp is clearly a better device, although we estimate its direct competitor, the Bluesound PowerNode 2i, higher. Both devices come with an HDMI input, so you can build a nice stereo music system on your TV that also sounds good when you watch a movie or binge watch TV series. For that scenario, looks like the Denon DRA – 800 us a good option too.

One of the strengths of Bowers & Wilkins is their Decoupled Double dome tweeter, also present with this 606 S2 AE. It is thanks to that tweeter that the recently released â € œThe Sophware Slumpâ € On a wooden pianoâ ???? van Granddaddy (Roon and Qobuz) reveals its full intimist character. You could call the tuning of this Bowers & Wilkins all-round; Noiserock by Magik Markers or the eigenthiessynt by Das Kabinette roll compellingly from the 606 S2 AE for example. Still, the slightly clear detail rendering â ???? slightly more pronounced than the previous one 606 S2 â ??? ? us with the Granddaddy album a more audiophile impression.

Also with â ???? Bach: The Cello Suites â ???? Recomposed by Peter Gregsonâ ???? (which seems to be some sort of attempt to follow up Max Richter’s Recomposed Vivaldi album), release the 606 Anniversary stand out positively. The Continuum woofer lets the rich, warm sounds of the cello resonate nicely in the listening room, and the integration between the woofer and tweeter is also really good here. The 606 S2 AE converts â ???? slightly screwed in â ???? a nice soundstage that hangs in wide between the speakers.

At the last minute arrived â ???? Idiot Prayerâ ???? from Nick Cave on the bus â ???? what a musical gift in these times! This catchy “Best of” was literally played solo on a piano by Cave in the middle of an empty Alexandra Palace in London, originally exclusive and one-off for a live stream. Fortunately, these songs are now available for you to listen to at home again. We can only be happy about it. Again we note that the 606 S2 AEâ ???? s both perfectly convey Cave’s voice and very well reproduce that piano with its lightly reverberating harmonic tones. “Higgs Bosons Blues” is to die for.

Also good with movies and games In our listening room, the Bowers & Wilkins speakers were more than a meter from the wall (with acoustic panels present, to limit reflections from a TV screen), in the living room we place the two speakers a lot closer to a wall, left and right of one 55 – inch television. That moving teaches us that the distance to the wall at the 607 S2 AE is very decisive for the layer reproduction. Always with speakers with a bass port at the rear, of course, but with these speakers just a little more. It does give you some freedom to tune to your own taste. In the listening room, for example, we played to â € œThe Legend of the Eagle Bearerâ €, the mighty title track of the spectacularly beautiful game â € œAssassin’s Creed: Odysseyâ €. Beautiful, detailed, with an openness that shows the ancient Greek instruments in this song. But in the living room, that’s where the percussion got its full impact and slam. Not huge detai Learned or something, for that you have to be in a more expensive price range, but the fun factor is definitely more present. This is a lot more exciting to listen to, if you want to play games or watch a movie. Electronic genres also immediately sound much more fun.


The Bowers & Willkins 606 S2 Anniversary Edition builds on and improves on its acclaimed predecessor. It remains a loudspeaker that, despite a fairly compact size, can still play robustly. The 606 S2 AE continues to be an all-rounder that puts listening pleasure before everything perfectly displayed. That is often the case at this price point: the fun factor prevails â ???? and there is nothing wrong with that. But where the Bowers & Wilkins has an edge is in the detail reproduction in the middle and high. Marry the Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 AE with a decent amplifier and you’re gonna be a happy music lover.

Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 Anniversary Edition

749 euro / pair |

Rating 4.5 out of 5

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