Things We Love: Bowers & Wilkins 603 Speakers

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Founded in the seaside town of Worthing, West Sussex, England, in 1966 by John Bowers, Bowers & Wilkins is a brand world-renowned for more than five decades of innovative speaker design. The company became a household name with audiophiles thanks to innovations such as its patented tweeter-on-top design, which removed the tweeter from the speaker cabinet and placed it atop the cabinet, resulting in clearer high audio frequencies, with minimal distortion and resonance from the speaker cabinets. Other noteworthy innovations include Bowers & Wilkins’s highly recognizable yellow Kevlar midrange drivers with Fixed Suspension Transducer (FST) technology that was designed for rigidity and minimal distortion, and diamond dome tweeters for improved high-frequency detail and clarity.

Trickle-Down Technology

In 2015, Bowers & Wilkins retired the yellow Kevlar midrange drivers from its top models, replacing them with the new proprietary Continuum cone midrange drivers. Like the yellow Kevlar, the Continuum midrange has a distinct silver color. The Continuum cone is a coated woven material developed in-house by Bowers & Wilkins engineers. Initially designed for the manufacturer’s flagship models, the Continuum cone material trickled down to more affordable ranges in the Bowers & Wilkins speaker lineup, with the latest being its 600 Series speakers.

Sitting atop the range of the 600 Series is the 603 floorstanding speakers. The 603 is a 3-way speaker that features two paper bass drivers, one midrange driver, and a decoupled double-dome aluminum tweeter. The midrange driver is a Continuum cone coupled with FST technology to deliver clarity with voices and instruments. Dual 6.5" paper bass drivers ensure the delivery of low frequencies. Lastly, the decoupled double-dome aluminum tweeter delivers break-up effects of high frequencies up to 38 kHz. In layman terms, the tweeter delivers clear high-frequency sounds, while filtering out distortion and break-up performance inherent in sound reproduction as frequencies go up.

Bowers & Wilkins 603 3-Way Floorstanding Speaker
Bowers & Wilkins 603 3-Way Floorstanding Speaker

Why I Love These Speakers

I’ve been a longtime fan and owner of Bowers & Wilkins speakers. Over the years, I’ve owned several speakers from the brand, including the Nautilus 804, 805S, and CM9. Getting to hear what these speakers are able to accomplish, in a moderate price range like the 600 Series was something to which I looked forward. What’s not to love about speakers that use technology found in the flagship models in an affordable cabinet?

Listening to the 603 Speakers

When I listened to the 603, voices and instruments were clear and precise. The speakers delivered a wide and expansive soundstage that belies a cabinet that is only 7.5 inches wide. However, what stood out the most to me was its tight and articulate bass performance. That is the beauty of having dual bass drivers. Listening to “The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady,” by Charles Mingus on SACD, the bass was authoritative without being overwhelming. Articulating the nuance and dexterity of Mingus on double bass was not a problem for the 603. As a bass head, I’ll always recommend adding subwoofers to any speaker system, but the 603’s bass performance should be more than enough for most people. Getting the best bass performance from the 603 requires careful room placement. Ideally, the speakers should be a few feet away from the rear wall due to a rear bass port. If placing the speakers a few feet away from a rear wall isn’t possible due to space constraints, foam plugs are included to place inside the rear bass port to minimize bass boom. It makes a significant difference.

The Takeaway

The Continuum cone midrange driver, dual bass drivers, decoupled double-dome aluminum tweeter, and trickle-down technology work in tandem to produce a great sounding speaker in 603. They are available in matte black or matte white.

Are you an audiophile or home theater enthusiast interested in the 603 or any speaker that Bowers & Wilkins offers? Are you interested in or do you use speakers from another manufacturer? Let us know in the Comments section, below!

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