Product review: Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 Anniversary Edition Speakers

Bowers & Wilkins are renowned for both auditory and aesthetic sensibilities and the 606 S2 AE are no exception. Looking similar to their predecessor, they’ll add style and substance to your hi-fi setup, so what’s the difference, and is it worth the upgrade?

The short answer is yes. A simple A/ B test next to the originals shows the difference is night and day. Upon first listen it’s clear that the first editions, a fantastic and highly competitive range, have been now been surpassed in the Bowers and Wilkins 600 series. The 606 S2 AE are a different class. How?

The main difference in sound probably comes down to the newly refined Decoupled Dome Tweeter module and updated components in the crossover.

The result is a very revealing sound. They still retain the sound signature of the originals, it’s just been  majorly upgraded. The accuracy, detail and clarity here is impressive. The mid and upper range frequencies shine and they are quite revolutionary in pushing the boundaries of what’s possible for a speaker at this price point. They’re just as comfortable at the lower end, there is no struggle here, and they hint at what their bigger floor standing brothers and sisters, the 603 S2 could be capable of.

“B&W hones its award-winning 606 standmounters to great effect.” ‘What Hi-Fi?’ 2020 award-winner.

For the first test I’m pairing it with a Cambridge CXN streamer that’s connected using Chord Clearway RCA interconnects to a CXA81 amp for native hi res playback.

The first thing that strikes me about the latest additions is the immersive nature of these beasts, and by immersive I mean it really puts you in the music. Part of their unique charm is how well they manage this while maintaining being a nice, comfortable and natural listen that’s easy on the ear whatever you’re pumping through them.

Herein lies the slight downside. This easiness may not appeal to all ears, some may prefer a speaker that grabs your attention with more brash treble or bass and there’s certainly models that provide more of each on the market. What you get with the Bowers is a pleasant, even balance you’d expect of any speaker designed with the dignity to uphold the philosophies of the Great British Sound.

With Paul Simon’s Graceland, you can really feel the organic nature of this recording and the spaces the tracks create.

Switching to something electronic like Bicep, the clarity is striking. The subtle quantized dynamics are beautifully articulated here.

Swapping the amp and streamer out for a setup geared towards analogue I pair the 606 S2s with a Roksan K3 and a Technics SL 1500. Listening to Amy Winehouse’s Back In Black and it is again striking how natural these speakers sound with vinyl.

Exploring Tidal’s Bowers & Wilkins playlist showcases a range of tracks to bring the most out of the speakers and is worth a spin on the current system of any prospective buyer to familiarize themselves with before they venture out to one of our Richer Sounds demo rooms, where the staff will happily arrange an appointment for you. All in all, if you’re looking for a pair of great all rounder bookshelf speakers the B&W 606 S2 are well worth your time.

Learn more about the Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 Anniversary Edition Speakers.

Author: Daniel, Kingston store