B&W has completely reworked its mainstream 600 Series speakers, claiming significant advances in both technology and performance. In fact, the company says the speakers offer 'levels of technology that have previously not been attainable at this price level.'
The speakers still use the Nautilus tube technology found in the old models, but with a neodymium magnet for better sensitivity, a copper-plated pole-piece for extended high-frequency response, a new lower-mass voice coil and a new surround to lower the fundamental resonance frequency for better integration.
Partnering this driver are new bass/midrange and FST midrange drivers with a more open cast chassis, a new phase-plug for less noise, an enhanced surround to smooth midrange response and a copper-covered pole piece for better integration with the tweeter. Simpler crossovers have been made possible by these improved drivers.
The speakers have new soft-touch front panels with a diamond-cut logo in the brushed aluminium tweeter trim, and the speakers are available in Wenge, Black Ash, Light Oak and Red Cherry.
The new standmount speakers are the £279-a-pair 686 and the slightly larger 685 (£379/pr), both using a 25mm tweeter, with a 13cm Kevlar mid/bass unit in the 686, and a 16.5cm driver in the 685.
The £699/pr 684 and £899/pr 683 floorstanding models add extra drivers: an additional 16.5cm unit in the 684, while the 683 has two aluminium/paper/Kevlar composite bass units and 15cm FST Kevlar cone midrange.
Two centre speakers are available , the £249 HTM62 having two 13cm Kevlar mid/bass units straddling the 25mm tweeter, and the £399 HTM61 using a 16.5cm bass driver, a 15cm FST Kevlar midrange and the same tweeter. There's also a new DS3 switchable dipole/monopole rear speaker, at £549 a pair, using a 13cm mid/bass unit, that 25mm tweeter and two 8cm mid/high frequency drivers.
The range is completed with three new subwoofers, the £299 ASW608, £399 ASW610 and £699 ASW601XP. The two junior models share a 200W Class D amplifier, driving a 20cm bass unit in the ASW608 and a 25cm driver in the ASW610. The XP version uses an uprated driver in a slightly larger enclosure than that used for the standard ASW610.