B&W 603 S2 Anniversary Edition Loudspeaker

hfncommendedThe flagship of B&W's Anniversary Edition takes the range to a new price level, and promises performance to match

The special editions have been coming thick and fast this year, and this is the second recent 'tuned' range from Worthing-based Bowers & Wilkins, following hot on the heels of the 700 Series Signature models. We've reviewed the 702 Signature floorstander [HFN Sep '20], and the formula for the 600 Series Anniversary lineup is a familiar one: new finishes, and some mild performance tuning.

Launched to celebrate 25 years since the debut of the original 600 Series models, this Anniversary Edition represents one of the company's shortest model cycles. After all, the last revamp of the 600 Series was just two years ago [HFN Dec '18]. Here 'trickle down technology' saw the Continuum Cone first used in the current 800 Series Diamond models finding its way into the company's entry-level range via its use in the 'middle range' 700 Series, replacing the familiar yellow Kevlar cones.

At that point the company took the opportunity to rationalise the offering to just two standmounts and a floorstander, plus a centre speaker for multichannel use. It also reverted to the 600 model-naming after dallying with 680 designations in its previous generation.

Familial Pattern
The 600 Anniversary Edition follows the same pattern: the £1499 603 S2 Anniversary model we have here is the sole floorstander, while below it are the 606 and 607 variants, at £599 and £449, respectively, plus the Anniversary version of the HTM6 centre speaker, at £449. There's also a multichannel package, the 600 Anniversary Series Theatre, combining 603, 607 and HTM6 speakers with the ASW610 subwoofer and selling for £2916.

So what sets the Anniversary Edition apart? Well, the most obvious things will be new finishes, with the existing matt black and white options being joined by a white/light oak two-tone (or in some markets red cherry), and a new anniversary logo etched into the tweeter surround in either light or dark finishes to suit the speaker colouring.


New Heights
Within, the changes encompass the same upgrades found in the 700 Signature speakers, with uprated crossover components including specially treated bypass capacitors from Mundorf, and improvements to the main high-frequency and midband capacitors.

It's hardly radical stuff, but the company claims it delivers 'greatly improved resolution and transparency'. It further says that 'By using our unique, in-house-developed components and technology from higher ranges, we can raise the performance of our entry-level product to new heights and for a very modest premium'.

For all that, there's much that's familiar in these speakers, which are a relatively compact floorstanding design, standing just a metre tall, and with the supplied stabilising plinth (not shown here) taking that up to 105.5cm. It's relatively slender, too, with the main cabinet just 190mm wide – about as narrow as it could be while still fitting in its 165mm bass drivers – and 340mm deep, though the plinth increases that footprint to 320x370mm. That said, in the absence of small children or animals likely to topple the speakers, you could easily use them without the plinth.

The drivers are a mix of in-house B&W units: the tweeter is a 25mm Decoupled Double Dome driver, in which the main aluminium diaphragm is reinforced by a ring of the same metal, adding stiffness, while the midrange driver is that woven Continuum Cone, 150mm in diameter and using the company's surroundless FST design. Below that sit a pair of 165mm bass drivers using reinforced paper cones, tuned via a rear-venting 'Flowport'.

B&W Group Ltd
West Sussex
Supplied by: B&W Group Ltd
0800 232 1513