Bowers & Wilkins 600 S3 Speaker Series Overview

In the world of consumer products, some brands have iconic status among the masses. Brands like Rolex, Harley Davidson, and Porsche elicit a connection to their products that transcends others in their class. This is due to engineering and design, which is a step above other companies. Due to its long history of innovation and quality engineering, Bowers & Wilkins has earned its reputation as a tour de force in speaker development and manufacturing. Using the same speaker model in your home that Abbey Road, Skywalker Ranch, and the BBC studios use to cut their tracks gives you a distinct advantage when trying to stay true to the original sound.

Bowers & Wilkins was founded in 1966 by John Bowers in Worthing, West Sussex, England.  John had a vision of the perfect speaker and went about designing and engineering his vision. Research and development are the foundations of Bowers & Wilkins speakers, and that is what sets them apart from other brands. From the very start, John Bowers reinvested his profits into the company, allowing them to have more resources at their disposal than most speaker manufacturers. Opening their own research center named the 'SRE' or 'Steyning Research Establishment’ furthered their pursuit of the perfect speaker. During this research, they learned that there were materials now available that technically outperformed more conventional driver cone materials. These resources also gave them another advantage: making their own drivers in-house. What this meant was that they could utilize materials that were not generally thought of in speaker design. Materials like Kevlar, Metal, and even Diamond allowed them to fully realize the advantages of these materials.

Having the high-end of the market covered with their iconic Nautilus Loudspeaker, as well as their 800 Series and 700 Series speakers, Bowers & Wilkins knew that they wanted to trickle down this new technology to allow more people to enjoy the Bowers & Wilkins sound. In 1991, the first 600-series speakers showed the world that Bowers & Wilkins could also design a speaker that had a lot of the technology that made these flagship speakers great but were more attainable to the masses. Having Kevlar midrange drivers and metal tweeters, much like their big brothers, gave this new series an edge over other brands and was an overnight success. Throughout the years, Bowers & Wilkins has perfected its formula for the 600 Series, and in its newest form is the 8th generation of this popular line.

600 Series 3 Features & Technology

Having the 600 S3 line allows Bowers & Wilkins to showcase its years of experience in flagship speaker design to a larger audience that may not have the space or the budget for its flagship offerings.

Updated Continuum Cone

With the midrange being the heart and soul of the music, Bowers & Wilkins put great effort into incorporating their Continuum tech into this line of speakers. Bowers & Wilkins saw this material as an evolution of the Kevlar material that they have used for years. The new Continuum cone material further improved the speed and clarity of the midrange while not needing the surround found in most midrange drivers. Coming from the 800 and 700 series of speakers, this FST Continuum cone was reimagined, especially for the 600 S3, giving them the benefits of this technology while keeping this series more affordable for music lovers. We really like that Bowers & Wilkins decided to use this material in the new 600 S3, giving this line of speakers the natural and accurate midrange on which Bowers & Wilkins built their reputation!

New Titanium Dome Tweeter

Having a detailed and expressive treble response is a hallmark of Bowers & Wilkins speakers, and the new 600 S3 is no exception. The newly developed Titanium dome tweeter was made specifically to produce a natural, detailed, and refined treble response often only available in more expensive speakers. This tweeter is fully decoupled from the cabinet, having its own mounting system so that there is no interaction with the other drive units. This gives the benefit of the tweeter working in its own space, improving both transparency and soundstage ability. This new tweeter is protected by a new metal grill that allows the tweeter to work unobstructed to provide the best performance possible.

Bowers & Wilkins FlowPort Technology

Another trickle-down technology from Bowers & Wilkins’s more expensive siblings is the patented FlowPort technology. Just like the golf ball technology this design was modeled after, the FlowPort allows air to flow through the port without any noise or resistance, providing the best bass-reflex performance possible. Often called “port chuffing,” this air noise has been an ongoing issue with bass-reflex designs and can induce extra unwanted noise in the bass frequencies and destroy an otherwise smooth bass production. Having this trickle-down tech in the 600 S3 line shows Bowers & Wilkins’s commitment to giving the best performance they can at this price level.

Upgraded & Optimized Crossovers

The hidden and often overlooked part of a high-end speaker system is the crossover network. The crossover network is absolutely essential to separate the different frequencies that each driver is designed for. When done right, each driver will work within its design characteristics while “crossing” over frequencies outside of its design to more capable drivers for those frequencies. While it would seem simple on paper, designing a crossover is a very complex task. First, you must provide a smooth transition between drivers, often incorporating different crossover points so that the drivers transition to each other without deviations in the frequency response. Also, the designer must work with the phase relationship inherent to crossovers to produce the best response for the design. Bowers & Wilkins has upped their game in the new 600 Series 3 line, with upgraded components being optimized just for the new speakers. These properly designed and executed crossover networks are a large part of what gives these speakers detailed and transparent sound.

Upgraded Speaker Terminals

The 600 S3 series comes with speaker terminals that were introduced in their 700 series. This new terminal gives the ability to bi-wire or bi-amp any of the 600 S3 speakers, giving owners the opportunity to try different cabling or amplifier combinations to get the best performance out of the speaker. We think this is a great addition to the line and often not seen in products at these prices. Being that these terminals are trickled down from the 700 series means they are the highest-quality terminals used in the 600 series to date.

Three Finish Options

The 600 S3 series has three finish options, allowing speakers to blend into almost any room or system. The finish is furniture quality and will last for years.

Bowers & Wilkins 600 S3 Lineup

Bowers & Wilkins 603 S3 Floorstanding Speakers

The 603 S3 Tower Speaker is the largest and most capable speaker in the new 600 series lineup. This floor-standing loudspeaker is designed for larger rooms and home theater applications where higher output levels and more bass impact are needed.

The 603 S3 incorporates two 6.5” paper cone woofers for its bass section. These drivers allow this slim speaker to have a specified -6dB point of 29Hz, which is impressive for such a slim tower. Using paper cones for bass drivers has been around for years, and it’s for a good reason. Paper cones have the advantage of behaving much better at the extremes of the driver's frequency response allowing a natural and balanced bass that sounds more like the instruments being played. These paper cone bass drivers hand off the response to a 6” Continuum midrange driver giving these speakers the midrange clarity and speed Bowers & Wilkins are known for.

  1. Bowers & Wilkins 603 S3 Floorstanding Speaker at an angle in Black - no grille Bowers & Wilkins 603 S3 Floorstanding Speaker
    Final Price $1,250.00

The new titanium decoupled tweeter takes on treble duty and gives the 603 S3 insight into the music with a wide soundstage and detailed highs. This small tower speaker is at home in both a high-end music system and as part of a high-output theater system.

Bowers & Wilkins 606 S3 Stand-Mount Loudspeaker

The 606 S3 Stand-Mount Loudspeaker allows people in smaller rooms or apartments to get the Bowers & Wilkins performance they desire without large tower speakers taking up precious space. The bass and midrange are handled by a special Continuum driver developed just for this speaker. This 6.5” driver has a bass performance down to 52Hz and gives the midrange the same detailed and natural response as its big brother the 603 S3. The 606 S3 uses the same decoupled titanium tweeter as the other speakers in the line keeping the sound characteristics the same throughout. Choose the 606 S3 if space is a concern but you still want solid bass performance.  This speaker also makes a great companion to the 603 S3 in a high-power home theater where surround speakers need to be a bit larger. With the optional FS-600 S3 stands, the 603 S3 makes a very compelling stand-mount speaker option in its price class.

  1. Black Bowers & Wilkins 606 S3 Stand-Mount Loudspeaker at an angle, without grille Bowers & Wilkins 606 S3 Stand-Mount Loudspeaker
    Final Price $1,100.00

Bowers & Wilkins 607 S3 Bookshelf Speakers

Rounding out the stereo speakers in the 600 S3 line is the 607 S3 Bookshelf Speaker. This small stand-mount speaker is small enough to work in a small bedroom system or apartment where space is tight. It can also be used with its larger siblings in a home theater application where having the most detail and the same sound characteristics as your main speakers is critical. The 607 S3 incorporates the same decoupled titanium tweeter as the other models with a special 5” version of the Continuum bass/midrange driver that keeps the size of the speaker small but not the performance with a bass capability rating of 52Hz. The 607 S3 punches well above its diminutive size and can provide great musical enjoyment by itself or with an accompanied subwoofer. Choose the 607 S3 if you want maximum space savings but don’t want to compromise on performance. Using the 607 S3 in a high quality two-channel system will need a subwoofer if realistic low bass performance is needed.

  1. Bowers & Wilkins 607 S3 Bookshelf speaker at an angle without grille Bowers & Wilkins 607 S3 Bookshelf Speakers
    Final Price $900.00

Bowers & Wilkins HTM6 S3 Center Channel

The HTM6 S3 Center Channel speaker utilizes 2 of the same 5” Continuum drivers that the 607 S3 employs making sure that there is timbre matching between all of the speakers in the line. The tweeter is also the same decoupled titanium driver the other speakers in the line enjoy. At 6.3” high, 18.9” wide, and 10” deep Bowers & Wilkins wanted it to be small enough to fit a variety of home theater applications but be mighty enough to partner with their larger siblings in a full home theater system. Using FlowPort technology as well as the higher-quality crossover components allows this small center channel to do just that!

  1. Bowers & Wilkins HTM6 S3 center channel speaker in black without grille Bowers & Wilkins HTM6 S3 Center Channel Speaker
    Final Price $900.00


From the first listen we could tell the 600 S3 speakers were cut from the same cloth as their 700 and 800 series speakers. Starting with the 603 S3 in a two-channel system, we knew right away that these speakers punched above their price level.

Angus and Julia Stone’s 2010 album Big Jet Plane is a great album and the track “Living On A Rainbow” allowed us to test the resolving power of the 600 S3 series. Playing this track through the 603 S3 allowed us to experience the fully evolved bass drum that anchors this track. Being slender tower speakers, the 603 S3 impressed us with its bass prowess on this track, providing great detail along the way. Julia’s vocals have an interesting tone that can sound sibilant or peaky on some speakers, but the 603 S3 kept its composure giving her vocals the natural tone they deserve. There is a bridge in this song that features children singing in the chorus which will show the speaker's ability with the soundstage. We were impressed with how well these chorus vocals were produced, allowing us to hear the details of each singer as well as an impressive soundstage width.

Two Feet’s 2017 album Momentum is a great album and the song “Love is a Bitch” can test a speaker's bass capability as well as dynamic prowess. The bass line in the song is very punchy and will test a speaker's bass speed as well as depth. The 603 S3 produced this track’s bass much fuller than their size would normally indicate giving the song the depth it needs. Vocals were rendered with detail and were anchored center stage showing good imaging. This song has a synthesizer effect in the chorus that some speakers do not handle well. It is purposely driven into a clipping to make the effect take over the chorus. It is a cool effect that the 603 S3 handled well. This showed us that the 600 S3 series can be well-rounded for whatever music you are into. The highs were always crisp and clean with great detail and energy. In fact, if we had to make one criticism of the 600 S3 line, it would be its honesty. If the recording itself was not mastered or mixed well, the 600 S3 line will do nothing to make them better, and in fact, have the resolving power to show you how bad they are. Feeding the 600 S3 line great recordings will reward you with a memorable performance.

Through our time with the 600 S3 series, we found that the various models in the line have midrange and treble responses that were very close to identical. This shows Bowers & Wilkins ability to design this line of speakers, and that you can choose your model mostly based on room size and bass desired. Choose the 603 S3 if you have a larger room or you prioritize bass depth, or choose the 606 S3 or 607 S3 if you have a small room or bass depth is not your ultimate goal. In a theater environment, we quickly found that the HTM6 S3 mated well with all the models giving timbre likeness across the front channels. Also with the 606 S3 and 607 S3 used as surrounds, the whole package had the coherency that would make movie soundtracks seamless through all the channels.

Overall Recommendation

We think that Bowers & Wilkins knocked it out of the park with the new 600 S3 lineup. These speakers bring trickle-down technology from their 800, and 700 series models into a smaller more affordable package. If you are looking for a speaker that punches above its price and offers a level of value rarely found in today’s audio landscape, please contact our knowledgeable staff here at Audio Advice and we can help you choose the models that fit your room and your budget

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  1. Bowers & Wilkins 603 S3 Floorstanding Speaker at an angle in Black - no grille Bowers & Wilkins 603 S3 Floorstanding Speaker
    Final Price $1,250.00

  1. Black Bowers & Wilkins 606 S3 Stand-Mount Loudspeaker at an angle, without grille Bowers & Wilkins 606 S3 Stand-Mount Loudspeaker
    Final Price $1,100.00

  1. Bowers & Wilkins 607 S3 Bookshelf speaker at an angle without grille Bowers & Wilkins 607 S3 Bookshelf Speakers
    Final Price $900.00

  1. Bowers & Wilkins HTM6 S3 center channel speaker in black without grille Bowers & Wilkins HTM6 S3 Center Channel Speaker
    Final Price $900.00