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Bowers & Wilkins Tweaks 600 Series with 6 New Speakers

By Rachel Cericola

Everyone loves a makeover. Even Bowers & Wilkins, who just announced plans to revamp one of its speaker lines. The company will soon add six new speakers to the 600 Series, which also includes three subwoofers that are currently available.

The new additions aren't just a bunch of new speakers, but a bunch of new speakers for different applications -- and budgets. Bowers & Wilkins is making these new speakers affordable, by picking up a few solutions from other ranges. For instance, the Double Dome Tweeters from the CM10 speaker promise to extend the first breakup frequency to 38kHz, all while the Anti-Resonance Plugs for mid/bass drive units from the PM-1 should lower bass distortion and improve dynamics. Also, Kevlar cones boast a smooth, articulate midrange.

Of course, Bowers & Wilkins wasn't just mixing and matching favorite technologies from old speakers. The company also developed new Dual Layer aluminum bass drivers and a new tweeter decoupling technology.

The Decoupled Double Dome tweeter is unique because it has two separate aluminum domes. The second has its center portion cut out and glued to the rear face of the first dome. The entire assembly is then decoupled and physically separated from the cabinet by a cushioning gel ring. The end result promises pure sound, better dispersion, and less dynamic compression.

The 684 is a two-way floorstanding speaker with a versatile, slim design.

The new range includes four sets of speakers and two center channels. The largest of the lot is the 683. This floorstanding speaker has the new Decoupled Double Dome tweeter, an FST midrange driver, and new Dual Layer aluminum bass drivers. The latter basically involves an aluminum bass cone around the periphery, with a second layer of aluminum. This is supposed to make richer bass, with less distortion. That kind of quality will cost you $1650 per pair.

For something slightly slimmer, the 684 is another floorstanding option. It has the new Kevlar bass/midrange drive units and the Decoupled Double Dome tweeter. Instead of the 6.5-inch drivers of the current 684, this model has 5-inchers. Other features include the Anti-Resonance Plugs, a two-way design versus the 2.5 of the previous model, and an MSRP of $1150 per pair.

If you can't quite decide between stands or shelves, go with the 685. This model works both ways, in almost any room. It has the Decoupled Double Dome tweeters, the Kevlar cones and the Anti-Resonance Plugs, as well as an MSRP of $700 per pair.

Last of the speaker sets is the 686, which is priced at $550 per pair. Measuring 6.3-by-12.4-by-9 inches, this compact model has the Decoupled Double Dome tweeter and a Kevlar driver with the Anti-Resonance Plug. Other features include a 5-inch driver with a 25mm voice coil and a front-firing Flowport, which makes it ideal for placing on a shelf or near the wall.

The two new center-channel speakers are the HTM61 ($750) and the HTM62 ($450). The HTM61 is a three-way system that has the tweeter directly above the 4-inch FST midrange. The HTM62 is a smaller model, with two 5-inch bass/midrange drivers and a central tweeter.

Bowers & Wilkins will start shipping the new 600 Series in March. Available in a black ash finish, these speakers also include an optimized steel mesh grille to keep the speaker safe from any damage.

The 685 is perfect for placing on stands or on a shelf.

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