Enjoy your music with these Bowers & Wilkins 600 Series 685 S2 2-way loudspeakers, which feature 6-1/2" woven DuPont™ KEVLAR® fiber woofer cones for clear sound. The 1" decoupled double-dome aluminum tweeters deliver crisp, pure highs.
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With Nautilus tube loading features 2-layer construction for a rigid, lightweight design that offers crystal clarity and pure tone. Gel ring enhances imaging and dispersion for natural, expansive sound.
Produces vibrant audio.
Dual binding posts
Ensure a secure connection.
52Hz - 22kHz frequency response (±3dB)
Delivers faithful sound reproduction.
87dB SPL sensitivity (2.83V, 1m)
For powerful audio.
8 ohms nominal impedance (4 ohms minimum)
Efficiently conducts power through the speaker.
DuPont™ and KEVLAR® are registered trademarks of DuPont used under license by Motorola Mobility LLC and its subsidiaries.
Looks like there aren't enough negative mentions yet.
Can Be The Right Tool
Posted by: garydolson from: Rancho Cucamonga, CA on
This is the right tool for you if:
- you love music and prefer hearing it as the musicians & studio engineers did in the studio
- have a small to approaching-medium-size room
- hate mediocre sound
- your receiver or amplifier has robust power with which to feed them
I was a pro musician in the 80's and spent loads of time in recording studios. The last 2-channel audio speakers I bought was a pair of JBL L20T's in the 80's which cost me the 2015 equivalent of $900.14 plus tax. They have and continue to serve me well. 30 years later I got the itch and brought these B&W 685 S2's home. I set them up on stands about 1 foot from the wall in a 12'WX13'DX10'H guest room and hooked them up to a Yamaha C70 preamp & Yamaha M70 power amp (200wpc into 8ohms). A laptop served as the music source with JRiver Media Center (v19) as the software player of lossless flac files which were then fed to an outboard Schiit Modi DAC (Audioquest Forest USB & RCA cables). I turned it on and allowed this system to play non-stop for 2 days before listening to it.
WOW! Fast, crystal clear, & natural sound. Amazing with vocals, acoustic guitar, acoustic bass, acoustic drums, jazz, classical, rock; there's nothing they can't do well, and so much they do great. I had mixed feelings when I realized how much they trounced all over my old JBL's in every way - especially with bass, which is always tight & controlled. These are easily Highly Recommended.
25 out of 25 found this review helpful.
Professional reviewers were spot on...
Posted by: TD73 from: on
These are fantastic speakers at this price! Listening with my Pro-ject turntable, the soundstage is huge, bass is punchy and deep, highs are nicely detailed, and the midrange is huge. They are tremendous fun to listen to. For music (90% of how I use them) I don't bother with a sub, but a sub does add some punch for action movies. They'll sound good out of the box, but will really open up in a couple days. Similarly, some fiddling with their placement also added to their sound (they like a little 'toe-in' to maximize soundstage). With their low-ish impedance, they also like a good amount of power (60+ of good, clean wattage should suffice). These are not what I'd call boomy loudspeakers, but instead are accurate monitors, they'll do your music justice! Highly recommended.
21 out of 21 found this review helpful.
Full sound, worthwhile upgrade
Posted by: JoeM from: Seattle on
[Note: BestBuy carries 2 different models of B&W 685 S2 speakers. The model shown on this page, 685 FP35343 (SKU 4827037) - the model I bought - has a 1" decoupled double-dome aluminum tweeter; the other model, 685B S2 (SKU 1277365), has a 1" aluminum dome tweeter ... and costs $50 less. I initially posted this review on the wrong model, but can't figure out how to delete or edit that review.]
I recently bought a Sony STR-DN1050 receiver at BestBuy. I also bought the Sony CS5 bookshelf speakers and the Sony CS9 active subwoofer, but felt the CS5 speakers were too bright / trebly. I replaced them with a pair of Bose 301 speakers, and was surprised at how hollow the sound was (I had run Easy Setup on the Sony receiver for calibration, but may not have configured the subwoofer correctly).
I returned the Bose 301 speakers and was intending to purchase the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR bookshelf speakers and the Pioneer SW-8MK2 active subwoofer (both designed by Andrew Jones), but I wandered into the Magnolia studio while at the store, and after comparing the Pioneers (which the salesperson brought into the studio for me) to the B&W 685 S2s, I was amazed how full the B&W sound was - highs, mids and lows.
I should note that my primary use of these speakers - and other audio components in my system - is listening to music (mostly rock, jazz, folk, bluegrass). I did play a bit of The Dark Knight on my BluRay player, and they sounded fine.
I did not do a side-by-side comparison between subwoofers. I've read some less-than-positive comments on AVSForum about the B&W ASW610 subwoofer, and after a few weeks with this setup I'm still tinkering with the settings on the Sony STR-DN1050 and the B&W ASW610. I mention this here because I read another review here (and another elsewhere) suggesting you don't need a subwoofer with the B&W 685 S2s. That may well be true ... but the more I've read, the more I believe that a subwoofer rounds the sound out nicely. I've tried the speakers with the subwoofer disabled, and I like the overall sound better with the subwoofer enabled.
One thing I did not initially note about these speakers is that the are considerably deeper (12-3/8") than the Sony CS5, the Bose 301, the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR and all of the other speakers I saw out on the main floor of BestBuy. I did not think to examine the depth of these or others speakers in the Magnolia studio. The B&W 685 S2s are designed to be mounted on stands, but due to our room configuration, and constraints imposed by my wife, I have to mount these in shelves, and they overhang the 11" deep shelves by about 2". [Note that the 685 FP35343 shown on this page is mounted on a stand, but the stand must be purchased separately.]
The B&W 685 S2s are about 5x more expensive than the Pioneers, 3x more expensive than the Sony CS5s, and 2x more expensive than the Bose 301s, but after listening to the B&Ws,, I knew I would always be dissatisfied if I didn't upgrade.
My last speakers were a pair of floor-standing Laser 150s, which included 10" woofers, and they have lasted me 30 years (my daughter has them now), so I'm hoping the extra investment will amortize out over a long period.
24 out of 25 found this review helpful.
Best Speaker Purchase So Far
Posted by: Avholic from: on
I prefer bookshelves over tower speakers for 2 channel for their tightness and accuracy. The 685s2 stands out among the rest in its price range. Its bass hits low and loud without being boomy. The highs are crisp but never bright that you could listen to music all day without getting fatigued. The sound is neutral, uncolored and remains true to original recording. I removed the subwoofer in my stereo setup when I switched to 685s2. My NAD 375BEE integrated amp drives the 685s2 with such ease and authority. My friends ask where my subwoofers are hidden in my 15x18x30 ft room, yes with 30 feet cathedral ceiling! These speakers handle loud (party) and whisper level volumes (night listening) with finesse and accuracy. I sometimes drive them with my tube amp and the 685s2 is nothing short of remarkable.
17 out of 19 found this review helpful.
Posted by: ITJim from: Maine on
Where I live my choices for quality audio are limited. So I took a trip to my closest Magnolia store in the neighboring state. I brought with me a small selection of music and a few movies so that I could audition the speakers. I understand that how it sounds in the showroom is not exactly what I should expect in my home but it would give me some idea of what the speaker's themselves can handle. I told the Best Buy rep what my goals were. He brought me into the higher end sound room and let me audition the whole room. After trying out a few systems he steered me towards the B&W line. I had never heard of these guys but after the first demo it became my baseline for comparing everything else to. The sound was clear, full, and essentially my ears loved them. After about an hour of playing around with music, movies, and matching center and subs I finally settled on the 685s. They fit the balance of size and price I was looking for. I have not regretted the decision. They sound just as wonderful in my living room. I chose to match this up with the HTM62 S2 and the Energy ESW-C10 which was on sale for half the price of the B&W Sub. Music sound wonderful compared to my old Bose 321 system. And I find myself leaving the radio running all day now that music doesn't have that cruddy Bose sound. Movies are full and rich at all volume levels. When I finish building out my home theatre they will be with additional B&W speakers.
12 out of 12 found this review helpful.
Believe the hype - seriously good speakers
Posted by: Nocableguy22 from: Portland on
I've been trying to replace my beloved Monitor Audio GR10's since I stupidly sold them to a friend (side note: If you have speakers you really love, don't think because you are willing to spend a bunch of money, that you will better them). In the past couple of months I've had several pairs in my house that I either bought and resold, demoed, or returned - Monitor Audio Gold GX100's (list price $2200), Epos Elan 15's ($1400), and Totem Acoustics Rainmakers ($1225), and straight out of the box, these 685's blew them all away. And I firmly believe that speakers need a good 100 hours of run in before they sound their best, so I expect them to sound even better in the coming weeks. Admittedly, I am powering them with a Rega Elex-R integrated amp ($1700), which has plenty of good, clean power, and is probably a cut above what most people would be using for an inexpensive bookshelf speaker, but I think a NAD 326, or something similar would drive them nicely. Nice, rich bass without any boominess - great detail in the high end without being fatiguing, and the mids sound fantastic with vocals. My favorite aspect so far is that even at lower volumes, they pull you in and make you want to listen closely - which I appreciate because I live in a condo building and don't want to have to crank it to really engage with the music. Yesterday, I was listening and realized I had something to do, and I thought I'll just listen to one more song, and then, one more song, and the next thing you know a half hour had flown past and I was running late - and this is literally straight out of the box. There is a reason these are getting all the rave reviews online - they punch way above their weight.
11 out of 11 found this review helpful.
Posted by: James from: on
I was looking for some speakers to listen to music. I invested in a Klipsch surround system. It was ok but there was something missing. I went in to best buy and told an associate there my problem. He recommended these speakers. I ordered them, hooked them up, and listened. What a difference. I can hear each instrument. I can hear the artists fingers slideing over the guitar frets. The speakers have great separation and spacing. There is just enough bass to fill out the music without thumping. They sound like a much larger pair of speakers from a different era. I am very happy with this purchase.
9 out of 9 found this review helpful.
Smallish package, big good sound
Posted by: Artdaug from: on
I've always wanted a pair of B&Ws and these entry level bookshelves do not disappoint! I have them set up as my main speakers using a Yamaha stereo amplifier (R-N500 for those who like model #s). The pairing works very well. In short, they sound great! Trebles and mids are clear and crisp. Bass is decent enough but you if you want more boom, you'll need a sub. They sound good at normal viewing or music levels and fantastic when you crank them up. They handle various genres very well, I truly recommend listening to Dark Side of the Moon with these bad boys.
If you're on a budget but want a good entry level audiophile experience, get these puppies. I'm hooked to B&W because of them and you will too.
6 out of 6 found this review helpful.
Great sound for good price
Posted by: Maverick from: on
They seem expensive but these speakers are very clear and sound fantastic just by themselves. I did hook up a subwoofer but there is no need for any other speakers.
6 out of 6 found this review helpful.
Excellent Musical Bookshelf Speaker
Posted by: AVSR from: on
I was in the need to upgrade my bookshelf speakers and began listening to various HI-FI brands around my area such as KEF, Focal, Monitor Audio, and B&W. The KEF LS50 were my favorite, nice 3D presentation, but for my budget I really loved the 685 S2. The speakers need some break in time before they really open up, ~100 hrs. They also can sound slightly harsh right out of the box. Once broken in though they really shine. A good sound stage, great mids and highs, and for a book self speaker pretty nice bass. I do recommend a nice subwoofer to really bring out a little more oomph in the lows. I liked them better than the B&W CM1 and though the CM5 (more controlled) and CM6 (really open sound stage) were better, the 685 S2 gives you almost everything they give at a significant cost savings. I do recommend investing in a good amplifier. I am powering these with a Rotel RB1552 mk11 amp through the pre-outs on a Marantz receiver and the speakers really are more open and dynamic. I was originally using just the Marantz receiver and the sound was more recessed and less full to my ears. If you like a more neutral, balanced yet dynamic sounding speaker than these will definitely make you smile.