The 603 S2 Anniversary Edition combines outstanding power and clarity that makes them perfect for larger rooms and ideal for home theater. Continuum mid-range cones provide clarity for singers, Decoupled Double Dome Tweeters create an enveloping sense of space and twin bass drivers deliver scale and authority. Featuring upgraded crossovers for even more transparency and a unique trim-ring to celebrate this milestone, the 603 S2 Anniversary Edition is the most sophisticated affordable floor-standing loudspeaker Bowers & Wilkins has ever made. The 603 S2 Anniversary Edition sits atop the 600 Series Anniversary Edition range of products. Over the last 25 years, the 600 Series has been our most affordable performance range of loudspeakers, and we’re celebrating our love of sound with acoustic improvements to the crossover network for overall greater levels of clarity and smoother high frequencies so you can enjoy a compelling listening experience across the range of products.
1" Decoupled Double Dome Aluminum Tweeter
The dual-layer aluminium dome is driven by a neodymium magnet used in our 700 Series for smooth and clear high frequencies. The whole drive unit is isolated from the main cabinet with a decoupling rubber ring that improves clarity and imaging.
6" Continuum Midrange
Continuum is a proprietary woven material that blends control with flexibility. The result is breathtaking clarity right where you need it most- the midrange. Hear voices, guitars and other instruments in a whole new way.
6.5" Paper/Aramid Fiber Bass Driver
Dual Bass Drivers create room-filling bass with power and precision. The cones are made from paper and aramid fibers that combine low mass, rigidity and self-damping to reduce distortion.
Reduces air turbulence for clearer bass.
Remains acoustically transparent while protecting the speaker's components.
Looking for more performance?
Consider the 703S2 which features improved tweeters, lower distortion bass drivers, midrange decoupling and a quieter cabinet for overall greater resolution.
Spikes and Rubber Feet
600 Series Anniversary Edition 3-way Floorstanding Speaker (each)
To begin with, my speakers were delivered by a freight company. The temperature outside at delivery was about 68 degrees F. I unpacked each speaker from the shipping box that the B&W 603 S2 Series Anniversary Edition arrived in and let it sit overnight before even opening the factory box so that the speakers could acclimate to the temperature in my house. By the way, the factory boxes that B&W use are seriously the best quality boxes I've ever seen. Nice thick and sturdy cardboard and inside the speakers were cradled very close cell styrofoam, with the speakers wrapped in a foam type blanket. The speakers we so well protected, that you could ship them around the world and there would not be any damage done to the speaker inside.
After I let the speakers acclimate to my home for 24 hours, I opened up the boxes and proceeded to attach the stand to each speaker. The stand attaches to the speaker with 4 screws provided by B&W. The stands measure 14 1/2 D x 12 1/2 W x 1 H. The stands are made of a very high quality of MDF, and I assume the speakers are made of the same high quality MDF. Each speaker come with 4 spikes that you can use if you place your speakers on carpet. Also provided are 4 rubber feet that can be used instead of the spikes if you were to place the speakers on anything other that carpet. The spikes/rubber feet are screwed into the bottom of the base and each spike/rubber feet can be adjusted in case your flooring is not level. The grills are held in place with magnets, so you can have them off, or on depending on your preference. They are very easy to remove, or put on. The magnets are hidden under the "skin" of the speaker so there are not any unsightly holes, or hooks to see if you listen to your speakers with the grills off.
I read that some people have asked what the difference is between the previous model B&W 603 and this new B&W 603 S2 Anniversary Edition. According to B&W's website, the new 603 S2 uses a "refined and upgraded version of their proven Decoupled Double Dome tweeter". Also, according to B&W's website, the 603 S2 Anniversary Edition "benefits from a new optimized crossover design featuring carefully selected components".
I have not heard the previous B&W 603 speaker, so I can't compare it to the new 603 S2 Anniversary Edition. All I can say is that for the money that this speaker costs, it sounds way more expensive than it is. I listen to a wide variety of music ranging from big band, Frank Sinatra, jazz, classic rock, and quite a few European bands like Within Temptation, Nightwish and Xandria to name a few. The European bands I mentioned, their sounds are called Symphonic Metal. In my honest opinion, it's not really metal, but rock. So basically it's rock (metal) with a full symphony. And mixing the two sounds together are terrific in my opinion..
I initially hooked up the B&W 603 S2 Anniversary Edition speakers to my 5.1.4 home theater system with Marantz SR8012 receiver, Paradigm Reference Studio 100's for the fronts, Paradigm Reference CC-590 center and Paradigm ADP 390 for surrounds, SVS Prime Elevations for Atmos, and SVS PB12-Plus for my sub. I've also added an Emotiva XPA Gen 3 amp for the 3 front speakers, with the Marantz powering everything else.
After removing the the front main Paradigms, I hooked up the B&W 603 S2 Anniversary Edition speakers, re-ran my calibration in the Marantz. I decided that I'd sample some various DVD Audio discs and SACD's first of all to get an idea on how the B&W's would sound with music using just the B&W's and then with the B&W's / subwoofer combo. I ran the discs through my Oppo 203 player. Listening to some Doobie Brothers, Styx, Alan Parsons Project and Fleetwood Mac.
Now remember, these speakers are brand new, and not broken in yet. B&W recommends a minimum of 15 hours for their speakers to break in so that "the mechanical parts are able to attain their intended design"characteristics, according to the owners booklet. With my first listening of just the 603's by themselves without the sub, the speakers sounded very nice, but not great. Since the midrange driver is 6 inches and the two bass drivers are 6 1/2 inches each, don't expect lot's of bass from the 603's. The B&W 603's have a small 2 inch port at the bottom rear of the speaker to help aid in the bass department. And while this helps add some additional bass, I think the speakers sound much better with a sub. But I do like a bit more bass than the average person I guess. B&W also includes a foam plug if you wish to plug the rear port. I chose not to do that.
I decide to fully let the speakers "break in" before doing anymore listening to music or movies. Very easy to do, just leave the radio going all day when you're at work. I did this for five days, so I put on 40+ hours of break in before seriously listening to the 603's again.
This time, listening to the same music I listened to on my first initial evaluation and just listening to the speakers without the sub, they sounded like they had a tad more bass which was great and the bass was much tighter as well. But more, the tweeters along with the midrange really came alive. A cd that really lets the B&W 603 S2 Anniversary Edition speaker come alive where you can REALLY HEAR all the very subtle instruments and sounds is The Definitive Collection by The Alan Parsons Project. In the six weeks or so since I've had the B&W 603 S2 Anniversary Edition speakers, I've listed to that particular cd three times. It just sounds excellent on the 603's.
Now onto how the B&W 603 S2 Anniversary Edition sound with movies in my 5.1.4 home theater. I auditioned many movies but some to mention are all of the Star Wars movies, Jumanji (with the Rock), all of the Avengers movies, Jurassic Park, and the Terminator series. Honestly. the B&W 603 did a very good job, but not as well as my Paradigm Reference Studio 100's. The Paradigms have larger speakers (3 bass, 1 midrangs) and a larger 3 1/2 port. The 603's were lacking in the lower and mid range department compared to the Paradigms. The tweeter was about equal with the Paradigms. If I did not know my sound system and I was adding the B&W 603's without ever hearing my front Paradigms, then I'd say it was a good match.
If you could set up your home theater sound system with the B&W 603 S2 Anniversary Edition speakers for all your speakers, I truly think you'd have a terrific set up where all the speakers are matched. The floor standing 603 S2 Anniversary Edition, like what I have for the fronts, with the B&W HTM6 S2 Anniversary Edition for the center and the smaller 607 S2 Anniversary Edition for the surrounds. Then just add your sub.This would make an excellent sound system for BOTH music and movies.
Overall, I highly recommend the B&W 603 S2 Anniversary Edition floorstanding speakers for their clarity, especially in music department. The fit and finish of the speaker itself is outstanding. Something you would find a speaker costing 2-3 times more than what the B&W 603 S2 Anniversary Edition speakers cost. And while they are truly not too expensive for the average person, what you'll hear from them sounds like a speaker costing 2-3 times what this speaker costs.
The thing I am most impressed about with these speakers is their ability to provide complete sound at relatively low volume levels. I love watching my movies with very loud sound, but during those times when loud audio isn’t appropriate, the speakers do an excellent job bringing out all the sounds of the movie in lower volumes. Essentially, the sound reproduction coming from these speakers is excellent when cranked up, and equally excellent when played at lower listening levels. They manage to have a fullness that includes excellent mid-range, clear highs, and dynamic and tight bass. Speakers with similar capabilities cost two to three times as much. And you do not need a high-end amp to get excellent sound from these speakers. If you continue reading below, you will see that they produce great sound when powered by a modest home theater receiver. Overall, this pair of speakers perform well above other speakers at this price range.
Additional details about my home theater setup include a matching Bowers & Wilkins HTM6 Anniversary Edition center channel speaker, an entry level 7.2 receiver (Onkyo TX-NR696), a MartinLogan Dynamo 600X 10-inch subwoofer, and two rear Sony surround satellite speakers, all connected by 14-gauge speaker wire. This is definitely not a high-end setup. However, the speakers do a excellent job delivering a faithful reproduction of the audio signal. The main reason is because they are pretty efficient at 88.5 db. Meaning, they do an above average job of converting power (sent to it by the amp) into sound. The speakers themselves are rated between 30 and 200 watts at 8 ohms. My receiver/amp is pushing roughly 45 watts per channel, which is on the low end of what these speakers can handle. I can only imagine what they would sound like with a more powerful amp. And since I live in a small house with a living room roughly 12 by 18 feet, the supplied power of my current amp is more than enough.
In summary, here are some pros and cons I found while using these speakers.
-Dynamic and tight bass
-Clarity of highs
-Large soundstage, meaning the speakers allow you to hear sounds coming from different areas (e.g. location of instruments in music, sound effects in movies, etc.)
-The highs can be a little strong or bright. These speakers have a premium tweeter mounted on top. They produce highs with great accuracy. To adjust this, it’s very easy to lower the highs by decreasing the treble or by adjusting the equivalent frequencies within the amp’s equalizer.
-These speakers produce great bass by themselves, but it doesn’t hurt to add a subwoofer to your system if you’re looking for the really low-end frequencies only a separate subwoofer can provide.
For those interested on how I estimated the watts per channel of my receiver. I used the general rule of taking the total watts of the receiver’s power supply, dividing it by 2, then dividing that number by the total number of channels the amp supports. So, in my case, my receiver’s power supply is rated at 635 watts. I divide that number by two to account for the watts needed to power other functions of the unit. That leaves 317.5 watts remaining to power the 7 channels. By dividing the 317.5 by 7, I get roughly 45 watts per channel.
And one final note, the speakers come with a stand (plinth) that is optional. They’re meant to help stabilize them. I was leaning towards not attaching them because I could have saved a little space, plus I prefer the look with them off. However, since I have an active little one, I decided to attach them. I am so glad I did because while I was setting them up, I accidently bump into them pretty hard while backing out from behind my TV. The stands saved them from toppling over. That would have not been the case otherwise. Lesson to self. I’m more likely to cause damage to them versus my kid.
Bowers and Wilikins is one of the oldest UK speaker companies out there (since 1966, now owned by Sound United) so they do have a lot of experience. Their speakers are known for a their true unbiased sound, excellent characteristics and minimalistic design.
600 Series Anniversary Edition towers are not an exception! Built in a compact 40x13.5x7.5 enclosure they do pack a serios punch! 3 channel design (1" aluminium twitter, 6" Continuum cone mid range and two 6" paper bass drivers) with an upgraded crossover - they do sound bigger then they look!
High frequency is extremely clear and true to the record, mid range is loud and crisp, bass is remarkably powerful!
I did my tests using 2 setups - music room, as a pure 2 channel setup + 12" 500W subwoofer and my home theater room - a complete 7.2.2 Atmos setup. B&W 600 S2 shined in both, especially in a high and mid range - sound clarity was just outstanding.
You will need a subwoofer if you are using these in a home theater setup. Speaker connections - there are 4 terminals on the back of the towers (for bi-amping) that allow for either spade connectors or banana plugs (just remove the plastic cap before inserting banana connector). Measurements using Room EQ Wizard did confirm speaker performance in 28Hz-22kHz range (web site claim up to 33kHz but I can't measure nor possibly hear this :)).
Speakers do come with optional pedestals to improve stability, all necessarily hardware to attach to the pedestals as well as carpet spikes and hardwood floor rubber legs, plus an optional foam plug for a port on the back. Recommended amplifier power - up to 200W at 8 Ohms.
Overall - it's a solid performing tower in it's range, outstanding clarity of highs and sufficient bass makes it a great choice for a 2 channel music or home theater application.
The Bowers & Wilkens 603 S2 Anniversary Edition floor standing speakers are outstanding from every perspective. Both visually stunning as well as an immersive and fully engaging audio experience.
A small warning while unpacking / setting up. These speakers are no joke and weigh in at around 75lbs per speaker. You may need to bring a friend to help you unbox and setup.
The rest of the setup experience is a dream. These speakers come with a very nice base that you need to mount to the bottom of the speakers. They come equipped with either rubber feet for hard flooring (like mine) and spikes for carpeted flooring. Once installed, the speakers looks like they "float" above the stands and look fantastic. The weight of the speakers ensure no vibration is caused by any loose box. The stand is also extremely firm and connects tightly to the speaker with 4 screws.
If you choose to leave the magnetic speaker covers off, you will be mesmerized from the top down. Starting at the top you will see the signature Decoupled Double Dome tweeter which has the "600 Series Anniversary Edition" text written around them. These tweeters offer sharp and clean highs which reproduce very accurate and immersive sound, whether it be music or a movie. Anything requiring a high fidelity, high octave range is reproduced with ease from this bad boy. Bowers & Wilkens has an overall warmer sound vs super sonic sharp, which I find very pleasurable. These do not make your ear "bleed" but still provides an accurate and precise sound.
Moving down the speaker you're next presented with the shiny silver Continuum cone. This is one of the best distinguishing features of this speaker both visually and sonically. This speaker is used to produce the mid-range sounds from and is the most used part of the speaker. This is arguable the most important aspect of any reproduction of sound when it comes to speakers and often overlooked by lesser quality options. Here B&W produced an astonishing mid-range with a wealth of detail that will have you turning your head to question weather that sound came form the speaker, or something else in the room.
Below that are two low-frequency cones that produce that low, wonderful bass response we all love to hear. These 600 series speakers product an excellent bass without the necessary need for a sub, however, a sub should be added to complete the experience. The bass produced by these floor speakers however are necessary in completing the entire sound stage package. Bass is booming yet clean. If you are able to provide these speakers the necessary wattage to get them up to their peake 200W 8ohm performance, you will notice the bass does not drop out or crackle under the pressure. Whether it be a movie, TV show, hip-hop, jazz, or rock, these speakers are up to the task of reproducing the sound the content creator had in mind.
I was highly impressed with the amount of volume these speakers product when watching Disney's "The Mandelorian". When a light saber scene came up, and the saber was moving from bottom to top of the screen, you could hear the volume ad tiny detail in pitch giving the audio "height", which only a 3-way speaker can produce. It was truly a game changing moment hearing this effect for the first time after previously hearing the same scenes from different speakers.
B&W also includes foam plugs that can be inserted into the rear driver hole. This is incase you cannot position the speakers far enough from the wall and get hear too much bass reverb from the rear. I did not have this issue so I left the foam insert removed. It is nice B&W include such a fine detail in their products. These speakers are truly intended for the audiophile individual who wants to tweak every last detail to maximize their experience.
If you are in the market for a good set of speakers, and the price on these does not scare you away, I cannot recommend these enough. Though you can buy cheaper speakers for sure, the cost of these are an otherwise bargain given the performance and quality delivered. It is easy to hear why Bowers & Wilkens have been a household name in high end audio for so long. They've knocked it out of the park with these anniversary edition speakers.
I have been using the B&W 603 S2 Anniversary Edition speakers for the last two weeks and every day sounds better than the one before! I have the speakers bi-wired from my Pioneer Elite receiver and paired with the matching B&W 603 S2 Anniversary Edition center channel without a subwoofer. These speakers have been able to handle absolutely everything I have been able to throw at them! Movies have exceptional clarity and incredible dynamic range, allowing you to hear every detail and providing deep bass, crisp mids, and clear highs. Music was an even more incredible experience, bringing an incredibly immersive listening experience and an incredible sound stage. The speakers are able to provide more than ample bass for all kinds of music, even the most bass heavy varieties. The build quality is excellent, assembly was easy and intuitive, and the magnetic grills allow for a clean appearance with or without the speaker grills. These speakers look and perform as though they should cost at least twice as much!
I would highly recommend these speakers for anyone looking for an incredible sounding tower speaker for their everyday home theater and music listening that brings an incredible audiophile level of sound at an incredible value!
amazing sound for the money, B&W honestly made these too good. No reason to pay much more for their high tier speakers unless you have a ton of money burning a hole in your pocket. Running a 5 channel setup with all 600 series and it blows my mind every single time I sit down and listen to something
Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) has released their 600 Anniversary series speakers and what an impressive set of speakers they are. Contents of this package is the 603 S2 speaker (1 per box), base mounting hardware, base, magnetic mesh screen, 2-size foam plug for bass port, and installation/build instructions. They come with a 5-year warranty on parts & labor.
Disclaimer: I have 2 of these 603 S2 floor speakers and the B&W HTM6 center channel for this anniversary series hooked up with a Klipsch subwoofer, rear Infinity surround speakers, and a Yamaha RX-V685 7.2 channel receiver. I am replacing a 20-yr old set of great-sounding and vintage BOSE 701 floor speakers and BOSE VCS-10 center channel.
* Great look, well built, solid chassis, construction materials used are of high quality.
* I set up my speaker sound using the given Yamaha receiver YPAO microphone. This should be done whenever speaker sets are changed out. After going through that sequence of events, I ended up increasing the center channel volume along with rear speaker volume in order to hear the surround items better and especially the talking in movies better. Once adjusted, these floor speakers really brought out the sound of some blockbuster hits including Wonder Woman 84 on Christmas Day, Gladiator, and Soul (Pixar movie). I played a few other hits on HBOmax and the sound was phenomenal.
* Sound was very crisp on left/right scenes as surround sound dictated. You can tell that the crossovers are doing their job because specific sounds are coming out loud and clear on each individual woofer. The highs from the tweeters really couldn't be better.
* I listened to some digital music including piano, R&B, classic rock, special effects, and country. With each genre, I felt like I was in the middle of a concert. This was done without the use of the surround sound speakers. It was that good.
* The magnetic speaker grills are easily removable and look good on OR off. Be careful though, because these grills are extremely thin and made of plastic and could possibly break easily.
* Attaching the base was quick and easy. Hook-up was easy as it's only 2 wires in most applications.
* These speakers do allow for 2 separate amplifier connections (2 red posts and 2 black posts) if needed.
* This is a first - I cannot think of a single "con" for this product. They are THAT good and THAT impressive.
* Make sure you allow for about a week for the sound of your speakers to fall into place with the "breaking-in" period. The speakers need to operate at softer/normal levels before sending them a great deal of power. This includes getting the speakers acclimated to the temperature of your home.
* The speakers themselves will be more dependent on which receiver you use rather than the speaker itself for incredible/great sound. If you use a subpar receiver/amplifier, your sound will be that as well, regardless of speaker quality. If you want these speakers to cry out to you in a good way, invest in a good receiver with ample power. Even though these speakers provide a great balance of sound, including bass, it is still, in my opinion, better to have a separate bass subwoofer (or two for some rooms) to aid with sound quality in the extreme low-band frequencies.
* These speakers come with both carpet spikes (to hold in place) or rubber feet if used on hardwoods/tile. Personally, I like the rubber feet even on carpet. They are so heavy (each is ~60 lbs), that they are not moving anywhere. If they need to be moved or adjusted with rubber feet used, it can be done easily without having to pick up (if using the spikes).
* These speakers are installed onto a wooden base. This base is static and does NOT swivel.
* I did not have a need for using the foam bass woofer plug provided.
Unlike other products like TVs, receivers, computers, cars, and appliances, SPEAKERS are a very simple thing to actually "use". You literally hook them up with 2 wires, and the way they sound is really more dependent on the receiver you have driving them. They might sound good or bad depending on your receiver and sound setup characteristics. Please use a quality receiver to make these things sing! If you don't, then you are losing a ton of specific sounds these speakers can provide at high quality. After 20 years of my vintage BOSE 701's, this upgrade was well worth it and I highly recommend these incredible-sounding speakers.
I have owned a few B &W speakers over the last 10+ years, and I have always been impressed with the beautiful midrange and the crystal clear, detailed treble. My first pair of B & W’s was the 683s, with the sharp looking yellow Kevlar midrange and grey woofers. Having gone through a varied assortment of big box store speakers and never finding something that satisfied, the original 683s were a revelation. I heard nuances and intricacies in my music that I had never heard before.
After a period of time I moved to the CM series of speakers and held on to those for several years until a move forced me to sell most of my equipment off. Recently, I decided to get back into the world of budget, high-end audio, and purchased a pair of the 603 S1’s (from 2018). Just like the B & W’s I have had in past years, the 603 S1’s sounded fantastic. The midrange, instead of the colorful Kevlar of the past, was now B & W’s silver Continuum driver, an upgraded driver that does its best to remove unwanted distortions from the midrange and provide the listener with a more realistic experience. Paired to a Denon receiver, the 603 S1’s provided wonderful sound but did have their shortcomings. At times the bass was slightly bloated, and as a result the mid bass suffered. The midrange at times came off as a bit congested, and depending on the source material the treble could be sizzling hot. Still, they were my favorite speaker. At least, until the 603 S2 Anniversary Editions came along.
When the opportunity arose to receive a pair of these speakers via the Best Buy Tech Insider Network, a program that provides products free of charge from vendors to members in exchange for their unbiased review, I leaped on it. Unboxing the S2’s and comparing them to the S1’s, there isn’t much different from them from a cosmetic viewpoint. They are both the same height, width, and depth; they use the same cabinet and plinth; and they have the same amount of drivers. The Bowers and Wilkins logo on the S2’s has been moved up slightly on the front of the speaker; instead of being at the bottom above the plinth, it now sits just below the bottom bass driver. Another cosmetic difference is the tweeter housing, which now has the words “600 Series Anniversary Edition” etched on the ring. It looks very cool... The grills have remained the same, and are attached magnetically. Other than that, you wouldn’t be able to tell the Series 1 and Series 2 a part.
Internally, Bowers and Wilkins has swapped out the crossover for an improved version in order to improve speaker clarity. The crossover has been upgraded with higher-quality parts, and in my opinion, has made a world of difference in the 603’s sound. A crossover makes sure that the different frequencies of sound are sent to the right driver, splitting the audio signal that comes in via the speaker cables and sending it to the appropriate woofer/tweeter. A low-quality crossover can lead to smudging of sound, or a muddying of the content as it gets sent to drivers that are not intended to produce the signal they are being asked to produce. If I’ve bored you already and you don’t want to read anymore, you can stop right here with my personal opinion: The upgraded crossover network in the 603 S2 Anniversary Edition makes this the speaker to beat in the $5,000 or less category for value and sound. Yes, that’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it! I’ve listened to the 700 series side by side with the 603 S2 Anniversary Editions, and I feel the 603 S2’s hold their own quite well. I would not have said that about the 603 S1’s.
Let’s get down to listening! After I received and unboxed the new 603 S2’s, I connected them to my Denon AVR-X4700h receiver and played Spotify on a loop for 72 hours to break them in. After an additional day or two of light listening, it was time to get down to business. All music testing was done without a subwoofer and bypassing room correction. The Denon was left in Pure Direct mode. Movies were listened to with Audyssey room correction on and the 603 S2’s joined with a HTM6 S2 Anniversary Edition center channel speaker, a pair of Polk T15’s for surrounds, a Martin Logan sub, and four Sony Atmos modules. Cables to the 603 S2’s were Audioquest Rocket 11’s, and music was provided by SACDs and DVD Audios played via a Sony UBP-X800 or streamed via the HEOS app and a network-connected hard drive. I experimented with speaker positioning and found that the best results in my room were 6” off of the front wall, 9’ apart, 9’ away from the listening position, and only slightly toed in. Surprisingly, even being that close to the wall, the 603 S2 bass never got boomy. It remained defined no matter what material I threw at them.
First up was Loreena McKennitt, a Celtic/New World artist with a gorgeous voice and a love of throwing as many unique instruments as possible into a mix. One of her songs, Marco Polo (from Book of Secrets), is a real challenge for speakers. There are something like 46 instruments being played at any given time, and on the wrong set of speakers, Loreena’s voice can be piercing and all those instruments get blurred together. The 603 S2’s handled this track with ease. I never once felt fatigued, and the song sounded as good as I had ever heard it. I reached near 95dB and the S2’s never lost their composure. Next up was Loreena’s Gates of Instanbul, a track with deep, impacting bass that generally requires a subwoofer to be heard. When the bass hits began, and I heard how deep and accurate they were, I had to get up and check to make sure I hadn’t somehow turned on the subwoofer. It was off. The 603 S2 Anniversary Edition speakers can get low and they sound great doing it. I’ve never heard this level of low frequency ability in a speaker, not since I owned a pair of Definitive Technology super towers.
I cycled through my faves, songs I was intimately familiar with. Pink Floyd’s Meddle may not be their most popular album, but the track Fearless is an acoustical masterpiece. As I listened, I turned to my son (who was like, I want to hear these too!) and said, “I don’t think that drummer is using sticks. He must be using brushes!” I’ve heard this song a thousand times and never picked out that nuance. My son looked it up on Google, and said, “You’re right, he’s using brushes for this song.” The definition and clarity provided by the 603 S2 Anniversary Edition speakers is astonishing. Pink Floyd’s The Final Cut has a track called Paranoid Eyes that mixes tons of background public noise such as laughing, talking, and walking in with Roger Waters’ vocals, a piano, and bass. The 603 S2’s placed each sound within the mix expertly, and I could even hear Roger Waters’ lips smack as he opened them to sing. And when the last few measures of the piano occurred near the end of the song, you could feel the bass coming out of the grand piano that was used.
No matter what I listened to, the experience with the 603 S2’s and music was sublime. Fleetwood Mac’s Never Going Back Again revealed the sound of the picks on the guitar strings. Tusk, off of the Tusk album, and performed with a marching band, gave great weight to the toms in the mix, you could feel and hear the impact of the stick on the drums. A very cool experience. Elton John’s Curtains, off of Captain Fantastic and the Dirt Brown Cowboy showcases the 603 S2’s ability to demonstrate how awesome a good drum kit can sound. And finally, my ultimate torture test for any set of speakers is Tool’s 46 and 2, a song that can practically melt your ears on a set of speakers that isn’t up to the task. Compared to the 603 S1’s, the S2 Anniversary Edition speakers rocked this song. About midway through the track, when Danny Carey’s double kick starts jamming, and he is rolling from one side to the other on his toms/snare, you can hear every hit, every impact, and a subwoofer was not needed.
I should mention the soundstage here too. The 603 S2 soundstage was wide, so wide I would swear that I had my surround speakers on. I felt like in each song I could place exactly where the instruments were at, and singers’ voices were dead center. The 603 S2’s had the ability to sound like a surround sound system with just two speakers. They filled my 15’ by 25’ room with ease.
I couldn’t tell as much of a difference between the Series 1 and Series 2 speakers when it came to movie watching. We watched the opening sequence of the Fellowship of the Ring and also the opening sequence of James Bond’s Casino Royale. Both, in my opinion, are reference soundtracks to use to judge systems by. The 603 S2’s had no issues belting out the sounds and music provided by these movies, and I could find no fault in them.
In case you can’t tell, I loved my experience with the 603 S2 Anniversary Edition towers. These speakers are insightful, impactful, detailed, and are an amazing value. Some might ask if it is worth the extra money, if you have a pair of the 603 Series 1’s, to upgrade to the Series 2. For me, the answer is yes. The new crossovers create a speaker that competes with the 700 series. Bass is more defined, the congestion in the midrange from the earlier model is gone, and the treble is sweet and clear. I exceeded 85 dB for the majority of my listening, and as I mentioned before, I hit 95 dB more than a few times. Through it all, the 603 S2’s held their composure and provided one of the best listening experiences I have had with a speaker thus far. I highly recommend them for music listening, and they have the added benefit of working great for movies too.
A:AnswerThe 603 S2 Anniversary Edition has improved parts in the crossover network that results in better performance than the 603 that you are referencing. The result is a more open sound with smoother highs and more dynamic bass.
A:AnswerThe Oak finish is currently out of stock (April 2021) and because dotcom cannot accepts orders on out of stock items, Oak is temporarily not listed. Magnolia Design Centers can accept orders for this finish with a wait time of approximately 30-45 days.