After the beautiful Signature models in the 700 Series, Bowers & Wilkins now comes with the Anniversary Edition of selected 600 speakers. It is an upgrade that promises to take the small Bowers & Wilkins 607 Anniversary Edition to the next level in particular.
Bowers & Wilkins 607 Anniversary Edition
The British loudspeaker brand is one of the biggest names in the audio world, and that has to do with its affordable 600 Series. It is now 25 years old, although something has changed in a quarter of a century. The successful speaker family has already had six generations, in honor of the 25th anniversary, a seventh is now being released that can be recognized by the ‘Anniversary Edition’ label. Bowers & Wilkins is releasing four of these party models, of which the 607 Anniversary Edition bookshelf speaker we’re reviewing here is the smallest. The larger 606 monitor, the 603 floorstander and the HTM6 center speaker are also participating in the party.
The 607 Anniversary Edition is a very affordable one loudspeaker from just under 300 euros each. This makes it the cheapest Bowers & Wilkins hi-fi speaker and one of the smallest. Its accessible, interior-friendly profile makes it immediately suitable for small living rooms or for rooms where large, striking speakers are not really welcome. Combine the 607 Anniversary Edition with a suitable amplifier or receiver and you can easily deploy it as part of a stereo solution that delivers better TV sound. You then have the best of both worlds.
Technology from higher up
The Anniversary Edition range brings a number of higher line technical innovations to the entry-level range from Bowers & Wilkins. This trickle down of technology has been happening at the British loudspeaker manufacturer for some time. For example, in the 600 Series of the previous generation, the Continuum material was already used in the woofers. This is a new composite material – the composition is a secret – that replaces the signature yellow Kevlar at Bowers & Wilkins, which first happened in the mighty 800 Series Diamond. The fact that you see knowledge developed for speakers of 10K plus being applied in products of hundreds of euros is of course very positive, although you will of course not get exactly the same.
New to the Anniversary Edition are first of all improved crossovers, parts that play an underestimated role in the rendering. We saw earlier that Bowers & Wilkins performed a similar intervention on the Signature versions of the more expensive 700 series. The Double Dome tweeter in the 607 was also addressed, which among other things leads to the breakup point being brought to an inaudible 38 kHz. Break-up equals distortion, so we expect a fresher and more correct high-detail rendering after this upgrade.
While our Primare I15 had no problem driving the 607 Anniversary Edition, it should be noted that this amp isn’t exactly a budget machine either. The sensitivity of 84 dB means that you have to provide a certain amount of power to control the Bowers & Wilkins properly. Spending a little more on that side will be rewarded by the new 607s, we can guarantee that.
Bowers & Wilkins used the renewal of the 600 Series to also make some visual changes. Broadly speaking, the Anniversary Edition speakers look the same as before. The build quality is excellent for the price and the 607 Anniversary Edition also has a very sleek appearance. This is partly because the 130-mm woofer and the 1-inch tweeter are very neatly mounted in the baffle, without visible screws. That greyish woven Continuum material of the woofer cone just looks really cool too, of course.
In terms of design, the most important step is a new color version in addition to the matte black and the satin white editions. This oak version can really be seen. It also comes across as a bit familiar, because the combination of a light-tinted wood finish with a white front is completely in line with the latest fashion. In any case, it gives these British speakers a certain Scandinavian look, which fits perfectly in a modern interior that is dominated by white and light tones.
For our test, we connected the Bowers & Wilkins speakers to a Primare I15, an analog Class D amplifier from Sweden that offers a warm, yet tight sound that goes well with these speakers. It is also the kind of device that suits people who are looking for a minimalist music system. This I15 family (see FWD80) has a low housing and a subtle appearance, which makes them very suitable for blending into an interior. If the Primare had been a Prisma model, we would even have been immediately interested in streaming and a digital input to connect to the television, but this is the fully analog edition and so we get the SC15, a digital preamplifier and streamer. But even with those two devices together, you still end up with a modest footprint.
The previous generation 606 is part of our range of test speakers, so we know that in the past this affordable 600 range has always featured models that offer a lot of quality for their price. Would that be any different for this seventh generation? Time for music. We play the wonderful ‘Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen’, composed by ex-Sigur Ros member Kjartan Sveinsson and performed by the Deutsches Filmorchester Babelberg (also responsible for a great live project with Calexico and for Max Richter’s compelling Three Worlds album ), via Roon (ALAC 24-bit / 48 KHz). It is a great and cerebral work that these small Anniversary Editions convey convincingly, with a purity that you would not expect in the budget segment until recently. However, speaker builders are constantly building better products in the budget segment, which is only good news for the music lover with a modest budget. But even if we take that trend into account, the 607 Anniversary stands above ground level in terms of detail.
And no, you should not expect heavy bass performance from speakers of this size. Physics sets limits. Designers can use clever tricks to add more body to the music – and that’s exactly what Bowers & Wilkins has done. As a result, ‘Rocket Fuel’, the addictive track by DJ Shadow and De La Soul, loses very little of its impact. The fun factor is good, although we suspect that bassheads will have more fun with the 606.
Better than an average soundbar
How do the 607 Anniversary Edition speakers perform when watching TV? We connect the Primare set via an optical cable to the Sony KD-65AF9 in the test room. Now the TV speakers are not that bad in this case, partly because there is a large subwoofer at the back of this television and because the glass of the TV panel works as a speaker. That is quite unusual, but this is also an expensive model. In terms of intelligibility and fullness of sound, the Sony is actually not that bad for a TV. Yet the step to a pair of separate Bowers & Wilkins speakers delivers a lot, simply because those two speakers are a bit further apart and you get a distinct soundstage. Position them correctly, preferably left and right at an equal distance from the screen, and you get clearly understandable dialogues that really come out of the screen and sound effects that move around the screen. It may not be surround, if we start up Netflix and choose ‘The Great Wall’, followed later by a few episodes of ‘The Lost Kingdom’, then we not only get a good load of sword fights served but also a decent immersive TV night. . Watching television and listening to music do not have to be two different things.
With the app of the Berliner Philharmoniker you can attend classical concerts in high quality at home – now even more nice given that cultural events only take place to a limited extent. We know from a tour behind the scenes at the Berliner that the concert hall goes to great lengths to make good recordings, including in 4K. All the more reason to experience such a concert through the two Bowers & Wilkins speakers. As you would expect you will really be rewarded with an immersive performance, almost feeling that beautiful concert hall. We sometimes miss the deepest tones, for example from the timpani, but that is also the compromise you make when you go for small speakers. It certainly does not disturb, but with an extra small subwoofer that is hidden somewhere in the room, the experience would be absolutely great. To compensate for the slightly more limited low, you do receive a more spatial representation with just enough detail that you really imagine yourself in Berlin for a while. Also very nice: ‘Letter to you’, a great musical portrait / documentary about Bruce Springsteen, which can be found via the Apple TV + service. We send it via Airplay from the iPad to the Sony TV, which then plays the outpourings of The Boss and his music on the 607 Anniversary Edition speakers. Even the small details that you would otherwise not notice with TV speakers, such as the light tapping on the edge of a closed hi-hat and the soft strumming on an acoustic guitar, are now very evident. Compared to a soundbar, this is really much more natural and layered.
607 Anniversary Edition: Conclusion
You can absolutely complain about what you get for your 600 euros. The 607 Anniversary Edition is a beautiful speaker that offers a lot, such as a sound character that completely matches the beloved Bowers & Wilkins sound. Both with music and when watching TV, these speakers deliver a detailed and open sound. Combine them with the right amplifier and you end up with a music system that takes up little space but sounds great.