Six songs to make the new 600s sing

Everyone should experience truly great sound. With the 600 Series, everyone can.

Combining audio performance, power and price, the 600 Series blends technology from high-end Bowers & Wilkins speakers with engineering solutions unique to the range, to bring the best in audio to everyone.

Here Bowers & Wilkins Product Manager Andy Kerr chooses six songs to really make your 600 series sing.


1. Jeff Buckley, Lilac Wine


Thanks to the Decoupled Double Dome tweeter in the new 600 Series, even the compact 686s can generate a soundstage endowed with wonderful height and space: in fact, you’ll hear some of the benefits of a tweeter-on-top loudspeaker, which is remarkable for a loudspeaker in this price class. Buckley’s haunting vocal on Lilac Wine showcases that height and space perfectly. Listen to the same recording on one of the larger speakers in the new 600 Series, and things only get bigger and better.


2. The Beatles, Mother Nature’s Son

(Beatles Anthology 3)

Double Dome brings resolution and insight into the recording. Here, you’re able to clearly discern the difference between the perfectly captured guitar and the odd effect being imposed on Paul McCartney’s vocal as part of the recording process. As the performance goes on his voice sound increasingly chesty and occasionally distorts – but the guitar, recorded on a separate microphone, is always perfect. Recorded on 9 August 1968 at Abbey Road Studios, this recording is Take 2 of McCartney’s performance, with Take 24 becoming the version that eventually makes the final cut.


3. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slow Cheetah

(Stadium Arcadium)

This Rick Rubin-produced powerhouse packs the lot. Starting quietly and slowly with John Frusciante’s murmered count-off and some beautifully resolved acoustic guitar, it rapidly evolves into a gutsy, driving and dynamic funk-rock track bristling with terrific percussion, deep bass and clever spacial cues that broaden and deepen the soundstage. On the 685s it’s a forceful presence in the room: listen to it on 683 and it’s a proper thrill-ride.


4. Zara McFarlane, Feed the spirit (The Children & The Warlock)

(Until Tomorrow)

Complex jazz is a great way of demonstrating the agility of the new 600 Series range: their ability to relay changes in timbre is exceptional, as is their facility with rhythm and their definition of differing music strands. They ensure this piece never becomes muddy or clouded: it’s hard to keep up with its distinctive timing at times, but every model in the new 600 Series copes well, and the 684s are especially effective. You’ll love McFarlane’s rich Badu-esque vocals too.


5. Elvis Costello & The Attractions, I Want You

(Blood & Chocolate)

What a song. Bitter, spiteful, fragile and passionate, it teems with character and presence. Its spectacular imaging and immediate, raw edginess sounds great on any model in the new 600 Series but is especially well revealed on the new 683, thanks to its FST midrange drivers. In a later interview with Mix magazine, Colin Fairley (the engineer working on Blood & Chocolate) commented that “The mix we used on the album is the original monitor mix thirty minutes after we cut the track, warts and all. Pure magic. The vocal performance sent shivers down my spine.” That’s exactly what it should do to you too.

6. Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard: Like A Dog Chasing Cars

(The Dark Knight Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

We put a lot of focus on Decoupled Double Dome and rightly so, but this track shows off the other big advance in 683 (and HTM61 S2). In the new 600 Series our three-way loudspeakers use all-aluminium Dual-Layer bass drivers, their outer edges reinforced by a thin outer layer strip much as per the tweeter. So, first break-up is raised from 4kHz to 5.5kHz, integration with the midrange is better, transients are faster, dynamics more explosive and bass generally better in every regard. This brooding, effortlessly dynamic and appropriately epic piece – developed in part by Society Of Sound Fellow Howard – showcases that fearsome scale to great effect.


  • Fb_Guest says:

    Another fine recomendation could be Dire Straights “Money for nothing”.

    With best Regards!

  • john bryans says:

    Whenever i buy new Speakers here is my playlist to see if they can sing or not!
    Radiohead “street spirit”
    The Prodigy “skylined”
    Inspiral Carpets “Saturn 5”
    Rage Against The Machine “killing in the name of”
    William Orbit “xerxes”
    Der Dritte Raum “halebop”

  • Ulf Soldan says:

    That tracks are a pretty well balanced choice through the times. For special moments I like to play from Diana Krall album “Live in Paris” the track ‘Case of you’ first published by Joni Mitchell in 1971 on the album ‘Blue’. Diana Krall will give you the real live feeling when her voice surprises you after a smooth piano intro. Wow! Applause comes with the final chords…

  • Sam says:

    Bob Dylan’s Time out of Mind is always a fantastic test. Especially Love Sick & Cold Iron Bounds.

  • Hunter says:

    Very nice picks. I especially enjoy Zara McFarlane’s piece. Personally, I like to test my new gear with a mix of newer material (The Knife, Amon Tobin, George Crumb, Hundred Waters) and older material (Erik Satie, Nick Drake, Tears for Fears, Pink Floyd).

  • jlrbiker says:

    Are these good speakers

  • Victoria says:

    LOVE my 686’s thinking about maybe getting the new series, what would be a good R&B song to play on them?

  • Rupert Hill says:

    My test tracks would include
    Crowded house – Its only natural on Woodface
    Belle & Sebastian – It could have been a brilliant career on Boy with the arab strap
    Gwyneth Herbert – Nataliya on All the Ghosts
    Avril Lavigne – Complicated –
    Mudbone – Make the devil mad on Fresh Mud
    Muse – United States of Eurasia on Resistance
    Beatles – anything on the Love album (Mixed for Cirque de soleil using original masters)
    Pink Floyd – Dark side of the moon
    AC/DC – All night long

  • Rudi says:

    Always interested to see what others listening tracks are. My go to’s:

    Miles Davis – So What
    The Blue Nile – kinda anything (Linn CD)
    Return to Forever – Sorceress
    Flying Lotus – Puttyboy

  • Ray says:

    Marvin Gaye’s “Let Get it On” has always been my reference track for speakers/CD players/connectors etc.

    Beautifully subtle tones, instruments and vocals along with it’s bass line. Stunning track.

  • Jeremy Dowling says:

    I will try keep this short.I tested the new 685 s2 set up using direct stereo sound at Sevenoaks Sound and Vision.The best cd to test the tone, clarity and power of these bookshelf speakers was Custodio Castello`s Portuguese guitar collection.I was astounded how emotional I felt when listening to this music.Thanks B&W,I`m glad I bought your speakers.

  • Rob Moores says:

    I have recently purchased a pair of the 686 S2’s and they sound sublime!
    Review here:

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