Bowers & Wilkins 607 S3 Bookshelf Speaker Review [VIDEO]

Manufacturer & Model
Bowers & Wilkins 607 S3 Bookshelf Speaker
MSRP
$900/pr
Link
https://www.bowerswilkins.com/en-us/product/loudspeakers/600-series/607-s3/300661.html
Highlights
Signature Bowers & Wilkins sound at the entry-level price point
Elegant appearance
Summary
With the 607 S3, you won’t forget you’re listening to bookshelf speakers, but you may very well forget you’re listening to entry-level bookshelf speakers. The sound produced is impressive and engaging, and the quality of what you DO get very much outweighs what is NOT there.
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Personally, I’m a fan of Bowers & Wilkins speakers. I have always been a fan of their sound. But I’m also a former owner of their entry-level bookshelves, which left me wondering what to expect from these when they arrived. Several years ago, I found a trio of Bowers & Wilkins DM-601-S2 speakers on the used market for a song, so I grabbed them and used them for the front soundstage in the early stages of my home theater. They were an improvement over the speakers they replaced, most significantly in the form of more natural voices, but still, they were rather unimpressive. They sounded fine, but they didn’t sound like Bowers & Wilkins. They didn’t have that signature sound.

They didn’t last long behind the screen, but I kept them around and later used them for a while in my 2-channel vinyl setup. Connected to a vintage Marantz receiver, they sounded alright. Still not the Bowers & Wilkins sound I admire, but they were serviceable until I found a pair of towers to bring in. At this point, I offloaded them and never thought about them again.

So recently, when the opportunity to demo the latest entry-level offering from Bowers & Wilkins came up, I was definitely interested, but I also kept my expectations low. Remember, I do enjoy the signature Bowers & Wilkins sound, but I also know that the sound starts at the top of the line, and what trickles down the line trickles down, but there’s usually not much left for the budget models.

The 607 S3 bookshelf speaker is a refreshing change from the previous Bowers & Wilkins speakers I’d owned. Gone is the yellow kevlar driver, replaced with a silvery metallic ‘continuum’ driver, which is much more subtle when you keep the grills off. The 607 S3 comes in a very classy finish, I was sent the oak finish, which still has a white face on it. It’s just a really nice, modern look that fits in very well in our room. Very Scandinavian. They’re also available in an all white and an all black finish, and custom stands are available, and were offered, but with limited storage and space, I chose to use the stands I already own.

They could not have shipped these out at a better time, as our new puppy has kept us out of the theater as much as we usually are, so we’ve been listening to a lot of music upstairs with my Jolida BRC 202 tube integrated amp, fed primarily by a Rega P6 turntable with a Rega Aria preamp, as well as with a Blusound Node for streaming Tidal and Apple Music.

Right out of the box, I got them connected and fired up a Tidal playlist on the Node with some tracks I’m very familiar with. The speakers sounded flat and lifeless, very thin, and unimpressive. I flipped through some different genres, and basically assumed they would be about as engaging as my previous entry-level Bowers & Wilkins experience, and locked in the expectations. I set the playlist to loop for Bodhi to listen to while we ran out for a few errands and dinner. Upon our return a few hours later, I turned up the volume a bit while Bodhi went for a walk and I unpacked groceries. Giving them a bit of juice opened up the soundstage a bit, perhaps a little stiffness had been worked out, but they were beginning to sound like … dare I say it … Bowers & Wilkins speakers.

I tweaked the positioning a bit, moving them a little closer to the rear wall, and placed a new vinyl arrival on the Rega. Having just given myself a massive upgrade with the Rega Aria preamp, I may have become a bit addicted to UHQR and MoFi vinyl releases, and the 45 RPM UHQR release of Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” had recently hit my doorstep.

Giving the volume on the Jolida a bit more of a bump and sitting in my main listening chair, the 607 S3s really started to come to life. I knew I was about to spend the rest of the evening listening.

The 607 S3’s Titanium dome tweeter is a really good match for the tube warmth of the Jolida. It maintains a clarity that can get lost in the mellow warmth with other speakers, and was never harsh. The Continuum bass/midrange driver sounds like a Bowers & Wilkins speaker. The size of the driver in these became more evident when I switched over to the UHQR of Steely Dan’s Can’t Buy a Thrill. Rated to 52 hertz, and down 6 db at 40 hertz, the 607 doesn’t deliver any sub bass to speak of, and bass is light, but not absent.

Bowers & Wilkins has cracked the code to giving their entry-level offerings a sonic signature that holds the brand’s DNA, and for that I applaud them. I had low expectations when these arrived. Not that they would be disappointing, or sound bad, but I didn’t expect them to sound reminiscent of the higher-level speakers in the Bowers & Wilkins family. I really didn’t expect to consider purchasing them. Not for me, but for my son, who’s piecing together his first real audio system. These are a great sounding entry-level speaker.

With the 607 S3, you won’t forget you’re listening to bookshelf speakers, but you may very well forget you’re listening to entry-level bookshelf speakers. The sound produced is impressive and engaging, and the quality of what you DO get very much outweighs what is NOT there.

I believe these speakers are fantastic for background listening, and for less bass-heavy genres, like jazz, they can get along just fine by themselves. They’re not elite, but they are very elegant, both looking and sounding, for a $900 speaker. I think they’d be very pleasing with a subwoofer in the mix, or perhaps look towards the 603 S3 towers.

For more details on my measurements and evaluation, watch the video below!





Bowers & Wilkins 607 S3 Bookshelf Speakers

  • Bass/Midrange: 5" Continuum
  • Tweeter: 1" Decoupled Double Dome Titanium
  • Recommended Amp Power: 30-100w
  • Frequency Response: 52Hz-28kHz
  • Impedance: 8 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 84db

 
Last edited:

Sonnie

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Nice review... thanks Travis.

I still have an entry-level set of B&W 600 Series i from 1994 that we use daily in our sunroom. I think one is going out (comes and goes), so I may be replacing them soon.

Nice Jolida amp and Rega turntable setup.
 

Travis Ballstadt

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Nice review... thanks Travis.

I still have an entry-level set of B&W 600 Series i from 1994 that we use daily in our sunroom. I think one is going out (comes and goes), so I may be replacing them soon.

Nice Jolida amp and Rega turntable setup.

Thanks Sonnie. I was presently surprised with these. They sound very nice, a very nice pairing with the tube amp.
 
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