|Bowers & Wilkins DM604S3 Loudspeakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Floorstanding Loudspeakers|
|Written by Brian Kahn|
|Wednesday, 01 February 2006|
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I first listened to an old favorite, Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved” off his Legend album (Island Records). I was immediately struck by the solid, full bass from drums. The notes were tight and well-delineated, with plenty of impact. Marley’s vocals were clear, well-defined and had a solid sonic image. The drums were positioned well behind vocals, with each of the instruments anchored in the soundstage. The speakers completely disappeared.
I then listened to one of our critics’ favorite albums, Shawn Mullin’s Soul’s Core (Sony). The song “Anchored in You” lives up to the album’s reputation of providing superb vocals and midrange. There was good, palpable detail in Mullins’ vocals without any signs of boxiness or chestiness, making it obvious that the reference technology had indeed found its way down to the DM604S3s. The highs were clear with smooth decay, a sign of the Nautilus tweeter design’s effectiveness. The midrange was detailed reproducing the open raspiness in Mullins voice. The B&W’s were quick, detailed and tight. The low end was extended enough to handle the bass without making me wish for a subwoofer. Like the rest of the frequency range, the bass notes were also taut and detailed.
Wondering how the DM604S3s would do on a more bass-intensive album, I played an old favorite, Crystal Method’s Vegas (Outpost Records), and went straight to the track “Busy Child.” The speakers could hint at the very deepest subsonic notes but reproduced rest of the extensive bass notes with quickness, good extension and solidity. The DM604S3s are far from different without a woofer, but I recommend all modern speaker systems to go with the old “point one” subwoofer so as to not miss out on the lowest of low notes. The 603s sounded very dynamic, did not bottom out and produced no port noise. When I listened at higher volumes, the disc was a bit harsh, but that was consistent with what I have heard on any number of speaker systems that I have tested with this electronic-sounding disc.
Moving on to female vocals, I listened to Norah Jones’ album Come Away With Me (Blue Note Records). Her hit track “Don’t Know Why” demonstrated that the B&Ws’ capabilities were not limited to reproducing instruments and male vocals. Norah’s voice was reproduced cleanly and smoothly without sacrificing detail, even at very high volumes. The piano’s high notes were clear and extended with no harshness. As with most of the other tracks I listened to, the soundstage was well developed and reasonably large, with the speakers disappearing, leaving only the music.
As I was doing a stereo speaker review, I didn’t get into too much in the way of movie demos, but I did have a chance to watch “Guess Who” (Columbia/TriStar Home Entertainment), a remake of the classic “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” The DM604S3 had no problems cleanly reproducing vocals and the urban-influenced soundtrack. The voices were clear and distinct, even in scenes with numerous voices speaking over one another. The DM604S3s would do well in anchoring a home theater system with their combination of clarity, dynamics and extension.
I have no concerns whatsoever that the B&W DM603S3s can reproduce the most demanding soundtracks with the dynamics, power and finesse that I heard when testing them with music.