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Bowers & Wilkins Brings 800 Series Technologies To An All New 600 Loudspeaker Series Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 June 2007
Article Index
Bowers & Wilkins Brings 800 Series Technologies To An All New 600 Loudspeaker Series
Page 2
B&W Loudspeakers, the British manufacturer recognized as one of the world's leading sources of loudspeaker technology, has launched the fourth generation of its hugely popular 600 Series. Incorporating technologies from the firm's reference-standard 800 Series, the improvements represent a step forward in this price class. "Applying much of our latest, most sophisticated technologies to our most accessibly priced products has long been a B&W design goal," says Doug Henderson, VP of Sales and Marketing.

Call it the Six-Eight Series
The new 600 Series is nothing less than a complete top to bottom redesign, incorporating many of the technologies developed for the flagship 800 Series. The line has been focused down to fewer models to suit current market requirements. New finishes and more contemporary, refined cosmetics complete the package.

The reason behind the value offered by the new 600 Series is that Bowers & Wilkins has made a significant investment in a new purpose-built factory in China. To clarify: These are not OEM-sourced products! Bowers & Wilkins factory managers and engineers have spent more than two years supervising construction of this manufacturing plant and training the operating staff. It is Bowers & Wilkins owned and managed with state-of-the-art production lines. In contrast to the many other companies that have moved production to third-party vendors in China to decrease costs at the expense of quality, Bowers & Wilkins ambition here was to put more content in the product at this price level. The results speak for themselves.

Bowers & Wilkins Flagship Technology Made Affordable.
Starting at the top, the new 600 Series Nautilus tube-loaded tweeter has been completely redesigned. A powerful new neodymium magnet replaces the ceramic magnet used in the past. The tweeter’s smaller size allows it to be placed closer to the midrange driver for more seamless integration and vertical dispersion, with resulting improvements in imaging. The new tweeter also makes use of single layer, edge-wound ribbon voice coil wire, and a copper plate on the pole piece. These techniques put more copper in the voice-coil gap, increase efficiency, lower distortion and extend the high frequency response. The tweeter also makes use of rolled-surround technology, which allows greater frequency extension before break-up. Braided lead-out wires from the diaphragm improve reliability, and a new surround material achieves a lower resonant frequency, with the net result of wider overall bandwidth and power handling. Compared with 600 S3 tweeters, the response has more than doubled, to 50 kHz, putting any distortion well outside the audible range.

The Kevlar bass/midrange units developed for this range utilize a fixed center “bullet” piece that improves smoothness and dispersion in the upper frequencies. High quality, die-cast driver baskets are employed to minimize chassis resonance and rear wave turbulence. The 683 and the HTM61 center have the added benefit of the FST (Fixed Suspension Transducer) midrange pioneered in the Nautilus 800 Series. This breakthrough design has proven unequaled for midrange clarity and dynamics.

The 683’s twin woofers have been given an increase in magnet diameter from 100mm to 120mm, to provide higher sensitivity and tighter bass. The cone material used here consists of dual layers of aluminum and paper/Kevlar, in a technique known as constrained layer damping, to reduce cone breakup and lower distortion. The woofer chassis is die-cast and features an open design with rounded support legs to reduce viscous drag.

The many driver refinements have allowed Bowers & Wilkins to employ minimalist first-order crossovers, like those in the 800 Series, built of premium quality components that were selected through extensive listening tests. Fewer components of higher quality translate directly to less signal degradation, with improvements in every aspect of performance.

Cabinet construction has also been improved by increasing the baffle thickness by 30 percent. This strengthening provides a better mechanical foundation for the bass driver(s), and reduces panel bending at higher volumes. The benefit is better bass definition.

Also noticeable are the enhancements to the look and feel of the new models. Soft-touch baffle paint, screw-less driver trim rings, and an elegant diamond cut logo on a brushed aluminum surface, all give a high quality feel to such a reasonably priced range.


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