B&W 686 Bookshelf Speakers

4.33/5 (6 Reviews) MSRP : $480.00


Product Description

The 686 is the baby of the new 600 Series range, but doesn’t lack for the technologies and features to deliver outrageously good sound in smaller room settings. Mount a pair on a wall or stand, or simply sit them on a shelf or table for a compact stereo system or as surround speakers in a home theatre set-up.


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Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jose a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 21, 2013

Bottom Line:   
I have had many bookshelf speakers and my favorite were Polk audio RTi-A1...well that was until I try these beasts! The B&W 686 are very small bookshelf speakers, but they sound BIG!!!. The sound is very clean and solid, the build quality is very well made using very high quality parts. You will not find cheap electrolytic NP caps here. I would strongly recommend them for those people that appreciate good sound in small packages. These speakers are worthy every penny.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by yyseco@yahoo.com a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: April 5, 2011

Bottom Line:   
I initially used them as surround speakers for my set-up (I use 602s in front). But the 686s were just overqualified as surround speakers. I gave them their own room paired with a small vacuum tube amplifier. The problem with bookshelf speakers is always the low frequencies. But not for the 686. The bass is unbelievably deep. I listened to Klipschs, Polk, and Paradigms of the same sizes and the bass of the 686 stands out.

Give them power and give them vacuum tube amps to really enjoy warm analog sound. So deep, so clear.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2010



Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by noom a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: February 17, 2010

Bottom Line:   
Not that good.I bought these to compare with,and replace my older 600 s3,but after extensive listening the 600 s3 were better.
The 686 have to my ears have a compressed and closed in midrange,and a prominent treble with stands out and bit too forward,with slight thinness overall namelly from the metal tweet.The 600s3 has a much more open midrange,although less bass.-still the 600s3 sounded more satisfying musically.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

Product model year:   2009



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by scottw a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 27, 2010

Bottom Line:   
686's are great little speakers for my needs. My room is carpeted, about 10x12, and I am using an Audiopro sub. These have more detail than my old Paradigms. The sound stage is great for the size and the sub allows a bit more breath. These are tight and punchy, not too brights, great for classical and jazz. Check out Paradigm and NHT, settled on these for $400 at a closing store. No complaints. Amazing detail for such small speakers. Running good power, don't skimp on power.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2009



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Scott Weber a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 26, 2010

Bottom Line:   
I decided to purchase the smallest of the B&W series - 686. Now do these have the detail or dispersion of the 685 - no. Are the 686's more detailed than my older Paradigms - yes. The space one is working with is critical to sound so I am working with a small apartment living room 10x12. My sofa is about 6 ft from the speakers. The speakers are off the wall on stands. My sub is an Audiopro. The 685 speakers are $685 and tax at my local shop and well worth it. The 686's ran me $400 as a local store was closing, I paid $75 for the Sub and a couple of satellites, my receiver a Denon 3803 - under $200. I paid $675 for a decent system that is appropriate for my space. Now mind you I have a small room painted apartment white, with a carpet, and walls that are thin. Big sound could lead to neighbor anger. Bass is tight and held better with a small sub. Detail is very good though the bigger sibling clearly has more detail. The sound field is not the 685's but very good for their size. In the world of compromise and personal economic limits I am more than pleased. These are very good speakers and excellent for my needs. If you are cash poor and don't have that $X,000 dollars in discretionary income, prefer classical and jazz, these speakers are a bargain at their price point. As money gathers you can use them as rears if you choose. However, they are mellow, sweet fronts in a small space. Paradigm Atoms and NHT's are also worth a good look.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2009




Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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How good is the B&W 686 speakers with Marantz SR4023?

Hey everyone, I haven't been on here in years, so I'm glad I'm back on here! How good are the B&W 686 speakers with the Marantz SR4023 receiver? I spoke to a guy at a shop, and he told me he would recommend a Marantz with either a pair of 685, or 686. I would like the 686 with the Marantz, but ... Read More »

B&W 686 impressions

I've had these along with the DAC & amp for a couple months now and I thought I would share my opinions, now that I've had a little time with them. I would imagine that they are clearly broken in by now, having used them quite a lot during this time. I'd like to note that the acoustics in my cur ... Read More »

686 binding posts

Hey girls and boys, I've purchased some 686's:D! and I've already got a problem.. How do normal banana plugs fit? The holes are way to big it seems, and the bananas can't go any deep because there's a plastic cap that stops them. I've obviously tried to remove them but they won't go. Nothing is spe ... Read More »

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