I want to preface this review with the fact that I hold the term "audiophile" in high regard and feel that many of the people here that refer to themselves as one are pretty silly. Their comments reveal who truly is and isn't an audiophile. Anyone can use the term "soundstage"
That being said, my experiences differed with the different amplifiers I used. They sounded decent with an old Marantz 1200 integrated that tends to be mellow/warm. As I upgraded my components (Accuphase/promitheus) the speakers lost their luster.
I've seen a lot of comparisons to NHT speakers, the B&Ws usually losing the battle. Without trying to jump on the band wagon I have to concur: I picked up a pair of NHT Superzeros off craigslist for $10 (their original retail price of $230 being a bargain, this is a crime). When I brought them home and plugged them in I almost had to pinch myself to believe the sound that was coming from them. To be fair, I admit that I'm using a Velodyne subwoofer, as I would with ANY bookshelf speaker. Without the use of a sub the NHTs simply don't have ANY bass. You can't use them without. The B&Ws will fair well enough on their own, even sound alright in the low bass region. BUT........with the sub handling the lows, the little bottom of the line, 15 year old NHT absolutely TROMP the B&Ws.
There is absolutely no comparison. The NHTs put you right in the room with the artist. Vocals soar, instruments sing! Imaging is incredible.....even from the next room. I can only imagine what their expensive floor standing speakers sound like. In contrast, the 602s sound muffled, you hear a lot of cabinet. The highs sound boosted become harsh and hard to listen to after a while. Maybe they're designed to excel on the crap that most people use for amplification? I think for the price one can do much better.
B&W has a name for itself but I believe the more you shop around and listen to what else is out there you will believe in these less and less. That's not to say some of their other models aren't great, just not these. These are mediocre.
When I moved to USA from Singapore, I sold my system consisting of Tannoy Mercury M2. I like my Tannoy speakers but I cannot take it with me because it's too bulky & heavy. It's so difficult to find the same Tannoy in the US, so I start searching for alternative brands available in the US market. I heard about the B&W 6 series & waited for the right time to buy it. I was so excited at first because I thought it would sound better than the M2, but it didn't meet my expectations. It's clear though but lacks some punch. I miss my Tannoy, but this DM602 will do the job but with the help of a sub. Can't complain for the price I paid, good thing I didn't buy a new one....
I was looking for a pair of DM602 S2 or S3's, and then found this pair of series 1's for $90. I went to the guys house and was shocked at how BAD they sounded. No highs, no lows, just a huge muddy middle. (I did not see what type of amp that he had).
Because of what they sell for on Ebay (currently dm602s1's are going for around $400) I thought I'd get them. Worse I'd just resell them.
Got them home, and did a side by side comparison against the best speakers I own (Klipsch RB-5 II's). (I have a Denon 687 receiver with 12 gage speaker wire). When I compared them (using the A/B speaker buttons) , there was obviously a huge difference in efficiently. But, when they were adjusted to the same sound level, I played track after track--and I could not tell a huge difference. The Klipsch RB-5's sounded richer and the dm602-s1's had a stronger (maybe even boomy) base. So, for $90, I'm very pleased.
The dm602s1's sound much better then my: Cerwin-Verga LS-8's, Klipsch Synergy B2's, and Bose 201's.
I'm building a movie theater in my basement with a 7.1 sound system and will be using these as my fronts. I don't think that I'll need a sub with there strong base. Also, I will not get a center speaker until I'm sure that I'll keep them.
I have had my B&W speakers for 6 years. I have to say my opinions of them have changed dramatically as my components improved over time. My first set up was the Rotel 971 Preamp and amp and with a dvd player as my cd player the speakers sounded good but limited in treble and overall clarity. I actually the 601s for their clarity and crispness. Its been 5 years and now I am using a Rotel A/V RSX 972 as my receiver and the new Marantz DV8300(its awesome) plus new red dragon speaker cables (bi-wired). I have also bought two Audio Mirror power cords and the sound is just amazing now. Its rich and clear and the treble is now the best part. Sometimes you have to have not just expensive but well matched equipment. Because I found the Marantz slightly bright in sound I thought it would be perfect with the 602's that lacks that clarity on the top. The middle is now very rich and clear although not like 804s or 803s. That is my next stop. In movies, these speakers are more than enough. Highly recommended if you can find some used ones that have been carefully taken care of.
I'm actually reviewing the 602 s3. I love listening to all kinds of music, including classical, asian, latin, jazz, blues, and rap. At the time, I was looking for the best pair of speakers I could get for a relatively cheap price. I'd heard B&Ws before, so I thought I'd give them a test. I demo'ed B&W, Paradigm, Klipsch, Boston Acoustic,JBL,PSB,Renaissance,KLH, Infinity, and some others I can't remember. Of all of the bookshelf and floorstanding speakers in the mid-500s price range for the pair, the B&Ws sounded the most musical to me. They perform well at the highs, are extremely great at mids, and weaker on the lows. Imaging is very nice, the best I heard in that price range. Considering they're only bookshelves the bass is good! Sound is also very dependent on placement in the room, angle, and sound absorption (to really hear these guys, you must make sure the room doesn't bounce the sound around too much, and get rid of things that make too much noise! like little cube fridges and noisy components - they REALLY kill the subtle details). When I really cranked these things up, I truly fell in love. The sound stayed very tight and true and bass picked up. I strongly recommend that you do NOT increase the BASS level, you're just asking for distortion and bottoming out. These are the best speakers I've tried in the price range.
Of course, I can definitely hear lots of weaknesses. They are, after all, relatively cheap speakers. To truly feel satisfied with the bass, I complemented them with the ASW1000 (this sub rocks). Once I had the sub, I felt very satisfied with rap and other pop music that has a lot of bass at even the lowest listening volumes. They sound a bit boxy and constrained, but that's only because I've got CDM9s as my fronts now :)
So, I've recently moved the 602s to rears, have a lcr60 as my center, asw1000 as the sub, and just added CDM9s as the fronts. I know, I know, please don't tell me about the center and fronts, I just don't want to upgrade the center right now. They work great as rears, though a shame to not work them so much. Overall, I think they are the best deal out there in terms of speaker quality for price paid.
Rotel RSX1055 Receiver
Toshiba SD3800 DVD player
Samsung SIRTS160 HDTV tuner
Toshiba 50H82 HDTV
Everything run through Panamax Max5100
B&W CMD9NT front
B&W LCR60 center
B&W 602 S3 rear
B&W ASW1000 sub
I need some help to see if I can correct the highs in my B&W DM 602 S2. I can not stand the bright highs anymore. I have another set of bookshelf speakers, Monitor Audio Silver S2 which has excellent highs. The B&W s are harsh and there isn't way I can enjoy them. If I can not correct it w ... Read More »
Hello from Greece!
I like B&W 602 S3 but i've read that they need a lot of power! How much power do they really need? I intend to buy one of these amplifiers :
Rotel RA02 / Cambridge Audio Azur 640A / Nad C352 / Thule IA60 / Denon PMA 1500 MKII.
I'm going to place the system in a 4*6 M2 living r ... Read More »
Wondering your impressions of them from prior auditions, and if there is much difference between the two versions? Buying S2 used would probably save a few hundred $$, not sure how improved S3 is...I do understand that they braced the cabinet in S3, not sure what else though...Read More »