The B&W 603 is another amazing speaker that came out of the famous Bowers & Wilkins 600 series, it has garnered rave reviews and even impresses discerning critics. It is an improvement over its predecessor, a floor-standing speaker with sonic performance that is exceptional at its price range. Are you planning to get an equally impressive amp to pair with your B&W 603? If you are then please continue to read on.
What makes them sound so good, what are their strengths, and do they have any weaknesses. What are B&W 603 sound characteristics? Once we have managed to find the answers to all our questions, we will then be able to find matching amplifiers that are compatible and complement the Bower & Wilkins 603 floor-standing speakers. Making them sound great for you.
Sound Characteristics and Merits of Bowers and Wilkins 603
Gone were the days of using the striking yellow Kevlar midrange cones, the new B&W 603 looks more minimalistic with its 6 inch (150mm) Silver Continuum cone FST (Fixed Suspension Transducer) midrange driver. Above the midrange driver, you will see a 1 inch (25mm) Decoupled Double Dome aluminum tweeter. There are also two 6.5 inch (165mm) paper cone woofers. It is a three-way speaker design with rear-firing Flowports (bass ports). You’ll need to find space for them, if you have no choice but to place them nearer to walls and find the bass a bit too much, you can always use the foam port plug. The Bowers and Wilkins 603 do look more modern and stylish now, changing the midrange driver to silver color is a good call.
The magnetic grille looks nice on the speakers as well, keeping them on, may let them blend in nicely in most home interiors. We were expecting high speaker sensitivity but at 88.5dB, it is still not bad. The frequency response is also not what we expected, it is 48Hz-28kHz (±3 dB) which is good though. The nominal impedance is 8 Ohms and a minimum impedance of about 3 Ohms. The recommended amplifier power is between 30-200 Watts. With the current data we have, it seems that we need high power output amplifiers to drive them. There’s a probability we may need to integrate an active subwoofer into the mix to supplement the subterranean bass reproduction.
The soundstage is probably one of B&W 603 greatest strengths, it is incredibly spacious, which is wide and deep. The stereo imaging weaves life into the stage, accurately defining each instrument and musician. The clarity of the speakers helps to add richness and details to the overall music presentation. All these make our music listening experience immersive, and furthermore, the forward-sounding characteristic makes it even more entertaining. The Bowers & Wilkins 603 sure knows how to engage their listeners.
The vocals sounded magical as well, they sounded crystal clear and you can even hear their every breath. The bass reproduction is exceptional as well, they have impeccable timing and detailed bass textures. The B&W 603 reproduces solid and punchy bass but if you want more low-end oomph, a subwoofer will be needed. These are really lively floor-standing speakers, their enthusiasm really makes us want to keep feeding them with our favorite songs. It is always exciting to hear how the B&W 603 going to deliver each of our favorite tunes. They are great for movie playbacks all thanks to their energetic performance.
Bowers & Wilkins 603 is an amazing and talented all-rounder, that will certainly engage you with its bold and powerful presentation. Adding a subwoofer into the mix will be an optional choice but is quite necessary if one of the main entertainment is watching movies. The B&W 603 is not as bright-sounding as other models which is a good thing for listeners who are used to warm/dark-sounding audio systems. With this information, we can list the best amplifiers that you can go for and match with your Bowers & Wilkins 603 floorstanders.
B&W 603 Specifications
- Speaker Type: 3-way rear-firing bass port (Flowport)
- Drive Units: 1 inch (25mm) Decoupled Double Dome aluminum tweeter, 6 inch (150mm) Silver Continuum cone FST (Fixed Suspension Transducer) midrange driver, two 6.5 inch (165mm) paper cone woofers
- Frequency Response (±3dB): 48Hz-28kHz
- Recommended amplifier power: 30-200 Watts
- Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms
- Sensitivity (2.83V/1m): 88.5dB
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 1054mm x 321mm x 371mm | 41.5″ x 12.6″ x 14.6″
- Weight: 24.1kg (53.1lbs)
Best Amps to match with B&W 603
The Rotel RA-1572 MKII will be one of the best integrated amps to partner with your B&W 603 speakers, the Rotel amplifiers are usually well-matched with most Bowers & Wilkins speakers. The Rotel RA-1572 MKII has the muscle to drive your floor-standing speakers with ease and control. The timing and precision that this amp possesses bring music to life, delivering a dynamic music presentation. Rotel RA-1572 MKII is a revealing amplifier that captures every detail and reproduces them with clarity. It has plenty of features such as a DAC, Moving Magnet Phono stage inputs, and more. Definitely worth the time for an audition with them.
The NAD C 388 is a versatile and powerful hybrid digital amplifier that has a unique future-proof modular design such as adding a 4K video capable HDMI switching module, BluOS, and more. This amplifier with its continuous power output of 150 Watts and its IHF Dynamic Power is more than enough to drive your B&W 603 at loud volumes. The amplifier’s smooth and warm sound characteristics are easy on the ears, which provides a natural-sounding music presentation. Plenty of details are been revealed as well, with high definition low-end frequency. Aesthetically both NAD C 388 and B&W 603 look great together with almost similar elegance.
The Musical Fidelity M5SI is another amazing amplifier which you can go for and match with your B&W 603 floor-standing speakers. The M5SI complements the speaker by bringing in more musicality into the mix, not to mention, this amp has plenty of muscles as well. This amplifier effortlessly delivers a large spacious soundstage and has plenty of details. As you are enveloped by the sound field, you will notice the spatial atmosphere that simply engages you and allowing you to fully focus on your favorite songs. It is worth the effort to go have a listen, as the Musical Fidelity M5SI works very well with the B&W 603 floorstanders.
A preamp and power amp combo will be great for B&W 603 speakers, and Rotel will be one of the top choices. For preamplifier, you might want to take a look at Rotel RC-1572MKII which packs a plethora of features such as high-quality Texas Instruments 32-bit Digital to Analog converter, Moving Magnet Phono Stage inputs, etc. This preamp has exceptional clarity and natural sound quality. For the power amplifier, the Rotel RB-1582 MkII will be an excellent choice. The RB-1582 MkII uses a Class AB amplifier design that unleashes 200 Watts of power per channel, easily driving your B&W 603 speakers to their fullest potential.
If digital sources and music streaming are important to you, you might want to check out Cambridge Audio Azur 851N. This digital preamplifier has dual 24-bit Analog Devices DACs where it provides greater accuracy in music delivery and outstanding stereo imaging. Coupled with the Cambridge Audio Azur 851W power amplifier that has the muscle to easily drive your B&W 603 speakers. You will now have a sound system that is insightful and powerful, with the latest modern music streaming and high-resolution audio file playback capabilities. This digital preamp and power amp combination are a great match for your Bowers & Wilkins 603 floor-standing speakers.
There are other brands which you might be interested in, if you like the Marantz house sound or want a warmer sounding system, then as mentioned, Marantz is probably one of the best choices you can go for. The Marantz integrated amplifiers are made with music as the focus. Another amazing brand that focuses on musicality, will be the integrated amplifiers from Yamaha. The transparent sound quality and stunning clarity fit well with the characteristics of your B&W 603 speakers. The Yamaha amps may not be as bright-sounding as other amplifiers but it is still recommended to have a listen first.
To Sum It Up
The listed amplifiers are not only some of the best on the market, but they are also a suitable match for your B&W 603 floor-standing speakers. Once you have the opportunity, you should arrange an audition with them, together with your speakers. You can also use the listed amplifiers as references, use them as comparisons when looking for other amplifiers, not in this list. If possible, you should do the listening test at your own home as this will provide you with a more accurate result on how the system will sound inside your house.