Friday, September 03, 2010

B&W 683 - Bowers & Wilkins floorstander speakers

Hefty beasts :-) have arrived ... 34kg for each of the boxes!!

Dealer: Archimedia - Bu Ameem Building, Umm Hurair Road, off Al Maktoum Bridge, Dubai.

Bowers + Wilkins' B&W 683
Type: 3 way floor-standing speaker
Dimensions: 985mm height (not including plinth or feet) x 198mm width x 340mm depth
Net Weight: 26kg
Finishes: Black Ash, Red Cherry (Wenge and Light Oak may not be available any more) ... I chose red cherry.

The B&Ws came beautifully packaged, and there were constant reminders via pictures on the box on what to do. For example, one basically had to un-do the staples/fastenings/tape on both ends, and then slide the box over the top to unveil the speaker which had corner-protection pieces and foam-type sleeve over it. Nice!

There were even little protection cards on the edge of each of the mesh-grills, which you can easily remove before completing the set-up of your speakers.

There was even an accessory pack ... I couldn't believe how much there was to do to set up a pair of speakers. I had thought that all I had to do was plug in the ... wires! Ha!

Flip the speakers over (Do it carefully, they are 26 kg each and you would not want to damage the wood finish nor the speaker mesh grill, and definitely not the precious bits in the front!) ... and put on the base / plinth! I chose to use the spikes, but it also comes with rubber feet, if you prefer to use them.

10 minutes later ... the plinth and spikes were on.
One day I plan to change the black wooden plinth to something like marble or granite :-)

The detailing and finish of the B&W defies its budget (relatively!) price range ... Bi-wiring can be done quite easily, but that isn't for me for now!

I was initially thinking, uh ... how do I get the banana plugs into the speaker left-right sockets? Thanks to a B&W forum, all it took was a little knife to pry the red and black caps off, and voila ... the banana plugs were a snug push-fit in the sockets!

Banana plugs are a small but worthy investment, makes life so much easier!
My choice of integrated amp and CD player was from the B&W Group, a brand called Rotel.

In fact, I was originally very worried that the 60W output of the RA1520 would be insufficient, but boy was I wrong. In a living room of 5m x 7m, I struggle to turn up the volume to over 15%, without the neighbours calling the police! Its a beautiful partnership, B&W and Rotel :-)

Speaker wires - Straight Wire SuperQuad
Interconnects - Straight Wire Musicable II

Key features:
  • Nautilus Tweeter
  • Kevlar FST Midrange
  • Aluminium/Paper/Kevlar cone bass
  • Flowport Technology
  • 1st Order HF Filter
  • Edge wound HF voicecoil

More specs!
  • 1 x 25mm ∅ (1”) tube-loaded aluminium dome high-frequency
  • 1 x 150mm ∅ (6”) Kevlar® brand fibre FST midrange
  • 2 x 165mm ∅ (6.5”) Aluminium/ Paper/ Kevlar® cone bass
  • Sensitivity: 90dB spl (2.83v/1 metre)
  • Frequency Response: 38Hz - 22kHz ±3dB on reference axis
  • Frequency Range: -6dB @ 30Hz and 50kHz
  • Crossover Frequency: 350Hz, 4kHz
  • Nominal Impedance: 8 ohms (minimum 3.0)
  • Recommended Amplifier: 25W - 200W into 8 ohm on unclipped programme

Done! Now all I have to do is ... press play :-)

It looks better with the grills off, but I shall keep them on for protective reasons :-)
Check out the ...
  • Nautilus™ tube loaded aluminium dome tweeter (That's the one right at the top with the embossed Bowers & Wilkins badge)
  • Kevlar® brand fibre cone FST™ midrange (Can't miss it ... bright yellow, and a unique selling point of the B&W range)
  • Aluminium/paper/Kevlar® cone bass driver (I assume these are the 2 silver discs below!)
  • Flowport (That's the "hole" right at the bottom, with the dimples)

What does B&W say ...

The imposing 683 is the genuine three-way speaker of the 600 Series, with a line-up of technologies and a level of performance that defies its entry-level place in the market. For large rooms, two 683s make a formidable partnership, either for stereo hi-fi or fronting a home theatre installation.

Deep, dynamic, bottom-end power is delivered by a pair of aluminium/paper/Kevlar® composite cone bass drive units. The 150mm Kevlar® midrange handles middle frequencies with its characteristic clarity and tunefulness, but, for the first time in a 600 Series speaker, includes FST cone surround technology for extra detail and resolution. The Nautilus™ tube-loaded, aluminium dome tweeter, featuring a new surround material to improve spaciousness and imaging, adds needle-sharp top end all the way to 50kHz and beyond.

The improvements to the drive units in the new 600 Series make it possible, for the first time, to introduce a minimalist crossover to the range. The use of components that are fewer in number but higher in quality – hand-picked in exhaustive listening tests – reduces the degradation of the signal significantly. So, whether you’re enjoying hi-fi or home cinema, what you hear is that much closer to what was recorded.

Visually, a refreshed, contemporary design language and a widened choice of wood finishes allows the 683 to fit in effortlessly with any interior.


June said...

OMG !! i am so jealous . how much all this cost ?

Julian Si said...

Haha... I am sure the Dubai dealer I purchased it from would prefer if I didn't disclose that.

Lets just say that I did some serious homework online with UK retailers, as B&W is a UK company, and I could get prices slightly better here compared to the UK ;-)

I also checked in PJ and KL, and prices were about 20-30 percent higher then in the UK.

ps - I love the set-up!

June said...

lucky you ! yeah i love the set up too. would look nice in my new house :P hehehehe.....

Julian Si said...

Congratulations on your new home!

CUMI & CIKI said...

damn, it's sexay..

ShiangHorng said...

Ohh~ I love B&Ws

Derek said...

hi, were your speakers shipped in those boxes or did you pick them up? i bought a pair on ebay and wondering if those factory boxes are strong enough for shipping UPS.

any recommendation you have would be greatly appreciated!!!


Julian Si said...

Hi Derek -

Alas, I did pick them up from the shop in Dubai, Archimedia.

I suggest you email B&W directly, and ask them if the boxes are strong enough for shipping.

Personally, I think so as the boxes are well padded, but one never knows with such a fragile item!!

Good luck ;-)

ps - The speakers are simply brilliant!!

Derek said...

thanks Julian! i cannot wait to get them! your setup looks awesome!

Anonymous said...

Congrats J, I am also planning to buy either the 683 and 684 but have to listen to them first.(683 are power hungry as I have been told) Checked out the prices in UK when I was there last month and they are same as Dubai.

Hoping to audition them when I get time as I work nearly 300 kms from Dubai..

Enjoy the beasts ....



Julian Si said...

Mike, thanks for your notes - The beasts have no problems with being driven by my Rotel RA-1520 :-)

In fact, I rarely go above 1 quarter (1/4 only!) volume, otherwise the neighbours would be complaining!!

There's a brilliant sales guy at Archimedia in Dubai, call Shinawaz at 04-3370181. Just tell him you read about the speakers on my blog, he may remember Julian Si :-)