Bowers & Wilkins LCR60 S3 Speaker User Manual

Sensitivity 88 to 90dB/W/m
Impedance 8ohms
Biwirable Yes
Subwoofer B&W models optional
Drive units:
Treble 25mm;
Mid/Bass 13cm and 16.5cm;
Bass 16.5cm
The Mexican’s pumping music
score, while the dialogue from
The Man Who Wasn’t There is
exemplary in both its clarity and
its natural, being-there timbre.
So this system is beautiful and
sounds great – where’s the
catch? There isn’t really one,
although for the average
living room you might find that
the DM 603 S3s are a little too
much, foam or no foam, and
unlike an active subwoofer, they
don’t have a direct volume con-
trol. But if you have the space,
these B&W speakers certainly
have the quality.
OK, so looks don’t count for
much in technical terms, but for
all that, you simply cannot fail to
be blown away by the tactile
and visual appeal of B&W’s DM
600 S3 range. It’s built to a stan-
dard that, in this test, no-one else
comes even close to matching.
But B&W’s audio engineering
matches the quality of its manu-
facturing. The DM 603 S3
floorstanders form this package’s
front end, and they offer a fine
blend of standard 600-series
virtues – focus, clarity, precision
and agility – coupled to bags of
bass from a dedicated 16.5cm
Superb, although not quite as
flexible as some similarly priced
systems that include a subwoofer
B&W DM 603 S3, LCR60 S3
and DM600 S3
Super build, finish and styling;
very capable all-round performance
Mighty front speakers
bass driver. This much power
needs a substantial partner, but
the LCR60 S3 centre is up to the
job: it’s an oversized ‘left, centre,
right’ speaker (hence LCR) that
can be used as a complete ‘front-
three’ array if you wish. So far, so
big, but the reverse is true of the
surround speakers: the new DM
600 S3s are baby versions of the
standard DM601 S3s, using com-
pact 13cm mid/bass drivers, and
simple wall-hanging brackets.
Setting up the B&Ws is made
easier because of optional foam
inserts for both the front and the
rear ports of the large DM 603
S3s, which can be used to ‘tune’
each speaker to your room’s size
and acoustics. However, these
speakers still need plenty of
space to work at their best:
they’ve got bags of low-end
presence, so much so that you
could be forgiven for asking
‘where’s the sub?’, at least with
music listening. The forceful
low-end on Nickelback’s driving
rock sounds great, and the bal-
ance has all the expected B&W
virtues of precise imaging, clean
vocal presence and spectacular
detail with Lambchop’s subtle
sounds. Switch to multichannel,
and that same power provides
ample energy and force with
AV speaker kits £800-£1400
Supertest No. 322
probably been Britain’s most popular
hi-fi speaker. It has a correspondingly
smaller main driver, again with a cast
frame but using a Kevlar cone
118mm in diameter.
The same main driver crops up in
the LCR600 S3 centre speaker, only
here there are two, one as a
bass/mid unit, and the other just to
reinforce the bass end, and both with
shielded magnets. I was a great fan
of this model’s LCR6 predecessor
198), but the fact that it’s the
bulkiest and heaviest of our centre
speakers by a significant margin, and
pricey too at £350, might put some
people off, so B&W has introduced a
smaller, lighter LCR60 at £200.
Although the LCR600 S3 looks a
bit pricey at £350, and helps take the
system up to £900 in total, I doubt
anyone will cavil at the £250 asked
for the pair of DM601 S3s, or the
£300 for the pair of DM602 S3s, as
each has a reassuring solidity. Just
bear in mind you’ll need stands to
support both of these.All the S3s
have twin terminal pairs, and all have
reflex-ported enclosures, but are also
supplied with port-blocking bungs –
handy if you need to place them
close to walls, for example.
Even though it’s a standmount, the
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he dominant force in
specialist hi-fi loudspeakers
today, B&W has serious
quality speakers to fill any
market niche you care to think up,
and a few more besides. But when I
started unpacking these new Series 3
600s, it felt a bit like welcoming a
family of old friends.
The 600s have been B&W’s
bedrock budget range for more years
than I care to remember, and usually
drop by in pairs every two or three
years.This time I seem to have got
half the family at once, with a pair
of large standmount DM602 S3s
for the front left/right, an even more
substantial LCR600 S3 for the centre,
and the smaller (but by no means
miniature) DM601 S3s for the rear.
The familiarity was all the stronger
because my well-run-in set came
in traditional black ash woodprint,
which is still popular in some
territories.The photographer,lucky
chap, got to play with the new light
oak Sorrento finish, which is much
closer to current British tastes, and a
major reason for evolving the new
Series 3 range.
The DM602’s heritage goes back
more than twenty years.When it first
appeared, this stereotypical 20-litre
standmount looked attractively
compact; in today’s company it looks
decidedly bulky. Since the laws of
acoustics have remained unchanged,
this is basically a reflection of how
fashion has driven the speaker
marketplace, for good or ill.
Whatever, this generous two-way
has a good size main driver with cast
frame and 140mm diameter Kevlar
cone, plus B&W’s tube-loaded
25mm metal dome tweeter. No-one
would describe it as stylish, but then
that’s not really the point.The
purpose is to offer the best sound
quality for the money, and the shape
is determined by the single and
relatively large main driver.
The DM601 S3 is similar only
smaller, roughly 14 litres in enclosure
volume, and has, over the long haul,
600 S3
DM602’s bass extension can match
most floorstanders.All three models
have good extension, and can
therefore be designated ‘large’,
though try using the supplied bungs
to block the 601 ports if you’re using
them near a wall.The LCR centre
speaker makes a pretty good balance
match with the DM602.
Large standmount speakers are not
the most fashionable format around
these days (especially in the black
finish version), but this B&W combo
unquestionably delivers the sonic
goods in both stereo and
multichannel modes. Decent-size,
high-quality main drivers mounted in
compact standmount enclosures still
make plenty of sense, whatever the
prevailing trends.
CONTACT 01903 750750 GUARANTEE 5 years
The good stereo balance carried
through into the multichannel tests,
the combination of all three B&W
models creating a convincing all
round coherence. No other system
was more successful at creating the
warm and cuddly envelopment of
the whole musical event, and expe-
riencing this combination made a
strong justification for the benefits
of surround sound music.
The good size centre and
surround speakers made a worth-
while contribution towards building
up the wraparound soundfield,
while the meaty DM602s at the
front delivered weight and drama
with little obvious contribution from
additional box colorations.
Despite its modest price, the
DM602 S3 came close to the top in
the unsighted stereo listening tests,
impressing particularly with its scale
and authority.‘Very low distortion,
clean, effortless and detailed with-
out being tiring’ was one panellist’s
reaction.‘Robust. Paints a big,
colourful picture/soundstage.
Easygoing, lots of headroom;gets
into the groove’ said another.
Criticisms were minor. Presence is
a little restrained and reserved,
which slightly suppresses fine detail
and expression, and the treble is
also just a tad exposed, but not to
the point where the sound
becomes harsh or aggressive. One
listener felt the speaker was
holding back a little, delivering the
verdict:‘Nearly very good’.
Reprint from february 2003 HI-FI CHOICE