Bowers & Wilkins is a company who produce high quality speakers and headphones for both professionals and consumers.
A little over 10 years ago Bowers & Wilkins released the 685s which at the time of release was seen as the best on the market, the problem with being the best on the market is that it means everyone is gunning for your position.
Bowers & Wilkins silenced the rest of the industry with the release of the 685 s2, the device has since won two awards, including the incredibly prestigious product of the year award.
Made of tougher resolve than those that came before them, including high end technology taken from their Bowers & Wilkins speakers.
The 685 s2 performs better than even the Bowers & Wilkins CM1, whatever your preferred genre of music, the 685s clarity of vocals make it perfect for those whose favorite part of music is the vocals.
Although they don’t dive too deeply into deep bass however, you can always add a sub to really experience the bass of your music.
The 685 s2 deliver a great quality of performance full of a very punchy sound as well as being incredibly dynamic in sound too.
They sound almost smooth and flexible, it really does feel like the 685 s2 doesn’t have many limitations, if any.
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Let’s get started
From an initial look at the 685 s2 you can see the standard yellow mesh covering which has been a staple of the Bowers & Wilkins line from the get go, they don’t seem too different from the original 685 but that truly couldn’t be further from the truth.
One of the differences being, the dome tweeter, the 25mm dome is enforced with a thick metal ring, this technology comes in house as it was previously used with Bowers & Wilkins CM10 floorstanding speakers.
This helps provide the speaker with an ability to carry a high level of accuracy in the higher ranges. The tweeter is left in a circle of mushy gel, leaving it completely isolated from any unwanted vibrations created by the driver.
Bowers & Wilkins have finally made the decision to completely cover the dome with a grille made out of mesh, this helps hugely with the dispersion of sound.
The 685 is a bookshelf speaker that mounts perfectly for table tops, this allows them to be placed on just a sturdy cabinet and that you don’t need specific mounts to get the best out of them.
With the speakers also being a two way one, fitted with a woofer and tweeter it allows sounds at higher and lower frequencies to be played with ease.
The 16.5 cm kevlar driver remains incredibly similar to its predecessor, however they’ve replaced the phase plug of the older model with a mushroom styled dust cap which is again taken from a previous product of Bowers & Wilkins, the PM1 speaker.
This helps again with the driver at certain frequencies. This means that it reduces any chances of having unwanted resonance, which would muffle the sound that you are hearing giving you a much less enjoyable experience.
The tweaks that they have, made on this product in comparison to its former model is simply outstanding, giving you almost if not the best listening experience that you can have. It handles changing rhythms exceptionally well leaving no real issues.
The speaker’s stand at a height of 13.5” with a width of 7.5” and a depth of 12.8”. This allows them to be a good size for playing music without an overly distorted feel when turned up to its loudest volume, without taking up too much space in your living area.
A speaker of this quality should have a more high level finish, like the original 685 the finish can be said to be a little bit leaning towards the basic side.
However, we’re still big fans of woven kevlar. The yellow cone is iconic to fans of Bowers and Wilkins and we can see why, it helps it stand out and gives it an industry standard feel
The main importance of any speaker is really how well it can perform. The 685 s2 is no exception, however it carries sound better than almost all on the market, they produce a crisp, strong, clear and flexible sound that doesn’t struggle at higher frequencies.
The speakers are the thousandth step along a thousand step journey. They are a definite improvement on the version that came before them.
They are a brilliantly enjoyable speaker to listen to. The scale is vast and unbelievably impressive considering that it is quite a dense standmount.
Focusing on the bass you will notice how it is welcomingly deep and strong, the technological changes have had a resounding effect. They can be turned up to an extremely loud volume with very very little or obvious distortion.
Your ears will bleed but in a good way. The versatility of the 685 s2 they are very evenly handled and they succeed with not only a variety of musical genres but also they are perfect for home theatres for those who want a complete cinematic experience.
Although it is sometimes not always appropriate to play music as loud as possible, we think your neighbors will make an exception when it comes to the 685 s2.
What’s great about this is whilst you turn the volume up the quality of the sound isn’t hindered in the slightest, it will deliver its sound with true clarity.
In comparison to other products of the same virtue, the sound and overall experience delivered by the 685s is, well, incomparable.
There’s nothing quite like it with its ability to carry strong vocals with little to no distortion at high volumes; they truly stand alone in a rampant marketplace.
With implementations that Bowers and Wilkins have made to their predecessor it allows a much more agile sound.
They sound great with lots of different genres of music. You truly hear the best out of any genre that you choose to play.
At first glance the Bowers & Wilkins 685 s2 seems almost identical to its old version. However, with its updated technologies and designs pulled from other Bowers & Wilkins products it really does make a complete difference in sound quality.
The design could have a more pristine finish but when it comes to quality, it’s not close. Their ability to carry a deep bass but still have little to no issues while carrying sounds at a higher frequency, is truly commendable and an issue that most on the market struggle to achieve with such grace and ease.
If you really want to hear how much sound they pick up it’s recommended to listen to something more on the acoustic side of things or perhaps something with a focus on drums, anything cymbal related sounds like it truly is shimmering.
It’s truly a fun experience to just listen to your music through the 685 s2’s or perhaps your favourite sci fi movie has just come out on dvd, well now you have the ability to feel like you are truly part of the cast and on the set of the movie itself.
The speaker really does carry a sound that is unmatched in terms of truly engrossing the listener inside an entirely new audio world where they can really feel every single note of music being played. They are very powerful speakers with robust dynamics.
Don’t let their overly simplified external design fool you into thinking that they aren’t towards the top end of the market, the technology internally has helped Bowers & Wilkins achieve almost an unreachable level of sound that effortlessly glides from high to low frequencies made possible by being a two way speaker holding both a woofer and tweeter to make that possible.
With its staple of yellow kevlar and vinyl finish they have an almost retro feel to them but like mentioned the technology is almost a thing of the future (Not quite)
Frequently Asked Questions
What speaker type is it?
The Bowers and Wilkins 685 s2 is a bookshelf speaker type. A bookshelf speaker normally has a smaller driver than a tower speaker.
What mounting is it?
The 685 s2 is a table top mounting.
Are they two way speakers?
They are in fact two way speakers, a two way speaker will have two different types of drivers. These are known as woofer and tweeter.
The woofer is built to carry low frequency sounds while the tweeter delivers a higher frequency sound. This is what allows the 685 s2 to carry an overall better listening experience.
What are the dimensions of the speakers?
At a size of 13.5” X 7.5” X 12.8” these speakers will sit perfectly mounted on your desk, or beside your monitor or tv.
The size allows them to have technology such as a woofer and tweeter to produce both high and low frequency sounds at a very good rate.