Review: B&W DM-602 s3 Monitor

Category: Speakers

The 602 S3 monitors will blow you away. After a few hours of use, it is almost as if you are sitting in the middle of an orchestra. I know there are better speakers out there (B&W nautilus for one) but for a mere $550, nothing I have heard sounds anywhere near as good. These speakers are some of the clearest for the price range, and I challenge anyone to find mids and highs that sound this clean.

My musical taste mostly includes classical music, but I am also a huge movie buff. B&W by far keeps it's reputation as a "classical" speaker, yet I was truly amazed at how well they performed in a home theatre setup. The setup itself was incredibly easy, because the sound disperses very evenly over a wide listening area, making placement less critical. And once again, the clarity made every little aspect of the movie jump off the screen.

Since the 602's replaced my pair of 601 S1's a year ago, I don't have many complaints. My pet peave for any speaker is the booming bass. B&W seems to do everything it can to prevent that, and it accomplishes its' goal. Yet without the B&W 650 sub to accompany the 602's, the mids and highs are a bit overwhelming. But most small monitors aren't meant to pack a punch. This is why subs were created.

As good as the 602's are, if I could own any monitor, it would be the B&W Signature 805. I've auditioned them over and over again, and once I have the cash I will pick them up. But for now, I'm completely satisfied with my 602's. Perhaps what makes them so great, is that most of the technology in the 805's is passed down to the lower B&W series.

If you are looking for a moderatly priced monitor, and are interested in clarity and incredible precision, check out the B&W 602 S3's.

Associated gear
Marantz 9200 THX reciever
Marantz DV8300

Similar products
For the price of these speakers, I haven't heard anything that compares.
I recently purchased a pair of the 602s3 and have to agree totally that they are great. I've bought a lot of speakers in the last 30 years and they are indeed terrific. I can't believe the details I can hear now.
I've owned a pair of 602s1's for about 5 years now, and they still sound great. Very detailed. My favorite speaker for listening to well-recorded vinyl. Very unforgiving of poor recordings,however. Bad sounding cd's won't get sugarcoated. I find they need some dynamic power to really show what they can do. Best $500 I've spent on speakers.
"I challenge anyone to find mids and highs that sound this clean"

Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 is worthy

I agree with you those b&w's are great speakers.
Totally agree with the above reviews. Basically, B&W has allowed its Nautilus technology to filter down to its "bread and butter" 600 series speakers. As a result, the highs are so silky and detailed, especially with vinyl. CDs can get a bit overwhelming depending on source and cables. The best thing I like about the sound is it is a very rich sound and packs a punch in the bass region without a need for a sub. British sound, if that is what it is, is trully different to American sound.
I have owned a pair of the 602s3 two months ago. match them with DENON PMA1500Rii and they sounded really good, but i hope more deep bass from them.
Would like to know anyone's opinion?
Please feel free to give me your advice if they sound better with another amplifier.
My Email:
I auditioned B&W 602 s3 for quite some time(price was very attractive) and almost gave up on the idea of buying them.
At the last try I tested them with a nice Rotel setup(200W per/ch), and I was impressed how they performed. The conclusion is: the're power-hungry.
I got a new pair of those few mos ago:$500, drive them with
KRELL-300 inegrated(150w/ch)used:$1200 & rotel-1050 cdplayer:$650. This setup sounds just great! May be Krell is a overkill for these spkrs but u don't have to spend fortune to have sound of that quality!!!
Cables are also important, I use monster z-series for speakers:$200, and kimber link:$75.
To get comparable quality u would have to invest $3000 on speakers only.
...once again - POWER!

For those who are classically inclined should seriously consider Audio Analogue Puccini SE to drive these, do not get mislead by what the specs of Puccini says about power rating, it maybe just 50 watts but sound like a 100 watter amp. I have heard Puccini driving the Paradigm Reference Studio 40 v2 effortlessly and with finesse.
I just sold mine. It was not by choice. I bought them when I was putting together my first serious system. I drove them with an Arcam AVR200 and played vinyl on a Music Hall MMF-7. Are they house shakers? No. Can you hear the saliva in a vocalist's mouth? No. Do they give you an amazingly real and clean sound that is even more impressive considering the price? Absolutely.
I have owned a pair of 602 s3's for about a year now, and they still wow me. I work at a shop that sells B&W among other high end things, and 602's are my favorite product to sell because i know they are excellent and it feels good to help a customer hear what i hear in them, they are always surprised at the clarity and smoothness that you can obtain without sacrificing bass extension. I like the sound of other speakers that I sell, paradigm studio and signature models, but they still lack the sparkle of a B&W, even if they cost three times as much. There is just something more there. Their clarity comes from the nautilus tweeter, a technology that B&W uses even on its $40,000 nautilus speakers, it reduces distortion from treble reflections hitting the driver from inside the cabinet, and makes the speakers sound upfront, clear, and true. The kevlar bass driver is superb as well, kevlar has an ideal stiffness to weight ratio, especially in a detailed and agile driver. I asked the B&W rep what he thought the best speaker was in their lineup, and without hesitation he said 602's are the best value that exists, period. I agree with him completely, I think they sound better than 603's, because they are more fluid and accurate as a two way, if you want more bass, buy a subwoofer with the extra $400 dollars that 603's cost. Between the driver technology and the matrix bracing on the inside of the cabinets, when you play these speakers they become invisible, and you are truly in the acoustic experience, the music surrounds you and you couldn't point out a speaker, just a reality of sound. I am very pleased, and cannot conceive of a better sounding speaker anywhere near the price. Incase you were wondering about my other gear, I have a Pioneer Elite DV-45A as a source, with a Rotel RA-1060 integrated amp, and bi-wired Kimber 8tc. I am using Horizon interconnects, but will probably switch to Kimber Hero's.
I have had B&W 602 S2 for 10 years now.I bought these after auditioning many (more than 20) monitor speakers.It was for the first system i had;bought with the first bigger amount of money i earned.NEVER REGRETED IT.For that money,you can not get anything better.

Or at least,you weren't able before.Today you can buy 602 S3 for the same amount.I did so 6 months ago.S3 is in my workplace-plays every day.I don't agree with people who report lack of bass.For a monitor,it goes deep.40Hz (-6 db).The only monitor i've found till now that goes this deep (JMlab utopia L&R excluded-12000$).I don't need a sub with those,but i guess it depends on your habbits.

S2 still plays in my room.Even right now,as i am writing this.I still love these speakers,and i realized how good they are even more after listening to B&W801.Don't get me wrong,801 is a monster,better in every way.But returning from testing 801,i turned on the music in my room and i didn't feel too obvious lack of anything.
602 rules for the money invested.Whatever music you like.That's it.