Equipment to go with Bowers & Wilkins 683 Theater


New Member
Dec 21, 2009
Hi Friends,

Finally got here after an expedition on google which left me mentally quite exhausted! Glad to know there are like minded people who I can ask for help/opinions about my proposed HT setup.

My first priorities are listening to music (instrumental/progressive guitar, house, trance, fusion, indian classical). I am fine with MP3, as it is the only format I can viable store/index.

Also, I am totally hooked to using this -
Enhancer 017 - Winamp

to color the music, do give it a try at the "general improvements) preset, you will know the difference it makes for dynamic range and depth.

At a later stage, I will add an HD projector and screen (depends on a visit to the US!!) and upgrade to watching movies.

I really liked the looks and reviews for the Bower's & Wilkins 683 Theater speaker setup at

I haven't auditioned them yet, but plan to do so soon.

This comes with -

Floorstanding - 683 pair
Center - HTM61
Surround - DS3 pair
Subwoofer - ASW610XP

My queries are:

What do you guys think this will cost in Mumbai? Any estimate +or- Rs. 10,000/- will be very helpful.

What kind of AVR/Amp do I need to work with this? What will be the approximate cost +or- 5K? Just an AMP does not make a lot of sense, as my family will not really support the purchase if they do not get to watch movies in rumbling surround glory after the buy :lol:

Can I also hook up my PC to this setup, functioning as the main music server? It's just that it make is so much easier to index and store music, (also the enhancer :))

Should I really go for the B&W 683 Theater, or are there quality speakers that I should also consider?

Room size is 16'x14', furniture is sparse and no carpets. Also, two 4'x5' windows which remain open most of the time.

Will be really grateful for any help/comments ...

Welcome. Nice selection for speakers. I've not heard any BnW so far, so I leave it to folks who will follow with BnW experience. First that comes to my mind is Dinyaar here. He is going to come sooner or later...

Thanks for the replies!!

Budget is a tricky question here, actually I don't plan to invest any more money in HT/HiFi after this for a very looong time :lol:

Just wanted to make a realistic choice featuring long lasting good equipment and use it for a long time. Not in the periodic upgrade game at all.

Also, I kind of like the mellow tone most speakers produce when aged for a few years.

For the AVR, HD is here for a long time now, and it's very acceptable good quality, so a solid purchase should last me at least 4 years till end of life for the hardware. For the speakers I expect at least 6-8 years of listening enjoyment.

That's why, budget is not a really big question, I will extend the time till purchase to fit in the budget part if I really like what I want to buy ;)

Of course, I am not really in the league of the 800s and Theils :lol: all said and done.


I revisited the B&W site after saw your comments about the 3 ohm min impedance, B&W says:

Recommended amplifier power 30W - 150W into 8? on unclipped programme

I am a bit lost here, why is it necessary to go all the way down to 3 ohm?
Is it because the speakers perform at their best here or can a compromise be reached with 4-6 ohm?

Using Rotel is bad news :sad: , buying Denon will at least give me some semblance of after sales service and support...

All in all guys, you are the real experts, with more access to equipment and experience than me, would be grateful if you can tell me what I could go in for based on my music preferences. Will try to fit in the budget part if I can.

Also, B&W is initially a choice because it is simply beautiful and elegant to look at :), haven't auditioned it yet.

I finally understand...
I may run the risk of totaling/shutdown of my AVR if i run up a lot of volume on the 683 speakers, right??

I checked out the Rotel lineup: 500Wx5ch 4ohm ??? :yahoo:
hmmm... I might run the risk of my neighbors getting me in jail with this kind of mojo :lol:

I have a question here though, Denon/Onkyo vs. Rotel, how does the sound quality and video features compare??

Also, any price info on the Rotel RSX-1550 or RSX-1560
Hi Demorphica,
Audio engr has answered all.
Pay special heed to his comments on the B&W demanding great amplification and that means big bucks. OTHERWISE IT WILL SOUND WORSE than other brands in the same price range.
I dont like the Rotel at all. For stereo its an absolute NONO but as an AVR or PRO/Multichannel Power it does the job but an escalated price.
I am a hard core B&W fan but looked elsewhere when it came to setting up a Home theatre set up for my family.

Now I really understand...

Thank you all for your patience, audio_engr

I've been asked about the depth of my pockets twice now... let's peg it down to an inflatable 2.5 L initially. considering the 685 theater is 1,50,000 approx, I think the 683 theater is going to be closer to 1.8 to 2.

That leaves around 70K for the Amp/Processor bundle, or an AVR. The choices I see will make these move up to 1L perhaps.


I really feel out of my depth here with this, can you guys help me out with :

1. What specific equipment(s) to buy, or choices


2. What ratings/specifications to look for in product literature to make a purchase decision


3. Any places or people who might be a good bet on finding good used gear

4. Other comparable speakers/equipment based on my choice of music

Just remember guys, I won't be buying again for a very long time... and 2-3 L is big money to spend on something even if you're very passionate about it :D
you are paying close to 1L for that sub, its a decent one, but there are better ones out there for that price. Unless there is a good package discount, you can skip it and get another sub.

The ohms will drop at lower frequencies, which you wont be using from spkrs as you have a sub. The speakers will hit the lowest values at certain frequencies and if you are not playing those (sub will handle it), there is no issue. check the graphs on their site, it will tell u at which frequency the impedence drops.
Heres a link to measurements - though not from the B&W site: B&W 683 Surround Speaker System
This is their summarization of the 683:
"Model 683
Minimum impedance: 3.5? at 100Hz
Nominal impedance: 6? (below 6? from 78Hz to 900Hz)
Port tuning: 30Hz with the port open; 43Hz with the port fully blocked with the supplied foam "bungs"
Effective bass extension (-10dB): 29Hz (port open)
Sensitivity: 86dB/2.83V/m

The 683's impedance phase angle was more capacitive than is typical of most speakers at low frequencies (less so with the port bung in place). I would judge this speaker to be somewhat more difficult to drive than average, though any competent amplifier comfortable with a 4? load should have no difficulty with it."

Cheers - Sid
Demophica - I think the experts are really weighing in with a lot of inputs as far as the speakers and amplifications go. Personally I was worried when I saw the mention of 'Enhancer'. Believe me you wont need them once you get into Hifi. Yes you can hook up your PC with the rest of the kit. You might need to invest in a solid sound card and decide whether you want for the digital to analog conversion to be done at the PC level or at the AVR level.
Sorry, I was away for a few days,

Thank you all for your amazing responses... :eek:hyeah:


You seem like you really live, eat and sleep amongst audio stuff, respects to you sir.. :clapping:

Practical knowledge suggests that I should buy just the 683 pair and subwoofer for now, and gradually move in the rest of the speakers to ease the hit on the pocket. I hope for now that movies without 3D surround will not be taken amiss by the family considering the quality of the sound that I expect from B&W.

I'm positively sure I will not be able to demo both the speakers and the amp at one go in the same location, what amp would you suggest for good music quality and a sweet sound that really does justice to joe satriani, marty friedman, bhimsen joshi, amjad ali khan, karsh kale, talvin singh, tiesto, and infected mushroom?

Will rely on the better judgment of forum members before I make the plunge.
Have you checked out the CM range?


I had an opportunity to listen to CM7 few years back. They were very impressive - both sound and looks! A friend of mine is using a pair of CM1 with M-CR502 at his study; they sound very nice as well.
The shiny circular rings totally puts me off and its something I don't expect from B&W. Makes the speakers look like one of those Chinese/Taiwanese cheap varieties.......... Sad they took away the 700-series for this CM-line.

Yes, you would expect something more understated and refined with more sophisticated bling in a peice of high end equipment focused on sound quality.
Wharfedale Linton Heritage Speakers in Red Mahogany finish at a Special Offer Price. BUY now before the price increase.