Buying used: B&W DM602 S1 or DM303? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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10-28-2008, 01:09 PM
I'm looking for a pair of used bookshelve sized speakers to go with my Marantz SR5000. For the time being, I'll be using them in a stereo setup in a rather small room. Oh, and I'm on kind of a budget...

Right now, I narrowed it down to two B&W speakers (in my experience I like the sound of B&W):

2 x DM602 S1 for 150,- / $ 190,-


2 x DM303 for 90,- / $ 114,-

I was also offered the DM601 S1 for 100,- / $ 127,- a pair.

I would greatly appreciate any thoughts on this as I seem to be unable to figure it out on my own... What would you suggest (besides going to listen to them myself)?

10-28-2008, 05:33 PM
I have a pair of DM601 S3's and a pair of DM603 S3's so I'm generally familiar with the line but not the series 1. What is your room size? Any chance of these speakers ending up in a larger room? If so, and assuming all 3 pairs are of equal quality and use (no major flaws), I'd go for the DM602's just in case you do up to a larger room. It is possible that if your room is too small, the 602's could be overpowering, especially in the bass. In that case, go for the DM601's. Have you seen any photos of each of these 3 pairs? Any background info such as were they used in a pet free/smoke free environment? Are all 3 from the same owner? Any problems with the tweeters? Can you trust the seller?

10-29-2008, 12:44 AM
Thank you very much for your reply, PDN. It was very helpful.

The thing with the 600 series is that I'm unsure how the first series measure up to later models. My information hunt has delivered a whole lot of reviews of the S2 and S3 series, but the S1 series not so much...

Anyway, my room right now is very small; about 3x4 meters (roughly 10x13 ft), and is filled with furniture and tv, amp, etc. I will be moving in the not-so-distant-future, but I don't know where yet, so perhaps some flexibility of the speakers is a good thing indeed.

The speakers are not all from the same owner. The 303's are in an almost mint condition and have been used for only 3 months. The 601's are a little older, but in good shape and haven't been used for the last couple of years. For the 602's, I'll get some pictures later this week. The seller says that besides from some usage marks on the sides of the cabinets they are in good shape as well. I asked all of them about the tweeters (as they seem to be dented/ripped in many used models), and they are in good condition. I'll ask all of them about whether the speakers were used ina smoke/pet free environment.

I'm just wondering whether the 601's or 303's will have enough bass. I know it's ultimately a matter of taste, but any experiences in this area would be greatly appreciated. Also, would you say that these are fair prices for the speakers?

10-29-2008, 06:01 PM

First, yes, I would say the pricing per pair you mentioned above seems fair. Seems reasonable and affordable. Hell, I may be interested in those DM303's myself just to play around with them!! Your room size along with a good amount of furniture makes it easier for these speakers to sound great. That's a nice small cozy room. Thick carpet will add to the bass response. I looked at the B&W website archives. The DM601 S1 produces a low end freq response of only 70hz. I'm surprised at that. That's not deep. My Series 3 gets down much further than that in the 50 hz area. So in light of that info, I'd go with the DM602's which are rated down in the low 50's unless you intend to add a powered sub-woofer. Are you in the UK by the way? Go with the DM602's. They're a powerful little speaker.

10-30-2008, 12:25 AM
Thanks again, PDN! I'm leaning towards the DM602 S1's as well, and might even be able to get them at a lower price than expected. I decided to drop the DM601's (at least the S1 series) from my list for sure. The DM303's I'm not so sure of, though... They incorporate the 'nautilus inspired' tweeter, which might make them sound just a little clearer, I suspect. These have been used in the 600 series too, but not yet in the S1's... I noticed that the DM303's are not shown on the B&W archive webpage, but managed to get some information elsewhere. Their frequency range is rated at -6dB at 52Hz and 30kHz, and their frequency response at 72Hz – 20kHz. I always get confused with these numbers. I'm guessing I should be interested in the frequency response, right?

Anyhow, thanks again for your help. If you have any more suggestions/thoughts about this I would be very grateful!

Oh, and I'm not in the UK, no. I live in the Netherlands.

10-30-2008, 11:22 AM
Yes, always look at the freq response and not the range. It's far more realistic to that speakers actual performance. Sometimes their brochures and tech sheets have the freq response info and sometimes they don't. Strange. Also, I don't know why B&W doesn't include all of their older products in their archives at their website. Makes no sense to me at all. Good choice on the DM602's. Does the Series 1 incorporate the Nautilis tapered tube tweeter technology?

10-30-2008, 06:37 PM
Go for the bigger speaker, you wont be sorry. Small speakers always sound small to me, I dont care how good they are. If your comparing speakers of similar quality and brands, the larger always seems better when comparing bookshelfs. I dont think that you will have problems with them over powering your room.

10-30-2008, 08:54 PM
You cant go wrong with either, but the 602's are better.
I have the dm305's, the floorstanding version of the 303's, use em for the rear channels on my current rig, although that does look a tad strange my 602's2 are a lot better and used as mains.
I also had some 602's1 like the kind you are buying, they have kevlar cones for better midrange, etc, they just dont have the natilus tweeter like the 602s2.
GET the 602's, worth the extra money, just a more sophisticated speaker, really:1:

11-03-2008, 12:16 PM
Thanks all!

I went for the 602's, as you all suggested. I'm listening to them right now and I couldn't be happier! :) You were right about this one; although they don't have the nautilus tweeters (as you said), to me their sound is very clear with good highs, mids, and lows. I can't say they're too much for my small room, but I suspect they'll do well in a larger room as well if I ever move to a bigger place.

To summarize: I'm happy! :D Thanks alot!!

11-03-2008, 12:18 PM
Oh, and I managed to get the DM602's for only € 100,- / $ 126,- in the end, from a different seller. The state of them almost cannot be distinguished from new.

11-03-2008, 05:58 PM
The 602S3 and the 604S3 are the best speakers from the 600 series - the series 1 is pretty lousy IMO and it has to do with both the drivers and the tweeters. Plus they are considerably older speakers and may need to be worked on fairly soon which would drive their end costs up over the Series 2 and series 3 speakers.

The DM 302 IMO sounds better than the 303. The 302 used a non kevlar woven woofer and a soft dome tweeter so it's not as crisp in the treble but it smoother and the drivers integrate better than the 303. Newer is not always better and often is the case with B&W as the matrix series most feel is better than the newer Nautilus range.

The most underrated loudspeaker from the company though is the CDM 2SE (not the 1SE). new this was an $1100 speaker and did not have the tweeter on top - as a result the sound was more cohesive without the upper midrange lower treble "glitch" from the drivers.

The CDM 2SE is two models back - SE became NT which is now 705. The CDM 1SE I like better than the 705 by no small margin. You may pay a bit more but I think it will be worth it. The price may also be lower than usual because there was no follow-up in the NT or the 700 series lines so it is a forgotten horse. The Matrix 805 would also be a good one if you find someone selling it on the cheap.

11-03-2008, 11:57 PM
Oh, and I managed to get the DM602's for only 100,- / $ 126,- in the end, from a different seller. The state of them almost cannot be distinguished from new.

That is because they last forever, a B&W trademark.
Another thing they concentrate on is something called "imaging"
placing objects in a soundfield so that when you close your eyes its like you're there.
Better imaging was the goal of the nautilus tweeter, although the 602's
without the nautilus still sound great.
THESE are the best bargain in HI-FI bar none, better than the dm305
but dont cost much more, and last forever.
A friend had my B&w speakers during my experiment with Klipsch,
they sat in a garage for awhile, unused.
Just a little dust off and they look good as new, some relative will get these when I die.:1: