Bowers & Wilkins VM6

A high quality slimline speaker system with a hefty price tag

Bowers & Wilkins VM6
  • Bowers & Wilkins VM6
  • Bowers & Wilkins VM6
  • Bowers & Wilkins VM6
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5

Pros

  • Slim design suits the latest TV sets, great sound for such a small speaker cabinet

Cons

  • Sound quality is hampered by small speaker cabinets, incredibly high price.

Bottom Line

B&W’s VM6 speakers are surprisingly capable speakers for music and movies, but their thin size impacts upon their performance.

Would you buy this?

B&W's latest compact surround sound home theatre speaker system, the VM6, is a set of five slimline speakers paired with B&W's PV1 subwoofer. The speakers are priced far higher than even the most expensive pre-made home theatre systems, but they do offer noticeably superior sound. You'll need an amplifier or A/V receiver to power the system, which is an additional blow to the wallet.

The VM6 package is styled to complement the latest LCD and plasma televisions, which have abandoned sharp, square bezels for rounder, smoother curves. The speakers themselves are built out of moulded black plastic and are pleasantly curved. The drivers are hidden behind a mesh fabric cover that isn't removable — demonstrating B&W's desire for an unobtrusive but stylish system, unlike the excellent JBL ES900 Cinepack speakers (which will loudly proclaim your status as an audiophile). The bundled subwoofer has a different style to the speakers; it's unusual-looking enough to be a conversation starter.

Pricing for the VM6 is a bit of a killer — as a complete 5.1 package, with speakers, two tall floor stands and the subwoofer, the system costs $5195. This definitely places it in the realm of an audiophile; you've got to really love your music (either that or you're very into feng shui) to shell out for this system.

There's no question though, the VM6 is a fantastic slimline system for music and movies. The speakers sound far richer and bassier than their diminutive size would suggest, thanks to a well-tuned five-inch woofer and one-inch tweeter.

Setting up the kit is an ordeal. The stands need to be bolted together — but not before the speaker wire is threaded through. Then the wire must be connected to a special terminal that then plugs into the speaker once it's attached to the stand. It's a very complicated process and takes almost two hours to complete — far in excess of the quarter of an hour that all but the most intricate pre-made systems take to assemble.

But once they're all built and connected to a receiver — we used the receiver from Onkyo's Liverpool Series MS5LX system — the end result is worth the installation trouble and the price tag.

For music, the VM6 system is a solid performer. They're more than capable of representing most musical styles, but excel when presented with complicated orchestral music.

Treble is the defining characteristic for the VM6. High, trailing female vocals sound crisp and clear, without becoming echoey and distant like we've noticed on cheaper home audio systems.

Mid bass is also surprisingly present for such thin speakers. While it's not as pronounced as higher frequencies, there's still a rich, warm element that comes out during orchestral and rock music pieces.

B&W rates the VM6 as capable of ranging from high frequencies all the way down to 75 Hertz — just outside the range most subwoofers are comfortable with. Even with the PV1 subwoofer disabled, the speakers managed to recreate a decent amount of audible bass. With the PV1 accompanying them, music had a rich, cinematic character and a noticeably tight kick.

As an entire system, the VM6 excels for surround sound. During our tests playing Pearl Harbour, we found that the identical speakers worked well to distribute sound evenly and created a very immersive feeling. If you want a thin speaker system that looks good and integrates well with your top-of-the-line plasma or LCD television, then the VM6 system from B&W is a great option. But don't forget to set some time aside for the tedious setup process.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?