Conclusion: There's nothing in the quality of build or finish to suggest the 686s can't live up to the high standards B&W sets itself. These are tidy-looking boxes, neatly finished and tactile – they look and feel as though they're from the next class up when you put them next to Dali's Award-winning Lektor 1s. If the battle was won and lost on the retailer's shelf, this Group Test would be a much closer contest. And, initially, our sonic impressions are just as favourable.
Pros: Quality of build and finish, good looks, rich, cosseting sound
Cons: Overstuffed bass means tempos plod, safety-first approach isn’t the most thrilling