Alternative to B&W CM8 for Stereo and Cinema

DandyCobalt

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Oct 8, 2010
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Thanks for replies to my stream about finding a HiFi dealer in Kent/SE London. http://community.whathifi.com/forums/t/544378.aspx

I'm demo'ing some B&W CM8s on Monday, but I've also been recommended to try out some Canton Chrono SL 570s.

If I can hear sufficient difference (I hope), I'll be replacing my Q-Acoustic 1050 floorstanders (and also the centre speaker), so that I can get better sound from firstly my music, classical to serious rock (and secondly, cinema). I think the LX53 will cope.

So far, there is no review in this mag for either of the above models, and what other options could I consider?

Dare I say on this forum that (to make this decision acceptable to management) aesthetics are important, and I think I have perceived a positive response so far to pics of the CM8s (rosenut finish-without covers!).

They will positioned in a corner of a room approx 4m by 6m, with about 40cm clearance behind the speaker. (I think this is too small to consider CM9s?)

I'm looking in the £1-2k price range - any suggestions and opinions on the above most gratefully received.
 
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Anonymous

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Dandy

when I was auditioning a yr ago - i whittled my choice down to CM9, CM7 and Monitor audio GS20 or GS60

I preferred the looks of the B&W's but time and again after auditions there was no comparison - wife and i much preferred the monitors sound - just made the vocalist appear to be in the room with us.

gold series is about to be replaced so you will surely start to see loads of clearance deals real soon OR maybe u would prefer to hear their replacements with ribbon tweeters
 

Frank Harvey

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The most obvious comparison is going to be KEF's Q900, which has a few advantages over most other speakers as far as home cinema is concerned. They're nice and easy to drive too, which your LX53 will thank you for. They'll work better against a wall as well as they're a sealed cabinet - B&W's usually like some space to work as well as they should do.
 

DandyCobalt

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Thanks Frank and KB - I'll see what they sound like. An interesting comparison of floorstanders just seen in this month's other Hifi mag, where the Dali Icons come out on top. But I think too industrial-looking to get past the gatekeeper.
 

WishTree

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May 18, 2010
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CM series is good and it was my previous speakers (Both CM7 & CM9). However this was before, I heard other brands extensively. I like the KEF too but Dynaudio are simply too good with no harshness on top end and much wider soundstage back to back comparison with CM9 (even the excite x32 or x36 easily sound better than CM9). Ofcourse there are more on paper numbers which might work against Dynaudios 4 ohm rated (Vs 8 Ohm rated of CM) and only one pair of binding posts in comparision to the usual two on CM range.

At the end of the day, it is the collective performace of the speaker should be the important thing for consideration!

Obviously, all I am saying is, to include Dynaudio in your audtion!
 

DandyCobalt

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Just test drove (over an hour and a half) the CM8s at Sevenoaks S+V in Sevenoaks (excellent service, and they did have quite a bit of good hifi gear - did I miss it the first time?), coupled with an Audiolab 8200 CD and Pioneer LX53 amp (and a Pioneer BDPLX53 for my Ole Bull Blu-ray audio). Compared them to a pair of Monitor Audio RX8s.(My wife and 10yo old son also in attendance)

Firstly, the CM8s (I'm no tech critic, so excuse the layman speak) - superb build quality and had a real sense of class - covers off and on. Played Elton John/Leon Russell, Laura Viers (great female vocals from Portland,USA), Prince (7) and Ole Bull (classical Blu-ray HD-Master Audio). The most sonic difference against my Q-Acoustics was in the vocals and top end (my wife noticed the triangle in the Leon Russell that hadn't been there at home). The vocals were much fuller and further forward and it really felt that the singer was breathing on you. Harmonies really stood out. The bass was also much more substantial and better-defined.

We weren't so interested in the movie sound, focusing more on stereo but Ratatouille sounded excellent anyway.

Switching to surround sound for the Ole Bull blu-ray audio 192/5.1(SSAV had set up some CM5s, I think, as LS/RS, plus an HDM62 centre (they didn't have a CM Centre in the shop)...superb! Really felt like we were in the conductor's position and very crisp separation of the instruments.

Then we switched the CM8s for the MA RX8s - these had been in the shop for about 2 months (vs 1-2 weeks for the CM8s) and we did notice a slight improvement in sound - mellower/fuller in some way. But is this down to the fact that they had more bars under their belts???

However, my wife's impression was that the cones on the RX8s looked like two inverted plastic golf balls and a bass port that looked like a cat's bottom.

The clincher, between two excellent sets of speakers was probably the overall package (including looks) of the B&W CM8s. Based purely on sound, and if looks weren't a domestic issue, we would probably have gone for the RX8s. At lower volume the RX8s also seemed to keep showing more detail - but is this a usage thing?.

A work colleague, and former B&W employee, had also just bought CM8s last week (he was deeply upset that they weren't built in Steyning, UK, mind!) and is also very pleased with them.

Have gone for the rosenut finish on the CM8s, although not seen in the flesh yet, and hopefully B&W will get them (plus CM Centre) on Santa's sled this week.

ps. SSAV had also discounted the CM8s (£1,119) and CM Centre (£349) by about 10% - bonus!!
 

Frank Harvey

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DandyCobalt:
Then we switched the CM8s for the MA RX8s - these had been in the shop for about 2 months (vs 1-2 weeks for the CM8s) and we did notice a slight improvement in sound - mellower/fuller in some way. But is this down to the fact that they had more bars under their belts???

Nope, that's the sort of difference to expect


However, my wife's impression was that the cones on the RX8s looked like two inverted plastic golf balls and a bass port that looked like a cat's bottom.
Lol
 

DandyCobalt

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And a complaining wife has a greater impact on sound quality and stereo enjoyment than a cheap HDMI cable
 
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Anonymous

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Hi DandyCobolt,

I bought a pair of CM8s in November, as part of a complete HiFirefresh - out with the Linn; in with something a little less laid back. Theyare being driven by a Cyrus 8XPd QX (I had to Google the model number because Icouldn't quite remember it) with a PSX-R running (mostly) 24-bit FLACs from a SB Touch.

If my experience is anything to go by the sound quality of theCM8s does significantly improve after a decent run-in. They sound freer nowthan they did at first. There's certainly more kick in the base.

It's easy to think that the mind is playing tricks on you: they'veloosen up after use so they must sound 'freer' right? Well, while hardlylacking zip out of the box, the way they handle my test tracks - four Kraftwerkstudio masters - now leaves me utterly floored. (Before anyone asks theKraftwerk masters were from a friend of a friend worked at the studio, I don'tthink they're on general release.)

I've tried the Cyrus on my RX6s (used as fronts in our home cinemaroom) and they lack the presence and refinement of the B&Ws. I don't thinkthe stereo image is anything like as large, and they don't change direction quite aseasily. One of the Kraftwerk tracks is brilliant for testing base and trebleeffects as they move left and right. The CM8s have it nailed.

Naturally it's not a completley fair test. The RX6 is not quite inthe same class as the CM8, but that wasn't the point of making this post: it'show much better they sound after a few thousand beats on the clock.
Iwas torn between the CM8 and 9, thinking the 9s would have more oomph. Now the8s are run in I am very glad I saved £500. The presentation is very similar andthey're heavy enough for me. Perfect for my living room - 6m x 4.5m.
 

DandyCobalt

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Oct 8, 2010
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Thanks glongmore,
I ordered the Rosenut CM8s from SSAV in Sevenoaks on Tuesday, and B&W delivered them from south coast the very next morning to the shop (despite the snow/slush) - fantastic service!!

Eldest daughter is having ten friends round this afternoon, so they have stayed safely in their boxes until quiet descends on the Cobalt household later this evening. However, I have peeked inside the box and the Rosenut finish looks superb.

I have an Isotek conditioning CD disc already lined up to get to work on the speakers when I get the room to myself

I had thought about the CM9s, but thought that our room (similar to yours) is too small to get any more benefit from them. My wife applauded my restraint, and this will be taken advantage of when I come to any future upgrade - perhaps CM5s for the surrounds? :)

I did have a concern that I auditioned them with an Audiolab 8200CD (very high praise everywhere), but I'm sure my CA BD650 will be good enough for the moment. Anyone done a comparison of these two?
My wife also mentioned how nice it would be to have a room like the demo room at SSAV - ah, which child should I sell first, to free up a suitable room, and in which forum area should I start that particular post? My Fender tweed amp and Les Pauls would also benefit, I'm sure.
 
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Anonymous

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Good luck with the set up. What are you going to do next time your daughter has ten friends round I wonder?

Only shame for me is, for similar reasons, I'm going to have to keep the grill covers on most of the time. They look so damn good without, but my youngest finds them rather too interesting to resist.

I opted for the white, since I 'thought' the wife would find them the most appealing in a mostly off-white room. Bizarrely she prefers the RX6s!

Mind you she's loves cats and loathes golf so that might explain it.
 

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