Spendor A5 vs B&W CM8 / CM9 and finding a suitable amp


New member
Apr 8, 2010
Visit site
Hello all,I tried some speakers today - KEF XQ30 (really enjoyable, natural sound but the bass seemed a bit light) and the B&W CM9 (sounded really good - a nice big sound with lots of detail and clarity, much better than the CM8 and the 684). These were twinned with a Yamaha A-S500, which sounded pretty good, although a later trial with a Creek amp (at around £1000 I seem to remember) sounded more natural, it sounded softer and more enjoyable.I have just read about the Spendor A5 speakers and looking to demo them soon. Has anyone any opinion/experiences of the A5 speakers vs the B&W CM9 in particular, or perhaps the CM8 or the KEF XQ30?I like a wide range of music and listen to it a lot, although much of it comes from my laptop these days (I always aim for the highest quality files) and I hardly buy CDs, so I guess a DAC will be required too. I would say, however, my music taste leans towards minimal electronic, some progressive bands like Radiohead and some odd dubstep and soulful material like James Blake and not to mention a good helping of jazz. I generally like carefully produced, clean sounding music as opposed to hectic and full bodied rock and roll / hip hop / pop etc. Just a bit of background; last year I bought some AVI ADM9.1. I tried them for 6 months but didn't really get on with the sound. I found them a little muffled and also light on the bass (as most people report). Anyway, being popular, they sold easily. So, with this in mind, please can anyone shed some light on the speakers and perhaps recommend a good amp? I was thinking of spending up to £1000 on the amp but ideally looking around the £500 mark. I guess the speakers will come in at £1500 and a DAC, say an Arcam rdac, for around £300, so I'm looking at around £2500-£2800 for my total budget. Many thanks, I'm looking forward to hearing your views!

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
Visit site
Buying a quality speaker and expecting to run it with a relatively modest amplifier is only going to lead to a need to upgrade further down the line. At around £500, one of the best amps you'll find will be the Rega Brio R, which will work fine with most speakers up to around the £1k mark (bar one or two), and a few over £1k that are an easy load. The A5's take a bit of driving, and won't be suitable for the Brio R. To get the best from them, you'll need to be looking at the Naim Nait XS or the Audiolab 8200 pre/power combo.

The XQ30's are intentionally lean, as they concentrate more on treble and midrange detail than most floorstanders that major on bass response. A leaner speaker will usually bring out more detail. This type of speaker will be better for smaller rooms, bassy sounding systems that need taming, and styles of music that don't require the building to move. Usually, spending a little bit of time acclimatising to his type of speaker usually shows up the excessive bass and lack of control of others.

The CM series walks all over the 600 series. It's build quality guarantees far less cabinet colouration, so you hear more of what the drivers are doing. You might just get away with the Brio R for the CM floorstanders, but it's not going to get the best from them.


Latest posts