Untrained ears... B&W 683s or CM7 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I am looking to you guys to try to tap the wealth of knowledge that this site is famous for. I am interested in buying some Bowers and Wilkins 683s or CM7s. I have heard both in person and they both sound great. I am having trouble deciding due to my untrained ears (not knowing what to listen for). The speakers seem very similar except the 683s have an "extra" bass driver however it costs ~$300 less than the CM7. The CM7 has a "real wood veneer" vs the 683's simulated wood covering. Both have the FST midrange driver. With limited amount of time in the showroom with these speakers I am fearful that I may make a decision and then find out later that I should have went the other way. I will be setting these up in a room that is 11'x25'x8' tall. I will be using them 50%/50% - movies and music. Whatever I choose, I will be buying a center channel, surrounds and already have the sub and amp.

Between these two speakers, which way would you go and why?

I have spent alot of time trying to find a post on this site to answer these questions but couldn't find one.

Please refrain from suggesting speakers from another company or ID. It wont help me much.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 04:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DucatiDad View Post

I am looking to you guys to try to tap the wealth of knowledge that this site is famous for. I am interested in buying some Bowers and Wilkins 683s or CM7s. I have heard both in person and they both sound great. I am having trouble deciding due to my untrained ears (not knowing what to listen for). The speakers seem very similar except the 683s have an "extra" bass driver however it costs ~$300 less than the CM7. The CM7 has a "real wood veneer" vs the 683's simulated wood covering. Both have the FST midrange driver. With limited amount of time in the showroom with these speakers I am fearful that I may make a decision and then find out later that I should have went the other way. I will be setting these up in a room that is 11'x25'x8' tall. I will be using them 50%/50% - movies and music. Whatever I choose, I will be buying a center channel, surrounds and already have the sub and amp.

Between these two speakers, which way would you go and why?

I have spent alot of time trying to find a post on this site to answer these questions but couldn't find one.

Please refrain from suggesting speakers from another company or ID. It wont help me much.

Thanks in advance.

Since other speakers are out of the question I recommend that you wait until you can consider other brands.
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post #3 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow dude, thanks for the info- it was well worth your time.
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post #4 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 06:24 PM
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DucatiDad,

I can't offer any insight on the speakers you are mentioning (and are you sure you might not find something ID Ha-Ha!) so I will refrain from that. Any chance you can get the store you are visiting to let you take them BOTH home and play them in your space?

I am recent to the speaker-upgrade-itis scene and I have found that ALL of the nice stores in my area are happy to let you audition them at home (even to do A-B comparisons). Some require a credit card and drivers license and a few that I have been visiting regularly for the last year, will let me take them home.

Just wondering if they way they sound in your home with your equipment might help make the difference to your ear.

For my search - I am pretty much trying to decide if I want to spend $2000 or $4000 when I don't *need* to spend anything!

Best of luck...
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post #5 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 06:26 PM
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While not exactly what you asked for I have listened to both the cm1 and 685/686. Looks and build quality obviously go to the CM line, but personally I liked how the 600s sounded. To my ear it was fuller and I enjoyed their mids more. CM sounded "dull" to me.
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post #6 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 06:39 PM
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I considered the B&W 683's for a while and listened to the CM7's too. I thought the B&W 683's had deeper bass but the CM7's had slightly better highs. I thought the CM7's tweeter was just a tad smoother. The decision really is a toss up, though.
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post #7 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 06:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Superstar View Post

I considered the B&W 683's for a while and listened to the CM7's too. I thought the B&W 683's had deeper bass but the CM7's had slightly better highs. I thought the CM7's tweeter was just a tad smoother. The decision really is a toss up, though.

I'm curious... What speakers did you end up buying Mr. Superstar?
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post #8 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staysafeonline View Post

DucatiDad,

I can't offer any insight on the speakers you are mentioning (and are you sure you might not find something ID Ha-Ha!) so I will refrain from that. Any chance you can get the store you are visiting to let you take them BOTH home and play them in your space?

I am recent to the speaker-upgrade-itis scene and I have found that ALL of the nice stores in my area are happy to let you audition them at home (even to do A-B comparisons). Some require a credit card and drivers license and a few that I have been visiting regularly for the last year, will let me take them home.

Just wondering if they way they sound in your home with your equipment might help make the difference to your ear.

For my search - I am pretty much trying to decide if I want to spend $2000 or $4000 when I don't *need* to spend anything!

Best of luck...

StaySafeOnline,
Thanks, I do appreciate your input and I have not yet asked the dealer to allow me to bring the speakers home yet because of one little problem, I am currently mudding and sanding my dedicated theater room which will be the new home to the speakers that I buy. I could however try them out in my living room setup just to get an idea. I'll ask the dealer about the "take out".
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post #9 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DucatiDad View Post

I'm curious... What speakers did you end up buying Mr. Superstar?

Funny you should ask... nothing yet. I really, really like the B&W's. But then, I heard the Monitor Audio GS10's (I'd purchase the GS20's, their bigger brother). I loved them, but I need to spend a little more time with them to make sure. The B&W's are still on my short list, thought. I'll probably be buying something within a few weeks (as the MA's price goes up on June 1st). It will probably either be the B&W's or the MA's.
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post #10 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 06:59 PM
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you need to listen to both speakers again. Bring cds that you are familiar with. Listen to cymbals, sibilance of vocals, vocals, attack of drums, bass transients. Listen to large symphonic pieces for definition of instruments and dynamics.

The CM7 requires more power than the 683 due to its relatively low sensitivity, so if you have settled on an amp, make sure it can run the CM7 at the levels you desire. If not, than your decision is already made.

I think the 600 series has better center channels than the CM series if you are not planning a perfect match for L,C,R.

I think the CM7 looks better cosmetically.

With that said, i think your focus is too narrow on speakers. It would be better if you branch out and listen to other speakers. For all you know, you cannot choose between the two because they both sound equally as terrible compared to a mystery speaker that you have no auditioned yet. Perhaps, you haven't found your 'cup of tea' yet.
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post #11 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 07:00 PM
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I definitely preferred the CM7's and CM1's over anything in the 600 series. The CM series has a very nice, light, airy sound to me plus good looks in a relatively small package.

The 600 series isn't bad but they lack the refinement of the CM series. Although they are pretty good for movies, they seemed to be lacking in music performance.

This however, is all based on my ears and my opinion so take it with a grain of salt.
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post #12 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Halvie View Post

While not exactly what you asked for I have listened to both the cm1 and 685/686. Looks and build quality obviously go to the CM line, but personally I liked how the 600s sounded. To my ear it was fuller and I enjoyed their mids more. CM sounded "dull" to me.

Halvie,
Same here. The 683s sound fuller or stronger because of the ability to move more air. The CM7s didn't sound dull but they didn't pack the same punch that the 683s did. Now, I am planning to use these with my velodyne sub so I am assuming that the low end output of the speakers shouldn't be a determining factor when deciding which to buy. I would like to place more emphasis on imaging, clarity and clear midrange capability. Since both speakers use the same FST midrange driver, the midrange should be the same on both speakers, no?

I am leaning more towards the 683s but the dealer (been working at the shop for 30 years) likes the CM7s. He actually said that the CM7s were his favorite speakers immediately when I asked him how he thought they compared to the 683s and 700 series towers.
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post #13 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 07:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DucatiDad View Post

Wow dude, thanks for the info- it was well worth your time.

You are very welcome. It was very difficult to offer additional advice to a person so knowledgeable as you.

I gave my honest opinion. You need to wait until you can find a good sounding speaker. There are many that sound better than those that you listed.
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post #14 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonomega View Post

you need to listen to both speakers again. Bring cds that you are familiar with. Listen to cymbals, sibilance of vocals, vocals, attack of drums, bass transients. Listen to large symphonic pieces for definition of instruments and dynamics.

The CM7 requires more power than the 683 due to its relatively low sensitivity, so if you have settled on an amp, make sure it can run the CM7 at the levels you desire. If not, than your decision is already made.

I think the 600 series has better center channels than the CM series if you are not planning a perfect match for L,C,R.

I think the CM7 looks better cosmetically.

With that said, i think your focus is too narrow on speakers. It would be better if you branch out and listen to other speakers. For all you know, you cannot choose between the two because they both sound equally as terrible compared to a mystery speaker that you have no auditioned yet. Perhaps, you haven't found your 'cup of tea' yet.

Jonomega,
Here is what I have listened to (and ranked by liking):
B&W 684, CM7 and 683- #1
Paradigm Monitor 9s and 11s- loved the strong sound but can't get past the hideous clear midrange driver- #3
PSB Image 45, 55, 65- liked them but something was missing- #4
KEF IQ9- liked them- #2 choice behind B&W
Klipsch- not the sound I am looking for
Have not heard Monitor Audio but I plan to this week.
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post #15 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by HTMAN21 View Post

You are very welcome. It was very difficult to offer additional advice to a person so knowledgeable as you.

I gave my honest opinion. You need to wait until you can find a good sounding speaker. There are many that sound better than those that you listed.

OK.
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post #16 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DucatiDad View Post

Jonomega,
Here is what I have listened to (and ranked by liking):
B&W 684, CM7 and 683- #1
Paradigm Monitor 9s and 11s- loved the strong sound but can't get past the hideous clear midrange driver- #3
PSB Image 45, 55, 65- liked them but something was missing- #4
KEF IQ9- liked them- #2 choice behind B&W
Klipsch- not the sound I am looking for
Have not heard Monitor Audio but I plan to this week.

Will the grills always be removed? If not, the paradigm's sound like the winner as you loved the sound.
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post #17 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Will the grills always be removed? If not, the paradigm's sound like the winner as you loved the sound.

Actually, I ranked them completely by how much I liked the sound of the speakers. If I were to rank them by looks, the KEFs would be the clear winner and I think the B&Ws would come in second to last with the Klipschs being the ugly ducklings of the group.
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post #18 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DucatiDad View Post

Actually, I ranked them completely by how much I liked the sound of the speakers. If I were to rank them by looks, the KEFs would be the clear winner and I think the B&Ws would come in second to last with the Klipschs being the ugly ducklings of the group.

Ah, sorry, read that wrong.
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post #19 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 07:48 PM
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The 600 series tends to sound punchier and more lively than the CM series. The CM is overall a smoother sounding speaker. I prefer the CM because they are more refined and slightly more laid back which is less fatiguing to listen to.

I prefer the CM for music but the 600 series has an edge for HT performance due to bigger dynamics, high efficiency, livelier treble details, and two center channels to choose from. The 600 series tends to have a bigger than life sound which would benefit home theater. The CM Center is a bit weak when paired with the CM7. Supposedly B&W will add more models to the CM line but they have been lagging.

If that $300 you save in buying the 683 frees up more cash to buy a better sub, then I think that's a better way to go.

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post #20 of 32 Old 05-18-2008, 07:56 PM
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In the price range of the B&W's you mentioned I found nothing I liked better. I do like Klipsch but the RF-83s I liked are considerably more expensive. I didn't care for the Paradigm Monitor series as much. I did like the studio series but again I liked the Studio 100s and they are more money. I didn't like the Dynaudio line. I didn't like the Monitor Audio as much. I've not heard any good Kefs(no where to demo in my area). Infinity just didn't do anything for me at all(again no good dealers around me when I was auditioning) I didn't care for Polk at all. My two favorites were B&W and Klipsch hands down. I ended up buying some Klipsch Fortes(used) that I would put up against any speaker in the $1,500 price range and I think I would like them better. There well may be speakers out there that are better for the money but if I can't audition them I didn't even give them a thought. If you get your dealer to let you audition them both at home, I'd listen to them in the space they will be in. Another room in your house will sound different. My personal choice in those two would be the 683s. If my finances had allowed that was going to be what I purchased.

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It was very difficult to offer additional advice to a person so knowledgeable as you.

Why the personal attack because he has different tastes than yours? completely classless IMO. He's narrowed down his choice to one of those two and wanted some input, not negative dismissal of his choice because you don't like them.
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post #21 of 32 Old 05-19-2008, 01:34 AM
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It's been about 4 month ago, but I tried out the 683, CM7, 703, and 804S.
The 683 sounded good, but the bass was too "boomy" and unbalanced from the mids and the highs.
The CM7 had a more pleasing sound than the 683, tighter bass, but didn't go as low.
The 703 I didn't care for. After 30 minutes I could tell I didn't like their sound.
The 804S was the best of the four. Highs and mids were smoother. Had plenty of bass, but wasn't boomy like on the 683. It had the best balanced sound.

So, I'd go with the CM7 over the 683, but agree with other that the CM Center isn't all that great as a center speaker.
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post #22 of 32 Old 05-19-2008, 10:15 AM
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Last summer I directly compared the 683 CM7 and 703, side by side. I ended up with the 683 and HTM61. I felt the 683 had a little more presence, a bit brighter, and had a better soundstage than the CM7. A couple points, the 683 has a front firing port vs the CM7 rear port, which makes it a little more tollerant to being placed near a wall. Also, be sure you are comparing them with the grills off!! The grill on the 683 has a lot of plastic and to me the soundstage opens up dramatically when the grills are off. Both are very good speakers, the best thing to do is AB them and decide which ones you like best.
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post #23 of 32 Old 10-15-2008, 02:12 AM
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Compare the b&w683 to the new b&w cm9 , and their new centre cmc2!
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post #24 of 32 Old 10-15-2008, 07:33 AM - Thread Starter
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I picked up the 683s a month or so ago and love them. However, I hadn't heard of the CM9s or CM2s and couldn't find them on the B&W website...
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post #25 of 32 Old 10-15-2008, 09:16 AM
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I don't know if the CM9s are going to be easy to find for a while yet. But they will cost considerably more than the 683s!

Glad to hear you are enjoying the 683s - unless you've got a lot of cash burning a hole in your pocket I'd probably just keep enjoying what you've got.
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post #26 of 32 Old 10-15-2008, 01:37 PM
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Honestly, if you can't tell the difference and you are okay with the appearance, go for the cheaper. The reason I say that, is that there's something to be said for just going and picking up speakers to enjoy rather than to nit-picking.

In addition, if you're looking for voice-matched rears, I don't think you'll regret getting the 600 series, as your choices are less expensive there as well.
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post #27 of 32 Old 10-15-2008, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonomega View Post

you need to listen to both speakers again. Bring cds that you are familiar with. Listen to cymbals, sibilance of vocals, vocals, attack of drums, bass transients. Listen to large symphonic pieces for definition of instruments and dynamics.

The CM7 requires more power than the 683 due to its relatively low sensitivity, so if you have settled on an amp, make sure it can run the CM7 at the levels you desire. If not, than your decision is already made.

I think the 600 series has better center channels than the CM series if you are not planning a perfect match for L,C,R.

I think the CM7 looks better cosmetically.

With that said, i think your focus is too narrow on speakers. It would be better if you branch out and listen to other speakers. For all you know, you cannot choose between the two because they both sound equally as terrible compared to a mystery speaker that you have no auditioned yet. Perhaps, you haven't found your 'cup of tea' yet.

+1 - fantastic advice; ALL of it.

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Originally Posted by DucatiDad View Post

Since both speakers use the same FST midrange driver, the midrange should be the same on both speakers, no?

No. The quality of the driver is important, but the quality of the crossover is more important IMO. There are many other things involved that will effect the sound quality of the midrange (and entire FR). Since the speakers use different build materials, a different crossover and have a different FR, the midrange will not sound identical.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DucatiDad View Post

I am leaning more towards the 683s but the dealer (been working at the shop for 30 years) likes the CM7s. He actually said that the CM7s were his favorite speakers immediately when I asked him how he thought they compared to the 683s and 700 series towers.

Forget what your dealer says, and forget what we all say other than what jonomega and staysafeonline said. This hobby is full of opinions, but none are worth listening to except your own. We're all good for giving suggestions and helping decipher technical terms and what not, but ultimately the choice is yours, so let your ears make that decision.

As suggested, take the two pairs of B&W's home and give it a shot. Put them through the rungs; test the crap out of them! Jot downs pros and cons of each in case you forget how each performed in specific areas. Try to get lost in the music and emotionally connect with one pair - that's the one to keep.

Good luck.

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post #28 of 32 Old 10-16-2008, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

...Forget what your dealer says, and forget what we all say other than what jonomega and staysafeonline said. This hobby is full of opinions, but none are worth listening to except your own. We're all good for giving suggestions and helping decipher technical terms and what not, but ultimately the choice is yours, so let your ears make that decision.

As suggested, take the two pairs of B&W's home and give it a shot. Put them through the rungs; test the crap out of them! Jot downs pros and cons of each in case you forget how each performed in specific areas. Try to get lost in the music and emotionally connect with one pair - that's the one to keep.

Good luck.

+1

Excellent advice. Dead on, if perhaps too late for the OP who apparently has already made his purchase.

However, in the FWIW department, a few weeks ago I auditioned the 600s with a friend. We were both favorably impressed. My friend seriously considered buying them, but, at the dealer's urging, we decided to give the CM7's a listen since they were right next to each other. I was skeptical, and didn't really want to hear much difference between the two, but, to my surprise, I did and so did my friend. Once we heard the CM7s we both lost all interest in the 600's.

Obviously, these things are a matter of taste, so what seems "right" to me may not be for the next person. I judge solely on the ability to accurately reproduce acoustical instruments for one thing, which puts me in a tiny minority here. I wouldn't have bothered to post my subjective reaction, except there seemed to be number of people who favored the 600's in this tread and I wanted to offer a different point of view.
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post #29 of 32 Old 10-16-2008, 12:12 PM
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Now that the CM series has been updated, my opinion of the CM series has been adjusted accordingly since they now have a WMTW center channel speaker. Doesn't automatically make it good, just makes it worth considering for audition.
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post #30 of 32 Old 10-17-2008, 02:54 AM
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Tokyo (JPY Yen)
CM7 121,000 per speaker (list price).
CM9 189,000 per speaker (list price).
CMC 91,000 (list price)
CMC-2 157,500 per speaker (list price)
683 113,400 per speaker (list price)
HTM61 98,700 (list price)

Expensive – yea! Electronics in Tokyo (Denon is my favorite) are, relatively, much cheaper than European speakers.

Thus, CM9 is considerable more expensive than 683 and do not compete in the same league. CM7 competes with 683.

For me, CM7 sounds better than 683 (wrt music) but is much less powerful. 683 use to have (before the release of CMC-2) a better matching center speaker. As I heard from B&W, CMC-2 is a better match than CMC as a center to both CM7 and CM9.

I have taken B&W 683, Klipsch R-82 out of my list and am in a decision agony between CM7 with CMC-2 or CM9 with CMC-2 now!

Malin

Malin - ribbon girl -
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