B&W CM1...all I can say is WOW! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 168 Old 12-30-2008, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I went and listened to some speakers today at a local specialty store rather than the typical big box dealer. Until today I always avoided these smaller shops because I assumed they were loaded with overpriced mediocre equipment. Boy was I wrong. I have never heard any of B&W's speakers. I listen to a few today and the CM1 blew me away! I'm really considering going back tomorrow and buying them for 1,000/pair.

I do have a question....I went to a Circuit City afterwards to listen to some Polks (specifically the monitor 40's) and they did not come close to the sound the CM1's put out. I also listened to some 600/pair Klipsch speakers and they did not come close to the CM1's either. Are these B&W CM1's really that good? It seems like since I listened to them nothing else compares.
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post #2 of 168 Old 12-30-2008, 08:40 PM
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Well, they are very good speakers and your typical big box store brands (Polk, Infinity, Klipsch, etc.) just aren't going to measure up in most cases. Now that you've heard something good, go out and listen to more as you could very well find something you like even better than the CM1's.
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post #3 of 168 Old 12-30-2008, 09:16 PM
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Ah, fresh blood!

The B&W Cm1 is certainly a nice speaker as an introduction to so-called hifi sound (whatever that means). What you experienced is just the beginning. If you want this to become a hobby in which you actively participate, I would encourage you to listen to other speakers by B&W just to get a grip on what B&W has to offer (686 vs 685 vs CM1 vs CM5 (might not be at your store yet) vs 805s). This is a nice "test" because it helps you understand what B&W wants in their speakers and how they compromise as the price decreases. You can also learn the "Sweet spot" in their lineup for your wallet and ears.

Next, a comparison of your "favorite" B&W speaker with Paradigm (a classic vs. matchup). Many other brands may be offered by your dealer (Monitor, Triangle, Dali, Thiel, Revel, etc.). By hearing other brands of speakers you can hear the compromises they took, their engineering, and what they feel is important for excellent sound reproduction. This takes a long time to do all the listening as you can imagine, but you learn more about yourself during this process - what you really think sounds "great".

Oh, and bring your cds. It is best to use music that you are very familiar with. Take notes as you are listening so you can refer back to them later.
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post #4 of 168 Old 12-30-2008, 09:20 PM
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You probably listened to the B&W speakers on better equipment as well. Don't forget that it's not just the speakers but the amplification and the sources as well.
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post #5 of 168 Old 12-30-2008, 10:37 PM
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CM-1 on Audiogon.

Save some money.

http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....617&/B---W-CM1
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post #6 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 06:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeppurpleman View Post

You probably listened to the B&W speakers on better equipment as well. Don't forget that it's not just the speakers but the amplification and the sources as well.

Most important and influencing of all is room and setup. Generally boutique's have much better rooms than big boxes' do.
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post #7 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 06:02 AM
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You're comparing speakers that are in vastly different price ranges and you are surprised there is a big difference in sound?
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post #8 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 07:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MCATUCCI View Post

I went and listened to some speakers today at a local specialty store rather than the typical big box dealer. Until today I always avoided these smaller shops because I assumed they were loaded with overpriced mediocre equipment. Boy was I wrong. I have never heard any of B&W's speakers. I listen to a few today and the CM1 blew me away! I'm really considering going back tomorrow and buying them for 1,000/pair.

I do have a question....I went to a Circuit City afterwards to listen to some Polks (specifically the monitor 40's) and they did not come close to the sound the CM1's put out. I also listened to some 600/pair Klipsch speakers and they did not come close to the CM1's either. Are these B&W CM1's really that good? It seems like since I listened to them nothing else compares.

There is a specific B&W Thread at:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8&highlight=bw

This may give you some ideas. Realize though that B&W speakers range from less than $1,000 to over $20,000 per pair and so if you are after a pair of speakers put a max $$ that you want to spend and audition only those within that figure. There is no point is listening to 800Ds if you only want to spend $1000.

Once you get the bug for this (especially if you are wanting an HT set-up) there is no way of doing it cheaply and staying with the "premier" speaker manufacturers.

B&W speakers are very good (they are and have been for many years my speaker of choice), but there are also other good manufacturers out there that are a cheaper option, Monitor Audio is one of those, are they as good as B&Ws, IMHO no, but very close and for less money.

So find a good dealer that you feel happy with, don't rush the process, keep going back with your taste in music or movies. (I have spent up to a year making decisions on speakers, amplifiers, pre/pros, etc before). Understand what you want it for, Stereo music or a HT set-up. As someone else mentioned earlier if you are thinking of going with $1000 spekers then you may also need to think about the other components especially the receiver (I don't think you will be going with separates based upon the step you are thinking of making).

Use these forums to get ideas, but understand that the responses you get will only be as good as the question you ask, so be as specific as you can.

Good hunting, it is a truly wonderful hobby that everyone in your family can enjoy along with you. Yes it is expensive, but certainly in my house they are the most used purchases apart from those that are on all the time (fridge, etc).

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.
~Bob Marley~
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post #9 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 07:48 AM
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Once you get the bug for this (especially if you are wanting an HT set-up) there is no way of doing it cheaply


If he truely has the bug and has any skill (and tools) then he could go the DIY route and build something better then anything comercial has to offer for a fraction of the costs.

In the end many of the good DIYers have HT rooms that very few have experienced and you would be shocked at the total $$$ actually needed.

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post #10 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gchanjam View Post

Well, they are very good speakers and your typical big box store brands (Polk, Infinity, Klipsch, etc.) just aren't going to measure up in most cases.

Why not? Those 3 companies make speakers that are just as good as what he heard. The big box stores don't have usually don't have demo rooms that will let the speaker shine like a small retailer would. Also, the speakers he listened to were well below the price range of the B&W's. This is what is great about buying speakers...he may just really like a certain sound. Speakers are totally subjective, it's all about what the listener likes. Happy hunting!

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post #11 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 08:09 AM
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Speakers are totally subjective, it's all about what the listener likes. Happy hunting!

So true, I think B&W makes some of the worst overpriced crap in the world but that is just my opinion

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post #12 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 08:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gchanjam View Post

Well, they are very good speakers and your typical big box store brands (Polk, Infinity, Klipsch, etc.) just aren't going to measure up in most cases.

Before you say that you should look at the measurements of the CM1 taken at the NRC (one of the world's best labs). The B&W CM1's measure HORRIBLY, on and off axis. I don't know about Polk and Klipsch, but Infinity would never let something that performed this poorly out the door. A pair of Primus 150's at $100 on Craigslist would be a much better buy than these rip-off's.


Top curve: on-axis response
Middle curve: 15 degrees off-axis response
Bottom curve: 30 degrees off-axis response

Here's the rest of the measurements. These are unequivocally bad speakers.
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post #13 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by markwriter View Post

Before you say that you should look at the measurements of the CM1 taken at the NRC (one of the world's best labs). The B&W CM1's measure HORRIBLY, on and off axis. I don't know about Polk and Klipsch, but Infinity would never let something that performed this poorly out the door. A pair of Primus 150's at $100 on Craigslist would be a much better buy than these rip-off's.


Top curve: on-axis response
Middle curve: 15 degrees off-axis response
Bottom curve: 30 degrees off-axis response

Here's the rest of the measurements. These are unequivocally bad speakers.

I agree,he should try the Infinity Classia monitors they are half the price of the C1's to,the floorstanding C336 are 1 of the best out there for under $2k actually the best I've heard at that price along with the Swan T700F and D2.1 SE,the monitors should be awsome.
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post #14 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 09:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Tawaun da bomb View Post

I agree,he should try the Infinity Classia monitors they are half the price of the C1's to,the floorstanding C336 are 1 of the best out there for under $2k actually the best I've heard at that price along with the Swan T700F and D2.1 SE,the monitors should be awsome.


I know you hear this a lot Tawaun, but... you're da BOMB!
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post #15 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 09:52 AM
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I know you hear this a lot Tawaun, but... you're da BOMB!

Thanks Mark!
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post #16 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 10:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by William View Post

Most important and influencing of all is room and setup. Generally boutique's have much better rooms than big boxes' do.


I second this. You're probably hearing more room than speaker, so don't draw too many conclusions from the demo sessions you described. More used speakers to consider are Energy C-3's and Infinity Beta 10's and 20's. The Primus 362's on sale at Fry's are some of the best speakers you can buy for $1k and under.
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post #17 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replys guys.

I guess I should have mentioned the receiver doing the driving is an Onkyo 606. My budget is right around 1500.00 to either buy a complete HT/music setup or focus on nice LCR speakers and worry about the surrounds/woofer when more cash is available.

I did think about the boutique having special walls, etc and I am sure that had something to do with the sound as well.

I think I'm going to take my time instead of trying to rush out and buy nice speakers. The problem is finding places to demo all of the better brands
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post #18 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 10:24 AM
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*edit: this was already noted above
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post #19 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 10:25 AM
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I was smitten by the CM1's when I heard them the first time also. They were very seductive.

Like many people here, I used to buy speakers based on looking at reviews, graphs, and let those dictate, and I bought a few of those. I always use the same music that I'm famaliar with. At the time, I also owned had some Energy C's, Paradigms, and NHT's that measure extremely well, but the CM1's really made the music sing when I played my favorite tracks at that store. Thinking it was just the setup, I took a pair home, and it still wowed me.

So if you are to ask me, there is something magical about the sound that the supposedly poor FR graphs don't convey. That's what counts, and that's what should matter to you also, not what other people tell you.

Later I read some good things about the NHT Classic 3's (people saying it would kill the CM1s), and there was a great deal on a pair so I ordered a set home. I knew the C3's were technically a far superior speaker yet I still loved the CM1's sound. I decided to sell off the NHTs

B&W's are both universally loved and hated as one of the successful high end speaker makers in the world. You just have to figure out for yourself which camp you belong in.

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post #20 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 10:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by warpdrive View Post

So if you are to ask me, there is something magical about the sound that the supposedly poor FR graphs don't convey. That's what counts, and that's what should matter to you also, not what other people tell you.

If you had the others and didn't like them, that's certainly a good thing to know what you like and to own it. However, there is nothing 'magical' about speakers. I think the AV Science forum should stay away from asserting such. They're just electrical motors moving air, and their performance is objectively measurable. Someone about to plunk down $1000 on a pair of speakers should know that there is a very high probability that they will perform poorly in his room because they perform poorly in an anechoic environment. In other words, if their on and off-axis output sucks in a perfect environment, one should not expect that it would improve in a worse environment (garbage in, garbage out). Talking about rigorous anechoic measurements is a completely different thing than 'listening to what people say' about speakers.
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post #21 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 11:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by warpdrive View Post

I was smitten by the CM1's when I heard them the first time also. They were very seductive.

Like many people here, I used to buy speakers based on looking at reviews, graphs, and let those dictate, and I bought a few of those. I always use the same music that I'm famaliar with. At the time, I also owned had some Energy C's, Paradigms, and NHT's that measure extremely well, but the CM1's really made the music sing when I played my favorite tracks at that store. Thinking it was just the setup, I took a pair home, and it still wowed me.

So if you are to ask me, there is something magical about the sound that the supposedly poor FR graphs don't convey. That's what counts, and that's what should matter to you also, not what other people tell you.

Later I read some good things about the NHT Classic 3's (people saying it would kill the CM1s), and there was a great deal on a pair so I ordered a set home. I knew the C3's were technically a far superior speaker yet I still loved the CM1's sound. I decided to sell off the NHTs

B&W's are both universally loved and hated as one of the successful high end speaker makers in the world. You just have to figure out for yourself which camp you belong in.

Warp, you should know by now that a speaker has to be made by Harmon to be acceptable, even if it doesn't sound good.
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post #22 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 11:45 AM
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Wow, straight to the point! Many "hifi" speakers measure horribly, not just B&W. Take wilson for example. I own B&W 804s, and can say that they are great speakers. With the difficulty in finding local dealers (and ones willing to have demos), many just have to find the good+ speaker and make the best with what they can get. For me, that was 804s, and I am still happy with them. Would other speakers be better? Yup, but you already knew that! Did I get the best speakers out of the ones I auditioned? yup!

The CM1 stresses what many people like to hear in a colored speaker. They are colored, that is not an argument at all. Do they sound good? Well people like different colors, and certainly the CM1 has its color.

Like you, I tend towards more accurate speakers, but I couldn't have learned that without extensive listening and reading, and buying mistakes. Are the 804s the most accurate speakers for the money? No, but its taken me a while to figure this out for my own. Now I know what to look for in my next speakers.

For me, it is a journey, to find perfection to early on is to defeat my learning experience. Different people have different goals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markwriter View Post

If you had the others and didn't like them, that's certainly a good thing to know what you like and to own it. However, there is nothing 'magical' about speakers. I think the AV Science forum should stay away from asserting such. They're just electrical motors moving air, and their performance is objectively measurable. Someone about to plunk down $1000 on a pair of speakers should know that there is a very high probability that they will perform poorly in his room because they perform poorly in an anechoic environment. In other words, if their on and off-axis output sucks in a perfect environment, one should not expect that it would improve in a worse environment (garbage in, garbage out). Talking about rigorous anechoic measurements is a completely different thing than 'listening to what people say' about speakers.

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post #23 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 11:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by HTMAN21 View Post

Warp, you should know by now that a speaker has to be made by Harmon to be acceptable

World-class facilities, talent and development methodologies have their benefits. PSB, Paradigm, Energy and Axiom would all agree.
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Originally Posted by Jonomega View Post

Wow, straight to the point! Many "hifi" speakers measure horribly, not just B&W.

Here's an example: the Zu Druids.

Pretty Drivers!



Ouch!


Meanwhile, these B&W DM303's measure much better than their expensive cousins. And their MSRP was only $300

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post #25 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 12:21 PM
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If he truely has the bug and has any skill (and tools) then he could go the DIY route and build something better then anything comercial has to offer for a fraction of the costs.

I'm just starting the mind-numbing process of trying to purchase my first home theater system and I'm intrigued by the idea of getting high quality for lower cost (I simply can't afford the components being discussed here). But I'm too inexperienced to even think about building my own speakers.

What do you experts think about buying a custom-built set of speakers off of Craigslist? Is there any way to evaluate an ad like this one:

Five custom built speakers, all with the same high quality imported drivers (SEAS tweeters and Audax 6 1/2" woofers) and high quality crossover components. This produces a matching sound characteristic from each speaker, resulting in a more effective and natural surround sound effect.

The glossy black speaker cabinets are thick, heavy and solid. They use high quality gold plated speaker wire binding posts that accept very large speaker wires. The cost in parts alone to build these speakers was over $750 ($150 each speaker).

The sound is smooth, clear and detailed. The bass is clean and punchy as you would expect from 6 1/2" woofers in a sealed box configuration. But their deep bass is limited and so they will benefit from the use of a subwoofer.

Since I have more speakers than I can use, I'm willing to part with them for $450.


Is this like buying "white van" speakers except spending three times as much money to do so? Or a way of getting really high-quality stuff at reasonable cost? Or no way to know??
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post #26 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 12:44 PM
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Just because the speakers have good components does not mean they will sound good.....or sound good to you.

Ask the seller if you can try them, and if you don't like them, get a full refund. Get that in writing.

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post #27 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by cregis View Post

Is this like buying "white van" speakers except spending three times as much money to do so? Or a way of getting really high-quality stuff at reasonable cost? Or no way to know??


I'd vote "no way to know".

personally, I wouldn't buy DIY speakers unless I knew the builder and had a very good chance to listen to directly compare them to some known commercial speakers.

I mean no offense to DIY fans, but in my experience, they often vastly over-rate the performance of their creations (subs may be an exception here). This is completely understandable, and I'm sure that I'd do the same if I built my own. But those I've heard have underwhelmed me despite the fact that very good components were used and the builders thought they were the best things ever.

I'm sure there are exceptions and some, perhaps many, DIY efforts do produce outstanding, cost effective results. But they can also produce mediocre results despite the use of expensive components: speakers are more than the sum of their parts.
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post #28 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 01:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cregis View Post

I'm just starting the mind-numbing process of trying to purchase my first home theater system and I'm intrigued by the idea of getting high quality for lower cost (I simply can't afford the components being discussed here).

What do you experts think about buying a custom-built set of speakers off of Craigslist? Is there any way to evaluate an ad like this one:

[/indent][/i]

Is this like buying "white van" speakers except spending three times as much money to do so? Or a way of getting really high-quality stuff at reasonable cost? Or no way to know??

Run away, run away, run away!!!

If you want high quality at a low cost, look for well-engineered speakers. As speaker expert Dr Earl Geddes says in this post, 'it's not the drivers, it's the engineering, stupid!!"

Infinity Primus 362 is insanely good for what they're selling for at Fry's. Harman, the parent company for Infinity, has some of the best speaker engineering resources in the world (people, facilities and methodology), and they were employed in creating this fantastic speaker. Check the Infinity Primus thread for more details. You can get other good speakers by PSB, Energy, Paradigm, etc, but the low price of the P362's put them at the head of the class.
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post #29 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 02:31 PM
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There's a lot more to a speakers performance than a flat anechoic Freq response.
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post #30 of 168 Old 12-31-2008, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MCATUCCI View Post

I went and listened to some speakers today at a local specialty store rather than the typical big box dealer. Until today I always avoided these smaller shops because I assumed they were loaded with overpriced mediocre equipment. Boy was I wrong. I have never heard any of B&W's speakers. I listen to a few today and the CM1 blew me away! I'm really considering going back tomorrow and buying them for 1,000/pair.

I do have a question....I went to a Circuit City afterwards to listen to some Polks (specifically the monitor 40's) and they did not come close to the sound the CM1's put out. I also listened to some 600/pair Klipsch speakers and they did not come close to the CM1's either. Are these B&W CM1's really that good? It seems like since I listened to them nothing else compares.

If you like them buy them. The human ear is so subjective. I own the B&W 685 and love them even more than the CM1 but that is me. I would however like the hear the CM5 when it is available. So do what you want to do not all of us. Bring your music listen and if it is good buy them and enjoy them for many many years. My cousin still uses his B&W speakers from the 80's for his primary listening.
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