Ok, i forgot i was due yesterday for the Sierra vs CM5 comparison so here it is...
Did i mention this gets ugly?
Soooooooo, the CM5 provides a VERY pleasant listening experience. The dynamics are great, the tweeter aint a super big snitch on details, provides a very wide soundstage, and it images very well. A very mellow, very warm experience. Enjoy the music she tells me, then wines and dines me through the night.
Next morning (the 17th), i wake up, the champagnes flat, and i sit up feeling like somethings missing. Midlife crisis maybe? Im not too sure, but theres a gap in my experience. After all of the music on the CM5, then doing some A/B'ing, i realize, "Man, this is exhausting." I dunno why, but it is. Strange. So i took a break for the rest of the day and told her, "We need some time away from each other. Its NOT you, its me." Granted, it was a day, but it can feel like weeks.
Earlier today, i fire up the Sierras again, and the first thing she does is slap me. I felt it, and then i sat there wondering why the hell she did that. Then it slowly sunk it. Sitting there listening, it hit me. The excitement!! These speakers were providing it for me!! 'Be My Baby' by The Ronettes was engaging, (especially the drums) and after listening to the CM5, Ronnies voice is pure!! I can tell she was singing alone in a small booth, and it was startling to hear this detail on the Sierras. 'Little Bitty Pretty One' by Thurston Harris did this for me as well. The Chiffons 'He's So Fine' really sealed the deal with the excitement factor with its vocals, the piano, guitar and the snare. It all was so clear, and for some reason, i was actually fixated on the piano when it started playing while listening to Judy Craig belt out the lead vocals.
So i gotta throw some Smokey Robinson since i didnt use his music in the original shootout. Wow... 'Ooo Baby Baby', it was very pleasant to hear the natural reverb of the room they recorded in. Doing an A/B with the CM5 on this song, the CM5 created a very romantic, smooth sound with great dynamics but not the detail the Sierras provided. So next is Rosie and the Originals, (and no, its NOT 'Angel Baby'. I am not fond of that song, at ALL) and their song, 'Lonely Blue Nights'. On the Sierras, i can hear Rosie clearing her throat at times, and i think maybe a cough. The piano chords are very clear, pristine, which is surprising since this is an older recording. On the CM5s, again, very smooth and romantic. I can notice the throat clearing but its not very noticeable like the Sierras. Remember, i said the CM5 was not a cop at a crime scene, running up to the lead detective declaring loudy, "LOOK WHAT I FOUND!!!" and then handing over a small scrap of blank paper. The detective then inquires, "This is important becauuuuuuuuuuuuussse...?" and he answers, "It was at the scene sir. Just FYI."
THIS is a good visual of my analogy of Klipsch and the snitch, cept yknow, its not Sam Kinison but it is in your face... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FpigqfcvlM&t=2m22sPS - The 2:22 to 2:38 is the entire clip time of the visual. Im saying this cause the rest of the clip is NSFW.
After comparing alot of material, i am beginning to fully understand what kind of sound i like. Listening to The Animals song, 'The House of the Rising Sun', the drums are played very softly while the guitar plays with the organ chords in back play, almost menacingly. When Eric Burdon winds up his gritty voice, the Sierras REALLY put a grin on my face. The soundstage, the imaging, the blend of all the music, its all so neutral and oh so engaging when i turn it up. The CM5 paints a different picture. Eric Burdon sounds like hes behind in the soundstage but his grit is still very clear, the drums are almost... I dunno... I guess intimate would be the word to use. It was almost like a personal performance for me. But after all of this, its become very apparent to me...
I originally thought i liked the warm, smooth sound, hence my ownership of the LSi7s and the 685s. This one comparison between the CM5s and the Sierras are making me realize one thing...
Warm, romantic, polite and smooth are not for me. I wonder why the Veritas didnt make me realize this. I find the v5.1s to be a very engaging speaker, and while the Sierras beat them IMO in everything except the airiness and 3D sweetspot, i enjoy them more than the CM5s. Sure, theyre recessed in the mids and lower mids compared to the Sierras and CM5s, but i still like them alot since i find that holographic sweetspot combined with the instruments sounding like theyre in the room (the airiness and slight forward character makes this so) to get my juices flowing. They provide a different texture to the music i enjoy very much the RC-10s couldnt provide for me. If the RC-10 is Keith Stone, smooth but rough around the edges, the CM5 is a very dapper Pierce Brosnan.
The Sierras though, are a huge eye opener, especially with this particular comparison. The right amount of sizzle, huge sweetspot, and neutral, crazy detailed sound combine to give me a experience i truly enjoy. I cannot state this enough: Veritas airiness + Sierras details = Game Over. For me anyway...
I must try the NrT tweeter upgrade. Anyone unhappy with the NrT and wanna sell the kit?
Overall, this has been difficult since sound is so subjective. I went in liking one type of sound and now coming out doubting my original preferences. I didnt expect this to happen TBH.
At this point, if the CM5 were to call me, id let it go to voicemail just to see what she would say before deciding if i would call back. When we go out, she wears these elegant, long, beautiful dresses. Problem is, when i ask her to dress up, she proudly shows me her wardrobe and its full of elegant, long, beautiful dresses, asks me, "Which one?" while i respond with a disappointed "Oh...".
Is the CM5 a great speaker? Hell yes shes hot, and she told me really unappealing stories about her sister (the 685) that only drives the nail of my opinion of her further into the coffin. But her elegance just isnt my type. Now she deserves someone who will give her a rose and tell her some romantic poem as to why they cant be together. That guy isnt me. Id probably pick some dandelions off a neighbors lawn, hand them to her, and say, "Ill see you later" and about 1 minute after she closes her door, she gets a text from me saying "m c'ing sum1 else. sry. kthxbai"
So, until the official part 2, here are my opinions vs the CM5...
1 - Ascend Sierra-1 - These resolve more detail than the CM5s, have a soundstage that is equal if-not bigger, handle transients better, and are just plain engaging. Superb. People compare these to $2000 - 2500 (thats what ive seen, i dunno if its gone higher) pairs of speakers and its not hard to see (or hear) why.
2 - Energy Veritas v5.1 - Man, the CM5s tweeter makes the 5.1s tweeter seem a bit aggressive but again, theyre not bright. The v5.1s fall short of both the CM5 and the Sierras in the mids, soundstage, imaging, and detail but theyre still exciting to listen to. Why? It HAS to be that airiness. While it falls short of the aforementioned 2, keep in mind this is a $360 - 400 per pair. I think these are spectacular for the price.
3 - Polk Audio LSi7 - Not in my possession at the moment.
4 - Bowers & Wilkins 685B - Muddy. Need i say more?
All in all, this is quite a journey of discovery. I now truly understand why people buy speaker after speaker after speaker. They want to find that magic in the music. If i truly had the means, i would keep all of the speakers i audition minus the ones i truly dislike. But unfortunately, life intervenes.
Sound is so subjective, and my opinion is but one. Everyone hears things differently, i now understand that. So, find that one pair that creates that magic for you. You may have a path of self discovery like i did.
Why am i making this seem like this is my last post on the subject? Its cause my Sierras are going away but coming back in the Natural finish. I found someone who would like to trade my Espressos for the Natural. So yes, this means the official part 2 with the various types of music is on hiatus until then.
So for now, the v5.1 will be taking the Sierras place for now.