COMPARISON: Energy Veritas V6.3 VS B & W CM5 W/PICS - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 47 Old 01-13-2012, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Earlier this week I did a quick take on the entire 5 channel Veritas setup (minus the subwoofer). Working at BB, I took advantage of my B & W discount and pulled the trigger on some CM5s to test em out and compare. I refused to listen to them at the god-awful Mag setup. So instead, I brought them to my acoustically treated room.

Anyways, let's start with the goodies of setup:

~~~~Pioneer Elite SC57 Receiver (9 Class D3 Amps, each pumping out 140RMS/channel. With 2 driven I believe I've seen 153/channel, and with 5 driven, it's something like 135. Not bad!

***Veritas 5 channel setup is hooked up via Zone A, while the B & W's are connected through Zone B. Therefore, switching between speakers is a button away!***

~~~~Sony 300 Disc Mega changer CD Player (Helps when you've got 198 CDs! (I don't buy into the fact that a "higher" end CDP reproduces "better" sound. 9/10 times blindfolded, you couldn't tell a difference)

~~~~Sony Playstation 3

~~~~Xbox 360

~~~~Monster Power Center 1650 (Anything higher end apart from UPS are wastes of money!)


First, let's start with some pictures for any "non believers":

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...videorack.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...rsveritas.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...veritas2s.jpg/













~~~Introduction~~~

When it comes to speakers, I'm not the biggest fan of mainstream stuff. As much as I try to stay away from the big name brands, I've bought some in the past. For instance, I did a Klipsch Icon and Synergy series a year ago. Hated the sound. Tinny, thin mid range, and a muffled bass made these speakers sound poor to me. I then went the Paradigm Studio route, and I liked them at first. After heavy listening for a long period of time, I started to dislike them. They sounded "sterile" to me. There wasn't any depth or presence, just a good thick low/mid end and above average clarity.

So, I went for a few other setups along the way too. Didn't like them. I was gifted a large gift card to Vanns, so I checked their website for their best speakers. I found the KEF Q series (sounded good), and the Energy Veritas series. I demoed the Veritas elsewhere, and loved the crisp clarity and the large soundstage. Pulled the trigger on the 5.2 Center, 6.3 towers, and the 5.2 bookshelves. Loved these! After calibrating them and getting them setup to Reference level, I liked the clear and smooth bass response coupled with a tweeter which didn't shatter my ears when played loud. Still however, it sounded a tad bit sharp when a high voice would ring for a long period of time.

A friend of mine told me about Bowers and Wilkins CM series, and how we sold them at BB Magnolia. I instantly declined not wanting anything to do with them because they were at Mag. I knew we carried B & W's 600 series, but I heard them and hated them. They were messy, flat, and had no depth to them. At that point I didn't want to hear anymore.

However, he convinced me earlier this week to give the higher end CM series a shot. I had a friend with B & W's 800 diamond series, and those were a different story. I had thought if they were anything at all like those I'd be very impressed. So we walked into Magnolia and I purchased the CM5s to start. Again, I didn't want to hear a demo at the store.

~~~Review~~~

The Bookshelves were packed just like any other bookshelves you've owned. Soft plastic wrapping with styrofoam. and wrapped grilles. Nothing fancy. However, upon taking the speakers out I noticed their fantastic build quality. They feel solid, and the Gloss Black lacquer is even and shiny. In most cases with mid-range speakers you feel as if your cheated on the finish. In this case that's not the story. Everything about the speaker says "Grade-A" quality. Everything.

In terms of source, I've ONLY demoed 90% music and 10% movies + games, due to only having a 2-channel setup for the CM5s.

The following CDs were used: Norah Jones, Elton John's greatest hits, Sophie Milman's self titled album, and John Mayer's Continuum. Sony 300 disc CD player was used for playback.

To hit brass tax right away: From the moment I heard the B & W's, my pre-concieved notions were shattered about mainstream mid-end speakers. They are leagues above the Veritas. They offer a depth so monumental, it's unheard of for this price speaker. That's saying a lot coming from someone who is never satisfied or truly impressed from speakers in this level. I was able to get a clear comparison from switching speakers from Zone A to Zone B interchangeably.

The first thing you notice is how completely uncolored they are. Claiming to have a very minimal crossover, B & W claims they are as natural sounding as possible. Funny, because Energy says the same thing about their Veritas. Thing is, they sound completely different.

Earlier on in this review, I mentioned how the 600 series sounded very flat. I also said in my earlier review of the Veritas how they sounded smooth and natural. The CM5's take the best of both worlds and craft it into an ear melting smooth spectrum. They take warmth and grit and blend it into one. The sound is very linear, yet it's so incredibly crisp. They absolutely blow the Veritas away in terms of smoothness and clarity.

The first song I listened to on Mayer's album "Continuum" was Daughters. I usually like listening to this because his voice is smooth and refined, yet can bring out the ability of a speaker's tweeter because it goes octaves higher than a lot of other male singers. Also, it features a great set of instruments which allow me to judge depth and presence very well. These CM5s created a much larger soundstage and presence than I had expected. Turning off the lights I almost forgot they were bookshelves. With that being said, and the SW being turned off, the soundstage almost matched that of the Veritas towers. I sh!t you not.

What do I mean when I mention presence? Presence (in my vocabulary lol) means how you can hear the placement of instruments and vocals. Basically how 3-dimensional is the speaker? I didn't notice how flat the Veritas are in this category until hearing the CM5s. Each string instrument, percussion, brass, or vocal noise that comes out feels as if it's coming from a different part of the speaker. 9/10 for the CM5s on this category.

I mentioned earlier in my Veritas review I don't like an over-thick sound. The Veritas is thick enough, but it's slightly on the thin side. Still, the mid end offers great clarity and instruments sound crisp and detailed. The CM5s however, give me a thick mid-end without muffling things together. So in other words, I'm okay with the thick mid end here.

Next up was Sophie Milman which is a jazz artist from France I believe. This is what makes the CMs shine. I was intoxicated the way the drum symbols sounded, and how the piano keys were struck. The Veritas created a more "thin" sounding instrument panel, however were still transparent. A great way to speak about Milman's voice is to call it smooth. And what better speaker to portray the voice than the CM series. The more I kicked up the volume (Reached -8.0dB on the Elite), the better it sounded. Never ever harsh and never flat, the CM was incredibly natural. The Veritas when pushed high gave a bit more bass than the CM bookshelves, but started to get a small amount harsher and thin.

With a sub-par recording, the CM5s do not portray sound well. They stay true to the recording, and if you have a crap recording it will still be crap. The Veritas cover this up a bit better.

Movies and games follow the same path. Very natural and crisp. Battlefield 3 was a BLAST even with two bookshelves.

Rating:

Veritas - 85/100
CM series - 95/100

They are that much better.

I liked these speakers so much I bought the CM9s and the CMC2 center to replace the Veritas system. Will be moving the CM5s to the rear.

This wasn't a super full-review, but if anyone needs any more comments feel free to ask!
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post #2 of 47 Old 01-13-2012, 08:43 PM
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Ugh, now you got me interested.

ATM, im comparing 4 speakers in my comparison thread here: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1386720

Your thoughts on the 600 series Bowers (685 to be exact) echo mine somewhat and now youve gotten me interested in the CM5. (BB emp too) So, i find the Veritas (v5.1) to be very airy, very holographic and transparent in the highs but recessed in the mids/lower mids vs the Sierras. Now what you said matches my recessed comment: you said "thin". I also said if the Nrt upgrade to my Sierra-1s provides the holographic airiness of the Veritas with a even wider soundstage (which is reported with NrTs, and the stock soundstage is already huge), that would be my end all monitor.

You havent heard the Sierras have you? Im thinking i might go the route to demo the CM5s, or even the CM1s but man, the Sierras are insane for the price and im having trouble even believing that the CM1/5s are going to be that much better...

This hobby is crazy sometimes lol...
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post #3 of 47 Old 01-13-2012, 09:18 PM
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This is exactly what I just created a membership here to find out. I was going to ask for comparisons of the CM9s and the Veritas 6.3s. I also work for BB Magnolia and can get great pricing on the CM9s, but I am fixated on the Veritas currently. All the reviews seem to backup my interest in them. I am running Klipsch W Icons (WF-35s), and I love them, but I am bored with them and desire a change. I demo the CM9s all day, and I love them. All my coworkers are obsessed with Martin Logan electrostats, and they are amazingly clear, but they just don't have that smooth richness that the CM9s have. Now there are things that I love about my Klipsch. I love that resonating sound of horned instruments(Inception soundtrack; LOTR soundtrack), and I am afraid of selling my speakers and losing that by going to a speaker without horns. The CM9s do it quite well and just smoke my Icons in every way. I was hoping that the Veritas 6.3 would kind of be a in between. Still some of the brightness of my Klipsch, but with some of the smoothness of the CM9s. Any more thoughts on the Veritas? I'm looking to pull the trigger on them, oh, in the next 12 hours. The CM9s are not a possibility at this time.
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post #4 of 47 Old 01-13-2012, 10:10 PM
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Ok so maybe we can start a bb employee thread here lol. I was thinking of doing either a cm setup or a definitive setup with higher stuff than we carry in the store but can get through accommodation. By the sound of it neither of you have this experience?
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post #5 of 47 Old 01-13-2012, 10:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Dear BB mag employee:

Instead of the veritas 6.3, I think the cm5s are a better option even, considering price and everything.

I truly am being honest when I say they are beyond what I thought they'd be like. Demo them at least. You know you can return within 30 days no questions asked. I don't like the Martin logans we sell. They sound like crap.

And I have not heard the sierras. However, I would compare the CM series to speakers which cost twice the price.









Quote:
Originally Posted by coN83 View Post

Ugh, now you got me interested.

ATM, im comparing 4 speakers in my comparison thread here: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1386720

Your thoughts on the 600 series Bowers (685 to be exact) echo mine somewhat and now youve gotten me interested in the CM5. (BB emp too) So, i find the Veritas (v5.1) to be very airy, very holographic and transparent in the highs but recessed in the mids/lower mids vs the Sierras. Now what you said matches my recessed comment: you said "thin". I also said if the Nrt upgrade to my Sierra-1s provides the holographic airiness of the Veritas with a even wider soundstage (which is reported with NrTs, and the stock soundstage is already huge), that would be my end all monitor.

You havent heard the Sierras have you? Im thinking i might go the route to demo the CM5s, or even the CM1s but man, the Sierras are insane for the price and im having trouble even believing that the CM1/5s are going to be that much better...

This hobby is crazy sometimes lol...

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVMAN1991 View Post

Dear BB mag employee:

Instead of the veritas 6.3, I think the cm5s are a better option even, considering price and everything.

I truly am being honest when I say they are beyond what I thought they'd be like. Demo them at least. You know you can return within 30 days no questions asked. I don't like the Martin logans we sell. They sound like crap.

And I have not heard the sierras. However, I would compare the CM series to speakers which cost twice the price.

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post #7 of 47 Old 01-13-2012, 10:42 PM
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I would favor the CMs over the Def Techs, although the Def Tech accommodation is outstanding. If I went Def Tech, I would definitely go Mythos towers. To my ear, however, the Def Techs are too fatiguing. I start getting a headache if I am demoing them too much at work. More of the Bipole design, not the Mythos. Too bad the B&W discount blows.
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post #8 of 47 Old 01-13-2012, 10:45 PM
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1. I'm not sure why someone (coN83) who has Sierra-1 NrTs would be interested in CM5s.

2. Why do you (OP) think the 685s sound like crap exactly compared to the CM5s? I wonder if it has something to do with the fancier veneer/cabinet and the fact that they retail for over twice the price. For most of us, that don't get that sweet BB discount, the MSRP of $1500 is a bit tough to swallow. I'm not debating that they sound better than the 685s just that they don't sound $850 better.

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I am on the fence on returning my veritas or keeping them. Interesting thread.

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post #10 of 47 Old 01-13-2012, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by postrokfan View Post

1. I'm not sure why someone (coN83) who has Sierra-1 NrTs would be interested in CM5s.

2. Why do you (OP) think the 685s sound like crap exactly compared to the CM5s? I wonder if it has something to do with the fancier veneer/cabinet and the fact that they retail for over twice the price. For most of us, that don't get that sweet BB discount, the MSRP of $1500 is a bit tough to swallow. I'm not debating that they sound better than the 685s just that they don't sound $850 better.

Concerning #1, theyre the stock Sierra-1s. Im considering them out of pure curiosity due to his comparison vs the Veritas. I mean, why not? Have you read my comparison thread? You would probably understand my curiosity.

#2, I dunno. We both agreed in separate comparisons that the 600 series Bowers are flat. Lack of dynamics for me.
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post #11 of 47 Old 01-13-2012, 11:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, it's possible that someone has a different opinion. I'm just telling you how I felt based on a real home demo in the same room using the same receiver and sources. I'm taking every variable out of the equation.

Have you heard the 685s in YOUR home compared to cm5s?

I would've easily paid 1,500 for this pair with zero discount. They sound 10x better to me than my old studio 10 pair at 1,000.

Yes, I'm paying for the cabinet. Thank you for realizing that was what I wanted. Sorry, the CM series is 100x more dynamic and transparent than the 600 series.
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post #12 of 47 Old 01-13-2012, 11:05 PM
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#2, I dunno. We both agreed in separate comparisons that the 600 series Bowers are flat. Lack of dynamics for me.
Today 10:46 PM

Fair enough. I would say they (685s) are laid back but not completely lacking in dynamics. Concerning the Sierras, many would say they are best in class. They're just over half the MSRP of the CM5s as well. If this is a case of "upgradeitis" I'm not sure the CM5s would be an upgrade.

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post #13 of 47 Old 01-13-2012, 11:12 PM - Thread Starter
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It's really all personal opinion. You may HATE the CM series, or vice versa. It's very opinion based. That's what this entire hobby (or obsession for some) is about. I drop off the forums for a while because some people take this stuff too far. It's a speaker, material, nothing more.

Anyways, just buy the cm5s and return them no ?s asked within 30 days. You wouldn't even need the box or anything. It's a demo.
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post #14 of 47 Old 01-13-2012, 11:42 PM
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I love it when people come into a thread and question someones speaker choice.

What you like or don't like should matter zero to another person. We all have completely different preferences for sound.

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It's really all personal opinion. You may HATE the CM series, or vice versa. It's very opinion based. That's what this entire hobby (or obsession for some) is about. I drop off the forums for a while because some people take this stuff too far. It's a speaker, material, nothing more.

Anyways, just buy the cm5s and return them no ?s asked within 30 days. You wouldn't even need the box or anything. It's a demo.

I don't hate the CM series. I wasn't trying to attack you. My apologies. Speakers are a very subjective thing. That's why we audition. I do actually think the CM5s sound better. But I don't think the 685s sound "like crap" exactly either and I actually own a pair. My next upgrade will probably be to the Sierras however.

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post #16 of 47 Old 01-14-2012, 09:49 AM
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I love it when people come into a thread and question someones speaker choice.

What you like or don't like should matter zero to another person. We all have completely different preferences for sound.

Then why even post a review anonymously in a forum? I like reading reviews. I just prefer them to be a bit more objective. Cheers.

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post #17 of 47 Old 01-14-2012, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saprano View Post

I love it when people come into a thread and question someones speaker choice.

What you like or don't like should matter zero to another person. We all have completely different preferences for sound.

the problem is when someone compares speakers and dont bother to level match them, frankly a lot of what the OP describes could simply be a difference in volume (which they might not have been aware of).

I dont have any B&W or energy speakers, so i have no dog in this fight
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post #18 of 47 Old 01-14-2012, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by postrokfan View Post

Then why even post a review anonymously in a forum? I like reading reviews. I just prefer them to be a bit more objective. Cheers.

You can have an opinion about a speaker. Theres nothing wrong with that. Its when someone doubts someone else's own thoughts about a speaker. It happens all the time. And frankly its annoying.

You may find speaker A better than speaker B, but not everyone else will. Another person might find speaker B better than speaker A. The beautiful thing about that is neither of you are wrong. People don't like the same things in life.

I've heard speakers recommended to me and they didn't really sound good. But apparently the recommendee loves them.

And vice versa. I've heard speakers people say are garbage and a waste of money but sound freaking amazing. They must only rely on measurements i guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by omegaslast View Post

the problem is when someone compares speakers and dont bother to level match them, frankly a lot of what the OP describes could simply be a difference in volume (which they might not have been aware of).

I dont have any B&W or energy speakers, so i have no dog in this fight

Differences in volume shouldn't matter (im not talking large 20db differences here). The OP used the same receiver for his test. Im sure he didn't change the volume that much to affect his decision (wouldn't he notice anyway?). He mentioned nothing about one louder than the other. The differences in detail was enough for him to notice. I don't understand why its hard for people to accept someones opinion about a speaker they may not care for.

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post #19 of 47 Old 01-14-2012, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I did in fact make sure the volume was identical. That is something to take into consideration because the louder somerhing is, the more treble and bass you hear.
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post #20 of 47 Old 01-14-2012, 01:16 PM
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Do you like your CM9's in comparison to the CM5's?

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post #21 of 47 Old 01-14-2012, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
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I havent received the cm9s yet. I had to order them from our wharehouse along with the cmc2 center.
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Why are your pictures so blurry?

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post #23 of 47 Old 01-14-2012, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
You can have an opinion about a speaker. Theres nothing wrong with that. Its when someone doubts someone else's own thoughts about a speaker. It happens all the time. And frankly its annoying.

You may find speaker A better than speaker B, but not everyone else will. Another person might find speaker B better than speaker A. The beautiful thing about that is neither of you are wrong. People don't like the same things in life.

I've heard speakers recommended to me and they didn't really sound good. But apparently the recommendee loves them.

And vice versa. I've heard speakers people say are garbage and a waste of money but sound freaking amazing. They must only rely on measurements i guess.

This is a well thought out response. I agree. However, I don't doubt the OPs own thoughts on this speaker. That wasn't my intent. I'm usually just skeptical when someone posts something like "speaker A" blows "speaker B" out of the water and therefore "speaker B" is complete garbage. I like both the CM5 and the 685. They both have strengths and weaknesses. As the 685 is part of the B&W "value" line I don't expect them to compete with much more expensive speakers. In fact, there is much competition in this price bracket now and the 685 probably doesn't enjoy the reputation it had when it debuted 4 years ago.

Perhaps what I should have posted in the beginning was one question. Do you think the CM5 is worth the price premium? And, apparently the OP does. If I would have done that maybe the thread wouldn't have taken this negative spiral. Cheers.

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post #24 of 47 Old 01-14-2012, 03:20 PM
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No harm intended from my post. Sorry if it came across that way.

Your right, people do have the habit of calling a speaker trash in comparison to another. But the OP gave his reasons why he thinks the CM5's are better. Are the Energy Veritas or the 685 bad speakers? Nope. But the OP prefers the CM's and thats all that should matter. Especially for him since he's going to be one listening to them. Not us.

As for value. Thats up to the individual too. He clearly thinks the price of the CM5's are worth it. He even said he would of paid full price without his discount. I've read post of people saying they are overpriced in comparison to other speakers. Many think the CM line are overpriced for their performance. The OP doesn't though. And this all comes back to one liking a certain sound.

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Well I went to magnolia today and while I am aware that their audition rooms are not acousticly correct, I went ahead and auditioned the b&w cm9. Now I've been listening to my veritas 6.3's for he past month and I can tell you right now that those b&w cm9 speakers are not leagues ahead of the 6.3, in fact they did not impress me at all. They did not sound bad, I just think they sound tinny with zero depth. The mid/bass in my 6.3's spank those cm9's all day long, I also prefer the clarity in the veritas. I was almost ready to return my veritas from this review and am sooooooo glad I didnt go through with it. Personal preference is real. LOL. Oh and he build quality goes to the veritas as well, the grill on the b&w felt so chincy and brittle and I'm not a fan of the speaker material on the b&w's either.

MY NAME IS SUE!!! HOW DO YOU DO!!!

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post #26 of 47 Old 01-14-2012, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dasanii19 View Post

Well I went to magnolia today and while I am aware that their audition rooms are not acousticly correct, I went ahead and auditioned the b&w cm9. Now I've been listening to my veritas 6.3's for he past month and I can tell you right now that those b&w cm9 speakers are not leagues ahead of the 6.3, in fact they did not impress me at all. They did not sound bad, I just think they sound tinny with zero depth. The mid/bass in my 6.3's spank those cm9's all day long, I also prefer the clarity in the veritas. I was almost ready to return my veritas from this review and am sooooooo glad I didnt go through with it. Personal preference is real. LOL. Oh and he build quality goes to the veritas as well, the grill on the b&w felt so chincy and brittle and I'm not a fan of the speaker material on the b&w's either.

That's the worst way to demo speakers because that happened to me as well. The way we set those up is an absolute nightmare. Take em home on your setup and decide. But hey you may feel the same even after!!

Anyways, question for the more knowledge-driven techies here:

The CMC2 (bigger center) is on backorder. IDK when it will be here, but it's possible it may take a long time. I can get the smaller center right away though to complete the setup. Smaller is the CMCC, and the bigger is the CMC2 for model reference. Is the larger center going to be that much better? As in, very very noticeable?
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post #27 of 47 Old 01-15-2012, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanii19 View Post

Well I went to magnolia today and while I am aware that their audition rooms are not acousticly correct, I went ahead and auditioned the b&w cm9. Now I've been listening to my veritas 6.3's for he past month and I can tell you right now that those b&w cm9 speakers are not leagues ahead of the 6.3, in fact they did not impress me at all. They did not sound bad, I just think they sound tinny with zero depth. The mid/bass in my 6.3's spank those cm9's all day long, I also prefer the clarity in the veritas. I was almost ready to return my veritas from this review and am sooooooo glad I didnt go through with it. Personal preference is real. LOL. Oh and he build quality goes to the veritas as well, the grill on the b&w felt so chincy and brittle and I'm not a fan of the speaker material on the b&w's either.

They sounded bad when i heard them at BB too. You want a better demo go hear them at a dealer. Much better sound than BB.

TVman, how does BB hook up their equipment? I know they don't set it up right as far a settings goes because they have the speakers always on large and a bunch of other stuff wrong.

Don't look at any other center except the CMC2. Its the best one. It has the WTMW design.

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post #28 of 47 Old 01-16-2012, 01:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by saprano View Post

They sounded bad when i heard them at BB too. You want a better demo go hear them at a dealer. Much better sound than BB.

TVman, how does BB hook up their equipment? I know they don't set it up right as far a settings goes because they have the speakers always on large and a bunch of other stuff wrong.

Don't look at any other center except the CMC2. Its the best one. It has the WTMW design.


Thank you sir

And yeah, for sure the demo blows. They set the speakers basically against the wall. You need to take them home for a real demo!
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post #29 of 47 Old 01-16-2012, 05:32 AM
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interesting info. Thanks.

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post #30 of 47 Old 01-16-2012, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by TVMAN1991 View Post

That's the worst way to demo speakers because that happened to me as well. The way we set those up is an absolute nightmare. Take em home on your setup and decide. But hey you may feel the same even after!!

Anyways, question for the more knowledge-driven techies here:

The CMC2 (bigger center) is on backorder. IDK when it will be here, but it's possible it may take a long time. I can get the smaller center right away though to complete the setup. Smaller is the CMCC, and the bigger is the CMC2 for model reference. Is the larger center going to be that much better? As in, very very noticeable?


I just did about an hour long demo with a customer in Mag the other day testing the CMCC vs the CMC2 with the CM9s. The customer bought the CM8s and CMCC and was thinking of upgrading the center channel. He said even with the CM8s, it was a struggle to really hear the CMCC. Don't even bother with the CMCC. Even though it still had incredible clarity, the sound was pushed way back in comparison to the CMC2 and got lost with the CM9s. If anything, wait to get the CMC2 and turn the center channel off in your receiver and have to CM9s image a phantom center channel.
I can't speak for all Mag stores, but the CM9s should be hooked up to the Pioneer SC-57. I have the towers set to small, about a foot and a half away from the wall and properly toed in. I really wish we had a good CD player with an awesome DAC hooked up to that display more than anything.
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