Help! New B&W CM9s sound like crap - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone,

I have been scouring the web trying to find out if this is just a fluke, but my brand new CM9s are not performing up to par.

I have been messing with my AV's settings for days trying to figure out if it's a misconfiguration. The best way to explain the quality of the sound is " lack of vibrance". They sound no better than my B&W Air dock ( which is certainly good) but the demo speakers at the store blew me away...when I listen to them at my place they do not sound like $3000.000 speakers.


SPECS:
-Pioneer Elite SC-67 (not bi-amping/bi-wiring).
-Audioquest Rocket 33 speaker cables


One thing I noticed is that I have to turn the volume WAY up ( i.e -20db and below) to get significant volume. Sometimes I have to go all the way to -9 or -4 depending on the song. This is REALLY strange because I just traded in a pair of B&W CM5s that I never could go below -15db because it was super loud. The CM5s sounded spectacular, in fact...better than the CM9s right now.

Thoughts anyone?
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post #2 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 06:51 PM
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Well considering that the CM9's are harder to push even with the 89 dbs efficiency. Honestly I had the same problem with my CM5's taking them home from the store but after hours of placement, I got them to really sound amazing.

I am not sure what your receiver is rated at but considering separate amplification might be a good option however, I would spend some time seriously placing these speakers. Spend time with toeing in or leaving forward facing. I noticed my CM5's like being closer together (no more than 5-6 feet) also I would lose the connecting plates behind the terminals and just jump them with wires.

I am sure you have double checked your connections etc. If you have room correction, try running them direct.

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post #3 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Right now i'm pumping 140 watts per channel, which after thinking about it might not be enough, but I demoed them with the exact same receiver at the store and they sounded stellar which is even more frustrating. I can barely hear dialogue when playing movies at -15 volume.

Funny thing is running them in "pure direct" mode ( with all digital correction turned off) makes them sound even worse!

I don't have ideal room conditions, but I'm comparing them against the CM5s which performed perfectly fine in the same room ( concrete floor, concrete ceiling).
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post #4 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 07:13 PM
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Well I am not sure how technical you are but if you claim the CM5's sounded better, then I would be taking them back to the store to which you had purchased them and hook them up there. Or Perhaps borrow a friends receiver to make sure its not your receiver that decided to take a permanent vacation on you.

You know if your CM5's sounded better in your home and these clearly dont then it would suggest maybe you have wires crossed? what are your roll offs set at? Little or Large speakers? Have you played around with speaker placement and are you standing when listening to these or sitting?

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post #5 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 07:23 PM
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Yikes!! I'm a big fan of the CM9's. I currently own two pair of PolkAudio RTiA9's, had I had the $$$, the CM9's would be in my camp.

Placement is an awesome suggestion. Power, definitely look into external power. My A9's, while not as "refined" as the CM's, are no slouch, but when I first got them home, was at first impressed, then led to remorse, the sound became bright, almost too bright. Solution? Placement and more power. I've upgraded my amps twice, and with each upgrade, it was like getting a new speaker.

The A9's have smoothed out with the addtion of power and have really been an awesome sounding speaker.

I would hope the CM's would also improve with more power.

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post #6 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 07:38 PM
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It sounds like there is a problem as the CM9s are reasonably efficient and if you receiver is rated at 140 wpc it should have no problem with 2 channel. I would call the shop and discuss with them.

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post #7 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Right now I have them set to small because in large mode there is way too much bass ( even at a low volume ) that is preventing me from driving them hard. I have the crossover setting at 80hz which made a huge difference in sound quality.

I still don't think they sound as " refined " as they did at the store using a horrendous setup. I deliberately judged their quality by how they performed with a poor setup and they were still stellar.

I'm thinking this could be the amp - but why would they perform perfectly fine with the CM5s?

The only difference between my setup now is I bought "better " cable ( the rocket 33) vs the standard 16 gauge audio quest cable I bought and added banana plugs to. Though .... For that cable I did something strange as an experiment and took both positive+ negative strands at the end and made into one cable ( effectively had to make 4 cables to do this).

I have no idea what that could have done but it certainly made the CM5s sound better than in the store.
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post #8 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 08:05 PM
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Can you describe the room these are in? Room size? How far do you sit from the speakers? Have you tried toeing them in? What type of floor do you have (wood, carpet, tile, etc)?
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post #9 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 08:05 PM
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You describe the listening area as all concrete correct? How big is the listening area? How far apart are the speakers from each other and the walls (perhaps you could provide a picture or diagram)? Also, can you try just hooking the speakers up with regular 16 gauge bare wire (just to see if something wonky happened with the strange config you described)? There's no reason your receiver shouldn't be able to power the CM9s. Also, they should sound great crossed over at 80 Hz.

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post #10 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 08:39 PM
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I think it is his room...guess the OP doesn't understand the effect of his room on his speakers.


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Originally Posted by Manzola View Post


It's a 15x30 open space that has concrete floors and concrete ceilings ( think loft), it takes lots to move air in this space. There is only drywall on one side, the rest are floor to ceiling windows, not sure these are ideal conditions for sound but the B&W Panorama 2 did not cut it in this space.

I plan on eventually adding a dedicated REL T9 speaker ( don't know if this may be too much).
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post #11 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are pictures of the setup. Running the MCACC is useless because of the properties of the room, it makes them sound absolutely horrific.

Now I understand the room makes a huge difference in the tonal qualities....but this is different, I mean why would the CM5s sound great ( in spite of the room) and why would I not have a problem with hearing dialogue at lower volumes ( I tested both using Star Trek )




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post #12 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 09:02 PM
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Try pulling them from the wall at least a feet or two if you can spare it. It's rare to find a speaker that will sound good pressed up against a wall.

Also, what part of the speakers aren't sounding too good? Is the sound too bright? Too little bass? You have a ton of glass in that room which can really screw with your sound.
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post #13 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 09:09 PM
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I think you are hearing the effects of having your speakers to close to boundary walls. I hate to say it, but the bookshelves may have been better suited for your space. Are you considering a center channel?
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post #14 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 09:25 PM - Thread Starter
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You guys were both right- I moved them a bit forward ( see pics below) and it just totally opened up the sound- Should I move them even further?. Still not like they sounded at the Magnolia demo room ( which like I said I think is worse with them being at least 15ft apart, on an AV switch, and a receiver that's not calibrated for anything).

Maybe the room will make it impossible to let them sing beautifully , but shouldn't I be able to hear the "natural" tonal qualities of the speaker at low volume and up close? Because I can describe them as having a "lack of presence" on the high/mid range. The bass was over bearing hence why I have them on the "Small" speaker setting.

I do plan on getting a center in about a month of so. I was planning on the sub first...


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post #15 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 09:32 PM
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How long have you had the speakers? I know it sounds like an urban legend, but I have found that some speakers sound much better after being broken in. Subwoofers too.
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post #16 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 09:33 PM
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Pull them out even with the front of your cabinet. Should help more.
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post #17 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 09:41 PM
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If you are not using a subwoofer with them currently set them to Large in your receiver settings.

The crossover setting in the receiver only really works if you have a subwoofer that will receive the lower frequencies.

Also if you only have the 2 speakers set it to Stereo with a phantom center if that option is available, if you are running them in some kind of 5.1 setting that is why you might not be hearing the voices too well or at all.
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post #18 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manzola View Post


The only difference between my setup now is I bought "better " cable ( the rocket 33) vs the standard 16 gauge audio quest cable I bought and added banana plugs to. Though .... For that cable I did something strange as an experiment and took both positive+ negative strands at the end and made into one cable ( effectively had to make 4 cables to do this).
.

Can you show how the cables are connected? You should never connect + and - together. If you are bi-wiring then you should pull the shorting bars out and connect 2 reds to the top red terminal, 2 reds to the bottom red and vice versa with the black. (If I recall it has 4 reds and 4 blacks...)

If you loosened the short bars and did not connect the wire properly then this could be the reason the sound is so bad.

B.
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post #19 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Spakers have been in use for a few days. I believe the typical break in period for these is 80+ hours, but again I'm comparing the experience I had with the CM5s...which maybe is not the right kind of comparison.


When I set them to large they pump out significantly more bass, which drowns out the mids/highs. I don't feel like it should be that unbalanced, but at that point I really think it's the room properties that make the bass resonate.


Is there any kind of speaker that can perform exceptionally in any environment?
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post #20 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manzola View Post



Is there any kind of speaker that can perform exceptionally in any environment?


Not really. Your bookshelves probably weren't exciting as many of the room modes as your bigger towers are now and that is why the bass seems more bloated and out of whack to you. Room EQ can only do so much in regards to taming peaks but won't really touch nulls. Best thing would be some acoustic treatment or if that is a no-go a well placed sub to handle the bass.

If you can pull them out even more that would help with the bass. You can't really get that one on the right out of the corner so that will always be a huge issue.
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post #21 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ambesolman View Post

Pull them out even with the front of your cabinet. Should help more.

Get a narrower stereo component cabinet that is about half as wide, and then you can even pull them in a little bit. That would probably help a good bit.

You could try it temporarily by removing the piece of furniture all together and stacking your components on the floor.

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post #22 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 10:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Moving them forward had a seriously positive impact on their sound- Much more than I thought it would so thanks to you all!

Picture below of the wiring.

I'm probably going to have them come and test with a different receiver to figure out what's the problem with power, because I really shouldn't have to go below -10 on volume.
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post #23 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Get a narrower stereo component cabinet that is about half as wide, and then you can even pull them in a little bit. That would probably help a good bit.

You could try it temporarily by removing the piece of furniture all together and stacking your components on the floor.

Heh, was going to mention that. But his TV stand costs almost as much as the speakers..

http://www.magnoliaav.com/products/furniture/stands-cabinets/bdi-marina-tv-stand-for-flat-panel-tvs-up-to-75


Doubt he'd want to get rid of it so quick
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post #24 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BB1111 View Post

Heh, was going to mention that. But his TV stand costs almost as much as the speakers..

http://www.magnoliaav.com/products/furniture/stands-cabinets/bdi-marina-tv-stand-for-flat-panel-tvs-up-to-75


Doubt he'd want to get rid of it so quick

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post #25 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

If it's the wrong tool for the job . . . wink.gif

Hehe- bought it with a soundbar in mind. I used to have the Panorama, which did no better than my Zeppelin Air so I gave that back and used my Zeppelin with so issues at all.
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post #26 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 10:28 PM
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With the current stand it will be hard to make towers work. May want to consider Kef R300s as they have the separate woofer or stay with the CM5s and add a sub which you can control the bass level separately. Even a front ported speaker will have issues stuck next to a wall I would think.
Edit: For your room stand mounts may be the best option. Add a CMC2 and a sub to your CM5s. What split for music / home theater and what is your priority?

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post #27 of 145 Old 04-17-2013, 11:16 PM
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LOL, it is your placement for sure.
First off, speakers like the CM9 need at a minimum 1ft from all surfaces. Second, that is a horrible environment for any speaker.
Replacing amps will not improve anything.
Dialogue is difficult to hear because of room reflections.

I suggest you get a measurement of your frequency response at your listening position.
If you don't have measurement tools, I suggest you get this:
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=390-792

Also, you should probably get some root treatment.
Read this: http://audio.tutsplus.com/tutorials/recording/a-basic-guide-to-acoustic-treatment/
I suggest you either purchase or make several of these:


If you need help or more info, I highly suggest the DIY section on AVS.
Many knowledgeable people there that can help.

I will tell you this. No amount of electronics will help with that room if you use floor standing speakers, in that location.
The reason your CM5 sounded better is due to its smaller size. Placing those CM5s at the back of the TV stand was already a horrible setup. Your current setup for your CM9 is hurricane Katrina sized disaster.
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post #28 of 145 Old 04-18-2013, 12:49 AM
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The CM9's should come with baffle inserts. I would suggest pulling them further from the walls. Install the baffle inserts, def toe them in a bit. I am not buying that room destroying them THAT much but yeah they are WAY to close to the walls. I would maybe think about a narrower table to allow some more room to move this things around.

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post #29 of 145 Old 04-18-2013, 01:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingofthecrate View Post

The CM9's should come with baffle inserts. I would suggest pulling them further from the walls. Install the baffle inserts, def toe them in a bit. I am not buying that room destroying them THAT much but yeah they are WAY to close to the walls. I would maybe think about a narrower table to allow some more room to move this things around.

By baffle inserts do you mean port plugs?
That won't change anything in the upper frequency response.

He's got a acoustic reflection problem. Changing the room is the only method of fixing the problem.
His FR curve and distortion must be horrible.

Easiest way to test it out is to take his speakers and put them in a carpeted room, 2ft from all surfaces. If it doesn't sound worlds better, then it might be time to change speakers.
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post #30 of 145 Old 04-18-2013, 06:18 AM
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looks like your window might be the culprit.
How do they sound? Too lively, edgy?. Also, you sould pull the speakers out even further so that the tv stand wont reflect the sound from the mid and from bass driver.
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