KEF R-series vs B&W CM-series - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 12-31-2013, 09:50 AM - Thread Starter
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thoughts and reviews please.

i really like the CM9's, and would say to compare it to the R700.

i have DEMOED all the CM series and they are very tight and crisp sounding speaker. i have not heard any KEF speakers but the look very well built and from what i hear they are VERY nice sounding

budget 1500$ per/sp max
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post #2 of 29 Old 12-31-2013, 10:23 AM
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Watch out for British speakers man, they only play sound on the left side of the room...biggrin.gif

Both are very good. I am a big fan of both B&W and KEF. I own the CM9 and KEF LS50. I have heard the R series at the the dealer where I bought the LS50s. If anything, KEF is a tad brighter then B&W, to my ears. For me, it's a toss up on which I like better. Both are ultra resolving with great imaging/soundstage and better source/amp gear with them makes a noticeable difference.

I would suggest going to KEF's website and hit up the dealer search for a local place to audition.
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post #3 of 29 Old 12-31-2013, 11:30 AM
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Fan of both Kef and B&W but I would suggest listening to the R series as IMO are a step above the CM line. Watch out is not to put the R700 in too small a room, go R500 in that case.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, DBP 2010, Samsung BD-C7900, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650. Sitting still CCM616, Kef...
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post #4 of 29 Old 12-31-2013, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NagysAudio View Post

CM without question. With the CM5 being the cream of the crop. My favorite speaker under $5000. True three dimensional, hifi sound at midfi price. Electrostatic like midrange. Smooth as butter treble with Mundorf Supreme capacitors and Nautilus tube chamber equipped tweeter. To get better sound, you need to step up to B&W 805 Diamond, Focal Electra 1008 BE (maybe), Sonus Faber Olympica I, Dynaudio C1 Signature, etc.

CM5s are the best hidden gems in audio today.

Yeah, those Mundorf Supreme caps sound amazing. I was listening to some of them just the other day. Very tubelike, with liquid mids.

That gloss black finish sounds great too. But I prefer the sound on the Wenge finish. It's a little more mellow in the high frequencies and less bright overall. Really brings out the sounds of wood instruments better.
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post #5 of 29 Old 12-31-2013, 01:38 PM
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lol
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post #6 of 29 Old 12-31-2013, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
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my room is 18.2 x 20.6 x 14, wood floors

i reallly really dig the piano finish over the other options. i didnt realize finish made a difference in sound


there have been alot of bashes on the CM series speakers in other threads, but there have also been alot of loves.

if CM5 is great, then CM9 has to be also, or even better with more air space

my equipment is UMC200, and XPA5. some folks were saying that the XPA 5 doesnt pair well with the CM9, because it makes them brighter, i would really have to hear to believe that the combo of them doesnt sound well, i would put money that the XPA 5 biamped on those CM9's would sound freaking amazing, just a guess though smile.gif

im having trouble finding a KEF dealer in my area.
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post #7 of 29 Old 12-31-2013, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
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btw, i heard the CM10's also hooked up with Marantz amp and pre/pro, Was very very much a step above the others. however, the others were being pushed through a pioneer elite avr using its built in amp.
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post #8 of 29 Old 12-31-2013, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
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just confirmed the Generation 2 EMO amps are much more neutral than the GEN 1's im in the clear wink.gif
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post #9 of 29 Old 12-31-2013, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

Fan of both Kef and B&W but I would suggest listening to the R series as IMO are a step above the CM line. Watch out is not to put the R700 in too small a room, go R500 in that case.

Agreed. The KEF R series is definitely a step above the B&W CM line IMHO.

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post #10 of 29 Old 01-01-2014, 05:15 AM
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I was auditioning the same last summer along with the Revel Performa series and B&W 804s.. I liked the B&W CM series but ended up with the KEF R900. The KEFs IMO performed as well and sounded as good as the 804s....especially for the price. Definitely check out the KEF R series.....your ears may give you a different opinion but they are worth checking out.
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post #11 of 29 Old 01-01-2014, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RC1991 View Post

I was auditioning the same last summer along with the Revel Performa series and B&W 804s.. I liked the B&W CM series but ended up with the KEF R900. The KEFs IMO performed as well and sounded as good as the 804s....especially for the price. Definitely check out the KEF R series.....your ears may give you a different opinion but they are worth checking out.
Revel Performa3s deserve a listen if you can also. That and the R series would be my top choices but what matters is what the OP prefers. Try to audition.
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Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, DBP 2010, Samsung BD-C7900, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650. Sitting still CCM616, Kef...
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post #12 of 29 Old 01-01-2014, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
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i can get a set of lightly used R700 series right now for under 2k. deal or no deal?

i would go the R900 but they are big more pricey.

is there a way to demo KEF and Return them at no shipping cost, etc?


the KEF are 8ohm, and the BWcm9 are down to 3ohm. wouldnt the lower ohm sound better on my xpa5?
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post #13 of 29 Old 01-01-2014, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

Revel Performa3s deserve a listen if you can also. That and the R series would be my top choices but what matters is what the OP prefers. Try to audition.

Yes, definitely agree - the Revels are absolutely worth a listen too.. A little brighter to my ears but also very nice sounding speakers and nice looking too.
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post #14 of 29 Old 01-01-2014, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks i will look them up. bookshelfs wont match the sound stage as these towers correct? Just wondering because in future may have a entertaimnet wall built in and bookshelfs may fit nicely.
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post #15 of 29 Old 01-01-2014, 11:31 AM
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Both lines are very good. The dealer I go to carries the KEF's, B&W's along w/Paradigms, Wharfedales, PSB's and Totems. All are excellent just depends on what you like and how they react in your room. Our opinions are like noses we all have one. Go out audition and pick the speakers you like.smile.gif
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post #16 of 29 Old 01-01-2014, 12:16 PM
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Vince Bruzzese was recently in Nashua NH w/his upscale Totem Element Series. Very impressive. The whole speaker is made in house including the drivers.smile.gif
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post #17 of 29 Old 01-01-2014, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NagysAudio View Post

CM without question. With the CM5 being the cream of the crop. My favorite speaker under $5000. True three dimensional, hifi sound at midfi price. Electrostatic like midrange. Smooth as butter treble with Mundorf Supreme capacitors and Nautilus tube chamber equipped tweeter. To get better sound, you need to step up to B&W 805 Diamond, Focal Electra 1008 BE (maybe), Sonus Faber Olympica I, Dynaudio C1 Signature, etc. CM5s are the best hidden gems in audio today.

Nagys, not to get too off topic here, but have you compared the CM5 to the more expensive B&W monitor the PM1?
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post #18 of 29 Old 01-18-2014, 07:12 PM
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i own the pm1's and love them. if not for them i wouldve got cm9 or cm10. I didnt want huge towers though. PM1 the smoothest of them all, the Cms were very sparkly and borderline harsh but i have ear problems that make them super sensitive. Cm10s are insane in a good way. But a bit much for me. PM1s look classy as hell too. Only buy them with the stands though.

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post #19 of 29 Old 01-28-2014, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beaveav View Post


Yeah, those Mundorf Supreme caps sound amazing. I was listening to some of them just the other day. Very tubelike, with liquid mids.

That gloss black finish sounds great too. But I prefer the sound on the Wenge finish. It's a little more mellow in the high frequencies and less bright overall. Really brings out the sounds of wood instruments better.


Beaveav hello,

 

Do you have CM5s in wenge finish? I'm getting a pair of Cm5s and since Wenge finish is a special order, and black being available in stock  , but  was advised that black lacquer would indeed sounding brighter in the region where I have found them sound brighter than CM1s in the Magnolia room, echoing your opinion.... Granted that brightness could be due to the mediocre marantz amp & switching boards, but CM1 were noticeably smoother, as strange as it sounds....

 

Thanks and regards :)

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post #20 of 29 Old 01-28-2014, 05:26 PM
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eek.gif I was being sarcastic. The finish has no effect on the sound of the speakers.

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post #21 of 29 Old 01-28-2014, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NagysAudio View Post


There's no sound difference between the finishes. I have the Wenge finish. I think it looks pretty awesome. I like that zebra wood style.


Is your pair assembled in China or the Great Britain? Any indications  that ones made in GB sound different&better&same than Chinese made?

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post #22 of 29 Old 01-28-2014, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

eek.gif I was being sarcastic. The finish has no effect on the sound of the speakers.

biggrin.gif:D:D:D:D

Did you notice the CM5's were upgraded from piss poor to great today?
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post #23 of 29 Old 01-28-2014, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NagysAudio View Post


All CM5s are assemble in China, as are mine. Even the drivers themselves are assembled in China. B&W England supplies their Chinese factory with cones, voicecoils, baskets, capacitors, coils, etc. The cabinets are fully made and finished in China using all Chinese materials. But none of that makes one bit of difference. These speakers are marvelous. Here's my current list of favorite speakers on the market right now and this list changes frequently as I listen to new speakers often:

B&W 800 Diamond
Focal Scala V2 Utopia
B&W 802 Diamond
Dynaudio C2 Platinum
Dynaudio C1 Platinum
T+A Criterion TCD 110 S
B&W CM5

I know its little off the topic of this forum, but was wondering if you ve had a chance to listen to Dynaudios 110A actives, and if they come close to CM5s in your opinion?....They are no longer in production, but given that Dynauio is nearby, may be you had a chance...I  ve heard XEO 3 during NY show and thought they were much to be desired to say the least. Thanks ......

 

Regards

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post #24 of 29 Old 01-28-2014, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kot B View Post

I know its little off the topic of this forum, but was wondering if you ve had a chance to listen to Dynaudios 110A actives, and if they come close to CM5s in your opinion?....They are no longer in production, but given that Dynauio is nearby, may be you had a chance...I  ve heard XEO 3 during NY show and thought they were much to be desired to say the least. Thanks ......

Regards

I'm not a huge fan of Dynaudios without the Esotar tweeter. IMO it's a night and day difference. I've not heard the 110As, but I did listen to the Focus 160s extensively. To me it's just a very bright speaker and many will disagree. Most people consider something to be bright if there's too much detail, sibilance, hash, grain, etc. I consider something bright which has a lot of energy in the 4-5kHz region. It's that very nasty hard brightness. These are most of the popular speakers on this forum with flat SPL and uniform horizontal off-axis response. A good sounding speaker has to have a bit of the loudness curve built in. Google technical papers from BBC, or Linkwitz Lab. When a live event is recorded with a microphone, the microphone does not hear it, nor record it like what a human ear would. A microphone is very directional at 4-5kHz and stores access energy. This same energy is then reproduced by a speaker and that's why most of the time it does not sound like the real live event. Most flat speakers peak at 4-5kHz off-axis. And it just takes an extremely little amount of peaking to sound very hard/dead/obnoxious to the ear. That's what the Excite and Focus lines from Dynaudio sound like to me. Except for Focus 380 which uses the Esotar 2 tweeter. The Esotar tweeter is magical. It's incredibly relaxed yet clear and three dimensional at the same time. If you can afford the C1 Platinum, get it without thinking. It's the best monitor that I have ever heard by far, period. If it comes down to the Focus line, or the CM5s, I'd pick the CM5s all day long.
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post #25 of 29 Old 01-28-2014, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NagysAudio View Post

I'm not a huge fan of Dynaudios without the Esotar tweeter. IMO it's a night and day difference. I've not heard the 110As, but I did listen to the Focus 160s extensively. To me it's just a very bright speaker and many will disagree. Most people consider something to be bright if there's too much detail, sibilance, hash, grain, etc. I consider something bright which has a lot of energy in the 4-5kHz region. It's that very nasty hard brightness. These are most of the popular speakers on this forum with flat SPL and uniform horizontal off-axis response. A good sounding speaker has to have a bit of the loudness curve built in. Google technical papers from BBC, or Linkwitz Lab. When a live event is recorded with a microphone, the microphone does not hear it, nor record it like what a human ear would. A microphone is very directional at 4-5kHz and stores access energy. This same energy is then reproduced by a speaker and that's why most of the time it does not sound like the real live event. Most flat speakers peak at 4-5kHz off-axis. And it just takes an extremely little amount of peaking to sound very hard/dead/obnoxious to the ear. That's what the Excite and Focus lines from Dynaudio sound like to me. Except for Focus 380 which uses the Esotar 2 tweeter. The Esotar tweeter is magical. It's incredibly relaxed yet clear and three dimensional at the same time. If you can afford the C1 Platinum, get it without thinking. It's the best monitor that I have ever heard by far, period. If it comes down to the Focus line, or the CM5s, I'd pick the CM5s all day long.

Thanks for your exhaustive and very informative reply!
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post #26 of 29 Old 01-29-2014, 12:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NagysAudio View Post


I'm not a huge fan of Dynaudios without the Esotar tweeter. IMO it's a night and day difference. I've not heard the 110As, but I did listen to the Focus 160s extensively. To me it's just a very bright speaker and many will disagree. Most people consider something to be bright if there's too much detail, sibilance, hash, grain, etc. I consider something bright which has a lot of energy in the 4-5kHz region. It's that very nasty hard brightness. These are most of the popular speakers on this forum with flat SPL and uniform horizontal off-axis response. A good sounding speaker has to have a bit of the loudness curve built in. Google technical papers from BBC, or Linkwitz Lab. When a live event is recorded with a microphone, the microphone does not hear it, nor record it like what a human ear would. A microphone is very directional at 4-5kHz and stores access energy. This same energy is then reproduced by a speaker and that's why most of the time it does not sound like the real live event. Most flat speakers peak at 4-5kHz off-axis. And it just takes an extremely little amount of peaking to sound very hard/dead/obnoxious to the ear. That's what the Excite and Focus lines from Dynaudio sound like to me. Except for Focus 380 which uses the Esotar 2 tweeter. The Esotar tweeter is magical. It's incredibly relaxed yet clear and three dimensional at the same time. If you can afford the C1 Platinum, get it without thinking. It's the best monitor that I have ever heard by far, period. If it comes down to the Focus line, or the CM5s, I'd pick the CM5s all day long.

 

I presume you don't like bigger Dynaudios from the same series as much... Evidence right? I heard them once and was not that impressed for their cost/quality ratio ...Granted it was a while ago, and in the hotel room, but they lacked that refinement & je ne sais quoi so to speak that Ensemble PAs & Primadonnas, Nestorovics and even B&W cm5 possess, as well as few others.... They were too hi fiish imho, but I guess C1 s are a different creature from what you've described... Will give them a listen sometime soon...
 
Regards
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post #27 of 29 Old 01-29-2014, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NagysAudio View Post


I'm not a huge fan of Dynaudios without the Esotar tweeter. IMO it's a night and day difference. I've not heard the 110As, but I did listen to the Focus 160s extensively. To me it's just a very bright speaker and many will disagree. Most people consider something to be bright if there's too much detail, sibilance, hash, grain, etc. I consider something bright which has a lot of energy in the 4-5kHz region. It's that very nasty hard brightness. These are most of the popular speakers on this forum with flat SPL and uniform horizontal off-axis response. A good sounding speaker has to have a bit of the loudness curve built in. Google technical papers from BBC, or Linkwitz Lab. When a live event is recorded with a microphone, the microphone does not hear it, nor record it like what a human ear would. A microphone is very directional at 4-5kHz and stores access energy. This same energy is then reproduced by a speaker and that's why most of the time it does not sound like the real live event. Most flat speakers peak at 4-5kHz off-axis. And it just takes an extremely little amount of peaking to sound very hard/dead/obnoxious to the ear. That's what the Excite and Focus lines from Dynaudio sound like to me. Except for Focus 380 which uses the Esotar 2 tweeter. The Esotar tweeter is magical. It's incredibly relaxed yet clear and three dimensional at the same time. If you can afford the C1 Platinum, get it without thinking. It's the best monitor that I have ever heard by far, period. If it comes down to the Focus line, or the CM5s, I'd pick the CM5s all day long.

Mine main monitors are of reference quality already, but after CM5s I will probably get Chario Sonnets vs C1s as soon as my budget allows it..... Now they have some interesting acoustic properties and sound fantastically musical & 3dimensional and their designers adhere to different sets of principles than that of Dynaudios, imho....

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post #28 of 29 Old 03-26-2014, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NagysAudio View Post


I'm not a huge fan of Dynaudios without the Esotar tweeter. IMO it's a night and day difference. I've not heard the 110As, but I did listen to the Focus 160s extensively. To me it's just a very bright speaker and many will disagree. Most people consider something to be bright if there's too much detail, sibilance, hash, grain, etc. I consider something bright which has a lot of energy in the 4-5kHz region. It's that very nasty hard brightness. These are most of the popular speakers on this forum with flat SPL and uniform horizontal off-axis response. A good sounding speaker has to have a bit of the loudness curve built in. Google technical papers from BBC, or Linkwitz Lab. When a live event is recorded with a microphone, the microphone does not hear it, nor record it like what a human ear would. A microphone is very directional at 4-5kHz and stores access energy. This same energy is then reproduced by a speaker and that's why most of the time it does not sound like the real live event. Most flat speakers peak at 4-5kHz off-axis. And it just takes an extremely little amount of peaking to sound very hard/dead/obnoxious to the ear. That's what the Excite and Focus lines from Dynaudio sound like to me. Except for Focus 380 which uses the Esotar 2 tweeter. The Esotar tweeter is magical. It's incredibly relaxed yet clear and three dimensional at the same time. If you can afford the C1 Platinum, get it without thinking. It's the best monitor that I have ever heard by far, period. If it comes down to the Focus line, or the CM5s, I'd pick the CM5s all day long.

Nagys Hello,

 

I recall you being fond of older Klein Hummel pro monitors and was wondering if you ve done any comparison between the Neumann KH-120A's and  B&W CM805s prior of getting the CM5s? I listened to the KH-120 at the pro shop the other day but their set up and placement were atrocious, however at the sweet spot they did provide an astonishing view into the performance.... Would be curious to hear your  thoughts on the comparison of those two models if heard under similar circumstances.... Thanks so much....

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post #29 of 29 Old 04-10-2014, 07:04 PM
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Long time reader, I mean years! First post though...

 

All I can say about B&W in general and as an owner of the CM-5's and also 685's. To my ears I love the articulate but slightly laid back sound of the Bowers. I find that I can listen to them for hours on end. My basic 2 channel setup is Marantz PM-8004 with SA-8004 player and a Martin Logan Dynamo 700 for occasional 2.1 use.

 

I have a good amount of ear time with the Kef R series and was really torn until my dealer let me listen for a couple hours one night while they were setting up some new gear. In the end I found myself switching back to CM's time after time. Kef is brilliant and I adore their Blades, but for me and my ears, I bought the CM-5s.

 

 

BTW~ I do know that B&W will have a new CM line yet this year after the new 600 launch.

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Bowers Wilkins Cm9 Floor Standing Speakers , Kef Ls50 2 Way Speaker System , Emotiva Umc 200 7 1 Home Theater Preamp Surround Processor , Emotiva Xpa 5 5 Channel Power Amplifier

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