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Help! New B&W CM9s sound like crap - Page 2

post #31 of 145
Thread Starter 
The sound is not lively and edgy as you would expect in a concrete/window room, that's what I think people are misunderstanding.

They sound like Ipod dock speakers, not very vibrant. Lots of bass but the clarity on the mid and highs ( that originally blew me away with their detail) is just missing.

I.E: In the demo room I could make out the fingers moving through a fret board on a guitar as if it was right in front of me live.... now it sounds like any other speaker that's loud but not detailed.

I am hesitant to think it's just the room because the CM5s were in fact lively and vibrant, with too much on the highs because of the resonance of the room. I had to correct that with the x-curve setting.

I would have expected to have the same issue with the CM9s.
post #32 of 145
Thread Starter 
I think the problem with dialogue is different though, because I have to turn the volume way up.... I mean that at -15 you can barely make it out . I have to go about -10, -8 to really get it to be reasonable...except when a scene comes up with explosions/gun fire it destroys my ears.

I would say that if the problem was due to the room, It would not be a problem with volume but rather being unable to make out the dialogue because of the high resonance.
post #33 of 145
If you can , i would try to move the speaker to the side along the window beside the couch to see how your room interact. Try a slight toe in. Move your couch side way as well so they get some absortion, close all the blinds.
I would think your pioneer should have no problem driving them cause you dont need to listening to loud level to determine your speaker quality. Give them some time to break in, and if they still sound like crap i would return them.
post #34 of 145
That's a beautiful view man!!

Thanks for the pics. As you've already discovered, you have a refelction nighmare from the console.

Pulling them out from the cabinet so you have no 1st order reflecitons is the right move. Then, as you suspect, the 9's aren't playing well with the Pioneer. If you know anyone with an amp with 200wpc or better, see if you can borrow it for a demo on your set up, or even a different AVR.

Good luck brother, those are awesome speakers.
post #35 of 145
Oops, reflection (sp) smile.gif
post #36 of 145
It is well known that B & W makes some really excellent high end speakers, but makes some duds and a few that are fair in their speakers that are under $4000.

You can buy MUCH better-sounding speakers in the same price range from KEF, Vandersteen, Gallo Acoustics, and PSB, and Vienna Acoustics.

BUT... IMO the CM9 speakers will perform reasonably well if you dump that Yamaha receiver and get a Cambridge Audio 551R. The Yamaha is 98% of the problem IMO. It simply is not designed to drive speakers like yours.

I am sure that when you heard those speakers demonstrated they were driven with a much better amplifier than you have in your Yamaha. They sounded good because they were driven by an amplifier that could drive them well. Your Yamaha has a poor amplifier and power supply that does not have the current capability for those speakers.

I have 3 different friends who dumped two Yamahas and a Pioneer receiver and bought the Cambridge, and the improvement in audio quality was dramatic in every case!

Cambridge is a HIGH-FIDELITY manufacturer that puts audio quality FIRST when they design a receiver. All of the others put lots of money into the bells and whistles and cheap out on the power supply and amplifiers. Cambridge puts in high-quality amplifiers with plenty of peak current reserves, and a huge power supply to allow them to do the job.

It's sort of like an auto manufacturer designing a flashy-looking sports car and then putting in an 80-horsepower 3-cyclinder engine; all of the mass-market receiver companies do it that way, and the audio quality is crap. Cambridge is like Porsche; the engineering and power are the very best.

Cambridge and Harman-Kardon are the only AVRs I would ever recommend to a friend; the rest are all trash IMO.

By the way; don't ever look at receiver power ratings, because they are ridiculous and totally misleading. None of them (except Cambridge) give a REAL power rating for ALL CHANNELS DRIVEN, or for low-impedance loads (like your speakers).

Most of them give these asinine power ratings of 100 watts or more, when in reality they can't deliver 30 watts to all channels with all channels driven and low distortion, and can't even do that with low-impedance speakers (like yours).



Quote:
Originally Posted by Manzola View Post

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?

Edited by commsysman - 4/18/13 at 8:01am
post #37 of 145
The only problem with the avr, is that your speaker impedance drops too low and your avr are not rated for low impedance.
post #38 of 145
Again; the AVR has an inadequate power supply that cannot meet the peak current demand of the speakers without distortion (the same thing, in effect, as what Ricardo is saying...).

Quote:
Originally Posted by RicardoJoa View Post

The only problem with the avr, is that your speaker impedance drops too low and your avr are not rated for low impedance.

Edited by commsysman - 4/18/13 at 7:43am
post #39 of 145
Thread Starter 
I would certainly agree that they would benefit from more power, I had a different thread about using a dedicated amp but most were in agreement that it would be useless for my type of room.

Additionally I demoed these out with the Pioneer ( deliberately) and they sounded just outright spectacular. I'm going to go back to Magnolia today to see if they can lend me an a different AVR to test on. Besides placement (which made a huge difference BTW) something seems just wrong with the drivers.

Has anyone ever had a problem with the internal crossovers ( on the speakers)?
post #40 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicardoJoa View Post

The only problem with the avr, is that your speaker impedance drops too low and your avr are not rated for low impedance.

Is there any way to tell the impedance level real time?
post #41 of 145
The impedance of a speaker is different at each frequency. An "8-ohm" speaker will in reality probably have some frequencies where it is 4 or 5 ohms or lower, and some where it goes to over 16 ohms.

A SINGLE NUMBER CAN NOT TELL YOU THE IMPEDANCE OF A SPEAKER!

It is best to treat EVERY speaker as a 4 -ohm load, because there are very few that aren't that low at some frequencies (and very few receivers have the current capability to drive them well, for more than 2 channels).

If you look at the reviews in Stereophile, they use an audio analyzer to test the impedance at every frequency from 20 to 20,000 Hz and publish a GRAPH of the results.

A FEW speaker manufacturers make such a GRAPH available for their speakers, but it is usually hard to find.

ONLY a GRAPH of frequency VS impedance tells you the REAL impedances of the speaker, NOT a single number.

"real time" ...??? ...that doesn't make sense.

Expensive amplifiers are not expensive only because they can put out more average power, but because they have MASSIVE, expensive power supplies that can handle the PEAK current demands of speakers on musical peaks.


You don't get expensive amplifier circuits in most AVRs, because they put the money into other things. Hence the poor audio performance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manzola View Post

Is there any way to tell the impedance level real time?

Edited by commsysman - 4/18/13 at 8:24am
post #42 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

It is well known that B & W makes some really excellent high end speakers, but makes some duds and a few that are fair in their speakers that are under $4000.

You can buy MUCH better-sounding speakers in the same price range from KEF, Vandersteen, Gallo Acoustics, and PSB, and Vienna Acoustics.

BUT... IMO the CM9 speakers will perform reasonably well if you dump that Yamaha receiver and get a Cambridge Audio 551R. The Yamaha is 98% of the problem IMO. It simply is not designed to drive speakers like yours.

I am sure that when you heard those speakers demonstrated they were driven with a much better amplifier than you have in your Yamaha. They sounded good because they were driven by an amplifier that could drive them well. Your Yamaha has a poor amplifier and power supply that does not have the current capability for those speakers.

I have 3 different friends who dumped two Yamahas and a Pioneer receiver and bought the Cambridge, and the improvement in audio quality was dramatic in every case!

Cambridge is a HIGH-FIDELITY manufacturer that puts audio quality FIRST when they design a receiver. All of the others put lots of money into the bells and whistles and cheap out on the power supply and amplifiers. Cambridge puts in high-quality amplifiers with plenty of peak current reserves, and a huge power supply to allow them to do the job.

It's sort of like an auto manufacturer designing a flashy-looking sports car and then putting in an 80-horsepower 3-cyclinder engine; all of the mass-market receiver companies do it that way, and the audio quality is crap. Cambridge is like Porsche; the engineering and power are the very best.

Cambridge and Harman-Kardon are the only AVRs I would ever recommend to a friend; the rest are all trash IMO.

By the way; don't ever look at receiver power ratings, because they are ridiculous and totally misleading. None of them (except Cambridge) give a REAL power rating for ALL CHANNELS DRIVEN, or for low-impedance loads (like your speakers).

Most of them give these asinine power ratings of 100 watts or more, when in reality they can't deliver 30 watts to all channels with all channels driven and low distortion, and can't even do that with low-impedance speakers (like yours).

Here we go again... If you would have read the thread the OP stated that he demoed these speakers using the same AVR he owns at his house. He does not even own a Yamaha. Please learn to actually read what people post before you respond.

I have participated in double blind tests (as have countless others) with expensive amplifiers and inexpensive amplifiers and most people could tell no difference and some people even picked the cheaper amp as the better sounding amp. You are correct that a speaker that is 4ohm rated should not be driven by an 8ohm rated amp, especially if you are going to drive them hard, but most of your post is over the top drivel.

Please stop.
post #43 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Again; the AVR has an inadequate power supply that cannot meet the peak current demand of the speakers without distortion (the same thing, in effect, as what Ricardo is saying...).

I don't disagree with this statement entirely,but... The OP is only driving
Two speakers. Changing the AVR is not going to solve the easily identifiable
Issues with his room/speaker placement.

You should know better!
post #44 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manzola View Post

I would certainly agree that they would benefit from more power, I had a different thread about using a dedicated amp but most were in agreement that it would be useless for my type of room.

Additionally I demoed these out with the Pioneer ( deliberately) and they sounded just outright spectacular. I'm going to go back to Magnolia today to see if they can lend me an a different AVR to test on. Besides placement (which made a huge difference BTW) something seems just wrong with the drivers.

Has anyone ever had a problem with the internal crossovers ( on the speakers)?

I seriously doubt you need more power unless there is something wrong with your amp. I think you are finding the limitations of having speakers placed so closely to a boundary wall, especially a big glass door. There could also be something going on with your setup. Could there be something wrong with your AVR or even your speakers? Definitely worth looking into, but buying an expensive dedicated amp, or another brand is not the issue.

It is just never a good idea to cram floorstanding speakers next to boundary walls. If you really want to know what is going on here, try moving the speakers out into the middle of the room and toeing them in towards your listening position. Place them about 2 ft from all walls and see how they sound. Some speakers have narrow soundfields and need to be toed in to really get the most from them.
post #45 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

Here we go again... If you would have read the thread the OP stated that he demoed these speakers using the same AVR he owns at his house. He does not even own a Yamaha. Please learn to actually read what people post before you respond.

I have participated in double blind tests (as have countless others) with expensive amplifiers and inexpensive amplifiers and most people could tell no difference and some people even picked the cheaper amp as the better sounding amp. You are correct that a speaker that is 4ohm rated should not be driven by an 8ohm rated amp, especially if you are going to drive them hard, but most of your post is over the top drivel.

Please stop.

Agreed. The impedance of the speakers and receiver doesn't change between the store and home. Unless there is something wrong with the speakers you bought or the receiver. Waste of time to even think about it.
post #46 of 145
I found this review of a Pioneer Elite SC-68 (which should be very close to your SC67):
http://www.hometheater.com/content/pioneer-elite-sc-68-av-receiver

Look at the measurements and writeup of the class D amp Pioneer uses. 4 ohm is no problem. It is not your receiver being limited. It is something else.

The reviewer states it is one of the best amps they have ever reviewed.
post #47 of 145
I was talking about both Pioneer and Yamaha and got them mixed up.

No big deal, because they both use the same inadequate power supplies and amplifiers.

Double-blind tests are almost always badly done, and as a result the results are essentially random; bad protocols give bad results, as all scientists know.

It has been demonstrated that what you need to do to get valid results is have each listener bring his own musical material that he is very familiar with, and have that listener do the double-blind test listening to that material. This eliminates a major variable that invalidates most tests.

This is almost never done, and that makes the test worthless.

A debate between John Atkinson of Stereophile and Arny Kreuger, a famous advocate of A/B blind testing, took place in 2005 and was published in the magazine.

If you read that article, you will learn 1000% more about the subject than you know now, and maybe that will get YOU to "shut up" on the subject about which you obviously know so little.

The article is titled "The Great Debate...and then some", and you can find it on the Stereophile website.

By the way, that is the same guy you will find around here all the time...posting as "arnyk".

They finally banned him from the Stereophile forums because of his persistent abusiveness and nastiness to others, as well as his irrelevant and nonsensical ramblings.

The OP can easily PROVE that his receiver is the problem by taking the speakers back to the store and listening to them when driven by an amplifier that can can drive them well.

There is no point in debating it when a simple test will PROVE what I am saying.





Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

Here we go again... If you would have read the thread the OP stated that he demoed these speakers using the same AVR he owns at his house. He does not even own a Yamaha. Please learn to actually read what people post before you respond.

I have participated in double blind tests (as have countless others) with expensive amplifiers and inexpensive amplifiers and most people could tell no difference and some people even picked the cheaper amp as the better sounding amp. You are correct that a speaker that is 4ohm rated should not be driven by an 8ohm rated amp, especially if you are going to drive them hard, but most of your post is over the top drivel.

Please stop.

Edited by commsysman - 4/18/13 at 8:54am
post #48 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

I found this review of a Pioneer Elite SC-68 (which should be very close to your SC67):
http://www.hometheater.com/content/pioneer-elite-sc-68-av-receiver

Look at the measurements and writeup of the class D amp Pioneer uses. 4 ohm is no problem. It is not your receiver being limited. It is something else.

The reviewer states it is one of the best amps they have ever reviewed.

I have a feeling there is a defect somewhere- At the demo room I drove the speakers hard, wanting to see what their limits were. Here at home I get them to distort at mid-high volume. I couldn't get them to lose the clean sound at any volume at the store.
post #49 of 145
Well yea, you could probably have a defected speaker from the way you discribed.
post #50 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manzola View Post

I have a feeling there is a defect somewhere- At the demo room I drove the speakers hard, wanting to see what their limits were. Here at home I get them to distort at mid-high volume. I couldn't get them to lose the clean sound at any volume at the store.

I would agree. Something seems off. Seems like the speaker.
post #51 of 145
Your receiver is distorting when it can't deliver enough current to the speakers.

That SHOULD be pretty obvious, since the only difference between the store and your home is what is driving them.

Lose your current receiver and get a Cambridge 551R, or a good stereo amplifier, and your sound quality will be excellent and your problem will be GONE!!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Manzola View Post

I have a feeling there is a defect somewhere- At the demo room I drove the speakers hard, wanting to see what their limits were. Here at home I get them to distort at mid-high volume. I couldn't get them to lose the clean sound at any volume at the store.
post #52 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

I was talking about both Pioneer and Yamaha and got them mixed up.

No big deal, because they both use the same inadequate power supplies and amplifiers.

Double-blind tests are almost always badly done, and as a result the results are essentially random; bad protocols give bad results, as all scientists know.

It has been demonstrated that what you need to do to get valid results is have each listener bring his own musical material that he is very familiar with, and have that listener do the double-blind test listening to that material. This eliminates a major variable that invalidates most tests.

This is almost never done, and that makes the test worthless.

A debate between John Atkinson of Stereophile and Arny Kreuger, a famous advocate of A/B blind testing, took place in 2005 and was published in the magazine.

If you read that article, you will learn 1000% more about the subject than you know now, and maybe that will get YOU to "shut up" on the subject about which you obviously know so little.

The article is titled "The Great Debate...and then some", and you can find it on the Stereophile website.

By the way, that is the same guy you will find around here all the time...posting as "arnyk".

They finally banned him from the Stereophile forums because of his persistent abusiveness and nastiness to others, as well as his irrelevant and nonsensical ramblings.

The OP can easily PROVE that his receiver is the problem by taking the speakers back to the store and listening to them when driven by an amplifier that can can drive them well.

There is no point in debating it when a simple test will PROVE what I am saying.

I have tested with my own ears. This is an age old debate, just like the argument that people "claim" high end speaker cables make all the difference. Sorry, don't buy it. Tons of independent studies have been done on this topic and the proof is in the pudding.

At any rate, you need to read. The OP did demo the speakers he bought using the amp he owns in the store. And you really should read the review of the Pioneer Elite receiver that I posted. It is not the receiver specs/ratings.
post #53 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

I would agree. Something seems off. Seems like the speaker.

This is what I said to the Magnolia guy but he told me to play them for two weeks to break them in. I have trouble believing that's going to make a difference, but maybe that's to put me outside of the return period smile.gif
post #54 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Your receiver is distorting when it can't deliver enough current to the speakers.

That SHOULD be pretty obvious, since the only difference between the store and your home is what is driving them.

Lose your current receiver and get a Cambridge 551R, or a good stereo amplifier, and your sound quality will be excellent and your problem will be GONE!!!!

LOL. You are a funny man. There is no difference in what was driving them at the store and what was driving them at his house. It is the same amp!

Reading comprehension for the win. Please, if you have something to say that will help the OP, please do. You are not helping.
post #55 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manzola View Post

This is what I said to the Magnolia guy but he told me to play them for two weeks to break them in. I have trouble believing that's going to make a difference, but maybe that's to put me outside of the return period smile.gif

Of those of us who do believe in break-in (not trying to start a debate about the merits), many people believe that most of it happens in the first 40 to 50 hours. If you run them all day at moderate volume--leave some good music on for your dog wink.gif--then you can easily do it in a single five day work week.
post #56 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manzola View Post

This is what I said to the Magnolia guy but he told me to play them for two weeks to break them in. I have trouble believing that's going to make a difference, but maybe that's to put me outside of the return period smile.gif

Yeah, I would not wait two weeks. I know you have done this already, but I would check all your wiring again, and all your settings in the receiver one more time. Also, it sounds like both speakers sound the same? And is this happening with both movies and music? With sources from Blu-Ray and the TV?
post #57 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Of those of us who do believe in break-in (not trying to start a debate about the merits), many people believe that most of it happens in the first 40 to 50 hours. If you run them all day at moderate volume--leave some good music on for your dog wink.gif--then you can easily do it in a single five day work week.

Can prolonged storage harm a speaker? I'm sure these have been sitting around for a loooong time before I got to them.

Quote:
Yeah, I would not wait two weeks. I know you have done this already, but I would check all your wiring again, and all your settings in the receiver one more time. Also, it sounds like both speakers sound the same? And is this happening with both movies and music? With sources from Blu-Ray and the TV?

re-did the wiring last night to make triple sure. Both speakers sound the same.

Blue-ray source is mostly a problem with having to turn the volume WAY up to hear dialogue ( volume vs. comprehension). It's almost like the mid/top end is missing, because once explosions come through it's BOOM BOOM BOOM.

I messed around with the blue ray settings, set the AVR to pure direct to ensure there is no digital processing messing with it. It's pretty annoying because I didn't have this issue with the CM5s I was using.
post #58 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Double-blind tests are almost always badly done,

In contrast there is no good way to do a sighted evaluation. The results will always be overbiased.
Quote:
and as a result the results are essentially random; bad protocols give bad results, as all scientists know.

That is simply not true. Take two pieces of equipment that measure far enough apart that we can reasonably expect them to sound different, and they will usually be separated in the DBT.
Quote:
It has been demonstrated that what you need to do to get valid results is have each listener bring his own musical material that he is very familiar with, and have that listener do the double-blind test listening to that material.

And that is what what is done in blind tests. Blind tests have led people to assemble rosters of music that brings out the differences in equipment.
Quote:
A debate between John Atkinson of Stereophile and Arny Kreuger, a famous advocate of A/B blind testing, took place in 2005 and was published in the magazine.

If you read that article, you will learn 1000% more about the subject than you know now, and maybe that will get YOU to "shut up" on the subject about which you obviously know so little.

The article is here, but it does not contain the misinformation promised above YOu can't read the article to find out what was said in the debate.. Thatr makes the perpetrator of this post a little fact challenged, no?

But want not. There is a MP3 of the debate to download and listen to:

http://www.stereophile.com/images/downloads/HE2005_GreatDebate.MP3

Quote:
By the way, that is the same guy you will find around here all the time...posting as "arnyk".

Guilty as charged! ;-)


Quote:
They finally banned him from the Stereophile forums because of his persistent abusiveness and nastiness to others, as well as his irrelevant and nonsensical ramblings.

Libelous false claim. My account there apparently became inactive due to lack of interest on my part. I haven't posted there since no later than 2008.
post #59 of 145
I wouldnt wait two weeks. If you just got them, i would give them a few days to the most. If they still sound crapy, i would return them. If you decided to give a new one a try, then go for it and see how they are going to sound. If they sound the same as crappy, then it could probably be the AVR. For one, we dont know exactly know the impedance curve. Even if the AVR could drive a 4 ohm speaker doesnt mean it will not present problem with a speaker with even lower impedance dip specially in the lower frequency range. And to complicate things, we also need to look at the phase angle of the impedance specially on the dip. Anything over + or - 30 degress are going to demand much more current.
post #60 of 145
by the way, are you sure , when you were at the store, there wasnt an power amp for the demo cm9, that you might have missed?
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