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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went and listened to some speakers today at a local specialty store rather than the typical big box dealer. Until today I always avoided these smaller shops because I assumed they were loaded with overpriced mediocre equipment. Boy was I wrong. I have never heard any of B&W's speakers. I listen to a few today and the CM1 blew me away! I'm really considering going back tomorrow and buying them for 1,000/pair.


I do have a question....I went to a Circuit City afterwards to listen to some Polks (specifically the monitor 40's) and they did not come close to the sound the CM1's put out. I also listened to some 600/pair Klipsch speakers and they did not come close to the CM1's either. Are these B&W CM1's really that good? It seems like since I listened to them nothing else compares.
 

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Well, they are very good speakers and your typical big box store brands (Polk, Infinity, Klipsch, etc.) just aren't going to measure up in most cases. Now that you've heard something good, go out and listen to more as you could very well find something you like even better than the CM1's.
 

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Ah, fresh blood!



The B&W Cm1 is certainly a nice speaker as an introduction to so-called hifi sound (whatever that means). What you experienced is just the beginning. If you want this to become a hobby in which you actively participate, I would encourage you to listen to other speakers by B&W just to get a grip on what B&W has to offer (686 vs 685 vs CM1 vs CM5 (might not be at your store yet) vs 805s). This is a nice "test" because it helps you understand what B&W wants in their speakers and how they compromise as the price decreases. You can also learn the "Sweet spot" in their lineup for your wallet and ears.


Next, a comparison of your "favorite" B&W speaker with Paradigm (a classic vs. matchup). Many other brands may be offered by your dealer (Monitor, Triangle, Dali, Thiel, Revel, etc.). By hearing other brands of speakers you can hear the compromises they took, their engineering, and what they feel is important for excellent sound reproduction. This takes a long time to do all the listening as you can imagine, but you learn more about yourself during this process - what you really think sounds "great".


Oh, and bring your cds. It is best to use music that you are very familiar with. Take notes as you are listening so you can refer back to them later.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeppurpleman /forum/post/15420098


You probably listened to the B&W speakers on better equipment as well. Don't forget that it's not just the speakers but the amplification and the sources as well.

Most important and influencing of all is room and setup. Generally boutique's have much better rooms than big boxes' do.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MCATUCCI /forum/post/15419522


I went and listened to some speakers today at a local specialty store rather than the typical big box dealer. Until today I always avoided these smaller shops because I assumed they were loaded with overpriced mediocre equipment. Boy was I wrong. I have never heard any of B&W's speakers. I listen to a few today and the CM1 blew me away! I'm really considering going back tomorrow and buying them for 1,000/pair.


I do have a question....I went to a Circuit City afterwards to listen to some Polks (specifically the monitor 40's) and they did not come close to the sound the CM1's put out. I also listened to some 600/pair Klipsch speakers and they did not come close to the CM1's either. Are these B&W CM1's really that good? It seems like since I listened to them nothing else compares.

There is a specific B&W Thread at:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8&highlight=bw


This may give you some ideas. Realize though that B&W speakers range from less than $1,000 to over $20,000 per pair and so if you are after a pair of speakers put a max $$ that you want to spend and audition only those within that figure. There is no point is listening to 800Ds if you only want to spend $1000.


Once you get the bug for this (especially if you are wanting an HT set-up) there is no way of doing it cheaply and staying with the "premier" speaker manufacturers.


B&W speakers are very good (they are and have been for many years my speaker of choice), but there are also other good manufacturers out there that are a cheaper option, Monitor Audio is one of those, are they as good as B&Ws, IMHO no, but very close and for less money.


So find a good dealer that you feel happy with, don't rush the process, keep going back with your taste in music or movies. (I have spent up to a year making decisions on speakers, amplifiers, pre/pros, etc before). Understand what you want it for, Stereo music or a HT set-up. As someone else mentioned earlier if you are thinking of going with $1000 spekers then you may also need to think about the other components especially the receiver (I don't think you will be going with separates based upon the step you are thinking of making).


Use these forums to get ideas, but understand that the responses you get will only be as good as the question you ask, so be as specific as you can.


Good hunting, it is a truly wonderful hobby that everyone in your family can enjoy along with you. Yes it is expensive, but certainly in my house they are the most used purchases apart from those that are on all the time (fridge, etc).
 

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Quote:
Once you get the bug for this (especially if you are wanting an HT set-up) there is no way of doing it cheaply


If he truely has the bug and has any skill (and tools) then he could go the DIY route and build something better then anything comercial has to offer for a fraction of the costs.


In the end many of the good DIYers have HT rooms that very few have experienced and you would be shocked at the total $$$ actually needed.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gchanjam /forum/post/15419836


Well, they are very good speakers and your typical big box store brands (Polk, Infinity, Klipsch, etc.) just aren't going to measure up in most cases.

Why not? Those 3 companies make speakers that are just as good as what he heard. The big box stores don't have usually don't have demo rooms that will let the speaker shine like a small retailer would. Also, the speakers he listened to were well below the price range of the B&W's. This is what is great about buying speakers...he may just really like a certain sound. Speakers are totally subjective, it's all about what the listener likes. Happy hunting!
 

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Quote:
Speakers are totally subjective, it's all about what the listener likes. Happy hunting!

So true, I think B&W makes some of the worst overpriced crap in the world but that is just my opinion
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gchanjam /forum/post/15419836


Well, they are very good speakers and your typical big box store brands (Polk, Infinity, Klipsch, etc.) just aren't going to measure up in most cases.

Before you say that you should look at the measurements of the CM1 taken at the NRC (one of the world's best labs). The B&W CM1's measure HORRIBLY, on and off axis. I don't know about Polk and Klipsch, but Infinity would never let something that performed this poorly out the door. A pair of Primus 150's at $100 on Craigslist would be a much better buy than these rip-off's.



Top curve: on-axis response

Middle curve: 15 degrees off-axis response

Bottom curve: 30 degrees off-axis response

Here's the rest of the measurements . These are unequivocally bad speakers.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by markwriter /forum/post/15423110


Before you say that you should look at the measurements of the CM1 taken at the NRC (one of the world's best labs). The B&W CM1's measure HORRIBLY, on and off axis. I don't know about Polk and Klipsch, but Infinity would never let something that performed this poorly out the door. A pair of Primus 150's at $100 on Craigslist would be a much better buy than these rip-off's.



Top curve: on-axis response

Middle curve: 15 degrees off-axis response

Bottom curve: 30 degrees off-axis response

Here's the rest of the measurements . These are unequivocally bad speakers.

I agree,he should try the Infinity Classia monitors they are half the price of the C1's to,the floorstanding C336 are 1 of the best out there for under $2k actually the best I've heard at that price along with the Swan T700F and D2.1 SE,the monitors should be awsome.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tawaun da bomb /forum/post/15423484


I agree,he should try the Infinity Classia monitors they are half the price of the C1's to,the floorstanding C336 are 1 of the best out there for under $2k actually the best I've heard at that price along with the Swan T700F and D2.1 SE,the monitors should be awsome.


I know you hear this a lot Tawaun, but... you're da BOMB!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by William /forum/post/15421545


Most important and influencing of all is room and setup. Generally boutique's have much better rooms than big boxes' do.


I second this. You're probably hearing more room than speaker, so don't draw too many conclusions from the demo sessions you described. More used speakers to consider are Energy C-3's and Infinity Beta 10's and 20's. The Primus 362's on sale at Fry's are some of the best speakers you can buy for $1k and under.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for all the replys guys.


I guess I should have mentioned the receiver doing the driving is an Onkyo 606. My budget is right around 1500.00 to either buy a complete HT/music setup or focus on nice LCR speakers and worry about the surrounds/woofer when more cash is available.


I did think about the boutique having special walls, etc and I am sure that had something to do with the sound as well.


I think I'm going to take my time instead of trying to rush out and buy nice speakers. The problem is finding places to demo all of the better brands
 

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I was smitten by the CM1's when I heard them the first time also. They were very seductive.


Like many people here, I used to buy speakers based on looking at reviews, graphs, and let those dictate, and I bought a few of those. I always use the same music that I'm famaliar with. At the time, I also owned had some Energy C's, Paradigms, and NHT's that measure extremely well, but the CM1's really made the music sing when I played my favorite tracks at that store. Thinking it was just the setup, I took a pair home, and it still wowed me.


So if you are to ask me, there is something magical about the sound that the supposedly poor FR graphs don't convey. That's what counts, and that's what should matter to you also, not what other people tell you.


Later I read some good things about the NHT Classic 3's (people saying it would kill the CM1s), and there was a great deal on a pair so I ordered a set home . I knew the C3's were technically a far superior speaker yet I still loved the CM1's sound. I decided to sell off the NHTs


B&W's are both universally loved and hated as one of the successful high end speaker makers in the world. You just have to figure out for yourself which camp you belong in.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by warpdrive /forum/post/15424065


So if you are to ask me, there is something magical about the sound that the supposedly poor FR graphs don't convey. That's what counts, and that's what should matter to you also, not what other people tell you.

If you had the others and didn't like them, that's certainly a good thing to know what you like and to own it. However, there is nothing 'magical' about speakers. I think the AV Science forum should stay away from asserting such. They're just electrical motors moving air, and their performance is objectively measurable. Someone about to plunk down $1000 on a pair of speakers should know that there is a very high probability that they will perform poorly in his room because they perform poorly in an anechoic environment. In other words, if their on and off-axis output sucks in a perfect environment, one should not expect that it would improve in a worse environment (garbage in, garbage out). Talking about rigorous anechoic measurements is a completely different thing than 'listening to what people say' about speakers.
 
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