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B&W buying advice please

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by meep, Nov 10, 2002.

  1. meep

    meep
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    Hi There,

    I attended a Hi Fi show today and had the opportunity to audition several speaker packages for home cinema application.

    I was blown away (literally!) by the B&W range, CDM-NTs in particular.

    I had not considered these as they are beyond my budget but I am now seriously considering purchasing a set in stages.

    That being the case, I wonder if forum members might advise on which of the following options would give me the best immediate user experience as I form the basis for future expansion. In the cases of option 1&2, it would probably be 4-6 months before I could add to the basic l/r/c purchase.


    -------------
    OPTION1
    -------------
    2x CDM 1NT (to be used as l/r fronts)
    1x CDM CNT
    Subwoofer (make & model to be determined)

    At a later date, I would add CDM 7NTs and move the 1NTs to surround positions.
    Later again, a pair of CDM SNTs to be added as rears

    Immediate Cost: €2,600 approx.
    Complete Package Cost: €6,000

    I see this a a good starter, building to great system. The principal question is, will the 1NTs hack it as cinema fronts in the short term?


    -------------
    OPTION2
    -------------
    2x CDM 7NT
    1x CDM CNT
    No subwoofer

    At a later date, 4x CDM SNTs added as surrounds
    Later again, a subwoofer

    Immediate Cost: €2,800
    Complete Package cost: €5,800

    Will the 7NTs work well in the short term without a subwoofer?


    -------------
    OPTION3
    -------------
    2x DM603 S3 Fronts
    1x LCR600 S3 Centre
    1x Subwoofer (make & model to be determined)

    At a later date, 4x DM601 S3 to be added as surrounds

    Immediate Cost: €2,300
    Complete Package Cost: €4,000

    A step down from the CDM-NT series. Will I always regret it?


    -------------
    OPTION4
    -------------
    2x DM602.5 S3 fronts
    1x LCR600 S3 centre
    4x DM600 Surrounds
    Subwoofer (make & mode to be decided)

    Immediate (& total) cost: €3,200

    A full system, within my current budget. No waiting but what's the compromise?




    These speakers will be driven by a Pioneer VSK D-2011 Amp. Here are the basic specs;

    Power Output DIN 7x100W (1kHz, THD 1% and 8?)
    Power Output RMS (2 channel mode) 2x100W (20Hz - 20kHz, 0.09% and 8?)
    Frequency Response Line: 5 -100,000Hz (+0dB and -3dB)
    S/N ratio (IHF-A) Line: 92 dB
    Electrical power consumption 600w
    Weight 19.6kg

    As B&Ws apparently need lots of power, will this unit provide enough "grunt" for each of the above?

    I have a large room(18' wide x 22' long). In all cases, I can use my current cheapie panasonic speakers as surrounds/fill ins until I can afford the additions outlined.

    All advice appreciated. I'm kind of smitten by the B&W range now that I've heard them (in comparison to other on display), but pointers to other alternatives would not go amiss.

    Regards

    Peter
     
  2. lespaton

    lespaton
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    I use CDM-1NT's as front L/R, supplemented by a Gallo sub. They are very, very good.
     
  3. mick23

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    hi meep you do not say what amplification they were using at hifi show with cdms or what size room , for you to compare with your amp and room, i have cdms as fronts lcr60 center,600s3 as surrounds,driven by 3802, but in smaller room ,approx 14x11 ft, i paid full price for cdms+stands=£900+, you could always go ex dem/2nd hand for say pair cdm1nts+center, forum member recently picked up ex dem cdm1nts in cherry for £450, have seen surround nts for sale at good prices, although it might take longer to aquire speakers you will have want you want, at a more reasonable cost, than buying brand new, i am happy with my speakers for av use, although if i had room for cdm center, i would have purchased, and would have tried to find second hand exdem, surrounds,i did not have the cash to spend £750 on surronds, hope this helps
     
  4. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    If you like B&W and are thinking about CDM 7NTs then I suggest you check out a pair of Nautilus 805s as well, especially if you're likely to add a subwoofer eventually. (£1400 rather than £1200 IIRC). The SNT rears integrate quite well with Nautilus 805 fronts. The HTM2 centre is also a lot nicer than the CNT, albeit more than twice the price. :(
     
  5. meep

    meep
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    Thanks for the feedback.

    Lespaton:
    What other speakers for you have in your set-up and how do the 1NTs blend in? Do they need a lot of power to get going? What amplification do you use?

    Mick23:
    What model CDM do you use form fronts? My real question is, will 1NTs be sufficient or should I go for floorstanders. Whaqt's the benefit of the extra driver in a cinema scenario?

    At the show, the 602.5s were being driven by a Rotel pre/power setup and were showing a music concert off DVD. Sound was teriffic, but in a small room.

    The CDM 7.1 setup was in a much larger room and had Arcam power. 2x 7nts, 2x 1nt rears and 2x DM601s as surounds. (didn't identify teh sub. Was showing one of the Jurrasic Park movies and was very impressive. Didlog, even in the mess of effects noisy, was sharp and crisp.

    Finally, saw a 5.1 set-up, ALL Natulis floorstanders. Driven by sony amplification I think - showing scene in Mummy Retuirns with great waterfall attack - I could literally feel the air rushing over me fromm these babies! Pity the projector was a cineza. Talk about a mismatch!

    NicolasB:
    You're pushing me up a level; I was thinking CDM_NT fronts with 600 series rears, now I'm looking at Nautlis Fronts with CDM rears! Don't think funds will extend to that:(

    Thanks again

    Peter
     
  6. lespaton

    lespaton
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    I have an interim setup at the moment. The CDM-1NT's are driven off of my Linn Kolector/LK140 hi-fi amp. The Gallo sub is connected to the pre-outs of the pre-amp. The 9617 TV drives the rear wireless speakers. The DVD sound is piped into the inbuilt TV DD5.1 decoder. For CD music the B&W's are superb at that price point. For DVD they integrate very well and together with the Gallo sub sound sensational. In fact many people have commented to that effect when they watch a movie on my system.
    Like you, I plan to expand the system in the future, possibly using the CDM-1NT's as rear L/R.
     
  7. mick23

    mick23
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    hi meep i am using cdm1nts as fronts, but my room is smaller than yours, i have heard cdm1nts used in shop demo room 22by 15ft, but this was only 2 channel not av with densen beat 100mk5, 60wpc (sterio integrated amp not av) this was loud enough,
     
  8. mjn

    mjn
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    the cdm nt's where powered by arcam av8 and p7 combo at the dublin show.
     
  9. installer09

    installer09
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    I listened to loads of speakers , I prefered the 1NTs over the 7NTs , and went for them I was lucky enough to pick up a nearly new pair for £450 , then I bought the rest of the speakers to match , you wont be dissapointed.
     
  10. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Fair enough. All I'm saying is that if you are seriously considering spending the extra £450 necessary to get 7NTs rather than 1NTs then I think you would be better advised to somehow scrape together another £200 on top of that and get the 805s. If you wanted a pair of full-range stereo speakers that might not be the case, but for home cinema work (over a subwoofer) the 805s are rather good.

    Alternatively you could abandon B&W altogether and get in touch with Uncle Eric about some M&K professional-line speakers. Some of these are exceptional value for money.
     
  11. meep

    meep
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    NicolasB

    I take your point regarding the Nautilis 805s. However, given that I want to get a decent front set-up now and my budget is areound €2,500, my thinking is 2x 1NTs and a CNT.

    Later, I was planning ton add 2x 7NTs and move the 1NTs to surround.

    Now, given your input, someting else I could consider at that stage would be a pair of 805s - as you say, just a bit over the 7NTs, an extra month and I could get them. But then the center would be lacking....

    Anyway, a big problem I have in living in Ireland is actually hearing these speakers. I was about to go for a Set of Mortaunt Short THX Select unheard and based on review only. Then, at the show I mentioned, i heard the B&Ws mentioned along with some Mission M5s. Well, the difference was night & day! Now I won't buy anything without hearing them. I've heard the B&Ws and I would be more than happy to have them replace my weedy panasonics (lets face it, anything would be better!). If I start looking at other barnds such as the m&K, i'll have to track down a pair here and, of course, the single dealer won't stock them and I'll have to get them ordered specially etc. etc. etc.

    Anyway.....

    A basic question I have regarding front l/r speakers is this;:

    From my reading, I gather that the bookshelf speakers (1 way?) when paired with a decent sub are more than adequate for cinema purposes. Consideration of floorstanders (2 or 3 way) is really only an issue if I'm interested in hi-fi reproduction of 2 channel material. Would this be an acceptable generalisation or should I concentrated on getting the "best" or "biggest" speakers in a range, even for cinema fronts. (ie. B&W 603 over 602).

    Thanks

    Peter
     
  12. lovegroova

    lovegroova
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    You could try using 4 1NTs and abandoning the idea of the 7NTs altogether. Used with a decent sub I would wager you'll get a better sound all-in.

    This way, start with 2 1NTs and a CNT, then add whatever you want when you can afford it.

    FWIW I have had CDM2SEs along with a CDMCSE (the precursors to the NT range) and they have been excellent. I've just obtained a pair of Nautilus 805 Signatures for the L/R and now use the 2SEs for the L/R Rear channels.
     
  13. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Signature 805s are apparently very nice, but I'm damned if I'll pay that much just for the finish on the case. You know that the signature 800 is exactly the same speaker as the nautilus 800 in all respects other than the finish, but that the finish pushes the price from £11000 a pair to £16000 a pair? I wish B&W would make a speaker with the guts of the Signature 805 and the case from the regular Nautilus 805, but apparently they aren't going to. (sigh)
     
  14. lovegroova

    lovegroova
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    I don't see how your post helps meep with his dilemma.

    The 805 sigs are "only" £850 more than the 805s and have the same tweeter as the 800 sigs i.e. much better than that in the 805, as well as a substantially better main drive unit - 40% bigger magnet, lower distortion etc etc.

    And, with that finish (mine are Red Birds Eye, not fish fingers) they do look great, which is something I care about.
     
  15. THX2002

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    Compared to the Nautilus 805, the significant improvements to the already outstanding distortion figures have imbued the system with extra clarity and resolution. There is greater smoothness in the upper midrange.
    Realignment of the bass response through the larger bass driver magnet and lower port tuning has brought more agility to the low frequencies.
    The treble is much sweeter, as the tweeter diaphragm break-up has been moved higher into the ultrasonic region. Consequently, the benefits of SACD and DVD-A are even more readily revealed.

    Note, however, that this speaker is NOT magnetically shielded, unlike the Nautilus 805
     
  16. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    That doesn't alter the fact that you're paying far more for them than you would be if they had a less fancy finish.
     
  17. meep

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    Thanks all for the input.

    the discussion has elevated to a higher plain than funds currently permit though I do appreciate the input on the 800 series - though they remain aspirational.

    For the record, I've decided to go with the 1NT, CNT setup for now and decide later on expansion as funds permit. I'm putting in a Velodyne CHT-15 sub so don't really see the advantages of the 7NTs for mostly cinema use, I figure the sub will fill out the bass and the 1NTs had enough mid-range for me based on a recent demo I attended.

    I'm at a slight disadvantage in that ANYTHING I hear will be better than the weedy Panasonics I currently have.

    mjn, how do you find your SNTs for surround duty? They are quite pricey and I wonder if I should be looking for dipoles in any case.

    Thanks all again

    Peter
     

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