Question B&W CM9 S1 v.s. 683 S2

mjledme

Novice Member
I'm quite new to this field and am building my hi-fi system now. As for Amp I'm considering Rotel RA-1570 (someone recommended Cambridge Azur 851A but I prefer the Rotel model coz it got an audio USB which is convenient to play music directly from PC).

Now the problem is the speakers. One local dealer offered a pair of demo B&W CM9 S1 for the same price of a new pair of B&W 683 S2 (from another dealer). I did audition both but since they are in different showrooms and amps used are different, it's hard for me to tell which is better.

What do you think? Any suggestions?

P.S.: I mainly listen to classical and jazz, thx~
 

Cribbster

Active Member
What did you think of them? I am guessing that as you haven't bought the amp yet then there is always the possibility that you could plump for something different there as well. Personally, I didn't really like the S1 versions of the B&W speakers - bass was too flabby and boomy for me. You might do well to consider the relatively new Tannoy XT speakers (the XT 6 are a shade under the price of the speakers you mentioned and the XT 8 are just above) or Dali.
 

mjledme

Novice Member
What did you think of them? I am guessing that as you haven't bought the amp yet then there is always the possibility that you could plump for something different there as well. Personally, I didn't really like the S1 versions of the B&W speakers - bass was too flabby and boomy for me. You might do well to consider the relatively new Tannoy XT speakers (the XT 6 are a shade under the price of the speakers you mentioned and the XT 8 are just above) or Dali.
thx Cribbster. To be honest, I'm not quite impressed by either CM7 or 683 S2. Would like to check out Tannoy but the dealer is kinda far like 70km. Will call him/her for an audition~

Actually I also auditioned Triangle Gaia EZ with same dealer of CM9 and that's much more different. I do like the focused, highly responsive characteristics of Triangle (though sometimes seems a bit dry).
 

TomScrut

Well-known Member
If you aren't impressed then you ought to change your question to asking for alternatives. Although I am a B&W fan I aren't sure I would buy CMs. I like the 600 series I just find the CMs too laid back.

Look at KEF R series if you can stretch that far. Monitor Platinum PL100s can be had for good prices new at the moment as a new model is due if you can manage with stabdmounts
 

Cribbster

Active Member
If you aren't impressed then you ought to change your question to asking for alternatives. Although I am a B&W fan I aren't sure I would buy CMs. I like the 600 series I just find the CMs too laid back.

Look at KEF R series if you can stretch that far. Monitor Platinum PL100s can be had for good prices new at the moment as a new model is due if you can manage with stabdmounts
And there is the proof of why there are so many different manufacturers. We are all unique and have our own sense of what we like and what sounds good, exciting and pleasing to our ears. Like Tom I was never a fan of B&W. However, for me, the S2 versions of the 600 series and the CM series are a massive improvement over their predecessors. So much so that I have ended up with a pair of CM6 S2s. But I certainly wouldn't describe them as laid back. :) The 600s to me sound a little more laid back and less full in their sound. A lot will depend on the amp that combine it with. On first auditions I loved the Kef R500, especially with both the Arcam A19 and a Cyrus 8. But they were as bland as anything with a Roksan Kandy. When I got closer to actually making my purchasing decision the R500s ended up sounding just a little bit refined and polite compared to the B&W CMs. So to me both sets of speakers are reasonably particular about the amps you pair them with. My past experiences with Tannoy though suggest they are a pretty versatile and will work well with a wider range of amps but whether they are engaging / exciting / pure enough for you is a choice for your ears.

Going back to mj - you seem to have answered your own questions though insofar as the 600s are not your speaker. You are not impressed enough with them so it would be a waste of money going for them as you will only be disappointed and underwhelmed. You need to love them from the start so that at least you get a few years life and enjoyment out of them before you start glancing around the hi fi market again, getting itchy to try something new, reach for an improvement or a change. :)
 

mjledme

Novice Member
And there is the proof of why there are so many different manufacturers. We are all unique and have our own sense of what we like and what sounds good, exciting and pleasing to our ears. Like Tom I was never a fan of B&W. However, for me, the S2 versions of the 600 series and the CM series are a massive improvement over their predecessors. So much so that I have ended up with a pair of CM6 S2s. But I certainly wouldn't describe them as laid back. :) The 600s to me sound a little more laid back and less full in their sound. A lot will depend on the amp that combine it with. On first auditions I loved the Kef R500, especially with both the Arcam A19 and a Cyrus 8. But they were as bland as anything with a Roksan Kandy. When I got closer to actually making my purchasing decision the R500s ended up sounding just a little bit refined and polite compared to the B&W CMs. So to me both sets of speakers are reasonably particular about the amps you pair them with. My past experiences with Tannoy though suggest they are a pretty versatile and will work well with a wider range of amps but whether they are engaging / exciting / pure enough for you is a choice for your ears.

Going back to mj - you seem to have answered your own questions though insofar as the 600s are not your speaker. You are not impressed enough with them so it would be a waste of money going for them as you will only be disappointed and underwhelmed. You need to love them from the start so that at least you get a few years life and enjoyment out of them before you start glancing around the hi fi market again, getting itchy to try something new, reach for an improvement or a change. :)
thank you for your insightful advice~ Will rethink this seriously :p
 

Cribbster

Active Member
You're welcome, my friend. Part of the fun of this "game" is going and listening to what's out there. The biggest frustration is finding a place that has the combination of amp and speakers you are wanting to try. :) What is your budget? Given the amp and speakers you are considering it would appear you have around £2500 to be playing with (assuming the prices are comparable in Aus) - which gives you a heck of a lot of choice. I tried the Primere I22 a little while ago which, while it didn't blow me away, did come across as a very competent amp and was certainly a noticeable cut above the Rotel RA12. It might sing with a different set of speakers. It strikes me as an amp that might be very well suited to your taste of Jazz and classical. Audiolab have a new range of amps including the 8300 which might be worth listening to along with the Arcam A29. Try them with the Kef R500 or Monitor Audio Silver or Dali just to hear the differences and see which sort of sound appeals to you.
 

1995

Novice Member
The xt6f are definitely worth a listen. The image is wide as hell and well dynamic. I've compared them to the kef r500. The KEF are more surgical, but I found the xt6f more enjoyable and more versatile (they will do movie and music). They are easy to listen to. Not a "second class" Tannoy. Not to mention they look great.
Both tried on a yamaha 2050.

I found the building quality of the B&W 683 S2 pretty appalling to be honest...
 

mjledme

Novice Member
updating, thank you for your invaluable advice guys! In the end, I go for a Devialet 120 and a pair of B&W CM10 S2.

I have to say CM S2 really stands out of the whole CM series and a big improvement over CM9. As for Devialet, I need to say nothing. Yup, the result is, I have to triple my budget~ But the thing is, if I still will buy Devialet in the next few years, why not jump directly to it and waste money on Rotel (Rotel is good of course, but I really love the sound and design of Devialet)?

As for KEF R900 and other speakers, I would love to audit them but unfortunately in my city, you cannot find a dealer with those speakers and Devialet at the same time. As for the current dealer, he provides me a bundle price for the two which seems reasonable to me. That's why I go for it~
 

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