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Speaker Asylum: REVIEW: B&W CDM 1NT Speakers by Arnel

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REVIEW: B&W CDM 1NT Speakers

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Model: CDM 1NT
Category: Speakers
Suggested Retail Price: $1200
Description: 2-way vented-box design, free-mounted 1-in alloy-dome Nautilus tweeter; 6.5-in Kevlar cone midbass; 60Hz - 25KHz +/-3dB, 88 dB spl, 8 ohms nom, 50W-120W; 15.5x8.7x11.4 (HWD), 9.5 kg net each
Manufacturer URL: B&W
Model Picture: View

Review by Arnel on October 14, 2001 at 00:54:53
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for the CDM 1NT

The first time I saw this speaker, I was surprised that B&W has trickled down into it almost all of the technologies employed in the Nautilus 805, their current flagship standmount. Although not exactly the same as in the N805, the CDM 1NT sports a Nautilus tapered-tube tweeter, Kevlar midbass with fixed bullet-shaped dispersion plug, Flowport, and separated crossover circuit boards.

What do all these trickled-down technologies make of the CDM 1NT's sound? Well, to me this speaker can be best described as a monitor that excels in resolving details in the recording. This is especially true of its treble which, although exhibits some irritating peakiness with some bad recordings, bares all the details with good sense of the slight cues of the ambience, which is often missed out by lesser designs.

Although I don't think it's treble is perfect, for its price and size I can't ask for more from its midrange and bass. Its midrange is one of the purer and sweet midranges I've heard in its price class. Its bass is articulate and tuneful, with well-judged balance that has very low tendency to boom. It's quite obvious that, with this model, B&W did not highly prioritize bass extension, especially when it would compromise other design parameters. Some monitors of this size would extend much deeper than the rated 60Hz at -3dB.

I was surprised at how this speaker sounded much bigger than its size would suggest. I don't find that it employs the same trick as the slight upper bass boost in the N805, at least not as obvious. It can go really loud up to the excursion limit of its small midwoofer, but it also sounds lively at low volumes.

And what do I say about the negative comments about CDM 1NT being too bright? They better check their electronics and room first, and even their recordings. With all the right source materials, room and associated components, my ears never complain about too much brightness in the CDM 1NT... and I'm very intolerant of bright treble!

I recently set aside the CDM 1NT in my living room in favor of a pair of Sonus Faber Concertino Home. Given that I have a lot of CDs that have great music but so-so recording quality, I found that I enjoy less of my music with the CDM 1NT, finding that its detail resolution is overkill to my situation. With the Concertino Home, OTOH, I get a dose of audio truth plus a musicality that I think is unique to that marque. I keep the CDM 1NT as my reference monitor, though.

Do I think the Concertino Home beats the CDM 1NT? Not really. They were designed with different sets of priorities in mind. If all of my CDs were perfect, I'd stick with the B&W.

Do I think the CDM 1NT is as good as the N805? Not really. Trickled down technology can only assure that the quality of the 1NT comes close to the N805, but it won't be on the same class. For one, the treble of the N805 is much more refined, its bass is more powerful, and overall dynamics is better.

Product Weakness: peakiness of treble response with bad recordings can be very irritating; bass extension is a bit lacking for its size.
Product Strengths: superb resolution of details; large-scale sound that belies its size; sweet midrange with no obvious coloration; tuneful and articulate bass; sounds good even at low volumes.

Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: Denon PMA 2000R3. In showroom: Musical Fidelity A3, Mark Levinson integrated, Classe integrated
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): None
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Denon DVD-1000 with and without Musical Fidelity X-10D. In showroom: Musical Fidelity A3CD
Speakers: Sonus Faber Concertino Home. In showroom: B&W Nautilus 800 series and all Sonus Faber models
Cables/Interconnects: MIT Terminator 2, Van den Hul Clearwater,
Music Used (Genre/Selections): all
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: B&W CDM 1NT Speakers - Arnel 00:54:53 10/14/01 ( 12)