New Speakers: Bowers & Wilkins CM5


After looking for the last year, I finally pulled the trigger with Annie’s help. There’s nothing wrong with my current setup—for my condo, it’s perfectly fine for movies… but recently, I’ve found myself listening to more music via Spotify.

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After listening to my dad’s speakers (old Boston Acoustic bookshelves and a velodyne sub), I started to understand what makes a really good system. I didn’t realize it, but my dad is a big time audiophile. Here are the tips I’ve picked up from him over the years:

1) Good speakers can last you a lifetime. The heavier, the better.

2) Two bookshelves (with a 6.5″ woofers) and a subwoofer is typically better than having two giant towers or dozens of speakers.

3) Bi-amping speakers and driving as much power to them is the secret to better sound. Use individual amplifiers to power the L/R speakers.

4) Positioning your speakers in a room will change the sound. This includes setting up the height of the speakers—tweeters should be at ear level. The distance between the speakers and viewing position should look like an equilateral triangle.

5) And lastly, the room should have as much soft materials as possible, like rugs, curtains, pillows, etc. You want to reduce the amount of sound bouncing against the walls.


I test drove to dozens of speakers, but the CM5s were my favorite. There are certainly more obscure speakers out there that perform better for the price, but probably won’t hold their value like a B&W. There’s just something elegant about the yellow kevlar cone.

The model below, 675, were half the price… but lacked mid-tones. The model above, 805, sounded awesome, but were twice the price. I decided that I’d rather buy higher quality amplifiers for the CM5 instead of dropping everything into the bookshelves.

Anyway, I’m really happy with these speakers. I’ll post a photo of my setup as soon as I pick some stands out.

Here’s my old post about the 805s vs Diamonds vs CM5s.

Definitive Technology Supercube 4000

Sadly, my Definitive Technology Procinema 800 subwoofer died recently… so I took it as an opportunity to upgrade. The Procinema 800 sub is considered to be a decent 8″ 300 watt sub, but honestly it’s nothing compared to the Supercube 4000.

Definitive sc4000 o withremote

The first thing you notice when you use the SC4000 is that the bass is much lower… it’s something that you feel, rather than hear. The second thing I noticed is that my entire speaker system is missing a strong mid range. While I set the cross over to 150, I’m going to have to go back and replace my left and right channels with something larger (speakers with 6.5″ drivers).

SC 4000 xray

The SC4000 is a nice compact subwoofer that packs a punch if you live in a small condo, like myself. It definitely takes some time to tune, but it’s not a problem since there’s a little remote control that comes along with it. It’s probably the best feature of the whole thing.


If you need anything bigger, I’d probably say, go with a different brand. Definitive technology has larger subs, but at that point, you might as well just get a 10-12″ sub with an open port—to really move air. The SC4000 is only a winner if your space is small, and your need for bass is big.

Ps. I bet my neighbors really like me now. Heh.

Subwoofer Fuse Blown Out

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What a bummer, my subwoofer’s fuse mysteriously blew out last night. I called up Definitive Technology this morning to get a replacement and they were cool about it—they’re actually mailing 2 fuses to me for free! Talk about awesome customer service.

Anyway, I’m going to sell of my sub soon. I went ahead and purchased a new one on ebay last night. Hit me up if you want a Procinema 800 Subwoofer (retail price is $400).

Bowers and Wilkins: CM5 vs. 805 vs. 800 Diamond

I don’t really consider myself an “audiophile”, but I can appreciate music when it’s reproduced well. I went to Best Buy with my dad this past weekend to check out some of their audio gear.

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This is a standard bookshelf speaker that puts out a lovely sound. It creates a warm sound and favors trebles. Mid tones pop as well, especially when you hear instruments like bongos—yes, they almost sound real. The only thing the CM5’s need are a strong subwoofer. A pair of CM5’s run about $1500-1600 new.

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Okay, these are probably the best looking speakers. They have the sound the match their looks… as well as a hefty price tag. The 805 Diamonds are sharp and slightly fuller than the CM5’s. The best part is, they sound even better the louder you go. However, like the CM5’s they need a subwoofer to fill in some of the lower tones. Trebles are sparkly, mid tones are full and crisp. You also start getting a sense of sound staging with these speakers—you can close your eyes and visualize where instruments are being played. They run about $5k new.

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Lastly, I listened to the 800 Diamonds. Let’s first start off by saying that they’re insanely expensive… They run $15k new. If the price wasn’t so damn high, I would say these were great speakers. I honestly believe that you can set up something better for a fraction of the cost. Don’t get me wrong, the sound was great, but the 800’s weren’t astonishing.

After listening to these speakers back to back, I’ve found a new appreciation for achieving better audio for less money. My dad has a pair of Boston Acoustic monitors (judiciously powered by separate amps) paired with a 10″ Velodyne sub… and they sound BETTER than the most expensive setup at Best Buy. I’m not the only one who believes this—my dad has been complimented by several people with audio setups that cost over $25k.

After looking at everything, I’m seriously considering getting the exact same set up as my dad. This means that I’ll have to try finding some vintage gear.