Buying Used B&W Speakers

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  • 05-22-2015, 02:44 PM
    MCSimon
    Buying Used B&W Speakers
    Hello all. Am new to the forum and would love some advice. Have been thinking about upgrading my home theater audio to a better 5.1 system. My enthusiasm prompted a neighbor I'm friendly with to want to do the same, and he's offering me first dibs on his B&W set - fronts are two CDM 7NTs, center is HTM7, rears are CDM 1NTs. I've checked them out - they look to be in pristine condition, and sounded good (though wasn't an extensive demo). He purchased the set from about 2004 - 2007. He is willing to sell whole package to me for $1750. What do you think? Is the price fair?
  • 05-22-2015, 05:05 PM
    topspeed
    Welcome to the forum! Well, with the exception of the center channel, you just described my system. I have the matching CDM CNT, the HTM7 is from the subsequent 700 series, although they are voiced almost identically so you should be fine. As for the value, the msrp for that set up is around $4k, so you'll have to decide. I still love mine and haven't been hit by the upgrade bug for the 12 years I've had them, so that should tell you something right there. The speakers are built like quality furniture and are supremely engineered.

    That said, the most important aspect for you shouldn't be how much you can get it for, but whether or not you like their sound. While almost any speaker can do HT reasonably well, finding speakers that make your music come alive is another animal entirely. I'd recommend taking some recordings that you're really familiar with to your friends and spending a good amount of time finding out if the CDM's draw you into the music and make your toes tap. $1,750 is a fair investment by any standard, buy what you like.

    One other thing; these aren't the easiest speakers to drive. They aren't current mongers like Maggies, Quad's, or Thiel's, but they regularly dip below 4ohms and perform best with a fair amount of drive behind them. Will they work with your typical AVR? Yes. Will they sound their best? No. Just take into consideration your front end and welcome to the wonderful chain-reaction world of upgrading!

    Hope this helps.
  • 05-23-2015, 05:08 AM
    MCSimon
    Thanks, that's helpful. Sounds like I shouldn't worry about the age of the speakers. Yes, I'll listen to some more music at my friend's to get a better feel for how I like the sound. When it comes to driving the speakers, if I wanted to go with a receiver rather than separates, I'm willing to spend a bit - anything you would recommend? Or should I just buy separates?
  • 05-23-2015, 06:02 AM
    Jack in Wilmington
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MCSimon View Post
    Thanks, that's helpful. Sounds like I shouldn't worry about the age of the speakers. Yes, I'll listen to some more music at my friend's to get a better feel for how I like the sound. When it comes to driving the speakers, if I wanted to go with a receiver rather than separates, I'm willing to spend a bit - anything you would recommend? Or should I just buy separates?

    What are you driving your home theater speakers with now?
  • 05-24-2015, 05:50 AM
    MCSimon
    Just have had a pretty lousy Bose 5.1 Lifestyle System (bought in 2004), so just using the all in one receiver/DVD component. This is really my first attempt to upgrade to something good.
  • 05-24-2015, 09:15 AM
    blackraven
  • 05-24-2015, 01:40 PM
    Jack in Wilmington
    If you're on a tighter budget, try the Yamaha RX-A1030. Amazon has it on sale for $699, regularly $1199. It puts out 120 rms and is just 7.1 channels.
  • 05-30-2015, 04:20 PM
    topspeed
    Separates will give you more flexibility in tailoring the sound, but they will cost more and let's be honest, the more separate pieces you have also means there's more chances to screw things up. I started witha Denon 3803 and later added a separate 2 channel amp to drive the mains for music. While I've replaced the Denon with a Marantz SR5008, I still use a separate amp for the mains.

    All of the suggestions Larry made are good. I tend to gravitate towards the warmer side of neutral, which is why I generally lean towards Denon and Marantz. Both seem to be good synergistic matches with the CDM's although neither have the gravitas and grip my separate amp has (nor should they considering the amp cost more than both AVR's combined).

    Hope this helps.