So why has Bowers & Wilkins updated its entire CM range when it only launched the last of the old line-up, the CM10, in 2013? Product manager Andy Kerr explains that, while working on the latest 600 Series products, launched earlier this year, they realised that the CM models were going to need a performance hike, so well were the new 600s turning out.
The new CMs have a slew of technology trickled down from elsewhere in the company’s catalogue: the tweeters use the company’s Decoupled Double Dome tweeter, with a stiffening ring around the edge of the main dome, plus an isolator to decouple the entire assembly from the main enclosure. They also incorporate B&W’s renowned Nautilus tapered tube loading to control the energy from the rear of the driver. In the CM6 S2 and CM10 S2, this assembly is mounted in a free-standing pod atop the cabinet, derived from B&W 800 Diamond speakers. All tweeters feature a new integrated grille mesh to protect them from accidental damage.
The midrange and bass drivers use B&W’s distinctive yellow Kevlar cones and have anti-resonance phase plugs at their centre to improve higher-frequency response, while the midrange units use the company’s Fixed Suspension Transducer technology to create a ‘surroundless’ design, minimising colouration and improving transparency.
High-quality components developed for the speakers by German specialists Mundorf are used in the crossovers – the two originally worked together on crossovers for the 800 Series.
The result is a range with power, focus and serious dynamics all the way from the entry-level CM1 S2 to the very hefty CM10 S2, which also features 800-Series style drawbar fixing of its FST midrange. It’s one of three floorstanders in the range, starting with the ultra-compact, yet big-sounding CM8 S2.
The standmount line-up starts with the CM1 S2, the descendant of the speaker behind the whole CM thing, and goes up the ultra-refined CM6 S2. Two centre speakers, the CM Centre S2 and the larger CM Centre 2 S2, and a retuned subwoofer, the ASW10CM S2, complete the line-up.
The entire range exudes quality, starting with critically-braced cabinet work in a choice of three flawless finishes: Gloss Black or Satin White paint as well as everpopular Rosenut veneer. Details such as brushed aluminium highlights and magnetically-attached grille covers complete the seamless, elegant look for which CM has become known.