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Need your thoughts on B&W CDM NT vs Nautilus (1 Viewer)

Shane Martin

Senior HTF Member
Sep 26, 1999
I've been told to put off my speaker upgrade til the end of the year which is fine because I can continue to look around and see what comes out and what appeals to me but lately I've heard and reheard the B&W CDM line and haven't had time to audition a set of Nautilus on the same equipment.

I know I'll need an amp when I buy these so I'm figuring in an amp in my purchase price(leaning towards Classe like a Cav 150 used/2nd hand). The Pre is yet undetermined.

The cd player is the Sony 7es changer and eventually I'll buy a SACD player.

I'm honestly based on budget looking at the CDM7nt's, 9nt's and the 804's. The 803's are too much $$ and not worth the extra from what I've read and the 802's(as great as they sound) are too much $$ as well. The 804 would be a real reach financially but if its worth the extra dough then I'll put off my upgrade til I can afford them which isn't too much longer.

So has anyone compared the 2 lines and can offer an opinion. I'm not dead set of the B&W's yet but I'm not hearing much better.

I will add that so far I've seen a few posts saying the difference is worth it I figured with the sheer # of posts on HTF I could get more thoughts.

David Judah

Feb 11, 1999
I've compared the two lines and the Nautilus', as expected, are better(more open and detailed across the mid-range & treble). Because of other upgrades though, I couldn't squeeze them into my budget, so I got the 9NTs, and I have been very happy with them.
Hopefully, your dealer has an upgrade policy so you could go with the NTs and upgrade when finances allow. That is what I'm going to do, not because the NTs aren't great performers, but because you know how it is with this hobby.:)
Good luck,

Robert George

Jul 3, 1997

I think you already know what I think on tis, but I'll point you to the new issue of The Perfect Vision magazine for some input of the mainstream journalistic type.

This latest issue has a "buyer's guide" of TPV recommended speakers. They are doing something similar to Stereophile's "class" rating. In this case, they have recommended speakers in five classes. Class 1 represents what they consider state-of-the-art, regardless of price, and class 2-5 are based on price ranges.

Both the Nautilus and CDM lines are recommended speakers, but the Nautilus is their "best buy" in class 1 alongside Meridian DSP6000 and Revel Ultimas, which are much more expensive than the Nautilus. The CDMs are recommended in class 3, but are not the "best buy" in that class.


Supporting Actor
Oct 28, 1999
Shane, I owned the CDM7SE's(not NT)which are very similar to the NT's. I had them for about 1 1/2 years. They were powered by an Aragon 8008BB/Classe SSP-25 pre/pro.
I also had a Rel Storm III sub in the chain to fill in the lower octaves. I was quite happy but never really satisfied.
I sold them and now have N804's. I would buy the 7NT's if your store has a trade-up policy offering full value at trade-in. You could have a long audition period while your breaking in all of your new electronics and see what you think. You may be quite happy with the NT's. If not, give them back and buy the Nautilus 804's. :)

Trent C

Dec 3, 2001

I am in the process of deciding what to do for speakers right now. I have recently listened to the CDM line (1NT, 7NT, 9NT) and the Nautilus 805 and 804.

The CDM line was very good. My favourate one was the 7NT. It has very good imaging, an open sound stage and you were only missing some of the really deep bass. (I'm not too concerned with the bass side of things, I recently got my SVS 20-39) The 9NTs was nice too, with the same features of the 7NTs, with a tad more lower bass. But they are also $1,000 more (Canadian loonies) than the 7NTs. ($3,000 vs. $4,000)

When I heard the 805s, wow! I really liked the imaging these created. Everything was so accurate. I felt that I could reach out and touch the performers. I could pick out where each piece of the band was located. It was really a great experience. The 804s are even better. They really let you hear the low end stuff yet still have the open, great imaging of the 805s. These are the ones I really want, but know I can't have because they are a tad past my budget. (805 - $3,000; 804 - $5,000)

After spending a few too many sleepless nights wondering what to do, I am 99% sure that I am going to go with the 805s and HTM2 center channel across the front. (I don't know why, but I just like the look of the HTM2 center much better than the CDM center.) That is stretching my budget right now. Then, I can start saving my loonies for the 804s and an amp.


Stunt Coordinator
Feb 13, 2002
In the CDM line, the 9NT uses the drivers from the Nautilus line, and is worth the extra $600. With the CDMs versus the Nautilus series, the Nautiluses have a better imaging, more airiness in the upper and mid-range, and tighter bass. The bass on the CDM series is definitely a bit more muddy in comparison to the Nautilus speakers. When listening to both lines, I ended up preferring the 805 with less bass to the the CDM9 because of the better detail and soundstage. The CDM is a very good line, the Nautilus is just that much better. I think that the 805s are a good choice across the front, and I would look hard at the REL Strata III sub. The REL is an audiophile sub, and matches the Nautilus line very well for filling out the lower end. The cherry cabinet also matches the cherry of the 805s fairly well. I personally found the Nautilus speakers to be worth the extra "loonies," and ended up with a 804/805/HTM2 set.

Alan Kurland

Stunt Coordinator
Nov 6, 1998
No doubt the 804s are better sounding than the CDM 7 and 9, with better overall sound and focusing. I listened/tested last summer when I needed new front speakers for the HT. There was no comparison to my ears! I preferred the 804s much more over anything in the CDM series, though I wanted to like the CDM 7s based on reviews. I tested music - jazz and rock, as well as DVD music and movies. If you're listening to any music with your system, the 804s are a vast improvement over the CDMs.
Over the past year, I have gotten amazing enjoyment from listening to these speakers for 90% movies, 10% music. I would have liked to get the 803s, but much more expensive, and with a sub, the 804s are perfect. In terms of the 805s, the 804s add midrange, which the 805s + sub can't really match. Overall, I thought I made a good decision. I'm also using HTM1 center, ASW 2000 sub and 602s surround (hopefully, someday to upgrade to 805s for surround)
Good luck, and have fun listening!:)


Supporting Actor
May 22, 2001
I agree with most of what has been said here already, but give the cdm7nt a try, when people talk about how much better a 800 series speaker is, it is all relative. I agree that hte 800 series is better, but for my budget and configuration (DVD-A and SACD with NO bass management, and I also sometimes like to listen to music without a sub) I opted for the CDM7 over the 805 (some may call me crazy, but I haven't regreted it one bit, someday I will end up with the 804 though, but I have NO buyers remorse).

good luck, let your ears do the deciding

on a side note, someone mentioned magazine ratings, I don't feel like they are "gospel" so take it for what its worth, but many have rated the CDMs as the best in its price rage (even though it sounds like S&V didn't). I have a review from HT mag that gives it a 97 rating (95-100 is "state of the art" but I am sure if htey rated the 804 htey would give it a 101-just kidding), that was the highest rating on a pair of speakers that I have seen UNTIL the Revel salon set up made the mag ($19k for mains) and it got a rating of 99. I am always a little sceptical when it comes to reviews (in other words-did B&W happens to be a big advertizer in that mag? etc....), but they just tested the CM4 and gave it a 84 (or something close), which is very disappointing, so that gives me the feeling that they aren't "in bed with B&W". Take that info for what its worth. Is the 800 line better-Yes, is the difference worth it-thats for you to decide.

btw, the cabnet on the CDM series is very very solid and one of the best out there (probably top 10%), UNTIL you compare it to a 800 (probably top 0.5%)-you get the point.

Mark C.

Supporting Actor
May 21, 1999
When I first started serious speaker shopping several years ago, I fell in love with the CDM7SE. I didn't even know there was a Nautilus 800 series. Good thing. The CDMs sound great. The Nautilus speakers simply sound better. Now, I have the best of both worlds: CDM for my HT mains and 804s for two-channel.:)
More depth, better imaging, a feeling of "you are there.''
When friends come over and hear the HT, they are amazed. Then they hear the 804s and floored.:D

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