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What to listen for when comparing B&W CDM 9NT vs. N804? (1 Viewer)

Arnel Enero

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May 2, 2002
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106
I've been to the showroom comparing these two for several times now, and it seems that I still can't identify any significant difference between the two... at least nothing that I consider worth spending extra $900 for.

Many friends have been telling me there should be more difference than slight improvements in overall refinement, and the stunning aesthetics of the N804. So I don't know why after around 3 times comparing them, I still don't see the point.

So this coming weekend, I'm going to the showroom for my FINAL comparison, then I'll buy either the 9NT or N804, depending on what I hear. So please help me now, and tell me what the "easy points of comparison", if any, that will READILY tell the difference between these two B&Ws.

Thanks.
 

Gil D

Supporting Actor
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Mar 15, 1999
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577
I still can't identify any significant difference between the two
It was very easy for me to discern the differences. Make sure the source equipment is good. N804 has significantly clearer mids and treble is a little smoother while the CDM9 lacks some of the depth of the N804, treble is a bit edgy but still good, and maybe has more bass.

Listen to Sonus faber Signum and EA II before plunking down the cash for the N804. I picked the Concerto over the N805 a couple of years ago and now have the Signum. Also, listen to the new Polk LSi series - very good for not alot of money.
 

Arnel Enero

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May 2, 2002
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Gil D, thanks for the suggestions. Here's my response:
Also, listen to the new Polk LSi series - very good for not alot of money.
Thanks for this suggestion, but I currently don't know if Polk is even available here in Beijing, where I work right now.
 

Larry B

Screenwriter
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Nov 8, 2001
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Arne:

If you can't hear the difference, (1) buy the cheaper speaker, (2) go home and enjoy it, and (3) don't worry about what anyone else says.

Larry
 

Arnel Enero

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May 2, 2002
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To add more to all this confusion, my non-audiophile (female) friend told me that the CDM 9NT looks better: more classy, much more like a piece of furniture than the "strange-looking" N804. I don't quite agree with her, but other friends who came along when I visited the showroom actually agreed with her... they even thought the 9NT was the more expensive one. Well, they just didn't look real carefully, I guess.

But anyway, this issue about aesthetics doesn't really matter to me. Just sharing the story.
 

Karl L

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Feb 26, 2001
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I just picked up a pair of 804's last night, and couldn't be any happier. Compared to the 9nt's the 804's sounded more refined, albeit with a little less bass. This is fine since I just picked up a Hsu vtf3 to handle that duty. As far as an aesthetic comparison between the two...there is no comparison! In red stained cherry wood, the 804's truly are a thing of beauty.
 

Gil D

Supporting Actor
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Mar 15, 1999
Messages
577
Arnel,
Tonality is everything. The Sonus do not have the treble extension of the B&W nautilus tweeter and the "open" highs. Although the homes improved upon this and my Signums are more bright than my Concertos.
What were you driving the Tinos with? I noticed the veil when comparing receiver vs amplifier driven.
I also agree with your friend the CDM9 in cherry is gorgeous. I also prefer the Nautilus tweeter buried half way in the cabinet. The tweeter on top of the N80x looks like a microphone to any kid walking by.
Perhaps the Classe nullify some of the slight advantages of the N804 over the CDM9? I sold my B&W's to upgrade to CDM-NT. If I could not have told the difference between the N804 and CDM9nt I would have bought the CDM9 in a heartbeat. Unfortunately for me the N804 was out of budget :frowning:
Do you plan to use the CDM9 & 1NT as part of an HT? The CDM setup is great for HT also.
 

Mark C.

Supporting Actor
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May 21, 1999
Messages
558
Ultimately, it's your decision. When I had the opportunity to purchase 804s for the price of 9NTs, I couldn't say no. I use them in my dedicated music system.

The best way to sum up the differences between the two lines, IMO: with the 804s, there's more there. More depth, more detail, more of a feeling of a live performance.

That doesn't mean the NTs aren't a good speaker. I use CDM 1SEs in my HT and love them. You have to decide if the price difference is worth it to you. I know, it ain't easy.
 

Frank_S

Supporting Actor
Joined
Oct 28, 1999
Messages
565
I've been to the showroom comparing these two for several times now, and it seems that I still can't identify any significant difference between the two... at least nothing that I consider worth spending extra $900 for.
You will find it helpful to bring a CD along with music you are very familiar with. Have the salesman set 1 set of speakers up and place them in a good position, give them some breathing room. Make sure there are NO speakers or objects interfering that could cause early reflection issues. A lot of dealers have multiple speakers in their rooms and you end up with speakers right next to other speakers, etc.
Listen to the 9Nt's first, then have the dealer replace them with the N804's in the same position as the 9Nt's.
If the speakers are set up correctly you should notice that the N804's will throw a better soundstage and will have a nicer midrange also. The higher freq. should be more refined too, IMO. BTW, I believe the NT and Nautilus line take a long time to break in so be patient when you bring them home, it will be worth it in the longrun.
I owned the 7NT's prior to the N804 and I much prefer the Nautilus. Good luck!:)
 

Arnel Enero

Stunt Coordinator
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May 2, 2002
Messages
106
Do you plan to use the CDM9 & 1NT as part of an HT? The CDM setup is great for HT also.
I work abroad and live in an apartment, so it's not practical for me right now to have separate systems for HT and music. So I'm trying my best to build a dual-purpose system.

I really like what my CDM 1NT currently does for HT, btw. The openness in the treble makes the sound more ambient, thus giving the illusion of "big scale" just like in a real cinema.
 

Yoon Lee

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Jun 16, 2001
Messages
162
Bring some classic CDs that you're familiar with when you audition them. It's easier to identity differences with classics than rock musics that're mixed to sound decent even on boomboxes.
 

David Judah

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 11, 1999
Messages
1,479
IMO and after much auditioning, the difference is there but it is not huge. I opted to get the 9NTs and use the money I saved elsewhere in my system, but I certainly couldn't fault someone for springing for the Nautilus'. Both lines are excellent.

DJ
 

rodneyH

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 22, 2001
Messages
844
I currently have the CDM7NTs (for sale on ebay) and am getting the 804s real soon (and my dad owns the CDM9NT), to be real honest, I am getting a great deal on the 804s and if I wasn't I don't think I would buy them until I had a lot of extra money laying around. Having said that, the 804 is slightly better than the CDMs (not significantly as some have said). If you can't hear the differnce, go 9, if you can, go 804s. btw, my wife doesn't like the CDM look nearly as much as the 804.
 

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