The M60 is the step-up model in the Newton M Series bookshelf speaker line. All of the speakers in this series feature the fine drivers, precision internal crossover designs and elegant enclosures. Great care has been taken in order to combine audiophile-level detail and reasonable cost. The M60 features a specially designed 6.5-inch woofer for midrange and a 1-inch silk fabric tweeter with Neodymium magnet structure for high frequencies. The increased woofer size means bigger and richer sound than the M50 speaker. The speakers may be positioned vertically or horizontally on any flat, stable surface. Self-adhesive rubber feet are included to protect the finish of the speakers. Whether used for music, or incorporated into a home theater system the M60s performance far exceeds their price. Available with knit grilles and in the same blonde maple and mahogany real-wood finishes as the Newton Series towers.
My interest in these speaker stems from my interest in listenting its self. I use my HT for mostly Music Listening. However up untill a year ago I hadn't benable to get the detail I wanted out of the Sony SS MF-515 that I longed for. While they performed better than anything in there class at the time, it was becoming apparent that they could no longer keep up with my growing HT system.
So I set out to see what all there was avalible in my price range that would give the exacting detail that I wanted. I looked at Sony, Yahmaha, Polk, Bose (don't even get me started), CSW, Infinity, and JBL. I knew what I wanted out of the speakers, I really didn't need deep booming bass, but tight and solid bass. I wanted the vocals clear and unrestricted, and the highs quick enough to follow a guitar's solo, but not as harsh at to crackel on a sysmbol.
When It came down to the desision between speakers I was debating between the Polk Bookself (can't remember the model) and the CSW. The Polk offerd a good bottom end some where between tight and boomy, but not solid. The mids where clear but lacked any warmth. The highs seemed like they where straining. While this was still a step up, I just couldn't see spending the less for them over the CSW. The CSW M60's have tight solid bass, while not over powering, it is enough. Where these really shine though is the Vocals and highs. They seem as if the just effortlessly flow form them. They image perfectly, and really draw you in.
When I had made my desicion I brought them home. Once they where hooked up, I put in my favorit LP Jethro Toll The best of M.U., I was disaponted, the seemed strained, like they didn't want to perform as they had on display. I checked all the settings and nothing was a miss. I started to pack them back up when I rembered something from my experence with Car Stereo Insallation. So I decided to set a CD of Jazz on repet and left them while I went out to dinner.
The reason for this is to get the speakers brokend in. This is something that is common practice on highend componets and subs for cars, because the suspention on the cones are so stiff. By playing a program for a extended period of time at moderate levels you can get the speakers to brake in quicker, say in a day or two verses a month, depending on how much you listen to them.
When I had returned latter that night the speakers where sounding better but I could tell it was working, I decided to check on them in the morning. By 8am the next day they where playing like I had heard in the store. Wow, these things can sing. I placed the Jethro Toll ablum back on the LP and I was amazed at the ease they moved through Fat Man, and Thick As a Brick. Very warm but acurate.
I have since orderd a pair of M80's to replace my M60's as the front speakers in my HT, and I am going to move the M60's to replace the surrounds.
If you're happily married and want to stay that way, all A/V purchases are going to be compromises, right?
Women love shoes and hate speakers. Like dogs hate vacuum cleaners. A guy could go crazy trying to puzzle out why. Or you can accept it as a fact of life, and move on.
That said, the M60s turned out to be a huge surprise and, for my part, not a compromise at all.
NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE
The first thing you notice about them is that they are gorgeous. In fact, I first got interested in the Newton series because they could be had with not only real veneer, but blonde maple, a real rarity in this range. (They’re also available in a rich mahogany.) Plus their cool, stylish grille design and fabric color perfectly complement our retro-mod décor. The pictures on the web site don’t do them justice; in real life, the wood is so inviting, you can’t help but touch them. And they make everything else look downright homely.
Before you dismiss me as too easily wooed by pretty cabinetry, let me tell you about the Olympian level of WAF (wife approval factor) you face when you live with an interior designer: I considered trying a pair of Aperions but, despite their genuine cherry veneers and liberal no-risk return policy, she nixed them over "those ugly black grilles."
YOU HAD ME AT “HELLO.”
In all fairness, it’s not just how speakers look to my wife and sound to me. I’m a sucker for interesting, sophisticated design, so these pretty much won me over before I ever hooked them up. I was ready to rationalize even mediocre sound from the M60s from the moment I opened the box.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to. They are marvelously rich, detailed, and musical. Acoustic piano, sax, trumpet, and clarinet reproduce brilliantly, as do male and female vocals. They're no slouch in the rock dept., either. U2’s “Elevation” was a sonic thrill ride, especially with a Hsu STF-2 bringing the thunder.
The idea was to find the best bookshelf speaker to be the basis of a 5.1 system for 60/40 music/movies. (Almost immediately I figured out that typical box-store sat & sub combos just don’t cut it.) I auditioned $200-$400 Polk, Jamo, Kef, Boston Acoustics, and Paradigm units in stores, and did a two-week, in-home A/B comparo with the Axiom M3ti (driven by a Denon AVR-2803).
My demo CD consisted of Alison Krauss, Nora Jones, U2, Miles Davis, XTC, Annie Lennox, Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, and some Latin-flavored pop from Kirsty MacColl and Raul Malo (of Mavericks fame).
Now, I’m no expert. To paraphrase Forrest Gump, “I’m not an audiophile, but I know what good sound is.” Certainly I know what sounds good to me. I’ll admit that, out of everything I auditioned, the Paradigm Mini Monitors sounded the best. Great detail, tight bass and beautiful vocals. They also cost ~$120/pr. more. And they’re finished in a ho-hum cherry vinyl w/ the disqualifying black grilles. The Axioms (in Mansfield Beech w/beige grilles) were marginally better on bass extension and overall soundstage. But none of them look half as good as the CSWs. And the difference in sound performance was so negligible that, in everyday, real-world use—and even under fairly critical listening—I never feel like I’m missing anything with the M60s.
So after all was said and done, the CSWs were the overall winner, and I’ve since ordered up an MC400 center and a pair of M50s as surrounds.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you want a speaker that brings real beauty—audible and visible—to your life, get a pair of CSW Newton series M60s.
Given the relative dearth of thoughtful, detailed reviews—and none from industry “experts”—on the Newtons generally, and the M60s in particular, I was expecting them to sound only acceptable at best.
Instead, I was pleasantly astonished, although now I’m a little puzzled.
Why is it that —unlike Paradigm, Onix Rockets, Ascend, Energy, et al., which get talked up pretty consistently, or Axiom, which hosts its own forums—so little is written about CSW, when they are, to my ears anyway, legitimate contenders in their class? Is there some stigma toward mid- and upper-end CSW stuff?
All I can say is that their being damned with faint praise didn’t dissuade me. I gave them an objective hearing and I’m thrilled. I hope that helps convince anyone on the fence about them to order a pair and try them out: For the money, I don’t know of a better looking, better sounding bookshelf speaker.
(If you’re still worried about the cost of return shipping, do a Google search for “Cambridge online coupons” and you’ll save enough to cover it.)
First off, I know that looks are not everything, and soundwise even less, but they are really nice looking!
Previously, I was using the Ensemble II. Now, THOSE were harsh in comparison. These M60s are not harsh, and I can't agree with the previous reviewer who found them lacking in brightness. But that's what these reviews are for, right?
My stuff sounds great on these. I especially notice improvement listening to orchestral music with dissonant passages. The instruments and lines remain separate.
I've no problem with voice reproduction, but I don't listen to much of that anyway. These are small speakers and they will not satisfy you if you are bass-hungry. But that is no criticism.
Two years ago I purchased a Cambridge Soundworks MC300 as a center channel speaker. I was happy with its performance, and in general I like the look, feel and sound of CSW speakers and their generous 10 year warranties.
I searched the 'net for quite a while looking for the best bookshelf speakers I could get in the $200-$300 price range. I wanted them for both music and home theater, and I wanted them small because I move frequently.
I found the M60 on CSW's website (hifi.com) on sale for $249. When I checked back two weeks later, the price had gone up to $299 (where it is now). I called in and asked them about it, and the sales woman I spoke with agreed to give me the promotional price.
For that money, I think the speakers are very good. They have very good treble response. For home theater, they are very decent. For music, they sounded a bit cold and harsh at first - I hope this is because they were brand new, and that they will warm up with time. I've had to reduce the treble response and increase the bass to get a decent suond. (Clearly, however, what I really need is a sub-woofer. They just don't sound right without one.)
So, while I am not thrilled with the sound, I think this is one of the best buys for the price. And the look (with mahogany) is very classy.