B&W CDM 1SE Bookshelf Speakers

CDM 1SE

2-Way Loudspeaker - 6.5" Woofer and 1" Tweeter

User Reviews (98)

Showing 1-10 of 98  
ArcticFreeze   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 20, 2013]

Hard to add anything that hasn't been said. Great second-hand small monitors. For around $400 you get a very smooth, rich, and deep sounding speaker that's easy on the eyes. I originally ran with an 85-watt Luxman tube hybrid amp, but switched to a 45-watt Marantz 6004 for a bit more presence.

I selected this over a new pair of KEF Q300's. I lived with both speakers for a long weekend, and while I preferred the KEF's they were a bit more money and have a very cheap appearance. In the end, the 15-year-old B+W's won.


OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
4ormula1   AudioPhile [May 07, 2011]

Purchased these used, in mint condition, from a dealer that was selling them on consignment. First heard them while on a trip in the Bay Area at an Audio Shoppe with a friend 10 years ago, and was impressed by its build and fairly sweet sound. Over the years, have been through a various number of monitor speakers, mostly good, some outstanding (ProAc 1SC, ProAc Tablette's, III's, 50's and Ref8's, Dynaudio Focus 140's, Revel M22's, PMC DB1+'s, Reference3a Dulcet's) and never gave the B&W's a second thought. Although I did have an inexpensive pair (B&W DM100's) back in the late 80's while working and attending school in San Francisco.

After hooking them up, not knowing what to expect, lo and behold, it plays music! And really well! There's a nice balance between the top end and articulate bottom end, but the mid stands out, is very natural and open, really good stuff. Voices have a sense of presence and float separate of the speakers, the sound is quick, detailed and solid, being able to delineate and follow the notes of acoustic bass, bass drums, etc. (even with the bungs out of the ports), top end is airy and mostly sweet, without the hash or brittleness I would expect from a metal dome tweeter. My musical preference is acoustic jazz, some early rock, some classical-mostly with piano, and these B&W's do an excellent job of having the right tonality of instruments. Soundstage and imaging is good, although they don't disappear and have the cutting edge precision of the ProAc Tablette's.

Thought I'd mention, equipment used is modest, Naim Nait 5i, Classe CDP.5, Nordost cabling, and I would assume the CDM1SE's would be revealing of better amplification and source. If you can find a pair of these in good condition, be pleasantly surprised!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Robin Smits   AudioPhile [Feb 25, 2010]

I should start by saying B&W speakers run in my blood ever since my father purchased his first B&W speakers back in the 60's. I recently purchased the CDM1 SE to replace the dm602 s3's and although critical at first I cannot agree more with the positive reviews these things are getting. I have listened to many many speakers mostly the high end stuff and I have never encounterd a speaker that came closer than the CDM1 SE's. I prefer them over the CDM1 NT's mostly because the NT's have the ability to get too bright whereas the CDM1 SE's sound warmer and more balanced. The new 705's tone down on the brightness but still do not reach the same level as the CDM1 SE, although they do look a lot better. Bear in mind the CDM1 SE's are over 10 years old and still they surprise me their smooth sound. I often turned down volume levels on the DM602's when the sound got too bright, but with these speakers that has never been the case. I am a very happy customer with these speakers and if you have the chance to pick up a decent second hand pair then please do not hesitate to giv them a chance to impress you.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
defstathiou   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 25, 2008]
Strength:

Musical, detailed, refined, transparent, very balanced presentation, great imaging, fast and lively.

Weakness:

Lack of deep bass. Will not fill a big room. Metal tweeter is sharper than soft domes but not bright.

Sam Tellig from Stereophile back in 1998 said the following about the CDM1se and I couldn't agree more:

These speakers are not just warmly recommended—they're wildly recommended. Bass-extension aside, along with the ability, perhaps, to fill a very large room with loud music, the B&M CDM 1 SE comes damned close to Class A at a price more in keeping with Class C. If you're in the market for speakers you must audition these. You'll then be able then to upgrade your electronics way beyond the price of the speakers!—Sam Tellig

I bought mine second hand and run them with expensive electronics. My YBA Passion Integre 100w and YBA CD 1000 (top of the line) retail in the US$5,000- 8,000 category. I bought the CDM1se for just $390.

The better the electronics you put in front of them the better the sound. Transparency, refinement, soundstage and above all MUSICALITY are first class. Not as good as of course the JM Lab Micro Utopia Be (US$8,000) but amongst the most musically satisfying speakers I have listened over the past few years....and I have heard the lot...maybe thirty different pairs.

The B&W CDM1se are FANTASTIC and are probably the best second hand bargain in the speaker market. I am planning to buy a second pair for a second system.

And if you don't think am a difficult audiophile to please then take a look at the Similar Products Used section.

Similar Products Used: Vienna Acoustics Bach (lovely but not as transparent), Harbeth Monitor 30 (lovely but soft bass), Devore Fidelity Super 8 (absolutely special but expensive), JM Lab Micro Utopia Be (very special but expensive), Proac Response 2.5 (lovely but way too slow), Wilson Benesch Arc (lovely but bright), B&W Nautilus 804 (deatiled but not so lovely), B&W 805N, B&W 805 Matrix, B&W P6, Reference 3a Dulet (great but too small for my room) Reference 3a Da Capo (lovely but very coloured), Martin Logans, various Sonus Fabers, Vienna Acoustics Beethoven (too civilised), Proac Tablette Ref 8 (fantastic but room is too big) and many more...now you understand how difficult I can be to please (unfortunately).
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Bobby   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 12, 2006]
Strength:

Everything and more

Weakness:

I listen to them and dont want to change
is that bad?

Well, simple..
Bought these used and everything said here and elsewhere about them is true..:)
They sound lovely, vocals are the best, soundstage follows ,looks are damn good,
to be short no flaw at all...GREAT!

1 thing 2 remember B&W gave (unofficial) warranty that this model SE will not change its sound characteristics over 10 years.-good , a?

Similar Products Used: Avalon, Totem, custom made ScanSpeak stuff,
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
JesusChrist   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 17, 2004]
Strength:

Everything a good mini-monitor should be.

Weakness:

The strengths outweigh the weaknesses.

I've listened and owned many speakers for the past 15 years and these mini-monitors still remained and are now in my 3rd system. Of all the B&W line of speakers, the CDM 1SE is the biggest bang for the buck in getting you to the realm of high-end without spending mega bucks. I have paired countless of amps with the 1SE and with every different pedigree of amps the speakers take a different character. With modest amps they sound mediocre but feed them with quality amps and they sound really good. I've tried Bryston 4B-ST, Classe CA-200 and 300, ARC 100.2 and McCormack DNA-1 on them with varying degree of success. These amps may be a slight overkill for these modestly-priced speakers but the CDM1se's sure deserve the quality amplification. Currently I'm driving these with a Classe CAP-151 in the living and guests have always been impressed by the sound(and looks) of these babies. You would get an improvement up the ladder going up to the CDM 1NT, N805 and the ultimate Signature 805 but judging from the price-point of the CDM 1SE's these speakers are certainly a no-brainer. Highly recommended.

Similar Products Used: Too many to list.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
slawman   AudioPhile [May 13, 2004]
Strength:

Overall cohesiveness, clarity, soundstaging and refinement. Grain free high end, spectacular mids, tight lows.

Weakness:

Just a tad inefficient, need good solid stands, low bass MIA.

Found these languishing in a Phoenix pawn shop, so I adopted them, had them spayed :^) and took them home. They replaced a pair of Energy Audissey 3+2 speakers, which defected over to the home theatre system. Ladies (hah - like there are any ladies here in audioworld) and gentlemen, I am mightily impressed. The imaging, the transparency, the refinement. Even my wife, who could care less about these things (but knows good sound), stopped and asked what I had done to the system. In a good way. On Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Someone Else's Prayer" from time*sex*love (Columbia SACD - a great recording, by the way) Carpenter's vocal has incredible presence - her line "just as close as this" sung in a near whisper had me leaning forward and feeling near claustrophobic, it is so beautifully rendered. On Earthwork's "It Needn't End in Tears" from their live "Stamping Ground", Bill Bruford's brush work and sparse ride cymbal hits were perfectly portrayed, with nice depth and gobs of air. Although these speakers don't go much below 50 hZ, the bass that is there is tight and taut, with no bloated overhang. This took a while to get used to, as many speakers don't do this well at all, especially not at this price. These babies can rock a little too, although they can be a tad "polite". On the YES epic "Close to the Edge" (recent remastering on Rhino), the frenetic pace of the opening salvo was perfectly rendered, with Bruford's incredible drumming driving with and against Chris Squire's edgy bass runs. This isn't a great recording, but the CDM1se renedered what space and depth there was better than I'd heard for under 3k. So far I have not found anything these guys don't reproduce well. Some comments about "ruthlessly revealing" may come into play here and there, as they do not mask recording anomalies or digital harshness. Used with tubes, (pre - or power) this tendency towards a slight brightness is easily forgotten and overlooked in favor of the overall cohesive, clear picture that is presented. They are not the most sensitive speakers around (88) but maintain a pretty stable load at 8 ohms, 4.5 min. The other night I hooked up a Decware Zen Select tube amp - a 5 watt/ch single-ended behemoth, and they made great - if not ear bleeding, lease breaking music together. They also love my Bedini Classic 100/100 - plenty o'power and nice tight bass. Mine are in black ash, with truly beautiful cabinets, and nice fit-n-finish, and I guess they look even better in cherry. I can't recommend these enough - if you can find a pair around, snap 'em up - definitely recommended!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
M A R S   AudioPhile [May 03, 2003]
Strength:

imaging, soundstaging ,the "air", power handling, looks , build quality you name it, these speakers have all the qualities of a true audiophile loudspeaker.

Weakness:

hmmmm.... i thing there is none.

I have this pair for 3 years, i dont wanna post a review, but my conscience is killing me. i've been reading this site longer than 3 years and benefited(is that the correct spelling? hmm...) so much. I've been enjoying these spkrs everytime I listen that it makes me ask myself what kind of person i am not to post a review to tell you how good it is. well, im not really gonna tell you how good it is, cause i'll just be repeating what they said and I wanna keep this review simple. What i can say about the cdm1se is that in order for it to sound good (not to mention the 30 day break in period), you need to use it with good sounding electronics, not necessarily expensive but goog i mean good sounding nonetheless. And if you have no problems with your electronics cause they are all audiophile grade or audiophile approved. The next requirement is that you warm it up for few minutes and here is the most important of all if you really want to hear how good it really sound, pressuming you positioned it properly is that YOU MUST REMOVE ALL ITS GRILLS INCLUDING THE TWEETER'S every time you really wanna listen, and I cant emphasize it more. but for casual or background listening, you need not do so. So there you have it, i hope this would be helpful to you all, specially about the "grill" thing i mentioned above. At last i can sleep better knowing my conscience has been cleared a little.

Similar Products Used: many, i forgot their names.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Michael   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 14, 2003]
Strength:

High-end sound without the price tag , if you know how to partner it well.

Weakness:

-

1st system :- Amplification : Arcam Alpha 10 Source : Marantz cd63kisig Speakers : B&W cdm1se Cables : Nordost Super Flatline Gold speaker cable & QED Qnect 2 interconnect 2nd system :- Amplification : Arcam Alpha 10 Source : Arcam Alpha 8 Speakers : B&W cdm 1se Cables : Nordost Super Flatline Gold speaker cable & Nordost Solar Wind i/c System 3 :- Amplification : Arcam Alpha 10 Source : Arcam Alpha 8 Speakers : AE109 (stayed for just 2 months before switching back to the cdm1se) Cables : Kimber 4TC speaker cable & Nordost Solar Wind i/c System 4 :- Amplification : Classe Cap-100 Source : Arcam Alpha 8 Speakers : B&W cdm1se Cables : Nordost Blue Heaven Speaker Cable & Solar Wind i/c My system has gone through many changes and the cdm 1se has remained. The last upgrade of hooking the cdm1se's to the Classe and Nordost Blue Heavens really took be to heaven.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Ricardo Villanueva   AudioPhile [Feb 15, 2002]
Strength:

One of the best speakers you can get for to place in a small place. Excellent mids and highs, nice bass reproduction.

Weakness:

Not a pair of speakers to place alone anywhere, on a big place the use of a subwoofer is always desirable.

These speakers are made for use alone in a small place, but if you use it on a bigger place, the need of a subwoofer is evident. Power hungry? Not at all if you use the right amp (I use a 40 years old HK Citation II tube amplifier rated at about 40 Watts per channel triode connected). The overall sound is excellent, mids and highs are reproduced with a definition that is hard to beat, bass is tight and accurate in a small place like mine. Overall construction is what you can expect from a first class british speaker manufacturer like B&W. The fact is that no matter which kind of equipment you are posting a review, the must important thing is that you like it or not, and those speakers are no exception. I can´t say they are the best in the world, but who can sincerelly say from a pair of speakers that they are the best in the world? Simply I can say "I like it"

Similar Products Used: Celestion E2, JM LAB mini utopia, and may others.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 98  

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.

audioreview.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

Other Web Sites in the ConsumerReview Network:

mtbr.com | roadbikereview.com | carreview.com | photographyreview.com | audioreview.com