B&W CM9 or Paradigm Studio 100

Ashley Harrington -- Mon, 02/22/2010 - 19:54

In looking for speakers in the $3,000.00 range I have narrowed it down to these two models. I am replacing a pair of Infinity Beta 50s and a CSW10 sub which are currently being driven by an Adcom GFA555 amp which am am planning on replacing with Odyessy Audio Stratos monoblocs. i will also be replacing the sub with a Rel T10 or R305. I did all the right things evaluating , bringing my own material, taking notes, and such. But I found it difficult to to hear both speakers in a setting that could be considered equal or real life. Both were auditioned in a home theatre setting and, it seemed to me, both had  too many acoustic panels on the wall, making both sound antiseptic. And the Paradigms weren't broken in, further confusing the issue. In spite of this I think the two are very close together in sound quality.
At first glance it appears to be a choice of quality or quantity. I thought B&W had the quality end of the deal. But then i heard B&W spaeaker are made in China. True? There is also the different number and size of bass drivers. I didn't hear a difference but I think this was because of the acoustic panels in the listening rooms. The room I heard the Paradigms in had many more of them. in fact the walls were practically covered with them. Then there is rear port vs front port. My beta 50s are rear port and I have them about five feet of the real wall to control bass. Not the most practical placement in my living room. The Paradigm salesman says this is due to the rear port design. True?
I would appreciate any input that would help me make the final decision or prevent me from maing the wrong purchase.
Thank you in advance.

jay (not verified) -- Mon, 03/15/2010 - 16:05

Funny, I just did the same comparison and decided on the Paradigms Studio 100 v5. I listened to about 2 hours of music (all types) before settling on the Paradigms.
My choice was based solely on sound. I prefer some brightness in my speakers, and found my Dynaudio Excite 32 so netural to be almost boring (along with the Dynaudio, I have a NAD M3 integrated amp. Source is iTunes stuffed with CD ripped in lossless format (going through a Cambridge Audio DACMagic DAC).
BTW: I do believe B&W is designed in England but assembled in China? Pretty sure Paradigm is completely designed and manufactured in Canada (including drivers). To be fair, I wouldn't let that be a hangup. I'm typing this on an Apple MacBook Pro, which is also assembled overseas even though it is designed in U.S.A.

peterc -- Mon, 02/28/2011 - 08:40

China - the new plague!
Ok I know I am replying to someone a full year later but an important point needs to be made regarding products made in China. I too bought B&W, thinking they were British made only to find out they were made in China....!  Quality is not the main issue here....read on....
As a family we do not buy ANY product (well except for the B&W's now!!!) made in China for 2 reasons:
Firstly their non-existent human rights record, not only in China itself, but they support dictators like Mugabe with arms and ammunition in return for cheap access to Africa's raw materials. The deals being made here will make your hair stand on end. 
Secondly their dumping of products on the SA market have killed local manufacture. The greedy retailers are all too keen to run to China to buy but they are short-sighted - spend locally and grow your customer base...duuuh!!!
The same effect is no doubt felt in the EU and USA....so come on guys take a stand and dont buy Chinese....try support your local industries and if there are no suitable alternatives support ANY OTHER emerging market but avoid China like the plague!

KAW -- Fri, 03/11/2011 - 16:37

I have to partly agree with peterc. The only problem being that very few nations can claim to be free of guilt when it comes to preserving their interests and growing their markets. And slavelike labourconditions are found within many western nations as well.
Quality wise there are no downsides to buying Chineese.

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