There's a definite allure to the CM5s. They're stylish and desirable, but they're also a fine example of speaker engineering.
It's difficult to point to a rival here that looks as classy or, indeed, can claim to be as technologically advanced.
The CM5s use B&W's Kevlar mid-bass driver and Nautilus tube-loaded aluminium tweeter.
And the CM5s are impressive straight out of the box. Faced with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Zero, they show that they are very detailed and that at the heart of their spacious soundstage, they present a precise and focused stereo image.
More after the break
Attention is also drawn to the force with which low frequencies are catapulted towards the listener.
Crank up Lady GaGa's Lovegame and the B&Ws manage to harness more than enough power to fire out the song's slamming bassline at an impressive pace.
Turning up the wickThe large-scale dynamics of this track are handled confidently. Succumb to the temptation of turning up the volume, and they rise to the challenge without protestation.
However, the CM5s aren't completely excused any criticism. The upper midrange lacks substance and the refinement of class leaders.
The vocal for the acoustic version of Maximo Park's Going Missing sounds less believable than when heard through the Roksan Kandy K2 TR-5 or Spendor S3/5R, and you miss the natural tone we've come to expect from the best speakers at this price point.
High frequencies sound a little thin and one-dimensional – others do a significantly better job of differentiating between the highest notes.
Playing the LSO's version of Tchaikovsky's Trepak, the CM5s are sensational in some areas but out of their depth in others; and it's this inconsistency that holds the B&W's back from a five-star rating.
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