The CM8s have stunning midrange, but an inconsistent character takes the gloss off
punchy, weighty bass
Lack of cohesion
requires careful partnering with electronics
Bowers & Wilkins claims the FST drivers in its elegant CM8 floorstanders allow for ‘the cleanest midrange performance in the business'.
FST stands for Fixed Suspension Transducer and relates to the bright yellow Kevlar cone only having the smallest of surrounds. The idea is that the surround damps the cone optimally to produce the purest possible sound.
The driver setup is a trademark B&W 25mm Nautilus tube loaded aluminium dome tweeters, a 13cm woven Kevlar FST midrange driver and two 13cm paper/Kevlar bass drivers.
The CM8s are biwirable and feature B&W’s Flowports to promote tighter, better-defined bass. Ideally, you should position them in some free space, with a little toe-in.Stunning midrange performanceWe have to admit that the midrange performance is, indeed, spectacular – the clarity of vocals is stunning.
The CM8s have no trouble with Eminem’s aggression in White America. Bass displays a fine sense of slam and is delivered in an upbeat manner, while treble sparkles with plenty of detail.
More after the break
However, the Achilles heel is that these various elements don’t gel particularly well. The difference in character between bass, midrange and treble frequencies proves a little problematic, and there’s a slight lack of cohesion between drivers.
All the elements are there for a great – rather than just a very good – speaker (especially that FST driver), but the lack of cohesion means four, not five, stars.