Bowers & Wilkins just announced their new CM Series flagship speaker, model CM10, a floorstanding loudspeaker with tweeter-on-top technology, a new tweeter design, a decoupled FST midrange and three bass drivers. Isolating the tweeter in this way aids imaging and dispersion, creating a more natural, spacious sound.
The tweeter dome contained within that distinctive housing is another first for the CM Series. CM10 uses a new design, based in part on the research conducted on the carbon-braced tweeter employed in PM1. Here, the edge of the aluminum dome is strengthened using a second aluminum layer that replicates the main dome’s profile with the center part cut out, giving a new ‘double-dome’ design.
This approach stiffens the whole structure and prevents the voice coil from going ‘out of round’ at higher frequencies. The result is the best performance yet from a CM Series loudspeaker: the double-dome pushes the first break-up frequency up from the standard dome’s 30kHz to an even more impressive 38kHz. This makes the tweeter purer and more piston-like in the all-important audible band below 20kHz. The result is exceptional clarity and control, even under duress.
Moving the tweeter to the top of the cabinet has other advantages. The overall cabinet height of CM10 is the same as that of CM9, but by adding just a little depth to the enclosure and then relocating both the tweeter and FST midrange drive units creates sufficient extra volume for an additional bass drive unit. So CM10 has 50 per cent more bass driver area than CM9, with three drivers rather than two.
It also gains in overall sensitivity, while bass alignment has been altered, allowing CM10 to be tuned lower. This gives it more extension, while the extra bass driver also helps reduce distortion, and enables a higher maximum output level. Attention has also been paid to the all-important midrange area, and CM10’s Kevlar FST driver is, for the first time in the CM Series, decoupled from the rest of the cabinet. This performance-orientated solution not only reduces audible cabinet coloration, but also makes the listener less aware of the position of the loudspeaker itself.
The FST drive unit is secured in place by a drawbar mechanism, as found in 800 Series Diamond models. Moving the midrange driver closer to the top of the cabinet has similar results to locating the tweeter on top: it improves upward dispersion and increases the sense of airiness.
The cumulative effect of all these improvements is that, when compared to CM9, CM10 plays louder, has a more extended bass, better imaging and lower distortion and coloration.
Price and Availability
Bowers & Wilkins CM10 is available August 2013 and priced at $4,000.00/pair US. Finish options include rosenut, wenge, or a painted black gloss.