New speaker disappointment


Unregistered guest
I've been lurking here and now need help. The foam surrounds on my 20-yr old Infinity bookshelf speakers dissolved, so I decided to upgrade to a new home theater/audio system. Although I've read tons of recommendations here, I went with Cambridge Soundworks speakers for convenience - M80s front, MC300 center, S300 surrounds, and P200 subwoofer; at their warehouse sale the total was around 1/3 off. I plan to buy the Marantz 5500 when it is finally released (early December they told me) but until then I thought I'd give the M80s a try with my old Scott receiver.

Too much sound is "missing". The bass is good, but you cannot hear the tinkle of a triangle or the vibration of a violin string - the sound is there but without any detail ("closed in"). Even my 4-year old daughter said the old Infinitys sound better (playing Disney's Greatest Hits).

I know I need to hook these speakers up with the new Marantz receiver (when I get it), but I don't expect they'll sound any better. I won't hear more highs as the speakers break in, will I? Will biwiring help with the high end?

I have 45 days to test these, but I'm not sure I'll need that long. I want neutral sound, "crisp" but not harsh. I want to keep the total speaker system to $1,400-1600. I've heard low-end Polk and B&W and will have to give them another try. Monitors are supposed to be a good match to the Marantz, as are Axioms (but I'm wary of mail order returns).

What can I do to try to make these sound better, or is it a lost cause?

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 1811
Registered: Dec-03
Cambridge Soundworks are loved by those who enjoy a more laidback sound, but I certainly disgree that they lack detail (my opinon only). If you feel that they are mellow or lacking in detail, pairing them with Marantz will not improve what you hear and no amount of break in will do it any good. You were accustomed to the Infinity and they are a bit more crisp, so switching to Cambridge didn't help matters any.

I did not like the low end B&W, not enough detail and I think you will find the same specially with your preference. My suggestion is to go with the Polks or Axioms. Don't worry about Axiom being mail order, I haven't a bad experience with this company and I've purchased quite a few for some people. And yes, Monitor Audios do sound well with Marantz. Actually, i think Monitor Audios sound well with a lot of receivers.


Unregistered guest
Suggest you go for the MA S1 or S2 or the exceptionally 'bang for buck' MA B2.
You will definately hear the triangles and violins with the MA, they incorporate metal dome tweeters which sound very smooth and hardly bright/harsh after a short break-in period. Axioms are quite good too for the price (M22ti), rest assured with all the positive reviews online.


New member
Username: Jim_mcbob

Post Number: 2
Registered: Nov-04
Cambridge SoundWorks? Ugh! Return them; they do NOT get better over time. Matter of fact, upgrades in componentry only further underscore CSW's limitations. Go with the recommendations here, or on the major publications' websites.

Shame on CSW for repeatedly trotting out the corpse of Henry Kloss (metaphorically speaking, of course) to shill their awful speakers.

Bronze Member
Username: Natediggidy

Baltimore, Maryland U.S.A.

Post Number: 57
Registered: May-04
To JonS, which Infinity bookshelve's do you have? If it's one of the models with the E.M.I.T. tweeter, then it may be difficult indeed to find some other speaker to match the "air" and "detail" of your Infinity's.

Speaker surround's can be replaced with updated materials that won't suffer the same fate.
Check ebay for surround replacement kits specifically for Infinity's if you want to DIY or seek out a qualified repair shop to do it for you.

BTW, have you considered an Ifinity speaker set for your HT? They have some current models out that do no shame, to the Infinity name ;^) .

New member
Username: Vikram


Post Number: 4
Registered: Nov-04
Hey... my two bits here..belive me i swear on the e80's of JBL i just love the drivers on them......

Unregistered guest the infinity's. Do a google can do it yourself for cheap. Less than $50.00

Unregistered guest
Thanks for the input. In order:

Berny - When my CS gets the Marantz 5500 I'll hook up the CS speakers again. Portions of the sound were clearly de-emphasized, but new wire and a new receiver should make them sound completely different.

OnimushaLord - I plan to hear a set of MAs next weekend. A bronze setup with a Marantz 5500 or lowest-end Pioneer Elite should keep me around my $2,000-2500 limit (keeps creeping up). I'm also going to listen to low-end DefTechs for a comparison (the unpowered bookshelves).

Jim-Bob - They'll probably go back. I just need to run a better test of what they can do. Fit and finish is excellent, and the sound in the showroom was very good. But it's the sound at home that matters most. . .

Nathan (and mauimusicman) - I bought my Infinitys in 1984 - RS 9B ($200/pair); the manual just says "PolyCell" tweeter. I plan to replace the surround - Parts Express sells 6-1/2" foam surrounds for $20 - but I'll see if I can get a longer lasting material than foam. I will use these with the same receiver for the second zone. I haven't checked out Infinity's current models for the simple reason that there are other speakers that people rave about.

Vikram - JBLs interest me. I considered putting together a bookshelf-size system, but I was a little put off to the brand by having to go to Best Buy to hear them (they sounded decent even on that lousy setup). The price is right, but how is the sound?

Again - thanks for the responses. I probably jumped the gun, but sometimes venting helps me find a direction.
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