CM10 uncovered: Senior Product Manager Mike Gough on the science behind the best CM yet

Bowers & Wilkins CM10 hifi speaker in White

We asked Senior Product Manager Mike Gough about the technology used within the new CM10 speaker starting off with the all-important tweeter-on-top question:

• CM10 is the first speaker in the CM Series to use a tweeter-on-top configuration. What advantages does that approach offer?

The  tweeter-on-top configuration originated in our DM7 model, launched in 1978. This is the first time we’ve applied it to a CM Series loudspeaker.

In any loudspeaker, the narrower the enclosure compared to the driver’s diaphragm, the wider and more consistent with frequency the dispersion becomes. Look at any CM-Series loudspeaker and you’ll notice that the sides of the main cabinet are as close as possible to the bass and midrange drivers. We do that because it improves imaging and reduces any change in sound character for listeners not in the central ‘hot seat’.

It’s a natural progression for us to treat the tweeter the same way, which is why we have introduced a tweeter-on-top housing to CM10. Not only does imaging improve, but the sound gains a more ‘out of the box’ quality.

You’re more aware of a truly three-dimensional sound and less of where the speakers are in the room.

• Any other advantages to this configuration?

Drive units can very easily excite resonances in the structure of the cabinet within which they’re mounted. We want to prevent vibration travelling from one drive unit to another, so in CM10 the tweeter is compliantly mounted from its housing. Then the housing itself is compliantly mounted from the main body of the cabinet. It’s a very effective decoupling system.

• Is the tweeter itself the same as with other CM Series speakers?

No the CM10 uses a new design, inspired by the research we conducted on the Carbon Braced Tweeter employed in our PM1 loudspeaker. Here, we’ve strengthened the edge of the aluminium dome using a second aluminium layer that replicates the main dome’s profile with the centre part cut out. This gives us a new Double Dome design.

• What does the Double Dome Tweeter do for performance?

The Double Dome pushes the first break-up frequency up from the 30kHz of our standard dome to 38kHz in the new design. This makes the tweeter purer and more piston-like in the all-important audible band below 20Hz. The result is exceptional clarity and control, even under duress.

• What else is new in CM10?

Another advantage of the change in tweeter configuration is that, within the same overall height of our CM9 loudspeaker, we’ve managed to get in a third bass driver, giving us both improved sensitivity and enhanced low-frequency response. Put that another way: in CM10, we’ve got the ability to both play louder, and to deliver less audible distortion when doing so.

CM10 also features an FST midrange drive unit as in the CM9, but here the FST drive unit is decoupled using a supporting rod anchored at the back of the cabinet, much as in an 800-Series loudspeaker. This compliant mounting mechanism stops unwanted vibrations from the moving diaphragm getting into the drive unit, delivering a cleaner, less coloured sound.

4 Comments

  • Rick Geyer says:

    Ive had these speakers now for a couple of weeks and absolutely love everything about them.

  • Rick Geyer says:

    I wanted to note I first purchased the cm5′s for my living room and for a small speaker they can really fill the room with such a full beautiful sound. I heard that the cm10 was coming out and knew i had to have them for my main listening room. I’ have the cm10′s connected to a pair of emotiva xpa-1 mono blocks and the sound is so dynamic and accurate , especially when it comes to the vocals. I am very impressed and am so happy to have found these speakers . I hope to enjoy them for many years to come.

    I’ve become a big fan of b&w speakers.

  • Glenn Kotnik says:

    I’ve had my CM-10s for only 3 days now but I am ready to venture the opinion that they are fantastic. My 20 year old Thiels were hard to part with but I wanted something with more modern technology but under 6 k$. The expansiveness of the CM-10 soundstage is phenomenal. Instruments are clearly defined in space. I love the fine detail I hear in the sound, very lifelike. There is detail and texture I have never heard before in either my CDs or vinyl.

  • John Guenther says:

    I’ve had my CM10s for a few months now. I’m thoroughly satisfied. I use a VTA ST120 amp and VTA SP12 preamp and both vinyl and digital music sound fabulous. I’ve spent hours playing around with the setup and these speakers perform exceptionally well for my wide range of music listening. The extended bass is lovely and the mids and tweeters werk just like good B&Ws are known to. Thank you B&W for a great and affordable product.

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