Stretch a little more and move up to the N803's. Yes -- there is an audible difference -- especially if you support them with the right components. Is it
worth the money? Depends. It would be to me. Your milage may vary.
When I picked up my CDM9's the 1000 bucks(+ or -) wasn't worth the upgrade to the N804's. The speakers sounded somewhat similar. I second Rsbeck's suggestion for the N803's. Those were markedly better.
I would also suggest that if you can't afford the move to N803's take a listen to the N805's, I prefer 805's over the 804's.
I prefer the 804s over the CDM 9NT ... the CDM's bass is particularly boomy and the Nautilus tweeter, IMHO, is a marked improvement in all areas. The price difference is worth it. However, I found little difference between the 804s and the 803s - certainly not enough to justify an extra $1,500. The real step up is from the 804s to the 802s.
Everybody hears a little differently, I guess. Rlb61 has commented on the "boomy" nature of the CDM9's. I, along with most of the comments I've read regarding these speakers, disagree with that assessment. If anything, the knock on the CDM9's is that the bass is somewhat reserved. I've had to fiddle around w/ my system to improve the quantity of bass, not tame it. Anyway, the divergent opinions regarding the N80x's vs. the CDM9's should provide impetus to go out and listen, then decide for yourself.
CDM 9 have more bass, tweeter is less smooth, and overall sound is less refined. N803 is better for bigger room, N804 for smaller room.
Get some used 802's for the $5,000, forget the N803. I agree with RLB61 the 802'3 with the bowling ball midrange is where the big improvement lies.
Owned CDM 7NTs, the N803 and now N802s. The 803s and 802s I believe are the two best speakers for the money in the Nautilus line. The 802s add a larger sound stage, and, to my ears, a slightly more detailed midrange. My room is a living room, which runs into the dining room, with a large arched opening from the hallway, with large windows and 9' ceilings. Both speakers worked in this room -- the 803s are certainly adequate. Neither speaker is dependent on exact placement.
Having listened exensively to side by side comparisons of CDM 9, 804,and 803 using all curent Krell KAV equipment, I can say to my ear there is perhaps a slighter tighter deep bass in the 804, that was to me not always evident and not worth the $1000 price diff, so i bought the CDM9. The 803 blows them both away, but is much more $. Right now, I'm trying to decide whether to upgrade to 803 or go for broke (literally)on the 802, which with Krell is sensational, to me.
I had an opportunity to give the N804's an extended listen recently, and came away very impressed. My last session w/ these were over a year ago. The other day, using my personal amp, a crappy 15 year old Sony carousel CD player with patch cords and zip cord speaker wire, this system out performed mine noticably. The sonic improvements I can wholly attribute to the N804's, these speakers really shined. There were no sonic flaws that I could discern, sibilance was imperceptible. They were open, detailed and smooth as silk. In a word, wonderful. I'd love to upgrade to these.
Regarding the original question about the $1000 price difference, that's up to the individual. But, if I had the money, I'd upgrade today and be happy. However, all the comments regarding the superiority of the N803's over the other 2 speakers are on the mark. These would be my target speakers. I'd take the N803's in a heartbeat if the funds were available. I'd be happy w/ the N804's but thrilled w/ the N803's. The N802's are wonderful, but are too much speaker for me and my living room.
What about a set of B&W 703 or 704s?
700 series = new version ofCDM NT line
Nautilus 800 series = new version of Matrix series
704's = newer CDM 7NT
703's = newer CDM 9NT
N804's = newer Matrix 804
If you have high end quality components (dvd, pre/pre, amplifier, etc..), then the Nautilus line will sound much better.
If you have mediocore components, the 700 series is more forgiving and will hide the flaws and sounds.
The 804's are much better, if you have a dealer near you simply ask for a demo perhaps some james taylor or some steeley dan.. and listen to the overall sound, i have found the 804's to be superb, but it is all up to you, the listener.
Really just go listen to them
here is my suggestion...instead of spending a ton of cash on Nautulis 800 line give a listen to the Matrix 800 series. The matrix series is much more musical if maybe a tad less in detail than the Nautulis series. I had a pair of B&W 801 Matrix III for about 8 yrs. I
luved them to death. So when the Nautulis series came out i bought a pair of 802N's. I figured heck they gotta be better than the Matrix 800 series. Wrong!!! i kept the 802N's for 3 yrs. Tried to convince myself that they HAD to be better.
Well i just sold them and bought a pair of 801 Matrix III.
wow...back to nirvana. And i saved a ton of cash. i would highly reccommend the 802 or 801 matrix. You can get them
basically dirt cheap used. The Nautulis series IS more detailed but no where near as musical. The Nautulis sound
thin when compared to the Matrix. I just dont get that toe tapping feeling with the Nautulis like i do the Matrix. Just thought i convey my thoughts Happy Listening
Gotta agree with Rocky here.For the price of what you'd spend on the 9NT,N803, N804 or any Nautilus..You really have to check out the Matrix 801 S2 or S3.They are a real bargain for their used prices and deliver the goods I found the Matrix 801 S2 more musical and better balanced than the Nautilus 801 when at my local dealers show room. I was lucky to get my Dad to ultimately sell me his Matrix 801 S2 with Van Alstine fix on the Xover board. I thought I had my speaker in the Von Schweikert VR2, but the 13 year old Matrix 801's still shine...Just my experience..Happy Listening!--Ken