I've been trying to buy a pair of these for about a month. Finally found a dealer that's willing to sell a pair today, so I'll be taking a long ride tomorrow to take a listen and hold them in my hand. I spoke to a guy at B&W USA and he said that they are a step up from the LM's. I will let you know tomorrow night how they sound. It's going to be hard to find them used; I had a hard time finding them new.
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Are you talking about the NHT XD satellite speakers? The XD's retail for like $3000-4000 for a pair with stands; the B&W M-1's are $400 a pair and about 1/3 the size.
The L-5's are much bigger than the M-1's. It's $675 each, but you can find them on the net for $500 each. Like you said, dealers are very biased toward what they sell.
Getting back to the M-1's, I've been looking around for a small and stylish wall mountable monitor to use in my office. The source will be my pc driving a pair of Monarchy SE100 Delux monos. I want good sound, but don't want to look at a square box. In addition, the M-1's in white with the silver stand should match perfectly with a MAC.
Alright, I burned them in for a few days and did some critical listening this morning.
The system consists of a Soltek Quit SFF Pentium4 3.2 GHz PC w/2GB RAM and upgraded power supply. I have almost 900 CD ripped onto a 400GB SATA-II HD using Windows Media Player 10 in WMA Lossless. The CD's were ripped at 4x speed using error correction. The soundboard is an M-Audio revolution 7.1 connected to a pair of Monarchy Audio SE-100Delux class A mono blocks using a Signal cable mini to balanced cable. The subwoofer is a DIY sealed design based on a Rhythmik Audio 250SE plate amp and a Titanic 8" driver. The sub and amps are plugged into a PS-audio UPC-200 power conditioner. I use the volume control in windows and bass management in the M-audio software to control the sub crossover, phase and volume. Speaker wire is 16g radio shack lamp cord. Eventually, these speakers will be wall mount and I have 16g wire in the walls. Speakers were placed about 3 feet apart on either side of my 20" LCD monitor. The front edge of the speakers are about 4" forward of the LCD monitor and they are slightly towed in. In addition, the speakers are about 30" from the rear wall. I sat about 3 feet from the speakers, so this is a near field listening experience. Again, eventually the speakers will be mounted up on the wall about 5 feet apart, angled down slightly, and about 5 feet from the listening position.
I compared three different speakers. The first, a pair of small Canton CD10 monitors. The Cantons are the smallest of the three and retail for about $250. This is probably not really a fair comparison as the Cantons are much smaller than the other two pairs of speakers. However, I decided to give them a listen as this thread is about small wall mountable speakers. These speakers are normally hooked up to my wifes computer (MAC mini) and paired with a custom DIY 2.1 channel sub.
The Cantons are a decent little speaker. I have a few small problems with them, though. First, they have a slight hump in the lower mid-bass around about 120 Hz. A lot of small speakers have a mid-bass hump to make them sound like they have more bass than they actually do. Second, they have a little lack of detail in the treble. I guess this is good for movies, what they are primary designed for.
The next speakers I listened to were a pair of B&W LM1 leisure monitors. The LM1's are the largest of the three and retail for $350/pair.
I like the LM1's a lot; very good mids, nice treble extension and good imaging. I could listen to these speakers all day long. Again, I have small niggles with them. First, like all three speakers here, they have no bass below about 75 Hz; they must be used with a subwoofer. Second, the love it or hated looks. Personally, when they're wall mounted, I like the looks. However, I don't like the way they look when stand or shelf mounted. However, the choice of 5 colors is a plus. And finally, they lack the last level of detail in the treble.
The final speaker is the B&W M-1's. They slot right in between the other two speakers when it comes to size. They are the heaviest of the three. They retail for $400/pair which makes them the most expensive. My pair was finish in white with a chrome foot; very chic and they match perfectly with my wifes MAC Mini computer. The M-1's feature the Nautilus tweeter.
Of all three speakers I liked the M-1's the best. They have accurate treble with lots of detail, great mids, good imaging and they got my toes a tappin'. I heard details in the music that I either could not hear or were less defined on the other speakers. I attribute this to the Nautilus tweeter design. However, I also had a few niggles with the M-1's. First is the afore mentioned lack of bass; not really a problem, just a consideration when choosing speakers in the mini-monitor class. Second, the B&W logo on the grill looks cheesy like an afterthought. Finally, connecting speaker wire is a pain in the ass. B&W wanted to eliminate the speaker while showing at the back of the speaker, so they devised a design where the wire is connected at the bottom of the foot. The connector is in an awkward position and you have to use a supplied Allen wrench to tighten down a set screw. In addition, you can only use wire up to 16g and no pins, spades or bananas.
To sum things up I would rate the Cantons as my least favorite of the three. It's a good little speaker but lacking detail in the treble. Again, Canton targets these speakers to the 5.1 crowd and they scored a bulls eye. In addition, remember these are the smallest and least expensive of the three speakers.
Now, when it comes to the M-1's and the LM1's, it's a matter of personal preference. I preferred the more detailed treble of the M-1's as well as the smaller size and the chic styling. However, if you prefer a more forgiving speaker and more color choices, then go with the LM1's.
In the next few days, I will mount the M-1's up on the wall. If there is any change in the sound, I will post an update. As for the other two pairs of speakers; they will be relegated back to the systems whence they came from.
A lot of people say that B&W speakers are bright. Having owned eight pairs, including N805sigs, over the years I find them revealing, but not bright. Like they say: garbage in - garbage out.