My friend has a pair of the JM Electra 936's. These are a very nice speaker. I really enjoy listening to them when I make the 14 hour drive out to his place once or twice a year. They in my opinion blow the CDM 9NT out of the water. I auditioned the B&W and bought the Paradigm Studio 100's a few years ago. The Nautilus tweeter in the B&W's is certainly nice but I preferred the overall sound of the 100's in no small part due to better bass handling. The non Be JM's use a very nice inverted dome tweeter which make lovely sound I enjoy very much. I've read that the Be tweeter which is basically the same design but with the lighter metal is a fair bit better still. I would audition the JM Lab speakers at your dealer including with the ones you mentioned a couple from the Electra line. Your Classe amp should drive these speakers wonderfully. My friend is using a pair of Meridian 505 monoblocks to power his 936's and the combo sounds great. Good hunting.
I've recently heard the Alto Utopias and they are impressive, but, when talking about a speaker that large and expensive, I wouldn't recommend making any decision based on comments you receive here. You really have to get them in your home and make sure your room is appropriate as well as your associated equipment.
For example, when I listened to them, I heard them with 3 different amps (all high quality) in the same room and the results were significantly different each time - some very good and some not so good.
Sorry not to be more help to your specific question, but I will say if you are looking at French speakers comparable to the B&W CDM series, I would look at the Cabasse models. They are less expensive and less hyped, but much better to my ears.
I heard the alto utopia's at delve audio in nj and it was one of the best setups I have heard at any price. Musical, detailed, fatigue free, full range with a huge stage and great image specificity. Give them a listen.
The Beryllium Utopia series has a much better damped cabinet compared to the older Utopia series. The newer line will be almost twice as heavy as the model it replaces. The older Utopia sounded like musical intruments themselves, but they were colored and not for a moment was I convinced that theirs was a faithful reproduction of the music. The coloration is an extended note decay probably a result of the underdamped enclosure. It gives the speaker a wooden sound and helps to make the listener imagine they are seated in a symphony hall. Also the bass was lacking in tautness, even when driven by Sim Audio W-5. Don't interpret this as a slam on the older speaker. They are very special and the closest I have ever head SS come to sounding like tubes was when the Mezzo Utopia/Utopia were in the system.
The Beryllium line has tighter bass as a result of its damping. The extended note decay is also gone. The cabinet is very inert. But the Beryllium line that I have heard including the Grande, Nova, and Alto all sound congested and opaque compared to the older Utopias. The Beryllium tweeter takes several hundred hours to break in and I don't know that I've ever heard them properly broken in. I have not warmed up to the sound of the new Beryllium speakers. There is no denying my bias.
Bottom line is that these two series are totally different in sound. You really should listen to both before a purchase decision is made.
I too heard the JM labs Be's (I think they were Alto or Nova's) at my local dealer here in Austin (Sound mind audio, who are very nice/knowledeable guys to dreal with). They were powered by Boulder amps........ I think the front end was Accuphase. They sounded REALLY GOOD, great detail, very musical. They are out of my budget so I didn't check model too closely, sorry.
I agree with the above post and would think that you need to audition them in your room........ they are big and expensive.
I too was listening to one of the beryllium series at my local dealer recently. I found myself thinking as much about potential health hazards as I did about music. Beryllium is nasty stuff that can cause a lung disease similar to silicosis.
I'm no hazardous materials expert, but I wonder if there are any risks associated with exposure to the beryllium in the speakers?
I have the Mezzo`s I have listened to both the Alto`s and Nova`s with CJ tube`s. I must admit they both sounded very nice. But must also admit they did not sound 10K better a good used pair of mezzo`s are going for 5.8 to 5K. As Ghostrider45 has mentioned about hazardous material each of the 3 seperate encloser`s are lead lined on the Grand Utopia`s, Utopia`s, amd Mezzo`s maybe JM Labs next model will have a plutonium woofer.(Ha Ha). David
I listened (obviously not what you're interested in but good FWIW) to the Mico Be for a very extended listening experience. Up to that time, it was the best damn monitor speaker I have ever heard. That is until I decided on Harmonic Precision's Caravelle. The Micros need a sub, but what monitor doesn't? Well, the Caravelle doesn't. Then, the fella at Singer, took me (upon my request) to listen to the Altos. Hooked up to some very serious electronics. Though, I didn't listen long, I loved the sound, but still thought the speakers overpriced (the Micros as well) and after listening to the Micros for a long time, did not find the soundstage as deep. Andy, the Singer in Singer Audio, is, also, very interested in listening to the Caravelles ab'd, believe it or not, against the Altos. Sould be interesting. This is down the road a bit, but hopefully will happen. Will keep you posted. peace, warren
Jazzdude your right about the new Utopias having a much better damped cabinet making it more rigid.
But I disagree with on the Sound of the Older Utopias.
My friend has the JM Lab Mezzo Utopias on a Conrad Johnson 2500A Amp, Krell KBL preamp. These speakers sound so natural and transparent. The Bass is so perfect. There the best speakers I ever heard in my life. I'm curious to hear the new Utopias line. I heard the new Beryllium tweeter takes awhile for it to break in.
I agree with the comments that anyone interested in the improvements of the new JMlabs line compared to the old should DEFINITELY go and audition them for themselves.
As far as Berylium goes, its effects are far more devastating than silicosis. Be is one of the more toxic substances around. For many years, material scientists/chemists have wavered on whether the myriad improvements(and they are real improvements) outweigh the risks in processing the material.
However, the danger IS IN PROCESSING berylium. It is the dust that can enter a person. Once in a stable state, those around should have no worries AT ALL. Sure, there are some real headbangers around here, but unless you are playing your music so loud that the speakers are being pulverized, and Be dust is forming a cloud in your listening room, you can rest easy.
Thanks for your responses. Actually I could still afford a used Mezzo Utopia at 5-6K but was told that the Beryllium is much better. Yeah right and the price for a brand new pair is a killer too.
I've just recently upgraded my amp from Classe CAP-100(excellent integrated) to CAM-200 but still considering what speaker will be replacing my old B&W CDM 1SE. Anyway guess I'll still be using these and wait until late next year hoping to see a pair of Novas Utopia Be in the used market. Tough chance!
Most probably I'll be getting the MEzzo Utopia next year since I won't be able to afford the new Beryllium range of speakers. How I wish I could have the Novas in my room!
I wonder why no one talk about Diapason III, this are
French speaker,very musical as a whole, of course
they are not perfect.
I would like to comment on the response to Beryllium as respiratory toxin. Beryliosis is caused by inhalation of the beryllium particles into the airway. In order for beryllium to go into aerosol form, you have to essentially have to heat the tweeter to it's melting point. Since the melting point of heavy metals are fairly high this would not usually in normal operating conditions of a speaker. Beryllium is toxic, however. It would not be a good idea to lick the tweeter and put yourself at risk for beryllium toxicity. Fortunately, in my 11 year career as pulmonologist, I have yet to see a case of Berylliosis.
I heard the next generation will be dampened with depleted uranium, have very special diamond matrix tweeters, and a special nitroglycerin reserve to reach those ultimate dynamic peaks! Or maybe not. It's just a rumor.
classeguy - Forgot to mention. Before you go spending money be sure to audition at least a few of the Kharma lineup.
Well,Ladies and Gentlemen.Let me categorically state the JM Lab Alto Be is the best speaker I have ever heard and I bought a pair based on the new direction that JM Labs has taken.Of course with any speaker that has a very detailed tweeter, it is best to use either valves or state of the art solid state amps of the highest caliber.I have just found that amp from Chapter Audio of England.I previously had the Italian Graaf GM 100,a otl 100 watt tube amp.There is no comparison.It does everything one of the best tube amps I have owned and betters it in every way.Kudos to Ryan at Canadian Hi-Fi for showing me nirvana and bliss can exit in solid state.I also use my 2 channel set-up with a Panasonic 50" plasma.Good luck to all and happy listening.I truely believe the best system is the one you enjoy.Jim
Alto $15000.00 / Nova $30000.00. Whoa nellie, thats a whole lot of money compared to the $2600.00 B & W CDM-9NT. Just one Utopia center channel speaker cost more than two pairs of CDMs!
I have the 9s, they are mightily compentent in their price range. Seriously you would be better off comparing the Signature line by B & W, or at least a Nautilus. Although even the N801 is less than half the price of the Novas.
I have heard the BE Altos. They are a fantastic speaker. Better than the CDMs? Absolutely, and at that price, they darned well better be.
Labtec, your right about Cabasse. They make some of the best sounding speakers. The Cabasse Iroise and Pacifica 600 are 2 of my favorite sounding speakers. They sound so articulate. The bass is so amazing