Used 804 N or S vs New CM10 S2?


I'm considering one of these speakers, but I'm unable to find a pair of the 804's to listen to prior to purchase, but have heard the CM10's extensively. On the used market, these speakers seem to sell for about the same price with the newer CM10's selling for just a bit more. Since it will be almost impossible for me to be able to listen to these speakers with the same system and A/B them, I'm curious if anyone else has done so.

I have seen a handful of threads online in various places, but can't really find any first hand experience. I know the freq response on the 804's is slightly lower and the bass is probably a bit tighter (even on an older speaker?), but my question, I suppose, would be more in a comparison of imaging/soundstage because the design is similar, but the tweeters are very different.

Any experience here would be greatly appreciated!
"but the tweeters are very different."

With B&W, the tweeters always seem to be the problem. If you can't get a really good, firsthand demo, I would pass.It's just too risky.
What will you use to drive these?

FWIW, I used to have the older CM4 powered by Rotel RB1080 (200W). I upgraded to 804S and suddendly the treble was brittle. It was the more revealing speaker now allowing me to hear the amp's limitations. I upgraded the amp to McIntosh MC275 (tubes), after listening in the same system the 804S with MC275 and MC252 (solid state). Both sounded great, but I liked the tubes better.

Can't talk about the 804N. Never heard them. The 804S are very good when paired with the right equipment, like any other speaker.
What's driving them? Well, I'm really only getting started with this "hobby" so what I have currently is a new Marantz 5009 and I'm using the pre outs going to an Adcom GFA 555II, but I just purchased tonight (from here), a Rotel 1090 (380W/channel) amp that will be here shortly and that is what will be driving them for the time being as I move through the chain and upgrade/add pieces. I had CM10's hooked up to the Adcom and it really didn't sound like it had enough reserve power when played at higher volumes. It was also a little bright/harsh when compared to just playing through the Marantz so it seemed like a good idea to move up a step with the amplifier. This appears to be something that will turn into a long term deal with me and I just can't throw tons of money at it all at once so I'll be putting it together in steps. I've listened t the 804 Diamonds side by side with the CM10's and the are certainly better - a little tighter base, slightly better imaging and more revealing highs than the CM10's) but not in my budget and probably won't be for a year or so at least...

I currently have a pair of 685's and 683's up for sale here. The CM10's I had for a couple of weeks here at my home were worlds better than the 683's. Having heard better speakers in my home, I honestly can't keep the 683's so I have to get something I like more...hence the question and the upgrade path I'm looking for!

Thanks for the replies,
Keep in mind I haven't heard the CM10 so what follows is a bit of a guess.
- the new power amp is a Rotel RB1090, which is better than the RB1080 I had yet probably not in a different league,
- the RB1080 plus 804S sounded harsh to me (which you may or may not share),
- the old CM4 and RB1080 didn't bother me,
- you don't want to be spending more money in the coming months

I'm inclined to suggest you drop the 804S off your list. It's a bit counterintuitive suggesting this as I tend to think priority should be placed on better speakers. But this can also lead to insatisfaction with the rest of the chain. That would be your judgement call.

As for CM10 vs. 804N, I can't really offer much insight as I haven't heard either one.

What kind of music do you listen to?
What source/s do you use?

Don't rush it. Well, at least to me the learning involved in each upgrade has been part of the enjoyment.
I heard the series 1 CM10s (driven by expensive ClassE separates) and thought them good. They stomped all over the Golden Ear Triton 2s that were also available for audition--much better timbral texture and depth, musical instruments sounded like musical instruments rather than an electronic version of same. In that room on that day they didn't sound bright to me. My hunch is that they will be much more livable in the long run than the 804s (which might sound better with exactly the right amplification, cabling, position, etc.)
Thank you for the continued responses. Since my first post, I've decided to go ahead and purchase a few additional items - these would be entry level but should be better than the Marantz for stereo and I will probably continue to upgrade items over time; an Adcom GTP 500 pre amp and a Rotel RCD 1072 CD player. I also have a ML Dynamo 1000 sub. My room dimensions are 12' wide X 30' long X 8' high so the sub was needed even when I had the CM10's hooked up through the Adcom GFA 555II to deliver some of the lower end...

If I can't audition a pair of the older 804's, I think the CM10 S2's might be a good bet, but would still love to hear from someone who has heard a side by side comparison!

Totally agree with this:

"Don't rush it. Well, at least to me the learning involved in each upgrade has been part of the enjoyment. "
Glad you agree with that phrase. Yet it does look like you are rushing it! :-)

So you bought th RCD1072. Very good unit. I had it in that Rotel setup I mentioned.
As good as it is, though, a stock Squeezebox Touch playing wav files from the same CD the RCD was playing sounded as good. But provided greater flexibility. Eventually sold the RCD and upgraded the SBT with a stand alone DAC.

So you use other sources, or envision doing so soon? Asked another way, why do you need a preamp? I do have one, but in my experience it takes a very good pre to surpass a good DAC with volume control connected directly to an amp. Of course this is not a general statement, though.

I thought you didn't want to spend more money, but you bought a pre and a cd player on the spot.
"I thought you didn't want to spend more money, but you bought a pre and a cd player on the spot.
Lewinskih01 (Threads | Answers | This Thread)"

Yes, but he bought a Rotel 1072. Its a smart buy, impulse purchase or not.


I'm just curious, but have you considered anything else other than B&W speakers? You seem to be having a difficult time trying to build a system around them. There's plenty of other choices.
Well, I didn't get the CD player...I have started trying to figure how to get everything to work together - I thought maybe I would set up the system for stereo and just use the receiver for movies/tv/ least that's sort of what I'm thinking...I think what I will do at this point is get the new amp in and see how it goes. I really need to focus on the speakers as that's going to be the most significant change in sound for the system...

Thanks for the replies!
Well, I would consider something other than the B&W's...
804s will be too revealing for this system, can't recommend them. CM 10's are nice. Will be curious to hear if Adcom sounds better than your Marantz as a preamp. A friend was recently looking at the CM10s and decided they liked Focal's new towers better. Food for thought.
Well, I have the Rotel 1090 amp coming later this week along with the Adcom preamp. Currently they are hooked up to 683 S2's so I'm not sure how much of a difference I will hear compared to the Marantz as a preamp and the Adcom GFA 555II as an amp. Will have that section of the system switched out later this week so I will see. Speakers seem to be the next logical upgrade...
Sorry I didn't chime in sooner, but didn't think you were going on an electronics buying spree so soon. I would have recommended choosing the speakers first, then choose an amp that has the appropriate power and sonic traits that match well with the speakers and your sonic preferences. And same for the latter with the preamp, which IME and in my system has a greater impact on sound than the amp although YMMV.

B&W speakers are fine, but there are lots of excellent speaker manufacturers out there so not sure why you're focusing only on B&W? If you haven't yet had the opportunity to listen to some other speakers I'd make that priority one. Getting that perspective is critical IMHO to be able to choose speakers that are truly a good fit for you. Other than imaging and soundstaging I don't recall seeing what sonic characteristics are most important to you so can't really make any other good recommendations at this point. I will say that if imaging/soundstage are important, brands such as Joseph Audio, Vandersteen, Reference 3A, and Silverline (just to name a few off the top of my head) are some speakers you should try to hear. Anyway, just my 2 cents for whatever it's worth, and best of luck in your search.
I'm going to listen to some Vandersteens today actually, but I had to start somewhere hence the original question and since I have had the CM10's in my house, I thought I needed to start with something. Not sure I fully intended to get into this, butI am now!

I did know the Adcom amp was very temporary so the Rotel 1090 was an easy upgrade and was only $700. I also wanted to see if I would find much difference by going to a preamp from the receiver and the Adcom pre was only $150. I'm selling some other items so I actually have money left over from that and if they aren't what I am looking for, I think I can sell them for close to what I paid.

Basically, I wanted to get a "system" together and try to get a good feel for all of it and then work out differences as I go along an upgrade path.

However, I do know for certain that the 683's I have now will need to go (just received an acceptable offer on them) so I figured that would be the best place to start trying to get some advice here...

Hopefully that makes some sort of sense!
Well, I went with the CM10's...

I hooked them up yesterday with the Adcom amp. The Rotel 1090 will be here today so before I swap amps out I'll do a little listening and then swap and see how much of a difference the amp makes. The Adcom is a little bright and sounds a tad underpowered at higher for the other characteristics, I'll need to compare before I can ascertain any meaningful differences.
Congrats! Those are fine speakers. You already know this I'm sure, but do a lot of playing with toe-in, wall separation, and distance separation between them - their personality can be massaged with even minor changes in positioning. I wish my listening space was large enough for floor standers like that, I'd own a pair in a second. And give your ears a chance to acclimate to their sound - I always go through a little initial speaker shock when I purchase new speakers, and then my ears get used to them and we sort of settle in together.
"04-22-15: Ryanward
Well, I went with the CM10's...

I hooked them up yesterday with the Adcom amp. The Rotel 1090 will be here today so before I swap amps out I'll do a little listening and then swap and see how much of a difference the amp makes."

The 1090 is a really good amp. Especially for the speakers you have. Like the RCD 1072, its just one of those products that they got right in a way that just stands out from other products in their price range.
I have the 804N and drive them with Rotel RC-1550 and RB-1582. It is a nice pairing. When the original CM10s came out I went to listen and was happy to stay with my 804Ns. I also have the ASW800 sub with them.
So how do you like the 1090 with CM10s?