Bowers & Wilkins CM8

The Bowers & Wilkins CM8 loudspeaker offers a stylish three-way design seemingly designed for cramped spaces, as it has the same footprint as a bookshelf speaker.

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Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
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When it comes to eye-catching speaker design they don't come any more high-profile or sophisticated than Britain's Bowers & Wilkins. Whether it's the snail-shell Nautilus enclosures or the demure CM series, the company offers some of the best looking, and sounding, speakers around.

The CM8 replaces the existing CM7 speaker and offers the performance of the big daddy CM9 in a cabinet with the footprint of the CM1 bookshelf speaker. Unlike other speakers in this category, the CM8 offers a true "three-way" design" (and not "two-and-a-half-way") by offering a single 130mm (5-inch) woven Kevlar mid-range unit, a pair of 130mm paper/Kevlar cone bass drivers and a 25mm tube-loaded dome tweeter.

B&W says the CM Series offer longer voice coils and larger magnets than the entry-level 600 Series below it, which delivers "more punch and attack, but also cuts down on distortion".

The company is offering the speakers in a choice of four finishes — gloss white, gloss black white, rosenut and wenge — and charges the same price for each. Like many new speakers, the grilles attach magnetically, which eliminates the pockmarks caused by normal grille-mounting holes.

The local distributor is offering the CM8 at a AU$200 discount on the outgoing CM7 model (AU$2999).