The Bowers and Wilkins CM9 is a flagship speaker with exceptional sound quality and a solid performer, out of the CM lineups, the CM9 is probably the best of the lot (excluding S2 and later series). Designed and built with quality in mind, they are still formidable even in this day and age. This pair of floor-standing speakers will require equally impressive amplifiers to power them. If you are currently looking for one then please read on.
We will be sharing with you a list of the best amplifiers that you can go for and partner them with your Bowers and Wilkins CM9 speakers. Before we start showing you the list, you might be interested to find out more about this flagship floor-standing speaker such as their strengths and sound characteristics. These are necessary information required to find the best matching amplifier for CM9 and can be useful to you in the future.
Sound Characteristics and Strengths of Bowers and Wilkins CM9
The most striking visual feature of Bowers and Wilkins CM9 will be the yellow midrange driver which really stands out no matter what type of cabinet finish you go for. Fortunately, it does blend in nicely with the rest of the speaker’s aesthetics which the overall speaker design should match well with most modern amplifiers. On top of the 6 inch (150mm) FST woven Kevlar midrange driver, you will find a 1 inch (25mm) aluminum dome tweeter and below the midrange unit will be two 6.5 inch (165mm) woofer units. It has a rear-firing bass port which immediately informs us not to place them too near to the walls. For listeners who want a stronger bass response, you can try placing them nearer to the walls instead.
The frequency response of Bowers and Wilkins CM9 is between 56Hz-22kHz (+/-3dB) which is good. The speaker sensitivity of CM9 is slightly lower than expected which is at 89dB. The recommended amplifier power starts from 30-200 Watts and their nominal impedance is 8 Ohms but does go down to about 3 Ohms. There is a probability that the Bowers and Wilkins CM9 will need a subwoofer to supplement their bass as it doesn’t dig deep enough into the bass extension. With these details, we can now filter down to a smaller pool of potential amplifier choices.
The transparent sound quality of the Bowers and Wilkins CM9 floorstanders are impeccable and the clarity is equally as impressive. The B&W CM9 has plenty of details and the highs are crisp sounding. At higher volumes, we notice the treble starts to get a bit bright but not to an extent that you will cringe. The snappy timing of the Bowers and Wilkins CM9 helps to deliver an energetic music presentation. The midrange reproduction is expressive and can be aggressive at times, it may not be as neutral sounding but it sounded quite natural with a bit of coloration.
Their low-frequency reproduction has scale and weight but lacks a certain level of richness and detail. We were thinking that adding a subwoofer into the mix will help open up the Bowers and Wilkins CM9 a little, which might add more depth and details in the bass region. CM9 has the ability to excite which makes this speaker ideal in a home theater setup as the main left and right channel speakers. The Bowers and Wilkins CM9 is still an ideal pair of stereo speakers for music listening which makes them quite a talented all-rounder at this price range.
The forward sounding B&W CM9 are really enjoyable speakers to listen to and are easier on the ears than some of the other B&W speakers which is a good thing and great for long music listening sessions. In a home theater setup, it is recommended to go with the CM series since they have the same sound signature and will perform seamlessly together. For the subwoofer though, we probably can go for other brands. The Bowers and Wilkins CM9 requires enough room space to sound their best, if it is not possible, you might want to use the foam port plugs. We have the information we need and it is time to share with you the best amplifiers which you can go for to match them with your CM9 speakers.
Bowers and Wilkins CM9 Specifications
- Speaker Type: 3-way rear-firing bass port
- Drive Units: 1 inch (25mm) aluminum dome tweeter, 6 inch (150mm) FST woven Kevlar midrange driver, and two 6.5 inch (165mm) woofer units
- Frequency Response (±3dB): 56Hz-22kHz
- Recommended amplifier power: 30-200 Watts
- Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms (min. 3.0 Ohms)
- Sensitivity (2.83V/1m): 89dB
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 1026mm x 201mm x 371mm | 40.4″ x 7.9″ x 14.6″
- Weight: 26.5kg (58.5lbs)
Best Amplifiers to match with Bowers and Wilkins CM9
The Rotel amplifiers are some of the top choices for B&W speakers, you might want to check out Rotel RA-1572MKII integrated amplifier. With a peak power of 200 Watts per channel (4 Ohms), the RA-1572MKII is powerful enough to drive your Bowers and Wilkins CM9 with ease. This amplifier has good control over the bass reproduction and would complement the CM9 in that area, the smooth-sounding characteristics will help ease the edges a little. It is also a punchy amplifier as well. The Rotel RA-1572MKII is a good match with the CM9 floor-standing speakers and worth your time to have a listen.
The Yamaha A-S2200 will be one of the best amplifiers to partner with your Bowers and Wilkins CM9, the overall sonic characteristics are quite similar to each other, which makes it easier to match them together. The A-S2200 has very good control over the music delivery, smooth sounding, and very detailed. The dynamic contrast of the amp does help to pick up the pace when it needs to. The overall sound reproduction is powerful and composed. The Yamaha A-S2200 also has enough muscles to drive your Bowers and Wilkins CM9 with ease. It would be interesting to listen and you should try auditioning them.
Cambridge Audio Azur 851A will be another amazing integrated amplifier that you should consider. It is a high-performance amplifier that has garnered plenty of accolades over the years. The Azur 851A has the power to drive your Bowers and Wilkins CM9, packed with a plethora of features. The amplifier has amazing clarity and has a bold presentation which makes it so entertaining to listen to. When matched with Bowers and Wilkins CM9, you will be enjoying your music listens for hours on end. You are getting quite a lot of sonic performance at this price point.
Rega Elicit-R is a great way to add more energy and liveliness into the overall music delivery, it is an integrated amplifier with superb pacing and precision timing. If you think that your Bowers and Wilkins CM9 speakers are a bit laid back, you probably want to partner them with the Rega Elicit-R. It is not like the music delivery is going all over the place, or trying to overemphasize certain parts of the frequency, the Elicit-R does provide realistic sound reproduction with plenty of details to boot. If only the amplifier has slightly more power but the current power output is still more than sufficient.
Talking about power output, if you find the earlier Rotel RA-1572MKII does not have enough power to your liking, then you might want to check out RA-1592MKII instead. This is a very powerful Class AB integrated amplifier, that has a maximum power output of 350 Watts (4 Ohms). The Bowers and Wilkins CM9 scales very well with power and with the right amplification. RA-1592MKII benefits from using Michi’s higher-end technology which gave them a significant upgrade in sound quality and sonic purity. Overall this amplifier is neutral sounding and has that dynamic punch, a fantastic amplifier to pair with your Bowers & Wilkins CM9 speakers.
For home theater setups, you might want to check out Denon AV receivers as they are well-matched with Bowers and Wilkins CM9 floorstanders. The Denon AVR-X6700H power output is at 175 Watts (6 Ohms – 2ch Drive) which is sufficient to drive the CM9 but it is recommended to add in an active subwoofer to help supplement the bass. For the subwoofer, we will suggest going for sealed subwoofers such as the SVS SB-3000. Sealed sub cabinets have greater bass control and richer details than ported version. Unless movie experience is your main priority then you should go for ported subs instead of sealed subs. Denon AVR-X6700H has another notable feature which will be 8K/60Hz, and 4K/120Hz pass-through, the latest in advanced video processing.
Going the HiFi separates route is a good option, you can check out Rotel pre and power amps. For a more digital preamp and has amazing music streaming capabilities, you can take a look at Cambridge Audio. They have great power amplifiers as well. The listed amplifiers here are worthy of your consideration, and you should audition them first before making a decision. When it comes to sound quality, your own ears are your best judges, and hunting for amplifiers can be a very fun process.