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Cambridge M60s: Another clean sounding bookshelf speaker from Cambridge Soundworks
Sep 7, 2005
Review by Horswispr
Rated a Very Helpful Review
The Cambridge Soundworks M60s are, I believe, Cambridge's second largest bookshelf-style speakers from the newer "Newton" M series. The M60s are quite small (just over 13" H x 8" W x 9" D) and moderate in weight (about 14 lbs per speaker) but sound quite good, especially when mated with decent electronics and a subwoofer. At their price (about $350/pair retail or $275/pair or so on sale), they are worth a listen if you are looking for small high quality speakers for your home or office.
Recommend this product?
While the previously reviewed M80, the flagship of the Newton M bookshelf line, is a three-way speaker, the M60 is a two-way, featuring a 6" woofer and a 1" silk fabric tweeter. Unlike the M80s, the M60s are not set up for bi-wiring, but they do use high quality binding posts similar to those on the M80s.
The M60s are available in blonde maple, mahogany real-wood finishes, as well as a darker "slate" finish. I find them to be attractive and modern without being obtrusive or too weird looking.
Frequency response is rated as 65 hz to 22 khz (no tolerance given), which is about what you'd expect from a speaker of this size using a high quality tweeter. What it means in plain English is that the speakers will provide all the mid- and high-frequencies, but due to their small size, they will not produce the bottom octave-and-a-half or so of music. Pipe organ and synthesizer freaks will want to use a subwoofer with these speakers.
Minimum recommended power is 10 watts per channel, and maximum power handling is rated at 125 watts per channel. Sensitivity is rated at 88 db, which is about average. Nominal impedance is 8 ohms, meaning that your average receiver should have no trouble driving these speakers. The M60s use a bass reflex (ported) design.
Overall, I like the M60s. The sound is reminiscent of the M80s, but with less extended bass, and perhaps less subjective "fullness." The M60s' treble is crisp without being too "in your face," and midrange timbres are reproduced quite accurately.
Both the M60 and M80 sound a bit brighter and more forward than Cambridge's own Model Seventeens or Model Sixes, probably because the M series speakers both use a more modern tweeter with greater high frequency extension.
Imaging (the ability to produce the illusion of musicians in three-dimensional space) is also quite good with the M60s, especially when the speakers are placed far away from walls. To do this you need stands or small tables.
When placed near walls, as on a typical bookshelf, the M60s' bass sounded fuller, but the imaging was not as good. This is a typical tradeoff with small bookshelf speakers.
As with the M80s (though in slightly lesser degree), microdynamics (subtle changes in volume) were reproduced well through the M60s, and individual instruments could be differentiated quite well. In this way, both the M60 and M80 are quite a bit better than the less expensive models Seventeen and Six.
Another thing I liked about the M60s was the tightness of the bass. The 60s do NOT go deep, but the bass they produce is tight and punchy, rather than bloated or artificial sounding.
A minor warning: Like the M80s, the M60s are not bright sounding (too trebly), but they ARE extended enough in the high frequencies that they are more likely to reveal problems with cheap components or poorly recorded CDs than are the less expensive Seventeens or Sixes.
I've never tested the M60s ultimate volume limits, but they were able to play fairly loud without breaking up. Their overall dynamic range (volume contrast between loud and soft passages, and ability to reproduce loud transients) was also surprisingly good, better than the less expensive Seventeens and Sixes.
In conclusion, I like the M60s. If you are willing to do a little fiddling (setting them up away from walls for imaging; pairing them up with a decent subwoofer if you like deep bass), they are good small speakers, with accurate midrange, extended treble, and tight but not particularly deep bass.
If you're a more casual listener, and just want something you can put on your bookshelf and forget about, be sure to also check out Cambridge's models Six and Seventeen, both of which are often on sale for under $200/pair, and are surprisingly musical for very inexpensive speakers.
All Cambridge Soundworks speakers still have a 45-day complete satisfaction guarantee, so you can take them home, give them a listen, and return them for a full refund if you're not happy with how they sound in your home system.
To read more about Cambridge Soundworks speakers, or to see what's on sale right now, check out their website at:
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Amount Paid (US$): 275/pair
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