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The Benchmark Bookshelf Loudspeaker

"The State Of The Art Of Budget Loudspeakers"
-Jeff Van Dyne, GoodSound

Setting new performance standards for affordable accurate sound reproduction for two channel stereo reproduction and multi-channel home theater.

Signature Edition... Legendary performance now even better!



100% MONEY




Our CBM-170SE has achieved worldwide recognition as the modern standard in affordable bookshelf speaker performance. A speaker specifically designed for accuracy, power handling, high sensitivity, surprising dynamics and compactness.

Its unique squarish shape is a demonstration of form following function, keeping diffraction at bay while maximizing cabinet volume. This is a true bookshelf speaker, being easy to place nearly anywhere, on a shelf, in a bookshelf, on a stand, and even wall mounted – with little to no compromise on performance.

Along with tens of thousands of happy customers, the CBM-170SE is being used in research labs, recording studios, college music rooms and even a few bars. It has been in continual production since 1999, with only one change - from the original version to the now standard Signature Edition.



  • Hand assembled, tested, and packaged in the USA!
  • All cabinet edges are radiused, reducing negative diffraction effects.
  • Our 27mm double-chambered neodymium tweeter is custom manufactured for us by SEAS of Norway.  This highly specialized tweeter features a ferro-fluid damped voice coil, extremely low distortion, extended response, wide dispersion and high power handling.
  • Real woofer phase plug (instead of dust cap) linearizes and widens dispersion, improves voice coil cooling (extending woofer life) and improves airflow thereby increasing efficiency and power handling.
  • Flush mounted drivers and grille mounts minimize diffraction and reduce high-frequency baffle reflections.
  • Proprietary 6.5" polygel woofer (composite fibers stabilized with an acrylic polymer-gel) provides exceptional stiffness yet is extremely lightweight and well damped, providing tight bass, accurate mids, extremely low stored energy and accurate transient reproduction.
  • Rear port tube enhances bass response, increases efficiency, and lowers distortion.
  • 5 way gold plated brass binding posts ensure a low resistance and secure connection to a wide variety of speaker cable connectors.
  • M6 threaded insert for trouble-free and secure mounting to popular wall mount brackets.
  • Advanced dual layer crossover featuring air-core inductors and metallized polypropylene capacitors in the direct signal path.

     CBM-170SE crossover



Typical In-Room Frequency Response 53Hz - 20kHz
Typical In-Room Sensitivity 93dB @ 2.83v / 1 meter
Nominal Impedance 8 ohms
Max Continuous Power* 200 watts
Max Short Term Peak Power* 400 watts
Cabinet Detail internally braced 5/8" MDF, magnetically shielded, bass reflex via rear tuned port
Tweeter (1) 27mm custom soft dome tweeter, double-chambered w/neodymium magnet, ferrofluid cooled voice coil, wide dispersion faceplate, manufactured by SEAS of Norway
Woofer (1) proprietary 6.5” long throw woofer featuring a composite polygel cone, real phase plug, non-resonant polymer chassis, rubber surround, vented former, magnetically shielded
Connections (2) gold plated all metal 5 way binding posts
Inserts (1) M6 threaded insert for simple mounting to wall mount brackets
Anechoic Frequency Response 58Hz - 22kHz +/- 3dB
Anechoic Sensitivity 89dB @ 2.83v / 1 meter
Dimensions H x W x D** 12" x 9" x 10"
Speaker Weight (each) 14 pounds
Shipping Weight (each) 16 pounds
Minimum Recommended Amplifier Power Rating for Speaker Distance to Listening Position
3 Feet or Less 1 watt minimum
9 Feet or Less 8 watts minimum
15 Feet or Less 23 watts minimum
21 Feet or More 45 watts minimum
     *Unclipped peaks      **Grille On



*All of the measurements you see below are unsmoothed and use a 5dB/division scale where appropriate. It is common for loudspeaker manufacturers to publish measurements that have been smoothed to 1/3 octave (meaning 3 graph points per each octave) and use a 10dB/division scale. This has a tendency to make the graphs look smoother than they are.

We have chosen to be different.

Full-range quasi-anechoic on-axis frequency response @ 1 meter unsmoothed:
Frequency Response Graph

Horizontal & Vertical off-axis + listening window @ 1 meter unsmoothed:
Off-Axis Graph

Impedance + Electrical Phase:
Bode Graph

Cumulative Spectral Decay:
CSD Graph



Both the on- and off-axis frequency response measure so flat that this little gem exceeded our initial expectations and is suitable for professional studio monitoring. This means that sound is reproduced almost exactly as it was recorded, making it ideal for audio and home theater usage. We promise that you will hear information hidden deep within even the most stubborn recordings.

Vocals sound clean, natural, and truly 3-dimensional. The treble is detailed, smooth, and crisp yet pleasantly subtle.

Because we elected to focus on vocal accuracy and clarity, instead of unrealistic over emphasized bass (like most other speakers in this class,) bass is fast and tight, not boomy and muddy. If you desire deeper bass extension, we recommend pairing the CBM-170 SE with a high-quality powered subwoofer.

Simply put, sit back, relax and listen as these speakers simply disappear deeper and deeper into the background as individual instruments and vocalists become more present and move closer into the foreground giving the listener a true sense of actually being there.


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