I recently decided to upgrade my computer speakers. Being that I am an audio enthusiast, getting some tiny logitec speakers which most people consider as being “good” computer speakers wasn't going to satisfy my needs. Prior to this I was running some old Onkyo stand-mount speakers from a 7.1 HTIB(my first real sound system). While they were far better than most computer speakers that you can go out and buy from a major retailer, my ears have been spoiled by my SVS Ultra Towers which I have in my bedroom. Before I jump into the review ill first go over why I chose these two speakers, if you don't care feel free to skip to the important stuff. I tend to research things to death before I buy them. I spent a solid 2 weeks narrowing down the vast sea of stand-mount speakers out there in this price range. I narrowed it down to 3, the Wharfedale 10.1, CBM-170 SE and the Emp Tek E5Bi. At the time I didnt have enough money to get all 3 so I went with the first 2. Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 I decided to go ahead and purchase these speakers for auditioning because people praised them for their smooth sound. Everyone mentioned that they are very easy to listen to. I myself am very sensitive to high frequencies and cant stand any sign of sibilance. I find myself having to tone down the treble on most cheaper sound systems I come across. I prefer a neutral speaker, sometimes with a slight touch of warmth to make for a non fatiguing listening experience. They are also gorgeous. Some people don't care what their speakers look like, only if they sound good, but to me speakers are a form of art. The 10.1's came in about a week before the CBM-170 SE's so I had some time to try them out on their own. First impressions were that they are certainly very smooth. There was no sign of harshness to be found. However I felt that something was missing. I let my girlfriend who has a good pair of ears give them a listen. I brought her along when I went and listened to Hi-Fi setups costing 50k when shopping for my SVS Ultras, so shes somewhat educated. Without saying anything to her she came to the same conclusion that I came to. While they are smooth and easy to listen to, they sound a bit too relaxed to the point of losing detail. She put it very well, “It sounds like I could reach out and pull off something thats covering the speakers” (note, all speakers I evaluate are done with grills off, because thats how I like to keep them). Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE I decided to get these as well because of the overwhelming amount of positive reviews. I read through at least 100 user reviews and NEVER read a single bad review. Thats saying something since speakers are so subjective. The first thing I noticed when these came in is that they are BIG. A fair bit larger than I expected. Also, something I was prepared for, they are somewhat ugly frown.gif ….in my opinion. Ill be honest, I'm not too impressed with their fit and finish. The black matte paint doesn't bother me, its things like the non flush face plate, rear plate and screws. Some other reviewers have mentioned that Ascend Acoustics doesn't spend money on fancy cabinets or finishes(on this model)but instead chose to put the money into the components. Fair enough, if its indeed true, I can respect that design approach. So...how do they sound? My initial impressions are that they are in-fact a neutral speaker. I wish they had a bit more bass but ill get into that in a second when I compare them to the 10.1s This is a comparison after all, so lets get to it. I set my AVR to Pure Direct and used banana plugs in order to switch the speakers out as quickly as possible. Auditory memory is very very short and while I wish I had a way to do AB-X testing this will have to do. Right away I noticed that the two speakers sounded quite different. The CBM-170's sound a lot more neutral and forward compared to the 10.1's. When listening to Lindsey Stirlings Crystallize the 10.1 sounded as if the violin was located behind the plane of the monitor, the CBM-170's sound a fair bit more forward. I did find something I didn't expect to. I did all my listening in pure direct(no subwoofer), the 10.1s with a 5.25” woofer appear to have more bass than the CBM-170's with their 6.5” woofer! I cant really explain it, it might have something to do with the fact that the 10.1's have dual rear ports vs the CBM-170's single rear port. I am confident in saying that the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1's are in fact not a neutral speaker, they do color the sound in my opinion. If I had to pick a colored speaker though, I would much prefer the 10.1s coloration to that of a cheap speaker with over emphasized hi frequencies. At this point I think its safe to say that the Diamond 10.1s are going back. I will emphasize however that I don't think they are a BAD speaker by any means. They sound quite good and for long listening sessions with a near-field placement they aren't a bad choice to consider – especially if you prefer a warmer sound. I myself use to be a fan of very laid bad high's, before I started seriously getting into audio I would turn down the treble quite a bit. As Ive matured and started listening to more and more expensive setups ive grown to appreciate a more balanced sound. That and I cant hear up to 24khz like I use to be able to when I was 16 smile.gif I think the younger me would have preferred the 10.1's to the CBM-170's. However, those looking for a neutral speaker that is fairly clear and revealing given its price point, the 170 SE's are the way to go between these two. On the other hand if you want a stand-mount with great bass, easy to listen too, stunning looks and fantastic fit and finish I would get the Wharfedales. I'm going to be sad to see the Wharfedales go, they are stunning to look at and my sample had impeccable craftsmanship.