Originally Posted by Cigarbat
I need to check out some of those other speakers.
It's hard to find places that demo decent speakers.
Reasonably near Westlake Village are two dealers whose rooms at Newport Beach High End show I was extremely impressed with; you might want to visit. One is Audio Element
in Pasadena, the other is Sunny's Audio/Video
in Covina. From their show setups and the gears they used - not just good but EXAMPLARY :-), it doesn't get any "higher end" than these guys, if that's what you are looking for. They both carry Wilson
; also many other yummy stuffs such as Sonus Faber, dCS, Aesthetix
(ex engineer of Theta).
You already have the correct approoach - listen in person. The idea is to train your ears to listen for why and how each speaker is different - and become a more savvy buyer in the process, and have fun. Shopping for ultra high end speakers is no different from shopping for cars, you shouldn't buy a car until you have test driven it. (Maybe with one exception - you could never be wrong buying a P 911, ok to buy without a test drive.
A few people in this thread have suggested it's not a good idea to put these ultra high-end speakers in closet; when you are at the store, you might want to ask the guys why this is so and ask them to demo for you (why crazy audiophiles always have their front speakers practically in the middle of the room for music listening, and what happens when you move it towards wall, etc.).