I haven't heard these but they look very promising and will definitely need a subwoofer. That is one of those things where I would like to audition them with the option to ship them back if I don't like 'em.
Roughly 18-L, 12-W, 6.5-H
I sit about 8ft away from fronts.
I am in a position to get a pair of Paradigm monitor 7's for a good price. Any reason I shouldn't go for those? thanks
Thank you soo much to all here for the input. I now have almost too much info, but it's great!!!
In a room this size, you might want to consider a room treatment on the far wall behind you "if" you hear any obvious slapping echo behind you. Your rear wall distance is nearly far enough to start giving some unwanted feedback instead of giving a nice ambience effect. If everything sounds pleasant with that echo, then just leave it as is.
Next, everyone has a preference. I myself like "smooth" sounding speakers with a nice wide image and some decent dynamic range if possible to top it off. Some people like the dry, hard-edged sound from high-efficiency speakers. It's all a matter of preference and you room is fully capable of having it "all". Smooth sound, wide stereo image, good dynamics and deep, strong bass. And you don't have to spend a bunch.
I think you should actually start by listening to Energy speakers or maybe try the Mirage Omni-pole series towers too and even the Martin Logan Electrostats in a real room just to hear what really good imaging and "balanced" sound is like. Those speakers don't have tons of "slam" but will give you a very good idea what to listen for in the other speakers that you "do like". I am all about the school of thought where you must listen carefully to other speakers you don't care for and find what they do "well". Then you will know when you hear THE speaker which has the "sound" you like but also has other strong qualities you heard in other speakers. Granted, I've never liked "metallic" tweeters, the ones on Energy and Mirage are more tolerable for me than most. It's the imaging that shines on them though.
There are lots of options. I happen to like the sound of the BIC DV series, (but they could've been better with a dedicated smaller midrange). Regardless, it's a nice sounding speaker with a good balance. For what it costs, it's clearly a front-runner in your price range but you might actually still prefer the BIC high-efficiency horn-based ones.
Buy speakers from a place that will accept returns if you aren't satisfied and give each speaker a test run. The lower efficiency speaker won't need as much volume on the control, so be careful not to judge each speaker from exactly the same volume setting on the receiver. Try to judge them when they are sounding equally loud.