Originally Posted by commsysman
I would suggest that anyone who is interested in these speakers read the Stereophile review of the KEF Q900. It will give you a good perspective on the strengths and characteristics of it. IMO it is one of the better speakers you can buy for under $2000, along with the Gallo Acoustics CL-3 (which has a review in the current issue of of The Absolute Sound).
I also would suggest that the lowball prices being quoted almost always DO NOT INCLUDE a factory warranty, and anyone who buys them with no factory warranty is makng a big mistake IMO. A factory warranty from an AUTHORIZED dealer is essential IMO if you ever need a repair and want it to be done properly.
Those lowball prices are usually from gray-market sleazebag outfits that rise up and go out of business as fast as the leaves change color in the fall. Their so-called warranties are usually impossible to enforce and essentially worthless
I have only heard the B & W 683 once, but it did not sound very good on that occasion, and I have heard several times that it is one of their "least successful designs"; look real hard at that one.
Personally, I listened to at least 8 of the best speakers in the $1500-3000 price range, and the Gallo Acoustics CL-3 was my clear choice. I absolutely love them. $1595 factory direct with a 60-day free return privilege (free shipping both ways).
I'll agree with commsysman - I wouldn't hesitate to ask a dealer to see if they can offer a better price than MSRP - regardless of what I buy, I a) try see/listen to the product in person, and b) try to give the local guy a fair shot. That way, you have a factory warranty, someone to talk to if you have any questions or problems (much more likely to offer relevant advice if you've purchased before), and they might mind less if just swing by to take a look at their showroom.
As for the B&W 683, I've heard the 683 and 685 are the successful designs in that line, and that the 686 and 684 are the ones to avoid - i.e., if you like the B&W sound and were thinking 684s in front and 686s in back, it's better to spend the same money on 685s all around. The 683 includes a lot of B&W's trademarked/heavily marketed designs, but in a vinyl wrapped Chinese-made box. Considering it's the top of the line for the 6-series, I can't imagine they screwed it up, but stranger things have happened. Note though, that I've heard the 685 and 686, but haven't had much experience with the 6-series towers (684 or 683).
Whether or not any of this means anything comes down to whether or not you like how it sounds!
I still suggest Paradigm if you're doing movie-heavy listening though. As for the rest of the speakers mentioned, I don't have any real-world experience with regards to Gallo or Revel or Philharmonic, and considering I would like to refrain from judging a speaker purely by a graph, all I'll say is it can't hurt to try them all and let us know what you think!