Though it'll be a year or so before I'm ready to buy anything, I want to spend that time auditioning as much as I can. I've been trying to go out and listen about every other weekend or so, but haven't been able to hear a huge selection of stuff. I am buying these primarily for 2ch listening but they'll be pulling double duty for HT. I know people have their opinions that I should just get a better set of bookshelves since I have a sub, that's fine, BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR. I currently have that setup and while it's ok and sounds decent, I really want full range towers. If you think I'd be wasting my money for speakers that play low when I have a sub, keep it to yourself and please don't derail the thread. I currently use a pair of Hsu HB-1s and a Hsu VTF3mk3 for music but occasionally just in 2ch if at low/mid volumes. They're great speakers but sound a little veiled and have a small sweet spot. I listen to all kinds of music - Tool, old Metallica, Chevelle, Alice in Chains, Days of the New, bluegrass, grunge, alternative, Snoop, Fat Boys, Prodigy, Zeppelin, Perfect Circle, classic rock, occasionally classical and some pop for the old lady. A little of everything.
So far I've heard these (I know they're not all towers):
Kef r700 - more of a sweet area instead of a spot, great sound but need to hear them again to reassess the low end with new demo material.
Kef LS50 - to me they sounded like the r300 but less extension and more expensive.
Quad 22L2 - good but nothing special
Paradigm studio 60 - really wanted these to be all I'd need but didn't have enough oomph. Really like the mids, highs are a little bright but could probably live with it. Was only a little much on a couple of my demo tracks, same as at home.
Paradigm studio 100 - same as above but had all the extension I'm looking for. Everything sounded balanced and full. Similar to the 60s but seemed to play it with much less effort.
B&W cm8 - nice sound but a little layed back. Not as bright as the studios (not a bad thing just different), low end is between the 60s and 100s, but just didn't grab me. Sounded as if I was on the 15th or 20th row vs the 3rd for the studios.
Golden Ear Triton 3 - sounded pretty good but boomy despite the treated room.
Triton 2 - same as the 3s but the low end seemed to have disappeared.
I'm not too interested in towers with built in subs since they seem to be more complicated to dial in, especially with HT. As far as size restrictions, I don't think I'd want anything bigger than the 100s. WAF isn't really an issue but I'd also like them to look nice. Really like the 100s in rosenut, just gorgeous. I plan on moving the HB-1s (which are rosenut) to the rear when I get the towers to replace a couple of sats. Eventually I'll get a matching center and surrounds but it'll be down the road since I'll have to get a new entertainment center (hopefully standout designs, but more $$$) for the center channel. Until I can upgrade my Sony 4400ES (would like XT32), I'll be using that to drive them until I can get an external amp. Room is about 26x15x8' with the tv on the long wall and couch against the opposite wall as well as faux beams on the ceiling running width wise. No way to rearrange due to a bay window at one end and fireplace at the other. It's open to the rest of the house via a walkway to the kitchen and hallway. HB-1s have been moved to either side of the tv since the diagram was made. Though the original position would be good for wides some day.
Also trying to compile a list of companies that'll allow trial periods with free shipping both ways. Was following a thread where someone else was doing the same but can't seem to find it now.
Thanks in advance for all the input and suggestions. Love that I have a place to pick the brains of people brighter than me, as most are. Max budget is about $3k.