Ok, for anybody that cares, I went and spent some time listening to speakers today. Here’s a list of the highlights in order of what sounded the best to me:
Paradigm Studio 100 (awesome)
Bowers & Wilkins CM9 (awesome)
Vienna Acoustics Mozart Grand Symphony (pretty awesome)
Focal Chorus 816v
GoldenEar Triton Two
MartinLogan ESL w/ ML sub
Paradigm Studio 20 w/ Paradigm Monitor 8 sub
Wilson Magnepan 1.7 (I personally LOVED the look of these and I think they’d go great in a HT design, but the sound quality wasn’t there)
Klipsch RF-7 (I thought these would be a lot better)
Very sadly the room that housed the Klipsch THX-Ultra2 speakers (really the main reason I went) was being dismantled for an upgrade and will not be ready for like 4 weeks. The guy at the AV place stated that for movies these can almost not be beaten, but for music they cannot compare to the other speakers I listened to (his opinion).
Guitar Center does not stock the JBL LSR6332 so I couldn’t listen to them.
I went today with a very open mind. Interestingly I thought for sure I would love the Panasonic P65ZT60, but I really liked the Samsung 64F8500 a lot more. I had them play the same disc on each using the same player too.
I lucked out at both places by getting very knowledgeable and patient sales associates. The only bad thing is that I forgot to bring CD’s as the brand new vehicle I bought doesn’t have a CD player in it and I don’t need to carry them any longer. : ( At the higher end place I mentioned several times that I usually don’t listen to the type of music that they were playing, but he just kept bringing the same modern jazz CD to each system. Grrrr.
The other thing that I will point out and I’m sure I’ll be made fun of for is that my system has A LOT more bottom end than anything I listened to, and this included a Paradigm Monitor sub. I like to FEEL my bass, not just hear it. I realized more than anything today is that we certainly enjoy music in an individual way. Some people may listen to my current setup and think it is way too bottom heavy, but what I heard today was truly disappointing as far as bass goes. I understand that my current 500w Infinity SW-12 was called little and underpowered, but I routinely knock items off shelves and that’s the way I like it. Maybe I would have to hear a new sub or two in my specific room, but like I said the subs I tested today were nothing to me. I know that you guys mentioned some of the internet sub companies, but it’s hard to imagine myself justifying spending $1000 plus on a pair of subs that I can’t listen to and that I may not be happy with. I will consider this in the future, but for now I think I would rather divert that money to higher quality LCR speakers.
I think I am going to wait until the B&W CM10’s come out in a few weeks. I heard Pink Floyd’s Time as the demo on the CM9’s and it was awesome, so the 10’s should be even better. The demo also included the Marantz 7007 using those speakers which was nice to hear as well. It would be nice to hear the Klipsch THX as well, but I was disappointed with the RF-7 (which are not cheap) and it seems the THX would not be that great for music, so maybe I won’t bother.
Anway, thanks for reading this and I really appreciate all the advice so far. I was well prepared today because of you guys. I will update this thread as the upgrade comes along.
Next step, researching acoustic treatments………………….(anybody know if a paper lithograph mounted to a foam backing would be too acoustically reflective?)