We wrapped things up here - including spending an hour with the $2000 Strata Minis after some fun with the 170/SC-01 pairs.
Between the 2, we got the following results - many of which were mentioned earlier.
Speaker pair "1" was stronger in the following areas ...
1. Width of soundstage
2. Macro-dynamics - It "goes loud" easier
3. Accuracy of Brass instruments - especially Sax and Trumpet
Speaker pair "2" was stronger in the following areas ...
1. Depth of soundstage
2. Microdynamics (subtle clues are more easily discerned. As an example, there some sea-gulls in the Roger Waters SACD "In The Flesh", speaker 2 playes them very clearly, while speaker 1 barely makes them noticeable).
3. Reproduction of vocals - both male and female
4. Percussive instruments
My brother-in-law, Peter, is also an avid audiophile, and loves this type of test.
He slightly preferred speaker "1", while I gave the nod to speaker "2". There are some interesting parallels to the speakers we each own, and use in everyday life.
He has the VMPS Tower II Anniversary Editions, which are quite efficient, and tend towards sounding more like speaker "1", while my Minis sound closer to speaker "2".
We made these conclusions after extensive listening, and before revealing which was which.
Speaker "1" was the Ascend 170 SE's, Speaker "2" was the SVS SC-01's.
The Ascends, looking back at the set up, were about 2 dB more efficient than were the SVS.
The VMPS, while having excellent stage width, are not all the deep. The Minis, while not able to play as loudly as will the VMPS, have excellent later and depth imaging.
Every person here thought both speakers were high quality, especially considering the moderate price.