So, as mentioned, we got to listen to the Tempest in carp's room today. A lot of my feelings echo his own. I thought they were more similar than different to the eD Cinema 12's, just better in basically every area. The highs smoother, less harsh on almost everything we listen to. I thought vocals (which I already thought the Tempest excelled at) were a step above as well. Midbass seemed better to me by quite a bit on the Tempest and full-range they measured and sounded pretty darn good in carp's room. One caveat to the above, we didn't experiment with toe-in at all as you only have limited time in these kinds of things (and at least carp and I wanted to be done in time to watch football). I think we had them toed in about 30 degrees or so and the imaging wasn't quite right, but pretty close. If that was their final resting place we'd have definitely played with it more, in my room I can slide almost the complete length of the couch and everything stays nice and centered, but it took some experimenting.
I think that I can pretty safely say I accomplished my goal in terms of performance vs. price. When you consider that the kit for these is currently 315 shipped and that a sheet of 4x8 will make two speakers (assuming you can do your own box-work), it's a HECK of a lot of value you're getting for around 700 bucks/pair (including paint and terminals and foam and such). I've also heard JTR T8's in the same room, and although audio memory is what it is and it'd be very interesting to be able to compare them side by side, I imagine it'd be awfully close between the two (my opinion).
The Noesis, however, is another story. That's about the fifth time I've heard them, in two different rooms, and they always sound just absolutely amazing. I knew without about 5 seconds of putting the first song on today that we were listening to an entire different beast. The CD in the Noesis is the smoothest-sounding high efficiency HF driver I've ever heard. In the recent Iowa blind test it didn't even seem like it gave up much to the RAAL ribbon in the Salk's..just incredible. Now, granted, the CD in the Noesis costs more than BOTH of my speakers including kit costs and all peripherals, so we're obviously talking about a *drastically* different financial level. My goal for the future will be finding out how to bridge that gap somehow between the DNA-360 and the 700+ dollar BMS CD in the Noesis.
Also I determined that carp's room is much better than mine, it seems like there's something that goes on everytime I go over there to remind me what an excellent space he has to listen to music/watch movies. We also didn't watch any movies today, but I will say that even with a phantom center (which I was nervous about, never having heard one I really liked before) that the Tempest's are just phenomenal for movies. Dialogue is amazingly clear and dynamics are fantastic. Very impressed with these guys all around, especially when price is taken into consideration. Great job again, Jeff and Erich.