So, after some long and thoughtful consideration about sound quality, cost, and aesthetics, I thought I should make a general statement as to where I am at in my quest, at the close of another week.
For the last couple of days I have been leaning heavily toward purchasing a pair of SongTowers, plus a SongSub. I think that this combination would give me a very rewarding listening experience for 2 channel listening, and the performance : price ratio is very hard to beat. That would be my greatest value choice, and I doubt that it can be beat in the bang for the buck category.
The Dali Helicons are also very intriguing to me right now. The 300's that I heard do not have the bass I want, but coupled with a sub they may be a decent compromise. I am much more interested in the 400 model or the 800, even though I haven't been able to hear either. The ribbon tweeters, and Dali's hybrid, get very close to "real" sounding cymbals, and the Helicon line seems to smooth out any harshness better than the other ribbons that I have heard.
Along those lines I also like the Acoustic Zen Adagio's. They excel with percussion sounds and go low enough for me to run without a sub for 2 channel listening. The other thing they do really well is their portrayal of an acoustic bass, making them a favorite of mine for Jazz, which I listen to quite often. Their only drawback for me is in the pure mid-range, it's just not quite as lush as I would like. And the fact that these have an msrp of over $4 grand.
Totem Hawks are still in the running as solid performers across the board, but my infatuation with them is slowly fading as I listen to more speakers, especially those that cost more. Their street price puts them borderline on my original budget. If I decide to break that, I am much more tempted to go big rather than just slightly over.
In the "just go for it" category I love the sound of the Aerial 7B's, and
the T+A Criterion TS 300. The Aerial's warm smooth sound reminds me of what Hi-fi is "supposed" to sound like, but I also have an appreciation for the T+A's added dynamics. Used, would be the best way for me to get into the Aerials, and the T+A's relative non-existence in the American market would make them a hard sell should I ever decide to replace them, not to mention their inflated US price tag...
In the last couple of days I have also come across two amazing deals on some even higher-end speakers. First one is a pair of Revel F-50's brand new in box, that I could get very near to dealer cost. The second is on a pair of dealer demo Dali MS4's. I haven't heard either of these speakers, and frankly I am a little afraid to, because my credit card nearly jumped out of my wallet when I heard the $5g speakers, I can only imagine what it would do when tempted with new $8 or $10g speakers at used prices...
So, at this point I would like to ask you guys what you think. Out of all of my reviews which ones did you feel I was most enthusiastic about? Just off the top of your head, don't give it too much thought... Your first inclination is what I am interested in. I am curious to see what somebody outside of my own head thinks I would like the best. They don't necessarily have to be anything that I have mentioned in this post, and you can post more than one if you want.