I spent Memorial Day weekend (the week before and a few days afterwards) testing some relatively high end speakers. Unlike cables/amps/etc, I don't think anyone disputes they can hear a difference between speakers. The oddest thing about my listening tour was there wasn't a speaker I didn't like - just speakers I liked more than others. Of course, never being in the studio while these tracks were recorded, do I like something more because the speaker is distorting the sound (something I don't want)? So the old adage works, choose the speaker you like.
I tested more speakers than I dare mention, including B&W 803's; Tannoy DC8 / DC10t; KEF Reference and others. I really can't say anything bad about any speaker, but I can say I liked the Tannoy DC10's best of all. I will say if you are looking for a sub-$3k pair of speakers you really need to listen to the DC8's.
I didn't test the speakers blind - and I will say looks may very well have influenced my decision, as I found the Tannoy's and B&W's the most aesthetically pleasing. There is a simple pleasure in viewing beautiful speakers and I am looking for furniture as much as great sound. Equate my choice with fine dining - how well is that course plated? Plating might not change the taste of the food in a blind test, but it definitely effects your overall impression of the dinner. Don't believe that analogy, eat a great meal alone or put an extremely beautiful person across from you. Believe me, the dinner with the beautiful person is better, even if the food is the same.
I brought music I know and is recorded very well, which is far less than I thought. I brought SACD versions of Pink Floyds DSOTM & WYWH, Dire Straits Brothers, CD of Chesky's Ultimate test and Firebird Suite (Telarc).
What I loved most about the DC10's was their authority and detail. Listening to music at low volume levels, or soft passages while listening at high volume levels, the speakers seemed invisible, but when the music needed to get loud I didn't feel any other speaker matched them. They seemed to almost say "I'm in charge here!".
I don't want to write a long review about what I heard on each track, or where other speakers fell short, I just want to tell anyone looking for speakers you need to add the Tannoy brand to your list.
Sadly I haven't ordered them as our planned home renovations aren't going to be finished until late September. But when they are in the house, I will definitely take pictures and post them.
Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?