Others have kind of hit it, I will add a bit more.
There is a standard set of question that we will ask anyone looking for a system, and partly because these are the question you need to ask yourself.
1.) What is your budget?
2.) What equipment do you have?
3.) What equipment do you need?
In your case, that seems to be just speakers.
4.) What are the DIMENSIONS of the room?
4a.) Is the Room an open floor plan or a closed room?
If an open floor plan then we need the overall room dimensions and the dimension of the listening area.
5.) Are there any room considerations that might effect your choices?
As an example, fireplace always mess up the placement of audio equipment. Are the large windows or Patio doors? Anything that could have an effect on the choice or the use of the equipment.
6.) What is the use of the system?
That is, Music only, Movies only, or some blend of the two, and if a blend what blend (eg: 40% music / 60% movies)
7.) Whether movies or music, how do you typically listen?
That is LOUD!, modest, low volume, other? Give us a general sense of how the system will be used.
7a.) What type of movie and music do you generally watch/listen too?
The system we would recommend for someone into classical or jazz is very different than the system we would recommend to someone into Heavy Metal or Hip-Hop/Rap.
8.) A general assessment of the room acoustics?
If this is a bare empty closed room -bare floor, not curtains, bare ceiling, etc... - then the the room is going to be very reflective, and you either need to do something about the reflections, or to moderate your equipment choices. However, an old fashioned carpet/rug, softly furnished, curtained, cluttered room is going to be acoustically better.
Seems like a lot of questions, but if not to us, then at least to yourself, these questions need to be asked and answered.
Perhaps one last question - What are you looking for in terms of sound characteristics?
For example, the Focal 800 or 900 series have crystal clear near perfect bass, it is just not that deep, and not overly exaggerated. It is also a slightly forward speaker. Forward
meaning it reaches out to you. A speaker that is laid-back,
more so, draws you in.
Some forward speakers can be overly bright, though I did not find that when I auditioned the Focal 800 series. I was truly impressed with the sound I heard, and I would expect the new 900 Series to be better. HOWEVER, while the Focal has crystal clear bass, the bass does not go quite as deep as other speakers in the same class. When I auditioned the Focal 836, I did not find this to be a problem.
or a Bowers-Wilkins
tend to be a bit warmer more laid back speaker. This can typically lead to very low fatigue speakers. Great for long listening sessions. While I find my Wharfedale
great for music, I find the mid-range a bit recessed for movies. Though that could be my aging hearing.
Next, I think you need to consider the Bass Depth. Treble usually takes care of itself, there is no trouble with tweeters reaching 20khz or considerably higher. But bass between speakers can be more variable.
For example, the Focal 936
with 3x6.5" bass driver has rated bass down to 39hz at -3db and 32hz at -6db.
The Bowers-Wilkins CM9
with 2x6.5" bass drivers is rated at 46hz at -3db and 30hz at -6db.
The Polk Audio RTi-9
has 3x7" and bass rated down to 30hz at -3db, which means a best guess of a -6db near 25hz.
The Revel Proforma 3 F206
have 2x6.5" and rated bass down to 42hz at -3db, 36hz at -6db. Though some that have done independent tests find those numbers optimistic.
Generally, higher quality better sounding speakers are willing to sacrifice a bit of overbearing bass in exchange of much higher clarity.
Now we come to the anomaly, the Golden Ear
speakers. Because they have active
low-bass drivers, they can drive bass down much deeper than most speaker makers, and all the reviews rave about the overall sound quality consistently rating them WELL ABOVE their price class.
But.... I don't really think they look all that great, but then I don't like black speaker in general.
Although it depends on many factors, if I were getting Golden Ea
r, I would most certainly consider the TRITON 1 ($2500 each)
The Trition 2 ($1750 each)
have frequency response rated at - 16 Hz - 35 kHz
. That's pretty impressive, and again, nothing but RAVE reviews for the Triton speaker. Some rating them up there with speakers costing $20,000/pr
Also, the Triton tend to be very smooth and flat down to the very bottom. The Active Low-Bass drivers do not created exaggerated bass.
The speakers do present a very narrow face to the room. But equally I found the Focal 836
very unassuming and considered them very unobtrusive in a typical living room.
Though I would like them in different woof finished. I prefer more of a medium with a bit of red - Cherry, Dark Maple, Rosewood
. Still, the Focal 900 series and particularly the Focal 936 are VERY high on my list of desirable speaker.
So, though I'm rambling, those are the things you must consider. I don't think most people considering the B&W CM10
would also consider the Paradigm
. Those are speakers with very different personalities.
All the speaker in the list sound good, that's not up for debate, but which has the characteristics and personality
that will appeal to you, that is the underlying question.
For what it is worth.