Thanks everyone for the replies. I have a few answers and more questions. First, does anybody know if the new Contour LE models are brighter than the old Contour, more like Focus? I'm curious whether the LE has new voicing or is just a slight refinement/improvement of the previous sound.
The speakers are on the short wall, approx. 8' apart, 4' out from the front wall, 2.5' from side walls. See attached picture. It was taken earlier in the year with my previous kit. Note it's a wide angle shot so the length of the room is a little exaggerated. The subs are actually at the midpoints of the sidewalls.
I noticed you compared the C1 to the 1.4LE. I will probably keep the subs with either speaker, so the difference in bass extension isn't a factor. I'm more curious about any differences in bass damping and fullness in the upper bass. I've never heard the C1, but my C2s are a little overdamped in the bass compared to what sounds natural to my ears. This is especially noticeable at low and medium volumes. For HT, I appreciate this since a lot of soundtracks are over-exuberant in the bass. But when listening to something like a well recorded acoustic bass, the bass tuning of my Focus 160s sounds more natural. With the 160s, I feel more of the pluck, the note sounds a little richer in harmonics, and there is more decay. With the C2s, it's like the note has trouble getting out unless you crank the volume. I'm curiously whether you've heard anything similar in the comparison of 1.4LE and C1.
I've definitely thought about upgrading my C2s to Mk II, but the cosmetics of the Signature and Platinum versions are a problem. My family/living room is full of natural cherry and my cherry C2s with their grey & silver baffles is a perfect match. I haven't checked into whether the C2 Platinums can be special ordered with the old finishes though.
Interesting comment about the speed. I haven't heard the C1s, but to me the C2s sound faster than the 160s. The C2s have a little more treble detail and more space in time between the notes which makes them sound faster to my ears. The remaining stock of new Focus 260s is discounted to $2800 now, which is an absolute steal. So I've definitely thought about buying a pair of 260s and sticking with them until I get a chance to hear the new Contour, or maybe waiting until there's a new Confidence. The best thing about the 160s is hardest to explain. I hate the term "musicalilty" but can't think of a better word. They sound musically satisfying with all genres of music, unlike any other speaker I've owned. But sometimes I miss some of the audiophile traits. In particular I'd like a little more clarity. My previous W-B Vertex speakers had an absolutely black background in both time and space with no smear in either dimension and the best transient performance I've heard. I miss that. They weren't neutral enough for me to keep though.
I was thinking of the XDs since I like the overall sound and balance of the Focus, but I'm looking for more clarity, and maybe a little more speed. Passive crossovers are energy storage devices and phase shifters, and so in theory, even the best of them will impart a little smear compared to active crossovers using linear phase filters. So I thought maybe the XDs would improve upon the passive Focus in the areas I'm interested in. The downside of the XD is that I would have to take an overnight trip just to hear them since the Dynaudio dealers in the area don't have them. And they are surprisingly expensive, especially the 400 XD which is the best fit for my room. And probably hard to sell if they end up not working out as well as I hope in my room.
Also, yes I have heard the Magico S1, first at a show and twice at a dealer, for a total of maybe 4 hours. I wasn't shopping for speakers, we were just using them to compare streaming players. But I loved them and if I wasn't married I would have bought them on the spot. They are the best Magico speaker I've heard. I like them better than the S3 and Q1 and Mini and V2. The S1 has extreme clarity, transparency, and resolution, but also a natural ease. They give up very little to the Q1 in resolution, but the Q1 sounds a lot more clinical. The S1 are also dead neutral, with no coloration or emphasis anywhere in the frequency range that I could hear. The S3 has more bass extension than the S1, but sounds a little bit lean and the soundstage is maybe a little smaller too. The main weakness of the S1 is that they are more limited in dynamics compared to other slim floorstanders in the same price category, e.g. Revel Salon 2 and Dynaudio C2. So if you want a kick drum to punch you in the chest when you're listening to rock, this isn't the way to go. Another caveat is that their transparency will let any flaws or imbalances in the rest of your system shine through. Because of that, they are perfect audition tools.