I had some extra time last weekend so I drove to West Palm Beach to visit an audio store I had been thinking about for a while. www.audioadvisors.com
These guys have been in the business for a long time and I really liked their store. The store was pretty much empty at that time of the day so I got to play with everything.
I first demo'd some weird garbage can looking speakers from B&W called the Signiture Diamond. They are $18K/Pair 2-way design, run by all Classe gear. I prefered a more wholesome bottom end, but they did sound very nice.
Next was some $10K Snells run by all Mcintosh gear. I had never heard Mac gear before so I do not know if I was demoing the Macs or the speakers. I was not that impressed, I think it was the speakers. The Snells used some really small mid-drivers that I felt bottomed out a bit. It could have been the room too as there was a lot of other speakers in there and I was turning it up.
Next were a pair of B&W 803D's run by a Bryston (14BST I think) I liked these a lot better than the Snells. But the room was also too big for a 2 channel critical listen. They had some Classe monoblocks next to the B&W's but they were not hooked up. I had heard of some bad synergy between the B&W and Bryston gear. I would have liked to hear the Classe's on the D series.
It was a fun experience and these guys were very nice. I talked with them for a while and they were telling war stories about CES and CEDIA over the last 15 years.
They talked about "The Carver Effect", which is an apparantly well known term used for gear reviews. Bob Carver was known to always "hot rod" any gear he sent into a magazine for review. Thus, skewing it badly towards his favor. Funny how some glowing reviews are found to be insane to real world use.
If you are in the area, I recommend visiting these guys.