Building a media room in a new construction, and am planning to build a new system mostly from the ground up. (soon to be modded LSi9 set-up will go in the living room).
This will be primarily a media room, but I want a solid musical performer as well. In auditioning speakers, I've found that if I don't like something for music, I won't like it for HT....though I've found that there are lots of speakers I absolutely love for music, but don't like for HT (i.e.: Totem Hawks).
At the 3k per pair price point, I've found that it's hard to find a 'bad' speaker, and that things are highly subjective. Need some direction on what to listen to, to hone in more on what I like. So far I've sat down to audition:
B&W CM9/CM8: Current front runner. Very true to life to my ears. Sufficiently dynamic for HT, and great for music...detailed on the top-end, but not at all harsh + very robust mid-range, giving them a very natural sound. I can see why people find these boring, but they seem to suite me. Low frequencies are lacking though.
Paradigm Studio 60/80: Really, really wanted to love them, but after 3 sessions, in 3 different stores (including one running on McIntosh gear), never quite did. Very detailed in the top end, yet very smooth. Bass is strong, yet nuanced and very detailed. Holographic imaging. Definitely something missing in the mid-range, which makes them sound kind of lifeless/artificial to me.
Totem Hawks: Would be my first choice if I were building a purely musically oriented 2-channel system. Imaging is amazing on these things...they 'disappear' and recreate a (an intimate) concert experience better than any speaker I?ve heard. Extremely laid back and rather narrow soundstage though, and a poor choice for HT IMO.
Monitor Audio RX8: Probably a close second for me behind the CM9?s. Similar qualities to the CM9, but better imaging, and a surprisingly strong bass. A little bright and not as natural as the CM9's to my ears. Slightly better for HT than the CM9, but not nearly as good for music.
Sonus Faber Toy: Dealer led me towards these after I he let me demo the Paradigm Studios?.and that was the moment I decided to give up on the Paradigms. Very robust sound with a rich mid-range and extremely deep soundstage. Would have been higher on my list if they did not resemble my LSi9?s so much (not a bad thing, just want something different). Hearing these is what compelled me to upgrade the LSi9s.
Klipsch reference: One of the dealers insisted I listen to them even though I knew from the git-go they were not for me?.in hind-sight I think he did this as a means to gauge my taste in sound. They play loud, but are unrefined to me.
At any rate, I'm having fun just listening right now, and am looking for more speakers to check out. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.