I'm looking to get my first nice audio system. I've been looking around a bit at stores here in NYC and I've started narrowing down the speaker choices. Right now, my list is the following:
JM Labs Cobalt 816s--floor standing speaker. I like this speaker a lot. It's a bit out of my price range and I didn't really intend to spend this much, but when I heard it, I was really impressed. Among other things, I really like that the top end is detailed, yet not overly sparkly...something that I sometimes find in B&W and in other models I'm less fond of such as Klipsch. I also really like the detail in the low end and the accuracy in I heard in reproducing upright bass tone. I'm a bass player, so the way the speakers reproduce bass tone is probably the most important factor to me. I don't need or like a lot of low end "oomph". I'd rather hear all of the detail in the tone of the instrument and not some synthetic addition of low frequencies that I often hear in lesser speakers.
The other JM Labs set was the top of the line from the Chorus series. It's a bit less than the Cobalt, but had a nice deep low end...just not as much instrument separation and detail in the mids and top end.
I also checked out two sets of B&W's that were originally on my list as the ones I was most interested in. The first were the 603's that I'm sure most people here are probably familiar with. They sounded good...a bit boxy, and the upper midrange and treble was a bit aggressive. Not a bad quality, but not as smooth as the JM Labs.
The other option that I looked at was to go for a very nice set of bookshelf B&W's. The ones that really stood out were the CM-1's. The detail was fantastic (though not as nice as the more expensive 805's that were way out of my price range). The image they projected was incredibly realistic and the bass response was good...not quite as full as a floor standing unit, but it was accurate and easy enough to discern amongst the other instruments. These were definitely the highest quality speakers I had sampled, but I still wondered if I'd be happier with the deeper sound from a floor standing set.
The room I'll be listening in is roughly 12' by 30', although the actually listening area will be in the narrow field as that's really where the sitting room is in my apartment.
That said, this system will be moving with me for many many years and this will not be the only apartment or home that they will be used in.
As far as components. Right now I'm probably going to get an ARCAM set-up. The one I really like is the "solo" unit that is an integrated amp and cd player in one unit.
Would like any and all advice, comments, etc.
Thanks in advance.