If you like the Dali Ikon 6s I don't know how you can really do better without an audition. If someone wants to sell you a $1600 pair of speakers they probably should be willing to let you hear them; look elsewhere if you can't get auditions. While I may have an opinion on a particular speaker based on what I hear that could be very different from what you will hear. Some places will allow in home auditions with a return policy if you don't like them.
Are you going to get an HT system you will listen to music on or a music system you will also use for movies? You had better decide which is more important because a full 5.1 HT system often cannot do music listening as well as a good music listening system can provide sound for movies.
If HT it is I would consider Rotel or Outlaw stuff, a Denon AVR-3806 or a Pioneer Elite VSX-84TXSi before an Onkyo 805.
A good pair of loudspeakers obviously can provide for all the enjoyment required for listening to music. Multichannel sound with extra low bass extension is really only required to get all the nuances out of the movie watching experience.
The HT vs. stereo dilemma is a difficult one to approach as there are compromises one has to make if you want a system to do both. I have no problem watching movies with the sound coming from two speakers set in front of me. Thats the way it was in theaters most of my life. Even at the theater I'm not impressed with what is offered in multichannel sound. I know that can be improved upon in a home system, but for me anyways the gain is negligible.
What I would do is listen to both a HT system and Music system in your price range. Of course there will be compromises in either system for both. I have found that I can not enjoy music as much on a HT, but I can still enjoy a movie through 2 speakers...
Jackfish and ChrisNC, thanks for your helpful replies and I do appreciate your suggestions on how to approach this. That being said, I
I give Paradigm my highest recommendation in that price class.
The Vandersteen 2Ce Signature at somewhat under $2000/pair is an exceptional value. I always highly recommend them as they sound really good. They are a true full range loudspeaker system that will not leave you wanting for more bass. http://stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/107vandy/
There is a pair of new Triangle Antal ESw loudspeakers on AudiogoN for $1400 right now. Those are very good speakers for that price.
If you like the Dali Ikon 6s and that is all you are going to be able to listen to I wouldn't take the chance on something I couldn't listen to, well for the Vandersteens I would I guess, but I've listened to them to know that now.
If you like the Dali Ikon 6s and that is all you are going to be able to listen to I wouldn't take the chance on something I couldn't listen to....
I agree, absolutely.
Thanks for everyone
I tend to prefer smoother, more laid-back equipment over ultimate detail and sharpness. For instance, I have both a CD player and a component DAC and enjoy the player's presentation style more, despite the DAC's higher detail retrieval. I don't think you'd be missing out, though, if you were to choose speakers that are more listenable to you for long periods. Honestly, in this price range, the differences between "smooth" and "forward" begin to decrease and you might not have to choose between all-day comfort and sit-up-and-take-notice detail. As always, let your ears lead you, and choose what you like best, even if you think speaker B might be objectively "better".
Is there something to be said when a sound is too detailed that one may get listening fatigue as apposed to a speaker that was more musical that one could listen for a longer period of time? Which do you prefer?
Other than the Dali's I've heard all the other speakers mentioned. All are musical a pleasure to listen to...fatigue was not an issue. As for being a good choice for an ht set-up I couldn't say - my interest is strictly music.
One speaker, however, that I have heard in both an ht and a musical installation (2 separate set-ups, not a combo)was the B&W CM series. The CM7 (main speaker) was very musical and when in the ht set-up, with the CM1s, were detailed enough to give all the effects. As for fatigue, I never sit and watch video long enough to experience the "syndrome".
When I was searching for speakers a long time ago, I listened, and listened, and listened. I went to many stereo stores, when many were still around. I got very confused too.
What settled the question for me is that "does the speaker sound accurate, and can I listen to these over the long term?". This is important to me, because I play musical instruments, and enjoy music played on a good system.
I heard many speakers that were impressive, or spectacular, or smooth, or bland, or disgusting. Eventually, what I buy I have to listen to all day; what I don't get tired of listening to is what I use now.
At any given price range, especially at the lower end, you'll hear more compromises in the sound that a much more expensive speaker will effortlessly handle. I lived with lower sound by building my own speakers (at <$60/pair), and kept improving on these until I could afford to go higher end. I still use the pair I built too get improved sound from the TV. Compared to the "real" speakers I use for stereo, my home-built units sound only O.K., and I do get tired of listening to these after a short while.