Hello all. I am looking for some new speakers. I have upgraded everything else in the system first, following the "front-end" first school of thought. I feel like I have made some well thought-out decisions. Here is my story.
I started out with a 5.1 home theater set up: JBL Northridge speakers, an Onkyo AVR, and a Sony blu-ray. That was it for music too. I wanted more out of my system for two-channel music, so I decided to upgrade the AVR to the Marantz SR7001 mainly for its pre-outs (I knew I needed the ability to have a separate power amp), but also for its improved DACs. Then I discovered that listening to music in the "pure direct" mode was extremely satisfying, and solved all of the problems I had had trying to integrate the subwoofer for music.
Then I picked up the Sony sacd player, and this was another step in the right direction. Then came the Cambridge DacMagic, and finally, only a few days ago, a decent power amp: NAD C272.
Which brings us to the speaker question. What music do I listen to? Mostly symphonic classical, as I am a professional orchestral musician. I listen at pretty loud volumes, but not as loud as some of my colleagues. Sometimes I listen to jazz or big band. I want something full-range, floorstanding. Not interested in monitors. I am actually fairly pleased with how my JBL E80s have kept up with the electronics upgrades, but I still find them to be unrefined at the high end, and a little lacking (but not totally lacking) in the bottom end.
Budget is $1700 for speakers and interconnects and cables. I am open to used, but am interested in new mainly because I would like to audition. I have heard some high-end setups already. Magnepan (20.1s maybe(?) powered appropriately with 500-watt mono blocks), Dynaudio C2s, Vandersteen models 2ce sig II and 3a sig. I have to say I enjoyed the Vandersteens 2ce sig II the most, which I heard at a dealer being driven by $5k of electronics. At my price level in stores I have heard PSB Image T6 and Paradigm Studio 60s. I am excited about the PSBs on paper, but I heard them in a shop that ran them with crappy electronics (cheapo AVR). They sold washing machines too!
One question is how much of that $1700 should be reserved for cables. Right now I am using cheap Monoprice stuff. I would need three pairs of interconnects, two optical cables as I have an Airport Express too, and speaker cables.
I am interested in hearing Monitor Audio RX6 and RX8, Revel Concerta F12, PSB Image T6 (with good electronics), Paradigm Monitor 9 and 11. I would like to hear the new Mag 1.7, although that would stretch the budget and I would have nothing left for cables. What else should be on my list? Maybe a used Mag 1.6? I know used Vandersteens fall into my price range. Should I get over my hesitation for used speakers?
By the way, I started this journey with a $3000 budget. I have gotten all of the above equipment for $1300, which is why there is $1700 left.