Adding Warmth and Balance with McIntosh 2105
Hi. I am currently running a McIntosh MC-2105 solid state amplifier, Primaluna Prologue 3 preamp, and Graham Slee phono stage with some excellent, budget-oriented speakers, the Energy RC-10s. I realize that my speakers are not as good as the rest of my system, though I think they are a great value for the ~$350 I paid for them. I am posting to get some recommendations for different speakers I could try with my system.
Right now my system excels at soundstaging and dynamics. My listening preferences consist mostly of rock, including some rather heavy stuff, and old jazz like Louis Armstrong, Sinatra, and Django Reinhardt. My girlfriend uses my setup to listen to experimental instrumental music, which I think is called "ambient" music by some folks.
With the system in its current state, there is very good separation of the instrumental components of the music and resoundingly clear highs. The dynamics of the music are simply exceptional. Sometimes it makes me feel like I am riding on the edge of Janis Joplin's guitar. However, the output is certainly lacking a sense of balance, and at times the output, though sounding big, also sounds a bit compressed. The instruments are separate from each other, but it sounds like the musicians are playing on a very small stage where they have no personal space.
I tried my uncle's Totem Arro speakers with my setup, and I was disappointed with the results. While they certainly provided a slight improvement in warmth and imaging, the output they produced was resoundingly boring (especially with my old jazz records), and the highs seemed a bit veiled. Gone were those exciting dynamics I get with my Energy speakers.
So I'm looking for replacement for my Energy speakers that will retain their dynamic spark but will introduce more balance and more neutral (though not boring) highs. I have heard that B&W pairs nicely with McIntosh, but I simply do not have the money for the 800 series, and several folks have tried to steer me away from the 600 series, calling them bloated and shrill. Others have recommended Vienna Acoustics or Sonus Faber Concertino Domus to me, but I'm afraid they'd suffer from the same deficiencies as the Totem Arros.
I would appreciate any recommendations you could offer. I am a full time doctoral student so my funds are kind of limited right now, though I have some equipment I could sell to purchase the right speaker.