The Eidolons are about as good as it gets, provided you can get far enough away from them, and get them far enough away from the rear and side walls--5 to 6 feet, from everything I've heard. I have some of the same problems, and wound up with the Egglestonwork Andras--a great speaker, small footprint, huge soundfront, designed to go within a foot of the rear wall, and even the side walls, with no boom or slapback. (I needed tube traps behind my B & Ws, which were 3 feet from the wall; with the Andras, the tube traps actually hurt perfomance.) No, they don't quite match the Eidolons, but they're about $8000 less. And you can put that towards new amps--they need about 300 watts per channel.
As an alternative to the Eidolon's, you must hear the Piega P10's. They are the best speaker that not a lot of money can buy. They compare very favorably to $30,000 speakers for only $10,000.
I have extensively heard both the Avalon Eidelon and their Opus in near field environments. I would choose the Opus for a room of your size. They have all the quality of the Eidelons, but sound more focused in "smaller" rooms. Their soundstage is still enormous, but they just seem to work better at close range. Also, they don't need quite as much juice to give a complete sound, so you save money at both ends.
my other considerations include Andras and Kharma Ceramique 2.0 and of course, Avalon Opus. Your choice of Andra makes me to go for at least a home auditioning, which is possible for me. i am just wondering, whether Eidolons will be too much for the room and actually underperform the other smaller speakers or it still is better but just cannot meet its full potential because of the small room. Any one listen to all the above in similar environment???
I heard the Kharmas, but in a very large room, and immediately after hearing the top of the line Kharmas (the $80,000ish ones that just recently got a rave in TAS). In that room, and after hearing the bigger Kharmas, which are stunning, I thought the Ceramiques were a bit too polite, like Dutch Philips LPs of the '70s and '80s, but still very pleasant overall. In a smaller room, they might be just the thing. From my conversation with the dealer, however, I got the impression that they probably could not go as close to the rear wall as the Andras can, but you won't know that until you try.
Don't laugh, but for near field listening, which a room your size requires, I have heard nothing better than the Red Rose R3 ($3,500). I did not have the other Red Rose components, but Mark Levinson's complete system for under $10k has been knocking listener's socks off, based on all the reviews. Sometimes, people can't believe that lower priced components can sound as good or better than expensive ones.
Another speaker that is supposed to be great for near field is the ACI Jaguar ($2500) with Titan Sub ($1000). You get a 30 free home trial.
In general, tall floor standers with a lot of distance between the woofers and tweeter, or with a 3 way design, need more distance to the listening position to sound coherent.
Cj- I auditioned the Eidolon, the Venture "La Perfection", and the Amati Homage when looking for a speaker. Each is an exceptional speaker with different strengths. I ended up with the Venture speaker. I, too, listen in the near-field though my room is a bit larger than yours. Hope your choice gives you as much enjoyment as the Venture's have given to me. Good luck.
cpark: i own eidolons. i've also owned (original) eclipses and ascents (avalon- before ml, apparently lacking imagination, stole the name). i've listened to every avalon speaker model made since they started making' 'em, in lots of environments. the eidolons will sound just fine in your listening room, tho you may need to do some acoustic treatment. i have some physical constraints in my listening room, too. hence, my eidolons are only 3 1/2 ft from the damped rear wall and 8 ft from my sweet spot. they sound great. with my accuphase/boulder/jrdg electronics/frontend, the imaging extends 8 ft. and more beyond the outer edges of the speakers and way, way behind them. while i don't mean to disparage bmpnyc's views, i think the eidolons are better in the nearfield than the opuses. probably due to the superiority of the eidolon's drivers and the absence of the down-firing sub. you might wanna' give the opus a listen, tho. they are also great speakers and, of course, YMMV. -cfb
I will put in a strong plug for the Audio Physic Avanti III's. I have owned the Kharma's but prefer the AP's. They do very well in a nearfield set-up and will give you everything back you give them. I mistakenly thought I had their performance maxed out several times only to find there was more there as I upgraded/changed a component, wire, tweak or positioning.
The Piega P10ltd or P8ltd would also be at the top of my list given your room and based on price for performance.
I will echo Kelly's comments. I listen to Eidolons in a 17.5D x 13.5W x 8H room and continue to marvel at the sound quality. The front edge of the speakers sit a little over 5' from the front wall and I sit about 7.5' from the speakers. Integration of the drivers, imaging, and soundstaging, is superb. Would they sound better in a larger room? Probably. But they sound great in this room. The bigger challenge I see in the room CPark describes is the 10' width, not the 15-17' depth. Some thoughtful experimentation with acoustic treatment will certainly be in order. But, if the Eidolons are in a price range you can live with, I find it hard to imagine something else that will be more musically satisfying.
A speaker that works well close to side walls, provided you can give it breathing room behind, is the Sound Lab Millennium-2, a full-range electrostatic. The larger Millennium-1 won't give you quite as wide a soundstage in your room, since its greater width means you can't spread them quite a far apart. The Sound Labs excel at timbre, inner harmonic richness, and nuance. The M-2's retail for twelve grand with options, which would give you plenty left over to get a really nice amplifier.
In a more conventional speaker, you might want to look into the Piega's recommended by Jtinn.
Best of luck in your quest!
I have Eidolon's in a 14w x 19l x 10h room, and they like to sit 2.5-3' from the sidewalls with reasonably significant tow-in (about 16 deg). With less tow or closer to the sidewalls, even with very extensive sound treatment, they develop some uncontrolled overhang of sound (partly due to reverb from adjacent rooms that can't be completely sealed off from the main room). I would be a little concerned about the 10' width in your room and would consider long wall placement rather than short wall. Also, I would recommend discussing with Avalon their experience in long wall/ short wall placement for a 10' dimension. They are very helpful, and also have a web site for questions. Eidolons are fabulous speakers - worth fighting for if they will work for you.
I agree with Jtinn on the Piega's. These speakers are very room friendly at half the price of the eidolon's.
CJ, you mentioned the Audio Physic Virgos, I would definitely audition these. I have not heard the Avalons, but I auditioned 25-30 speaker systems before I bought the Virgos. These are magic speakers, amazing in detail and soundstage. These were my favorite regardless of price, I listened to lots of $15,000 speakers. Trust the fact that these are far and away Audio Physics most popular speaker. They have been around at least since 1994, thousands of audiophiles have auditioned lots of speakers, they keep coming back to these. I know this is one of Singer Sound's (NYC) most popular speaker; in his ads, he is standing right above it.