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These would work out very nicely for you Opera Platea . They are on the smallish side for floorstanders and would work well with close to back wall placement. The sound would be somewhat fuller and warmer than your B&Ws. These work well with most music types. Yes, I own these in my main system.
I also have the Totem Mites in a room about your size. I auditioned them, along with the B&W 685, and went with the Mites. I just thought the Mites sounded better ... a bit cleaner, a bit warmer.
The answer is easy, listen to speakers until you find the pair that work for you. Now if geographical reasons keep you from listening to all the various models you've read about, you'll have to purchase them for home trial. Home trial is the only way to know for sure.
Get a pair of good stands and start listening. Buy used from reputable sellers here on Audiogon and resell speakers that don't work. This is not the most economical or quickest way to find the answer but it's how I did it. Probably owned fifteen or twenty pairs of monitors over the last five years.
Here are my top five favorites in order:
1. Soliloquy 5.0 (I kept them)
2. Polk Audio LSi 7
3. Revel M-20 (probably more than your budget)
4. Silverline Audio SR-11
5. Silverline Audio SR-14
I won't mention the speakers that I did not care for. Many of them will show up though as recommendations in threads like this.
One factor not addressed is how the wife feels about these boxes showing up every few months. Good luck with that one.
The small totems never did much for me. I always felt PSB has better speakers for the same money.
I would look into used PSB speakers.... They would be a very noticable upgrade from your B&Ws.
I used B&W 703 for a few years in college and moved on to other brands (tannoy, thiel, etc) and I still can't get over how bad the 703s really were.
Good feedback. Thanks all. I'll certainly try to audition the models you suggest. I also like the look of the Amphion Helium's.
One follow-up question: Does anyone have any concerns about my amp? I talked to someone at Totem who said an old Marantz amp was less than ideal, not a classy dance partner.
Would I be foolish to pay for nice speakers when I'm running a ten year old, consumer grade amp?
The responses you have received so far are a perfect example of why listening in your system is the only way to find your way out of the rabbit hole. While I agree with James63 about your amp, I disagree concerning the PSB speakers. I owned the PSB Stratus Minis and did not care for them at all, way too bright for my taste. I also owned the newer PSB Platinum M2. They were an improvement over the Status Minis but were underwhelming to me.
Also owned the Totem Model Ones. At the time I was comparing them to the Silverline Audio SR-11s. In my system the SR-11s were much better.
This is all opinion from people who's ears don't really matter to you.
You can get Monitor Audio GS10s for around $700-800 now. Mine have done me great justice and have nailed every kind of music I could throw at them (nine inch nails was a little taxing but they survived). However, I mostly listen to acoutic guitar and piano. They aren't bright at all. Very smooth and mellow but have an attack that'll knock you socks off if you turn 'em up a little. And your amp is perfect. I run a Bada amp at 95wpc @ 8ohm and the monitors just sing. the RS1s are even cheaper but a bit bright. Still sound great though. Not quite the inviting mid-range of the GS.
Good luck with your search and with whatever you get.