B&W 685 vs Monitor Audio BR5

I'm really having difficulty deciding between these two models. I'm looking to spend no more than $600, preferably less. Ive audition about a dozen other speakers from various manufacturers and narrowed it down to these two.

I auditioned the 685s in my home and really enjoyed the sound. Though to my ears they had some limitations. For one I never heard the sound stage open up; i.e. the 685s never disappeared. I like when speakers image so well they sound as if each note is being reproduced from the original live source right in front of me. Also the 685s really didn't have the presence I expected, they did not fill my room with sound. I think those limitations exist because the speakers were not broken in, I had them sitting on my old Klipsch SF2 floor standers and I did not have the time to play with their placement (they were due back in 24 hours.) My expectation is with the correct adjustments and stands, and break in time they will become the speaker that every reviewer swears it to be.

The MA BR5 is a 2 1/2 way floor stander from the Bronze line. The speakers really vanished when I started listening. They won over everything I had auditioned in terms of mid range reproduction, their highs were similar to the B&Ws (maybe a little less shrill, both were non fatiguing though) but their bass wasn't lifelike. Overall it had the presence and imaging I was looking for but not the clarity and realism... a direct opposite of my preference for the B&W.

I will be using a NAD C320BEE integrated (50 watts per channel), NAD T514 cd/dvd player and an ipod with line level output for the sources. I will be keeping the NAD and pairing it to these new speakers...my goal is to enjoy this system for at least 10 years. So I guess it comes down to what speaker will last me? It seems like the build quality on the B&W was better than the MA. Also I do listen at louder levels, loud enough to have to yell to be heard but not to the point of distorting the speakers. Ive read a lot of threads where MA guys report having blown tweeters out at louder volumes, whereas Ive never heard anything about well cared for B&W speakers blowing anything. What are your opinions?
I run B&W 685s off of a 15 year old Yami receiver and I have been very happy. I am kind of a bass head and most of the music I listen to benefits from good deep bass, so I bought a HSU VTF-1 to match with the 685s. All total, its a $1200 investment and I couldn't be happier. This is my first foray into hi-fi, so I have no frame of reference besides the Paradigms my roommate had in college (running off of a Luxman amp), so you could say I was spoiled very early. But to my ears the rig sounds very good.
There are other issues that affect imaging besides the kind of speaker, IMO. I was having some of the same imaging troubles you describe with my 685s, until I completely re-arranged the room to run the stereo and speakers on another wall. Now the sound is much better. I have the sub in a different corner, bracketed by concrete foundation walls, and the improvement is easily heard. I also place the B&Ws 3 feet from any wall, and I suspend the speaker cables by heavy thread from hooks on the wall to avoid any vibration.
The 685 needs to be on proper stands to sound there best, not sitting on another speaker! They do need some break-in as well. When these two things are done they do indeed image very well.

I have the 685s on B&W stands
I came to find this thread precisely because I am not satisfied with the imaging and soundstage coming from my 685s. I've played mine enough over the past month to definitely consider them broken in. I've played with their position in the room. Toe in, toe out, farther and closer to walls, you name it. They're about 15 feet apart-perhaps I should bring them closer to each other, but this is what's needed to make a triangle with my listening position. The singer and most instruments are stuck right in the middle between the speakers. Occasionally one will venture out a foot or two beyond the speakers, but it's rare. I'm very frustrated becase the 685s are actually terrific sounding speakers and they do virtualy everything else very well.

I set up an A-B comparison tonight with the 685s compared to a 25+ year old pair of MB Quart 220s. The Quarts have no low end whatsoever. But when it came to imaging and soundstage they walked all over the B&Ws. Same position, same height, same (good) stands at the right height. I'll probably have to eventually sell the B&Ws. Shame.

BTW, I'm running the speakers with a Rotel 1056 receiver fed by an Arcam DV 135 DVD player.
Nicknace, my 685s are in about a 8 foot triangle with my listening position, so I am much more near-field than you are. I am also now running a pure 2-channel set up in my listening room, 685s fed by a Parasound Halo pre, a Rotel RB-1080 (at 200 watts per channel), and an ancient yami changer (will upgrade this soon I hope). The sound quality is leaps and bounds better compared to my Denon AVR 3310 or my old Yami receiver, imaging is decent, yet I find that only certain CDs will produce a sound stage that truly escapes the confines between and around the speakers' placement. Even so, I am happy with the sound for the money spent, I got these open box for about $550. I plan to replace these with Quad 22L2s when I have the $$$, the 685s will return to home theater duty upstairs.
Your Rotel 1056 is rated at 75 wpc. My humble opinion is that for 2-channel sound, the 685s must be run with a powerful amp or integrated amp. When I added the 200 wpc Rotel to the Denon AVR, the 685s really opened up. These B&W speakers present a fairly difficult load to amps, they are rated nominal at 8 ohms, but you'll notice in the specs, they have a minimum rating of 3.7 ohms! This presents a difficult power curve for an amplifier. I expect your MB Quart 220s are more efficient than the B&Ws; and would work better with a receiver like your Rotel, which is a damn nice unit by the way.