Reference 3A da Capo's
One good option would be an older Martin Logan speaker. As a hybrid electrostat it should offer the HF clarity and soundstaging you're looking for coupled with adequate bass performance for rap music.
Another option is an Audio Physic Tempo, with its metal dome tweeter which offers the HF extension you're looking for.
A PSB stratus silver would be a good choice, too. It has good midrange fullness coupled with decent bass extension, but not quite as extended on the highs as some of the other options. Still, it's a solid choice. A stratus gold would be even better, but I doubt the Marantz receiver would drive it adequately.
If your room is bit enough, the Magnepan MMG's could be a good choice, although perhaps not quite as suitable for rap. And I also have reservations about the pairing with the receiver in this example.
I will not recommend specific speakers when you go out to audition. Rather, listen to different types of speakers, find your preference in type and then properly match a specific model to the power output of your Marantz receiver.
For example, there are electrostats, Ribbon tweeters, Soft Dome tweeters, Metal Tweeters and compression horn tweeters. There are 4 Ohm speakers that require more power than 8 ohm speakers. After the ohms, speakers vary in sensitivity or efficiency. Each type sounds very different from one another. Its up to you to decide what type of sound you like best. Then we can suggest specific models to assist you. Hope this helps.
For me it would be a very easy choice. Get a pair of Vandersteen Model 1's. For what you are looking to do, its the perfect speaker. Its also very efficient and will work very well with your Manantz. It's really hard to screw up with a pair of Model 1's.
Please don't be offended, but you list some very odd choices. Out of the ones you recommend, I guess the PSB would be the best choice given the equipment and music choice. I have nothing against PSB, but I do find them to be a very boring speaker to listen to.
My apologies to the original poster, I misread some of your music genres as "rap" rather than "R&B, little hip hop" although I think they are close enough that my recommendations are still valid.
Zd, my suggestions include non-traditional (planar and electrostatic) speakers partly because of the OP's objective of "transparency and detail". Those type of speakers are typically strong in those areas. Other options include some of the well-done metal-domed tweeters (such as the Audio Physic that I mentioned) and ribbon tweeters (VMPS, Mark & Daniel, etc). At the risk of generalizing, these tend to offer good detail and high frequency extension, which may help with the impression of transparency.
I agree with Zd in that the newer PSB speakers aren't quite what the older ones were. But the old Stratus series, like I suggested, does fulfill some of those objectives, and in the price range. Even the PSB Bronze would be good for the stated objectives. Another alternative might include the Paradigm Studio 100's.
The Vandersteens are a good choice, although the ones I've heard weren't exactly what I would call transparent and detailed. Maybe other models (from what I've heard) or other speaker/amp combinations would produce a sound more to the OP's liking.
Based off pure sound quality I would go Magnepan. If you want to rock out and jam, maybe Klipsch. ML's are good but you have to buy replacement panels after a few years, and after the sellout they are expensive!!
I bet you would love a $800 used pair of Magnepan 1.6's and get a nice little sub to enhance the weak bass.
Your recommendations do make much more sense if you thought R&B and not rap. As far as PSB goes, thats just my own personal opinion and others may feel different. To be honest, I think most, if not all, of API's Products have that "boring" trait to them.
"The Vandersteens are a good choice, although the ones I've heard weren't exactly what I would call transparent and detailed.".
That statement doesn't surprise me. A lot of people have opinions similar to yours. Its due to a combination of factors. The biggest factor is setup. Most people don't set them up properly. Vandersteen gives very detailed info on room placement and back tilt. Its not optional, you have to do what the manual says in order to get best results. For example, you mention lack of detail. Set up properly, the Model 1's are the most detailed speaker out of all the speakers mentioned so far on this thread. Its not even close. But you will only get that kind of sound if you spend some time with them.
It takes some time but i have seen some in the piano gloss go for under 1K
Even though the black gloss was $200 additional they seem to go for less than the red maple.
i got mine (red maple) for 1200 with stands and shipping so close to the op's price range
even if you have to pay more they are worth it.
I have driven these with a Primaluna PL2 with EL34's at 35wpc and Vista Audio I84 EL84s at 15 wpc and while different both made these speakers sing.
I used to have a Marantz SR7001 Receiver, and the speakers that were best for all-types of music on this amp were Mirage OMD-15s. $800 for a new pair, on vanns. Amazing all-around speaker.
One other option to consider is active speakers. I have some Quad 12L Active stand mounted speakers that are explosive in their ability to go from absolute silence, to full volume. They have amazing detail and just enough warmth to not be clinical. I got mine for $750 new. This means you no longer need to worry about the amp in your receiver. It will just be the preamp.
Anyways, good luck.
I agree with Soix's recommendation of Monitor Audio. Their silver series is a great all around speaker. I used to have a pair myself. They do an excellent job with making a metal tweeter listenable; especially at the price point. Compared to my recommendation of the Vandersteen Model 1 I mention above, the Monitors are more forgiving but they are a traditional box speaker so you will hear some of the colorations that are associated with that type of design. That said, anything in that price range will have some type of limitations. Both are excellent choices, though. Also, they will work with your receiver.
Manoterror recommends the Mirage OMD-15. I haven't heard that model myself but I do think it is definitely worth a listen. I actually demoed my Monitor Audio's next to a different Mirage that was then current. I liked the MA better but it was pretty close. I almost bought them.
I always recommend powered studio monitors in preference to audiophile speakers - I'd argue they:
are better value
sound better (more accurate which pros demand, for example since they are powered the amplifier frequency responses can be tailored to take into account manufacturing discrepancies in the drivers in order to be better matched)
are more reliable (they are designed to be used all day every day and include protection circuits, etc)
play louder (bi-amped)
include the amps
Some brands to look at (check out Ebay) - Mackie, Genelec, Equator Audio and too many others to mention.
These are "pro" items and thus are relatively utilitarian in appearance (no wood or fake wood, no grilles), but that is a matter of taste. You can use them with a receiver, but you can also just plug them into your computer or music player since the power amps are built into the speakers and ditch the receiver.
Best bang for the buck on the market?..The Swans Diva 6.2 full range three way speaker. Just under fifty inches high and sixteen inches deep. Weighs 77 pounds. Swans is currently the largest speaker manufacturer in China. But don't let that fool you. Swans Speaker company was originally off the New England coast on Swans Island. Founded by speaker engineer Frank Hale. Frank sold his company to the Hi-Vi Corporation in China, who are the largest manufacturer of speaker drivers in Asia. All their drivers are custom designed in house and some of the European speaker companies buy their drivers from Hi-Vi. Frank is the chief design engineer for Hi-Vi and resides in California. Hi-Vi/Swans currently has the largest anechoic chamber in Asia. Audio Insider currently is selling the 6.2's online at a discount at $ 400.00 off the regular price. You can pick a pair up for $ 929.00. They ship from California. Real wood cabinets made from bentwood. Their is no better three way full range speaker for the price of the Swans anywhere on planet earth.