Best speakers 2,500 can buy.

I am currently looking at Totem Hawks, Gallo ref3,and merlin TSM speakers. I have narrowed it to these three. But I cannot decide from here. I have an average room at 14x24, and I listen to music 75% versus video 25%. I am looking for a very detailed hi resolution type speaker. I want it to be very musical also. I have climbed up the ladder from polks to B&Ws, but want my next purchase to last a long while. Need opinions.
Are personally, medically, or otherwise averse(:)) to diy spkrs?? Mostly assembly is required, not actual design, etc.

If not, 2,5k will buy you a mean kit, with very good performance level. Check out Madisound, e-speakers, blackdahlia (lowther kit), dillonacoustics, decware, zalytron, gr-research (ALL dot coms).

DIY not only offers a pleasant W-E, but often better performance for the money than the commercial equivalent.
What B&W's are you currently using? Try the new 805S, a well broken in pair may be just what you are looking for. Unless you were wanting full range speaker.
There are many if you are willing to buy used.

Both of the following are detailed, high-resolution and musical, but (i) Vienna Acoustics Beethoven are more toward the musical side, and (ii) Revel F-30 (not the newer F32) are more toward the detailed side. Both are nearly full-range (they are definitely not small monitor speakers), and are not embarassed by very demanding orchestral music and loud rock.

There appear to be nice pairs of both currently available in the Audiogon classifieds (the Vienna Acoustics speakers have very high quality finishes, by the way).
Zu Druid
Shahinian Obelisks- used. Also second the Vienna Acoustics- sorry neither on your short list.
If you are will to buy used you could get my speakers, not my actual speakers as I'm not letting them go, but a nice pair of JMlabs Micro-Utopias with stands is in your price range. These are the best small speakers I've ever had in my home.
The Hawks were killed by my JM Lab 926s in my system. The Hawks are very overrated unless you only listen to acoustic and jazz music. Your criteria doesn't apply to Hawks buy fits 926/936s perfectly.
The Gallos are the best speakers I've ever heard for anywhere near their price. And, their small footprint is an added bonus...

One thing, though, it would behoove you to audition the speakers in your listening environment - then you'll know for sure what will work best.

Good luck!

The Usher CP 6371/6381 match your description and price range. They do a good job of being resolving and musical at the same time.
Buy a used pair of Audio Physic Virgo IIs. One of the finest speakers I have ever heard.
If you are willing to go to ~$3,000 I don't believe you can match the performance of used Genesis Technologies 500's. They are a former Stereophile class A and unbelievable with a relatively small footprint. Outstanding bas and extremely detaild mids and highs and you don't need a monster amp to drive them. Check the stereophile archives for the review Magazine: Stereophile
Reviewed: May 1999, vol 22, iss 5
Reviewer: Rubinson
They are not easy to find at $3,000 but there is a pair for sale right now on A'gon.
I "third" the VA Beethovens. They are very musical and sound great with a variety of music. They are somewhat placement-senstive, though, and like a fair amount of power.
Green Mountain Audio Callisto
Von Schweikert VR4JR. No question.
Used Vandy 3A Sigs, or new Vandy 2se's for $1500 and $1k left over for some music!
used pair of vandersteen 3a signatures
I vote for the gallos (but I already voted with my checkbook).
I second the vote: Vandersteen 3a Signatures, used.
Used Klipschorns.
totem forest or the totem mani-2. my audio room is 13.5' x 24' long and i use the mani 2's and they are very nice in a room this size. if you like the hawks, i think the forests might be better in a room like yours.
I have Hawks with Audio Research VS110 tube amp and they sing beautifully. I've also had them hooked up to a 100wps solid state Exposure integrated and they have really opened up with the tubes.
They certianly fit the bill.
you won't be disappointed with Harbeth monitors in your budget. they draw you in with grace and ease and oozes refined details.
Used Aerial 10ts are about $3k, and are still one of the smoothest, non-fatiguing speakers you can find, despite being a 10+-year-old design. They are not the last word in soundstaging, however, with an up-front presentation. But the tonality is good with a nice balance of non-edginess and detail. I think they are a real bargain at common used prices.
Zu Druids, if you can spend just $300 more. Nothing in the price range - and I mean nothing - offers coherence, resolution, musicality, immediacy and expression while delivering high tonal accuracy. It is friendly to a huge range of amps and your space can be easily driven by very low power options. The Druid is a revelation in this price range and humbles speakers costing many times more.

I'm sorry Dritchey, Did I miss something or did no one ask? What amps are you planning on driving these with? The synergy between the speakers and power amps is critical in your choosing IMHO. Cheers!
I second Phil's statement on the Druids

I personally would like to compare the Green Mountain Audio Callisto to the Zu Druids. Has anyone done this? Both are first order crossovers. The Callisto I own has a cast marble cabinet that is dead quiet and the best I have heard. The Druids are more SET friendly, but I am curious about the cast aluminum tweeter as most are bright in my experience. The Callisto also has a lifetime warranty. Any information would be appreciated from those who have heard both.
The Druid has not crossover. The FRD is naturally rolled off on the both ends and the supertweeter is rolled in via a filter network at 12kHz. The FRD gets a direct connection from the amp so the 40Hz - 12kHz range is produced without the signal traversing a network.

The Druid supertweeter waveguide is aluminum but the driver itself is not. There is nothing bright about it.

I haven't heard the Callisto on a comparative basis. I have heard them in someone else's system. It's a good speaker certainly but not in the same class or type as a Druid. 10 - 11 db less efficiency; markedly less bass and the bass it has lack's the Druid's definition; nothing close to the Druid's coherence. And one more big thing that you can only understand once you've heard a Druid -- there is the inescapable signature of music being squeezed through a crossover, which the Druid doesn't have.

Also, the Callisto woofer/mid driver is not fast enough to give the speaker the top-to-bottom transient uniformity that is elemental to the Druid experience.

The Callisto is much smaller of course, has the placement flexibility of a standmount. Really a different speaker from Druid. But at the end of the day, it's conventional and the Druid is a departure designed to overcome the constraints that still saddle the Callisto design approach.

As for warranty -- this is a practical irrelevancy. In any case, in the Callisto, no matter what you do you can't get away from the fact that the signal is jammed through that crossover before you hear the meat of the music.

Lots of suggestions w/o much info on associated equipment and musical tastes. I can throw out my favorite speaker in this price range as well, but that doesn't mean it's right for you.
Please elaborate on your tastes and equipment.
I second the Aerial 10T.Simply put is outstanding and my favorite.Own them for a year and half and being very pleased with them.They sing better with lots of current.
Thanks for the info Phil. I will seek out the Druids and hear these for myself.
Snipes: Music taste is omnivorous in my case. I couldn't possibly choose a speaker for a specific musical preference. I have everything from Gregorian Chants to Junior Brown in my collection. As for equipment, I have SET tube amps available for use from 7/7w to 30/30 watts, but also have occasions to use solid state amps in the 500/500w class. In fact, one can choose a speaker that excels across that kind of functional range. Or one can choose a speaker that specifically cannot. It makes more sense to me to choose the former, especially since I've learned so much over decades making do with the latter.

Phil: Did you change to a passive preamp with the Druid's. I have read that high gain preamps loose control with the 101bd effeciency of these speakers. Is this true?
Preamp gain choice will depend on the input sensitivity of your power amp, or put another way, on the gain allocation between preamp and amp. I have two systems and use a TVC (transformer volume control) with +6db passive gain on one system, and use an active tube preamp with the system that has Druids. It just happens that I prefer my amps on that system with an active preamp rather than the TVC. I don't use resistor-based passive preamps as that option has never sounded worthwhile to me, though I haven't yet heard the Placette which is commonly cited as an exception to the common maladies of resistance passives.

What you won't want with Druids is a high-gain preamp driving a high-gain (or high input sensitivity) power amp. You'd end up with very little useful rotation in your volume control and your noise floor might not be acceptable. But a high-gain preamp is necessary with a low-(voltage)gain power amp. For instance, the Audiopax 88 monoblocks have only 18db of voltage gain compared to a normal range of 26 - 32 db gain. In such a case, a high-gain preamp is warranted, even on Druids, to be able to drive the amp to full power.

Elsneb: It has been a few months now, did you ever get the chance to compare GMA Callisto and Zu Druid?
you are right at the price point of the bastanis prometheus speakers.

great for music, great for video.

but you have to do (a little) building.

so nice you'll probably wish you had a better amp, maybe even one with some tubes in it.

if you can hear this speaker, do so.