Nothing Rocks like an ATC SCM-12, if you have a smaller sized room these speakers work well against the wall. In a larger room you can sink the full power of the A300 into these speakers with no worries.
2nd pick would be whatever Dynaudio fits your budget with a 6" woofer, 3rd pick would be at a little higher price range is the Dali Helicon 300, especially with your preference for a vinyl source these speakers could sneak past my previous recs in your system.
Polk, Paradigm, B&W are very good but are not on the level of these lesser known speakers who use much better drivers (woofers/tweeters) and who have as good or better skill in their execution of design.
The NHT SB3 would be a great budget bookshelf. It is a little bright and extends pretty darn low for a bookshelf. If you need extended highs and are on a budget or can afford to experiment with less expensive speakers the SB3's are wonderful.
I own a pair of LSi15s and at first I thought the tweeter was kind of laid back too. Then I removed the grills, gave them so toe-in, and replaced the flat jumpers with some quality ones(Maybe you already tried all this), and bingo, it was perfect. I would also recommend giving them some time to break in. The thing about that tweeter(IMHO) is that is so damn accurate, and uncolored, it kind of takes time to get used to it too. It doesn't call any attention to itself, but at the same time, it gives me all the detail there is to give in a totally unforced manner. Once I figured this out, others speakers seemed bright (maybe even a little hard) by comparison.
Again removing the grills, and replacing the jumpers gave the LSi15s the little bit of sparkle I thought was missing, without making it bright or anything like that.
If that still doesn't work for you, maybe some of the recommendations that were given may be better choices. I would also recommend you check the Amphion Argon2...
Just for reference, if it helps I'm using Analysis Plus Silver Oval cables(which I bought used here on Audiogon for a good price) and Analysis Plus jumpers. I'm also using a Perreaux Radiance R200i integrated amp(Awesome amp by the way) and a Sim Audio Nova LE CD Player. As for the kinds of music I hear(just for reference)...I listen to a lot of different kinds of music Pop, Rock, Jazz(specially like CDs where trumpet is the showcased instrument so to speak), Vocal Jazz, Latin Pop, Latin Jazz, Spanish Rock, R&B, and even some Hip-Hop...I sometimes use the song Ants Marching from Dave Mathews band's "Under the Table and Dreaming" CD to kind of get a handle on how my system is sounding.
Hope this helps...
Forgot to mention:
Check out Von Schweikert Audio VR-1 monitor speakers. Very VERY impressive indeed.
Also, I use a lot of the Buena Vista Social Club tracks to kind of calibrate my ears and my system...As well as Miles Davis "Kind of Blue"(isn't that, using "Kind of Blue" as a reference, like the biggest audio cliche ever).
Again, I'm giving you all these references about the music I use, just so you get an idea of where I'm coming from and what kind of things I like in music.
Anyway, before you go take the plunge with new speakers, try tweaking the ones you got a little bit(placement, grills off, new jumpers, new cables) you might be surprised...
Thanks for all the responses!
D_edwards: thanks, I'm sure the ATC's and Dynaudios would be great - they damned well better be for the money! I'm in a league a few steps down from that and am looking at around $800 or so tops.
The most interesting ideas have to do with jumpers, etc. and I will play with that first before replacing them. Thanks for all the help and, please, keep the recommendations coming!
Then I second the VR-1 suggestion or perfect what you have
Thought you might be looking in the $1500 area.
Should the little tweaks(replacing jumpers, removing grills, toe-in) not work out for you, at the $800 range, I'd suggest checking the Paradigm Studio 20 V3. If you could swing a little more, maybe check the Von Schweikert Audio VR1 ($1000), although I'm sure you can find a used or demo pair for less than your budget limit.
I listened to some Paradigm Studio 20's today and liked them a lot. I'm trying to find a local dealer for the Von Schweikert's - everything I'm reading on them tends to lead me to believe I'd like them. Thanks again everyone!
Did you get the Von Schweikerts, Studio 20s??
Von Schweikert it is - and all I can say is WOW! The clarity and soundstage the VR-1's exhibit is astounding. These are just what I was looking for - all the punch of the LSi-7's coupled with a more upfront high end. They're not harsh at all - just have a much more forward response which is what I wanted.
I liked the Studio 20's too, but the imaging and bass response on the VR-1's was more to my liking.
I spent 7 hours in the car on Friday to go to The Home Theater Doctor and bring them back. I'd HIGHLY recommend anyone interested in the Von Schweikert line to contact Shane at www.hometheaterdoc.com - he's great to work with. The only thing I regret is that he had me listen to the VR4's and all I can say is that I've got a new goal in life and it's to own those 4's one day. I've never heard a speaker sound that good or present a soundstage like the VR4 - simply breathtaking!
Thanks again for everyone's help - I'm a happy man and, once again, it's all due to Audiogon!
Good to hear man. I've listened to the VR-1s and I think they are very impressive...and what about their finish?? The craftmanship is great. I've seen them in the Dark Red Cherry and the Maple finishes(in person) and they are quite the lookers. I thought i'd never like anything in a Red Cherry finish, until I saw these speakers. I've never seen the other finishes other than in pictures on the website...
By the way, in what color did you pick them??
As soon as budget allows(maybe in a year) I'll be looking to upgrade my speakers(Polk LSi15s) as I've upgraded everything else, and I know I'll take a look at a pair of VR-4 Jr's.
I ended up bringing home the Dark Cherry color since Shane had them set up as demos and they were somewhat broken in. I wanted to make sure they worked well with the A300 integrated since he had them set up with Bel Canto.
I've ordered the African Hazlewood color and will be sending the demo Cherry ones back to Shane once he sends me mine.
I can't even describe the VR-4 Jr's! They are unbelievable but are just way out of my price range right now - perhaps in the future. For now, I'm quite happy with the VR-1's and will get a great deal of enjoyment out of them for sure.
I hear you on budget... You know what's funny though?? I never thought I would be "foolish" enough to spend more than a hundred bucks on cable, and as of right now I own a pair of Analysis Plus Silver Ovals speaker cables and Analysis Plus Solo Crystal interconnects, both of which are a bit more than a hundred bucks. I never thought I'd spend more than a few hundred on a CD Player and I ended up buying a Simaudio Moon Nova LE player.
This is a sick hobby I'll tell you...but I'm happy with the music so who cares right? Its about the only hobby I got too...
Right now I'm in the process of moving into a new house, so as soon as I do, I'll try to post my system and some pictures of it(probably about a month from now). I'm really happy to hear you're happy with your system. Right now I can't listen to music at all, everything is packed and plus I live in Orlando, Florida, and we've been dealing with a whole bunch of hurricanes this season. So every time one comes around I disconnect everything and put it in a safe place.
Anyway, great to hear you're enjoying the new speakers. I know you ordered the African Hazlewood ones, but is that Cherry finish beautiful or what?? Maybe I place too much emphasis on looks, but I don't want my speakers to embarrass my living room, specially not when I move into the new house.
Florida - man, you guys have gotten slammed this year haven't you! I'm right outside Charlotte, NC and we've been getting the remnants of all the hurricanes - I can't ever remember a season like this.
You're right - for the longest time I was never willing to spend more than a set amount for equipment - keeping me mostly confined to the "big-box" stores. Then along comes Audiogon and I'm able to pick up great quality used gear. The Musical Fidelity amp I just got I would never have been able to afford had I not picked it up used.
I've got a wife and kids to take care of and the money doesn't flow as freely into the hobbies as it used to. Thankfully, I've gotten quite good at buying and selling rare rock records, so PayPal has become my "slush-fund" for records and equipment.
At any rate - I'm looking at replacing my interconnects and cables next. I've wiped out my "fund" with these speakers, but as soon as I've got some more built up I'll be looking at cables. I've got the mid-line Monster stuff now (400 MKII interconnects and XP speaker cable with Monster banana terminators) that I've had for years. I've been looking at the Signal Cables and the Rapport line.
The guy that sold me the VR-1's really talked up the Rapport cables and they're priced about the same as Signal - just a bit more.
As for colors - you're right, the Cherry finish is very nice on the VR-1's; I really liked the African Hazlewood though. Van Schweikert does a great job with the finish work - very important when it comes to keeping peace within the family!
I hear you. I suppose I'm lucky as I am not married yet. I do get some grief from my girlfriend about how weird I am buying cables and stuff like that. Anyway she doesn't give me a hard time about spending (probably cause we ain't married) but she does comments on components that are less than aesthetically pleasing. So having speakers that are nicely finish is great for keeping peace as you say.
Speakers are such a visually imposing piece of furniture(no matter how small they are) that they have to be nicely finished if I'm going to buy them. Specially now that I'm buying a new house and I want it to look at least half way decent.