Cambridge SoundWorks or B&W802/803 Matrix/Nautilus

Hi audio-experts,

The reason for this *Gasp!* almost blasphemous question is because I had owned a set of Cambridge SoundWorks Ensemble Satellites for a couple of years now, and at the price I paid for them ($399), they really blew away most "mass-consumer grade speakers"(e.g. Panasonic/Sony/etc) up to $1000. However, ever since I upgraded my Harman Kardon from an integrated amplifier (AVR70) to separates (Harman Kardon Signature 2.0 Pre-amplifier + Harman Kardon Signature 2.1 5-channel amplifier), the short-comings of the satellites have really showed. I think I have about-average cables too (Monster M1000i Interconnects from pre-amp to amp, Monster M1500i for CD to pre-amp, and Monster M1.2 speaker cables).

Sorry for the long-winded post, but my question is this... In the budget of $1500 to $2500, what should I get?
A) The Cambridge SoundWorks Towers 'B' stock, at a steal of $658 (MSRP $1500)
B) The Cambridge SoundWorks T500 at $2200
C) B&W Matrix (used) 802/803 at up to $2500
D) B&W Nautilus (used) 802/803 up to $3000

What are the differences between the Matrix and the Nautilus anyways? There are millions of opinions out there on the web, and it is confusing the heck out of me (Ranging from "B&W is overpriced crap!, get Kilpsh!" to "Don't even bother with B&W 804! Save for the 803s! Or even better, get the 802s!" to "Get my 802 Matrix for only $2250! It is 95% as good as the 803 Nautilus at 50% of the price!"). Some guru please separate the chaff for me!!!

I realize that the B&W has a "snob/prestige" factor that the Cambridge SoundWorks will never have, but I am also looking at value-for-money here. (I never seem to escape the looks of derision hi-fi sales associates give me when they hear that I am using CSW products).
Well, here's my opinion: 1. DON'T spend $2K on Cambridge SoundWorks speakers. If you really like the $600 ones, that might make some sense. 2. All the B&W's you are thinking of are going to be very demanding & revealing of the rest of your system. You might not be happy with them with your other components. What about used CDM1SEs? They are less demanding & lot's cheaper & sound very good IMO. 3. Lots of great speakers out there besides B&W's. And maybe set a budget limit of $1000 or so--& think about speakers that will sound good with the rest of your system--not just what are the best speakers in the abstract.

Just my 2 cents.
I agree with SteveAudio that don't spend $2k on CSW.

In my opinion, the B&W Nautilus line is overpriced but the Matrix series is a steal, since you can get the Matrix series cheap in the market.
My philosophy has been buying/listening used equipment with the ability to resell them. B&W Matrix series has extremely high resale value.

B&W Matrix is very revealing. I own a pair of Matrix 802s3 and have never been regreded. OK, I've to drive them with Threshold T3 and T200. However, I spend less than 5k for my whole system. I don't think I've any problem selling them for about the same price if I don't like them. I'm listening to them while writing this. :)

Steve is right on the line that picking something that matches your system. I'm also afraid that B&W Matrix may not be the best choice for your system. But if you're thinking of upgrading, B&W Matrix is a reasonable choice.

My 2 cents.
Thanks, guys!
I will keep your advice in mind.
I nearly listened to the sales associate and bought a pair of Martin Logan Ascents. Thank goodness, I came back and read the replies 1st!

Following up on the CSW vs. B&W and cable questions:
1) What about the B&W 602 bookshelf speakers for about $600/pair? Might these perhaps be a closer match for Harmon Kardon equipment than the B&W 802 or 803 models?
2) While I would agree that it may not make sense to spend $2,000 on speakers from CSW, has anybody on this forum actually heard the CSW Newton M80 bookshelf speakers, which go for $450/pair? These appear to represent a real step up from the Ensemble satellites. Do any of you know based on in-person listening that these particular speakers are inferior to, say, less expensive speakers from psb or Paradigm, or are the adverse comments on CSW just based on general perceptions about that brand or its older models?
3) If Atzen811 is looking at speakers in the range of $1,000 to $2,500, what about Vandersteen 1C or 2Ce speakers? I haven't heard them, but people on this forum comment positively about them as being excellent for the price, and offering very open, musical and natural sound.
4) For interconnect cables, Sugarbrie on this forum suggested MAS (Music And Sound) Grey cables, available from Stu Wein at Audioparts for $80 ($75 + $5 S&H). I bought a pair and was very pleased -- I received prompt and courteous service, the cables featured quality construction, they made an audible improvement in the sound of my system, and they have proven to be non-fatiguing during prolonged listening. I also learned that they had originally sold for much more when they were marketed through distributors, before Stu Wein retired and started selling them directly. If I understand correctly, the internal conductors on these are silver-coated copper; they have external shielding and what appear to me to be very high quality RCA connectors as terminations. It is conceivable that you might find somewhat better cables at a much higher cost, but these are excellent for the price and probably a good deal better than the Monster interconnects you are using -- not that Monster cables are bad, but I think you'd find these better.
I 200% agree with 02Pete!!!..I have owned CSW's since 1994 and they are strong contenders in their field. I agree that the M80's are amazing for their 450.00 price tag!! If $2K is your budget, try auditioning the Revel M20's, new they are 2200.00. Stereophile just reviewed them and gave very high marks.....I would go out of my way to listen to them!!!

I tested the Cambridge SoundWorks M80's and found them very soft on the highs. I was not that impressed and returned them.

I then saved for a few more months and then purchased a pair of B&W CDM NT1's which are much more to my liking for under $1000.00, but a few more dollars than the M80's that's for sure. For $450 price tag, they are not bad, but I would save up.