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 @aol.com 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.