I can whole heartedly recommend the Ushers. Easy to drive, great bass response for a small speaker, and beautiful highs. Add great looks and youve got a winner. Of course, all your choices are nice-Good luck.
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Thanks for all of the input guys! I knew this was going to be a tough decision to make give the sheer quantity of different types of monitors being produced these days. Fortunately I live in Chicago and you can find almost every hifi manufacturer's gear at one of the dealers in town.
I will admit, I always have been intrigued with the British manufacturers mentioned (ProAc, Harbeth). The way their sound in described (good timing, fluid, etc) has tended to be how I prefer my system.
That's why I've always loved Muse gear. Some people say the gear is on the "soft" side, but it's just so fluid and listenable. It's like great tube gear without the hassle, and it's really reasonably priced for what it is on the used market.
Other gear that I've owned and initially enjoyed (monitor audio, cambridge audio) just sounded way too fatiguing after awhile. The soundstaging, resolution and air was really nice, but after while it just didn't matter as much to me.
I do listen to more rock but am not a big fan of "bright" systems nor do I listen at concert levels (but on the louder side from time to time).
Look at Proac D Two and Harbeth SHL5. The Proac will be more dynamic with extended high-frequencies while the Harbeth will be slightly warmer, have sweeter highs and lower levels of listening fatigue. Both are revealing and have good timing. From your description it seems that the Harbeth may be a better choice for your listening preferences and priorities.
A bit out of left field - Lenehan ML-1's. They have just replaced the Usher Be-718's in my second system and are truly remarkable standmounts. I recommend visiting the Lenehan website which provides a lot of technical information about their speaker building philosophy. The only issue will be the difficulty to audition before purchase. I took this gamble and it paid dividends, however.
I have heard all those you listed and know the LSA1 Statements to be better. Since you say bookshelf speakers and these are all stand speakers, I assume this is a useful recommendation. I have a very nice home system but am going to be spending 4 months a year in the mountains of northern NM and am taking LSA1 Statements for use there.