I suggest that you add Soliloquy 6.3 to your list. Contact Audiogon member Underwoodwally for information on Soliloquy and Diva products. I give him my highest recommendation.
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I have listened to Diva, PSB, Dynaudio and Siloquy. I would suggest either the Diva or Siloquy. I think they both sound more natural and musical. although they don't have the bass of some of the PSB or Dynaudio--but I never really liked the sound of those speakers very much. Speakers are very personal, while this is my opinion--you will probably find that others feel the exact opposite. That makes it very difficult to recommend a speaker, knowing that personal preferences and the need to listen to them can not be replaced.
My brother and I auditioned the PSB Gold, Dynaudio Contour 3.3 and Soliloquy 6.3. I wanted to like the Dynaudio, but the Soliloquy was an easy winner. Very musical, excellent bass, cleaner midrange. He bought them. Besides, if you ever want to try a lower wattage tube amp the Soliloquy can oblige. Unfortunately, I have not heard the Meadowlarks, although I hear good things about them.
It seems that Soliloquy is a winner so far with Diva running a close 2nd. I had looked at them and forgot it. Didn't think I could afford the 6.3 and am not quite sold on a two way yet. Their 5.3 and the Meadowlark are both 2 way speakers. I had a set of large Advents back in the late 70's which were a 2 way and touted as quite a good speaker in its day. I liked them and was amazed that they could put out such a good sound for only a 2 way. However when I replaced them in the late 80's with a set of Infinity 3 way I could hear a more distinct midrange that I hadn't heard with the Advents. Maybe 2 way technology has advanced since then. I've been out of the market since late 80's until about 5 months ago when I had to replace aging equipment. I realize that speakers are a matter of taste and figure that I will buy used and If I don't like them I will sell them and move on to the next. However it would be nice to get a winner from the beginning. That said are the Soliloquys friendly to all types of music?
I am a big fan of Meadowlark and Soliloquy. That being said, if your amp can drive them(and I believe it can), the PSB Gold i is the speaker for you. You will be able to buy them at the $1500 - $2000 price point, new. If you cannot find a dealer who will sell at this price, I will refer you to one. No other speaker on this list can be beat in terms of full range output and bass response, or mate as well to this size of room. However, you will be required to stick with a high current amplifier with this speaker. Tube amps need not apply.
Hey Trelja, Those were my first pick, but they are really big. Also was concerned with placement since I've been told they would need more room to breathe ie further away from walls. That is why I put the silver i on the list, figureing I could add a sub if needed. Also spouse approval will be harder to get on Gold i. Do you have these? Are my assumptions true about placement?
Artemus, I am glad you like the Gold i. They have a very good sound. I do not own them, but have A LOT of experience with them. They are not difficult to place. In fact, I have found them more easy than most speakers. Their flared ports are located on the driver baffle, which seems to help. For their size, they sport a narrow baffle. That seems to make them behave like a much smaller, less profound speaker. Their footprint is actually quite small, their box size being more a function of their height and depth. The footprint is really no bigger than anything else, and they are not tall enough to dominate a room. In fact, they seem to add to a room's decor. Actually, they have always garnered a very high WAF. Just make sure to choose the cherry or black laquer(this finish costing $100 more). Let your wife see and hear them. I think you and her may be pleasantly surprised. My only reservation about the Gold i is its loading. The speaker is more insensitive than its ad copy reads, with a difficult impedence(4 ohms nominal, much lower in the current hungry bass region) and phase angle. The speaker is a real current hog. So, macho solid state is the only way to make it come alive. I used to sell them, and always argued with the store owner about their claimed sensitivity(90 or 91 db/2.83 v). I thought it was impossible. Even big Adcom amps didn't drive them particularly well(but then Adcom power is not what you would expect from what their amps look like on paper). Then I read the Stereophile review where John Atkinson measured its sensitivity in the 83/84 db/2.83 v range. I can honestly say that Atkinson was right in this case. It's a fine full range speaker(in every sense of the word). A bargain at your price point. I have always felt Meadowlark and Soliloquy do not sound their best without tube amplification.
I own the Soliloquy 5.3s and although I feel they are among the finest speakers in the $2k range I'd be concerned they might load up your room with too much bass, unless you plug the large rear port. I also get the best results with them about 4-6 feet out from the back wall, as this allows them to breathe and for the soundstage to truly open up. By the way, the 5.3s are 2-way speakers with dual 5.25" mid/woofs.
I've found Meadowlarks to sound rather flat relative to the best in this class, which would be the 5.3s, ProAc 1.5s, Thiel CS1.5s, and Joseph Audio RM22s(in my opinion, obviously). Given your price/room constraints I'd recommend giving the Joseph Audios a listen if the 5.3s don't work.
I don't have any experience with the Diva, PSB, or Dynaudios. Best of luck.
Hey Wcwhisper: Do you have these speakers and if so how particular are they about placement? With a rear firing woofer it would seem that they would require staying away from corners and front wall. Since they will be in my living room, I am confined to staying closer to walls than if I had a dedicated listening room