Forgiving, musical speaker....

Seeking something similiar to Vandy 1 or original Meadowlark Kestrals...basically a speaker that has a fair amount of soundstage depth but too detached or polite for classic rock...going the m oí re suggestions the better...older PSB?
Older PSB is a good idea. Maybe something from Green Mountain Audio.
The new VSA VR-22 has my attention, though I'm not sure it's as forgiving
as you want.
Any of the older Magnepans before the QR (Quasi-Ribbon) tweeters.
09-06-12: Drubin
Older PSB is a good idea. Maybe something from Green Mountain Audio.
I wonder why you think that Green Mtn Audio speakers are polite & unsuited to rock music? I've owned a pair & have listened to several other models both at the factory & at RMAF & I did not find them polite or unsuited to rock music. Maybe you did not have the correct amplification driving the Green Mtn Audio speakers?
I agree with you, Bombaywalla, GMA are excellent rock speakers. I think Phasecorrect meant to say, "NOT too detached or polite for classic rock." If not, then he needs more help than we can give him. :-)
How about Ohm Walsh?
Indeed...sorry for the typo
This question is right up my alley as I have been listening to the Kestrels as my go to speakers for about ten years now. Actually decided on them when I owned a pair of Vandy 1Cs and had to sell one or the other. In my experience, the Kestrels are one of the most natural sounding speakers bar none. Liked them so much I once owned three pairs.
Because internet buying has been so easy I have tried many different speakers searching to better the Kestrels. The speaker I like as much as the Kestrel is the Soliloquy 5.0 monitor. Surprising as the main thing they have in common is they are both from companies no longer in business.
Meadowlark Kestel IIs, Shearwater Hot Rods, Magnepan 12Qr, Thiel 1.6, Dynaudio 1.3SE, Dynaudio Focus 110, Proac Response 1.5, PSB Platinum ?? and a few others have been on and out. The speaker I am using now, that I think is here to stay is the Audio Physic Tempo IV. These speakers have a wonderful soundstage with depth and width, great bass and the most detailed, yet forgiving treble I have experienced. I suffer from mild tinnitus which makes harsh treble hard to listen to. With the Tempo IVs I seem to be able to listen at higher than usual volume with no discomfort. It's something common to both the Kestrels and Soliloquy, and I lobe that.
You didn't mention price but a pair of Tempo IVs was recently listed here for $1250. Seemed like a real bargain for a speaker that listed for $4k+ just a few years ago. Good luck.
Most any Harbeth is quite forgiving. Even the baby P3ESR that I recently sold.
The Harbeth Compact 7 is what I have and its as forgiving as you could ever imagine. Simple to set up with the right stands. Doesn't matter what cables you use for the most part. Almost any amplification mates well. If you just want to listen to your music without constantly being critical then you will like them.
Mirage OMD-15. Originally $2500/pair, they are now available through for $800-1000/pair with free shipping, return privileges and full factory warranty. They have a 9" x 11" footprint and are slightly forward-throwing omnidirectional. They *can* rock out because they have good dynamics and clarity, but really excel on vocals and acoustic instruments. I love mine for jazz, acoustic pop, Sinatra/Krall/Bennett, James Taylor, Miles Davis, etc.

They are placement-friendly and throw a realistic and very stable soundstage. Excellent speakers for parties or for puttering around the house as they fill the listening space very evenly regardless of where you sit or stand. Very natural sounding and engaging.

If you later crave more resolution, all you have to do is upgrade the electronics and cabling, and the OMD-15s will rise to the occasion. I use mine both for casual *and* critical listening. They give up lots of music without beating you over the head with edgy detail.

09-06-12: Rose75
How about Ohm Walsh?
Another great choice for the same reason as the Mirage OMD15. For performance for the dollar, I have to give the nod to the Mirage OMD-15 and 28, which in performance are equivalent to the Ohm 2000/3000 and Ohm 5000, respectively. However, those Mirages are $800 and $2600/pair, which is a lot less money than the equivalent Ohms.

Original prices would have made it more of a dead heat as the OMD 15 and 28 were originally $2500 and $7500, but at $800 and $2600, to me it's a no-brainer. And I say this as a 4-year OMD-15 owner.
Forgiving, musical spkr....sounds like a description of my Spendor S100's!!
Vienna Acoustics-Bach Grand. The midrange is as good as it gets considering the $1k used price point. They do need a quality 100 w/ch or > ss power amp to reach their potential. If I ever consider a 2nd system these are at the top of my list!
You might give old Snells a try. I did and am very satisfied. Definitely musical and forgiving. I started with K/IIs, now have J/IIs (and a pair of Ks for my office on the way). If you happen to live in Illinois, there's a super nice looking pair of E/IIs for sale on that auction site, local pickup only.
I'll second Johnnyb53, I loved the Mirage OMD-15. I couldn't resist the sale at Vanns though, so I sold them and bought the Mirage OMD-28. I can't imagine ever wanting more from a speaker. You can't go wrong with either one. The 28s need more power and more space around them, or they will be too bass heavy. Whichever fits your room better...get them.

With all due respect but when you ask for a "Forgiving, musical speaker"..."but {not} too detached or polite...." you might be asking for a contradiction. Perhaps you might be better off with a very neutral speaker (with good depth) and a high quality equalizer?
09-08-12: Unsound
With all due respect but when you ask for a "Forgiving, musical
speaker"..."but {not} too detached or polite...." you might be
asking for a contradiction.
It seems like a contradiction,
but it's more of a paradox. Such speakers are out there--speakers that present a
full, detailed experience without driving people out of the room with hyper detail
and tipped-up treble. Examples include the Mirages, Spendors, and Ohms
already mentioned, and a stellar example is Sonus Faber, which somehow
delicately balances a wealth of detail with a full-bodied presentation that is
seductively musical on a wide variety of material.
It seems like a contradiction,
but it's more of a paradox. Such speakers are out there--speakers that present a
full, detailed experience without driving people out of the room with hyper detail
and tipped-up treble.

That's exactly what I experience with the Audio Physics except I might use the word etched or harsh when describing the irritating treble. Although I love the Kestrels, I always felt they lacked detail. The closest I came with floorstand speakers was the Thiel 1.6. The soundstage/imaging was very close to the Kestrels and did provide the detail. Unfortunately they lacked the natural warmth of the Kestrels. The Audio Physics give it all to me.
I will say though, those Mirage speakers are attractive.
Johnny had good ears...and similiar tastes...i always loved the older Donus Fabrt concertos...romantic presentation with great inner detail and midrange realism...
Toward the end of 1996 I bought a pair of Mirage M5si's. They still anchor my 7.2 HT system. In early 1997 I auditioned a pair of Sonus Faber Concerto Grand Pianos and I marveled at how similar their tonal balance was to my Mirages. And although the SF's are front-firing and the Mirages bipolar, they had a similar effect in energizing the room as well.

Recently I listened to a pair of SF Cremona Ms. They're a great example of balancing low level detail with a lush, enticing musical presentation. If I had $10K sitting around, I'd have a pair ASAP.
Basically taking the relaxed, soft treble sound, large soundstaging of Vandersteen/Meadowlarks, widening the sweet spot, keeping the focused imaging...and hear is the kicker...finishing with a very nuetral, propropulsive, modern low end...similiar to what one hears with hi end contemporary British, Euro speakers...quick and a tad essentially time coherent design with European musical bass
Phasecorrect, you may get just what you're looking for from the GoldenEar Triton Two. Most of the business is handled by an MTM arrangement where the tweeter is a Heil-style folded ribbon. It is quite smooth and extended. Bass is handled by internally powered woofers augmented by passive radiators, that extends down into the 20s. The bass output is adjustable and the internal power is 1200w, so you can get that lean and extended bass you seek. The speaker has a rounded trapezoidal footprint, so the 7" wide front baffle helps make for superb imaging. Best of all these speakers retail for $3K/pair, and a smaller version, the Triton 3 goes for $2K/pair.

Reviews abound, including comprehensive treatments from The Abso!ute Sound and Stereophile. I heard a pair demo'd by GoldenEar founder Sandy Gross with hi-def digital sources supplied by John Atkinson. Most impressive, involving, and easy to listen to.
Have you considered using subs?