I own JM Labs speakers, though I have never been a fan of the Electra 906 specifically. I am not at all surprised you preferred the Paradigms. The signature series stuff I have heard has been impressive. If it weren't for the (in the case of the Signature's at least) unjustified "mid-fi" rep Paradigm has, I think these would have a lot more buzz surrounding them (recent Stereophile cover notwithstanding).
Although, if you are willing to buy used, you have so many options. My first thought, since you are looking at monitors, is to stretch your budget and look for a good deal on Cremona Auditors. I have seen these not uncommonly for $2900 or less (with stands, which you WILL need). These will put you an entirely different class than the other speakers you mention. In the right room and with a good sub (specifically, a REL) they can easily hold their own against the $9000 plus Cremonas, at least in my opinion.
Well, I'm not a fan of Paradigm speakers at all, but as always, YMMV. I think you should consider picking up a pair of Electra 907 Bes used for probably less than $2500. I much prefer the JM Labs over both the speakers you mentioned. I think Sonus Faber does very well with classical, vocal and jazz music but I doubt you'd find them as acceptable for rock. I'd start with the JM Lab monitor and then add a sub later if you wish.
I say go for the home grand piano's, they retail for 3000 on www.harveryonline.com. they come with a full warranty. I am getting a pair of home grand piano's from harvey.
"I much prefer the JM Labs over both the speakers you mentioned. I think Sonus Faber does very well with classical, vocal and jazz music but I doubt you'd find them as acceptable for rock."
Interesting how perceptions vary. I own Electra 926's, and there is no question but that the Cremona Auditors and Cremonas rock better (to my ear), and certainly WAY better then the JM Labs monitors I have heard (906, mini utopia, micro utopia).
I believe the big question between the two is how you personally are struck by the voicing of the two speaker lines, which in both cases is distinctive and not truly neutral (at least not in the way you would find in a British monitor/full range speaker from the likes of PMC, AVI, or ATC). The Sonus line tends to have a lush character to the sound, where as JM Labs seem to me to have a characteristic clarity and a somewhat bright emphasis deriving from the famous tweeter. As a friend of mine says, speakers are like ice cream everyone has their favorite flavor. You just need to decide which flavor is for you.
I have owned speakers by Paradigm, JM Lab, and now three pair of Sonus Fabers. They actually do Rock & Roll very well as that is really all I listen to. (See my system)
The Paradigms and the JMs may be a little more detailed but will be WAY less forgiving on lesser quality recordings which happens a lot with Rock. The Sonus will give you the best of both worlds with various amplification.
They may not be hyper extended or analytical as they do not posses a metal tweeter. However they will get the music right and will a little more rock friendly.
I auditioned a pair of Paradigm S8's when the Paradigm rep was in town a couple of weeks ago. I am very impressed. Didn't listen to the S4's because when I make the jump I want a floorstander with strong bass. Imaging was top notch in spite of being set up in far less than ideal location at Advance Electonics here - I don't believe these folks have any idea what a good listening room is. It has been a while since I've listened to my friend's Electra 936's but I think both speakers are very good. As to your dilema, I'd get a bunch of the CD's you are most familiar with and go out and listen for extended periods of time to each and take your time to make up your mind.
Thanks a lot Guys and/or Gals. I am taking everybody's advice into consideration. Keep it coming.
Don't buy anything until you give the Energy Veritas 2.2i's an audition. Great dynamics (good for rock) and sound good played loud without getting harsh. One of the best tweets I've heard, liquid smooth mids (some find them a little too laid back in this respect), huge soundstage and imaging is supurb. I only recently ran across the Veritas line and before that had heard very little about them. I was blown away. Speakers with the stands designed for them (both very beautiful) will be well within you budget.
Excellent responce by Newmanoc. Not only do the Sonus Fabers rock but they do it with relish. I find there presentation open, communicative, clear, and superbly
listenable. Thye have as much accuracy as one could want
along with an unfailing ability to make you listen to the MUSIC and not how the speaker is reproducing it. Give a good long hard listen to them.
PS. The other point about flavors....couldn't agree more with that either. Everyone's got a favorite, everyone's got
a line that just doesn't light their fire. Doesn't mean they are not good....just that they are different.
I too listen mainly to rock music. I have had the JM Labs Electra 906's and the 926's. I did not like either one for rock music. The metal tweeters are quite unforgiving and the base is a little lite. Neither of these characteristics is acceptable for rock music and the inherent bad quality of rock recordings.
I have since moved to non-metalic tweeters (Soliloquy) and like the sound much better. I would suspect this is why some have recommended the Sonus Fabers as well.
The Fabers would be the least fatiguing of the above mentioned...they also surprised me with their ability to "boogie" and produce bass from such a small speaker...and imaging to die for...great choice.....
I loved Sonus faber grand piano home. I liked the Jm lab (i cannot remember the model) or the ML Acents. But the best speaker I heard was Energy 2.4's. Your price range for the used pair.
I second the Energy Veritas line. I auditioned many of the speakers mentioned above and ended up with V2.4i's. Best choice for me up to $10K....
I think that another contender that's being completely left out of the discussion is the Totem line in general, and in particular the Tabu, which originally retailed for 3000, but often can be seen a lot cheaper on A'gon used. This speaker images very well, has good tonality and surprisingly good bass. I'm pretty sure it's been discontinued, which is too bad. The Mani is the next step up, but is reportedly finicky about its electronics, plus it retails higher, and therefore would sell used higher.
Totem also makes some small floorstanders, which I haven't personally listened to, but have heard are good. These would have about the same footprint as a small monitor on a stand.