TOTEM Just make sure you use Totem stands.
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I agree with Phaelon! The JMLab/Focal Micro Utopia BE is a fantastic sounding speaker. I heard them in a friends system and it was the best disappearing act I've ever heard. I'm a fan of acoustic folk, singer-songwriter and rock music, he is a classcal aficionado. We both thought they were fantastic!
How about an active speaker setup like the NHT active's? Should give you a tremendous dynamic advantage and lack of coloration from no passive crossover, and good parts usage. I think they are like $8k with subwoofer, but cheaper used. Anyway, they're small, highly rated in Stereophile (Class A restricted???).
Otherwise, used, Revel Gem's, Wilson Cub's, Merlin VSM's (using a Rives PARC to EQ for your small room), Piega's, yada, yada, and similar smaller, freq restricted designs.
For other passive's, your gunna have to fish here....
Active or passive ATC SCM20's will be involving and yet still sound natural and transparent with a tight punchy bass (no one note boominess like you sometimes get in a ported speaker like the C1). If you like the artists to be in the room with you then this may work for you but you may find the bass to thin depending on what "sound" you have become accustomed too (Wilsons are known for their bass hump - just look at any frequency plot)
I recently reviewed the Verity Audio Parsifal Ovation Monitors (and whole speaker)...
I thought they were fantastic and you will always have the upgrade path by adding the base/bass cabinet should you circumstances change in the future.
The nearest well known competitor of the VA Ovation monitors I thought would be the Sonus Faber Gunarrai Hommage, but just not as "warm".
I would certainly give these speakers a listen, John
One of the most transparent monitors I have heard is the S7 made by High Emotion Audio. Right now we are listening to the P7, which took longer to break in, but seems to work as well.
They both feature one of the fastest and most accurate tweeters in the industry, for which they have at least 2 patents pending. They are very honest to 40Hz.
They are equally easy to drive with tubes or transistors, and our amps drive them effortlessly.
Hey Teeshot, are Direct brands with a money back option something you'd consider? If so I'd humbly suggest the BPT Cirrus - http://www.b-p-t.com/speakers.html
I have to qualify, I'm the person who builds them. They were incredibly well received at RMAF this year. They're truly a Reference Monitor, and are a value that's going to be impossible to beat.
I have heard the Escalante Design Pinyons both with, and without a subwoofer. I actually have a pair in one of my systems. The overall sound is better than the Talons (not surprising, since they were designed by the same person - but the Pinyons represent a significant refinement in the sound from the earlier speaker), and there is no boom or 'overload' at the bass frequencies. The transparency is first rate, and there is an abundance of detail as well. Imaging is excellent, but to me, the dynamic range and lack of compression exhibited by the Pinyons really put the icing on the cake. If you can find a used pair within your budget, do so.