the totem or joseph audio products are very good. depending on price, i auditioned many speakers and moved from my totem mani 2's to a large pair of usher speakers. very very nice. if you like the forest (2 way), listen to the usher cp-6311 floorstander. used you can get them for around $1000. for a bigger room, get their larger 3-way speakers. i also have a pair of usher x-719's in my family room ad they too are very musical. i preferred the ushers to the spendors, proac, and totems.
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I used to own the Forests. I enjoyed them quite a bit at the time. GIven, I had just gotten into audiophile-grade gear, so they sounded like a huge leap forward from the TEAC bookshelf speakers I had. I listened to them again recently at a dealer, for fun, and while they sound very good, I like the Dyn's better. That being said, for what you're looking for, I think the Devore super 8's would be a great pair of speakers. Since you're not in a dealer-heavy area, it may be worth emailing some dealers and seeing if you can audition in-home with a deposit. You never know! One last pair of speakers would be the Verity Fidelios, which come up used for about $3000 and are great for what you're looking for.
Your list of speakers is great. I have heard all except the Joseph Audio's and liked each I listened to. The Devore idea is also a sound choice. While from an aesthetic perspective I like the Totems and Dynaudios best (and of course, this is highly subjective). Of the speakers I have heard, I guess I could say that the Totems are going to be a little hotter in the high end and the Spenders a little rolled off with the Epos, Dynaudios and Devores somewhere in between. Warning, if buying new, the Dynaudios will take a month of Sundays to break in fully.
Ultimately it is very difficult to tell you what you are going to like best in your listening room with your gear. My suggestion is that you look for nice copies of these used here on Agon and buy the first one that comes available. Try it in your home with your system and keep if you like it. If you aren't fully satisfied and paid a fair price, you will likely be able to sell and replace for the price of shipping.
Check out Omega Loudspeakers.
Give Louis a call, he is always more than willing to chat about his products. He also has a thirty day return polcy. You don't like them, you aren't stuck with them!! :-)
I've owned three different types of his creations and was very satisfied with their performance.
Check out the Omega Forum over at Audio Circle.
Before I pull the trigger on the pair of Epos M16i's, I wanted some feedback on Usher's X-718. The Usher's with stands are about the same price as the Epos speakers. I would be interested in feedback on the Usher. My main concern is that I want a natural, uncolored midrange. Also, I do not want a speaker that is overly bright, Any help would be appreciated. BTW, there is an Usher dealer about 300 miles from me in Huntsville, Alabama. The nearest Epos dealer is another hundred miles further away in Atlanta.
I like the Ushers, but I prefer the Epos. The M16i's are more balanced and integrated across the entire spectrum they reproduce, they just sound right while providing ample detail and space. They have a great tweeter, closer to Usher's more expensive Be-718 than the X-718 in my opinion. According to Stereophile's Robert Reina "High-frequency transients were incredibly fast, but never sounded etched or sharp." I agree completely. The specifications say the Usher's go lower and I seem to recall they have very good bass response for a stand mount, but they both crap out in the 40's and would benefit from a good subwoofer.
Your amp should be able to drive both to happy places, but it is going to have an easier time and go louder with the Epos. If the price difference is a critical factor, then the Ushers may be the ticket. Just remember you will have to buy some good stands to get the most out of them, negating much of the price difference.
The High Emotion Audio Bella Pyra 7 would also be a good candidate- it is very neutral, revealing, has one of the very best soundstaging abilities I have seen and is easy to drive.
I would also check out Audiokinesis- Duke's speakers are not only extremely competent and musical, but offer excellent drivability and low frequency bandwidth for the dollar spent.
before you buy your speakers, you should go out and listen to the usher's. i have multiple usher pairs of speakers from the x-719 to the larger floor standers. the smaller x-719's don't crap out in the 40's, far from it. the x-719's weigh 10 lbs more than the epos, and this is a bookshelf speaker. usher quality is better than the epos.
the x-719's go for around $800 used. if you want to move up to a floorstanding speaker, you can buy the usher cp-6311 2 way for around $900-$1000. this will blow away the epos. the speaker weighs close to 100 lbs and pretty efficient. i have the larger cp-6381's 3-way speakers.
if you want a bookshelf, check out the x-719's, if you want a floor standing speaker, check out the cp-6311. for 1/2 the price, you are getting 5 times the speaker. IMO. you be the judge.
I at least will agree with Rbstehno that the cp-6311's are very good. But weight isn't the only consideration when it comes to evaluating or enjoying speakers. As for halving prices, you are talking used versus new, apples and oranges. A new pair of CP-6311's are $2100. It is difficult to find the Epos used because they are a fairly new model and people aren't parting quickly with the ones they have.
I have not compared the Epos directly to the Ushers, but I have compared them to well respected models from Naim, Totem and Rega, and the Epos stood up very well in that company. I also have compred the Ushers to Rega speakers, so have some common currency.
I think it is a matter of taste. I would say the Ushers have a nice, smooth treble and mid-range, and strong bass (more so with the CP-6311). In contrast, the Epos has a very well integrated sound from lower mid bass to upper highs, with (to me) a sophisticated view into the details and timing of the original performance. So IMO, both pairs of Ushers sound nice, while the Epos draw me in.
Some great choices there, I like Epos and Devore in particular. One thing you can try with a small company like Devore, is to ask the company if anyone near you is using the speakers and whether they would let you have a listen. Small companies often attract enthusiastic owners who like to spread the word.
Having been on a similar search, I am waiting for a pair of Daedalus Da-Rmas to arrive, but the Devore Gibbon 9's were very close to the Daedalus
The deed is done, but what deed you may ask. One thing I didn't mention in my quest for speakers was my room size which is 23'x19'. And its the living room so whatever my choice of speaker it has to look nice. After deciding on a pair of Epos M16i's, I contacted a few Epos dealers for pricing. All gave me a price and would certainly sell me a pair, but all agreed that my room needed something larger. In my search I ended up talking to Chris Amos of Kemela Audio in Atlanta. In our lengthy discussions on room size, placement limitations, my equipment and the type of music I listen to we finally decided on a pair of Spendor A6's (in Wenge). So the order has been placed, though unfortunately the speakers are on back order, but I should have them in 3-4 weeks. Thanks for all the help and suggestions. I looked at every speaker you folks suggested (on the net), and thought seriously about the Devore and the Usher floor standers. Ultimately, neither would have worked (see WAF) in our room. Next on my list is an amp, probably integrated, to replace my 100 watt PS Audio Trio. But thats a question for a new thread.