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Bob (gdnrbob) has hit the nail on the head.
Since you have stated you want to buy your next speakers brand new, (or buy demo speakers, if you want to save a few bucks), you will therefore be buying them from an audio dealer. So, you really need to go to the closest city with a few audio dealers, so you can make a day of it listening to various speakers.
I recommend that you make appointments with as many dealers as you can, so that way, they are ready for you when you come in. And don't forget to take your favorite media (Records, CDs, etc.), with you to use for auditioning the speakers. (BTW, if you're into vinyl, make sure they have turntables setup for auditioning - some don't.) Figure on a couple hours at each audio salon, with an hour or two between dealers, to give you and your ears a rest. (If you start early in the day, you can probably get in three salons.)
Good Luck in your search!!!
The only speakers I have heard on your list are the Totem Wind and the Olympica III. I like the Olympica a good bit better. The demos were too far apart for me to give detailed comments but I feel the nova is as good as anything in its price range.
I would add the Wilson Sabrina to the list. Similar sound but a bit more leading edge in the bass.
Last month I auditioned and bought speakers, and have an additional suggestion, perhaps obvious, but easy to overlook. When you make appointments with the dealers, ask them to hook up the speakers that interest you to an amp that is similar to the amp you own. Or just bring your own amp. The source components for auditioning should also be as similar as practicable to those you own/use.
Great list there. Vimberg Mino is great, but good luck finding a set for $20k or less. Magico A3 is also excellent. I think I'm leaning A3 at this point. As to Focal, I think I'd take Sopra 2 over Kanta 3. Persona 5F has excellent clarity and soundstage, but will tell you all about an overly bright recording. Heard the new SF Nova towers at RMAF and they sounded great, with impressive bass slam for the size of the drivers. Also, for your genres, look at Audio Solutions Figaro L, which is a lot of speaker for $10k. Audio Solutions also has Virtuoso S, which is even better, at the top of your price range. I heard Virtuoso M at RMAF, which was very impressive with full symphony.
Nice list, I’d add some Revels too (f228 be to start with). I recently listened to the Focal Sopra 2s and Sonus Faber Olympica Nova I (bookshelf speakers not the towers, they had sold all the Towers) at the same dealer but different rooms/rigs. The Focal’s had so much detail in the higher frequencies that it was hard to stop staring at those Beryllium tweeters. I’m not sure if it was in a good way or not yet. I’m going to go back again and spend some more time with them. They were powered with a Huge Mac tube amp, I had them swap in a solid state amp since I am running a Parasound JC5. The amp swap didn’t effect the high frequencies as much as I was expecting. I listened to everything from Steely Dan, Eagles, Beatles, and Zepplin, to Mozart and Chopin with some Diana Krall in between. The sizzle on snares was unlike anything I’d heard before. But I couldn’t stop listening to The Sonus Faber Nova I...I fell in love with them. These were just the bookshelf version, but they were quite seductive. Everything was smooth and effortless. The music was just there in front of you. The speakers disappeared. They certainly couldn’t compare to the sopras in most bass/thump/kick drums but mid bass frequencies like upright bass were more impressive than I expected from a bookshelf. I’m searching out an audition for the first pair of Nova III and 5’s that I can. I think I’m on the hunt for the first used pair of Nova 5s I can find. But who knows when that will be...I have a line on a great used pair of Sopra 2s, so I’ve got more time behind these speakers before I can justify laying down that kind of cheddar.
+1 For Revel Studio 2's. Not too bright (Persona), not too laid back (SF).
I went on a four day 4 dealer listening spree, Auditioning these as well as KEF and others. I do not regret buying the Revels. Good luck, and yes you will know it when your hear them. And yes, different electronics make a HUGE difference. I was auditioning the KEF's when the dealer swapped in a high end DAC and Preamp, and I thought they were different speakers! Have fun! Ken
I would take the focal Sopra (2 or 3 based upon room size) over any other speaker up to about $50k. They are magic. I’ve auditioned many many dozens, or more, at this point. Magicos are also very good, but more sterile (some may prefer) than the Focals. More like studio monitors than speakers for grooving.
SoundLabs 545s, you order them directly from SoundLabs. They are a new smaller version 24"wide and 5 feet tall. They have reviewed very well as all Sound Labs speakers do. Once you are into ESLs you will never look back. Of the speakers you looked at I like the Sonus Fabers the best followed by the Magicos but neither speaker can hold a candle to the Sound Labs. With the addition of subwoofers they will actually go louder and hit harder than any of the speakers you have mentioned never mind the superior imaging and detail retrieval.
For your taste in music, I would look seriously at the Vivid Kaya 45s and they are spot on budget at $18K. There is a lot of tech that goes into Vivid and I think they are technically one of the best speakers in the world. They look a little different, but there is a reason for that.
I will admit that I am a Vivid dealer, but you will have to search to find someone who criticizes Vivids sound. I am picking up my demos of the Kaya 45s next week.
After 50 years at this hobby, I accidentally found my best
speakers ever. My room is 17 by 24 feet.
Revel Ultima2 Salon 2.
They do it all. Fantastic bass from the 3 eight inch woofers per side.
Highs are detailed, but never bright. Cymbals sound fantastic. Great
driver (6) integration. Great soundstage and imaging.
I'm in central Kentucky. Had a chance to listen to Magico A3, Sonus Faber Nova 3 and Serafino and Paradigm Persona 5. Loved them all, probably eliminated Magico only because they didn't seem great off-axis-pretty finicky. Also could get a great deal on BW 802D.
Thinking about amplification and looking at Mc MA8900 and Michi separates.
Greatly appreciate the advice.
I just checked the output of your Anthem STR. Wow, great!
You absolutely have enough power for Soundlabs. If you don’t mind the physicality and size, they are, by far, the best way to go. I believe the best ESL out there. And unless you are a bass freak you don’t really need subs. The STR is very cool. Love the look and functionality. With Soundlabs, you will have a fantastic system!