looking for speakers under 3K new or used,,,help

I have been out of the audio arena for some time and have reaquired the adiction. Back in the day I had Merlin signature 4's, Hales system 2's, b&w matrix 802's and magnepan's. My eletronics are a levinson 23, audio research LS3, Krell KAV250cd. Due to the economey all the high end stores in my area have closed or carry nothing but A/V junk. The merlins I had were great in the mids and bottom end, but were a little rolled off in the top, the B&W's were very dry in the mids for me, the maggies had a great presance but just did not do well with all types of music and my friend has the 1.6's and this still has not changed in my opinion, the Hales I had were my top speaker I owned I loved the detail but they could tend to be a tad bright and they are out of business. I have looked at the Merlin VSM's and they get great reviews but was hoping for some other sugestions based on the tastes I have discribed above.
PSB, kudos, neat, theil, proac, totem, legacy to start with
I would give the B&W 804s a try I know there line pretty well & with your amp I think your be more than satified.

I own the big guys now, but I can safley say the 804s are great sounding speakers & I would not consider them dry & in fact would give them top marks from top to bottom.

There a different speaker than 802 matrix bigger sound & better dynamics.

The plus being in an area you can't audition speakers you know your getting world class fit & finish & sound.

B&w IMO hold their value better than any speaker.

you can find a very nice used pair for under $3000.00.

If you are not able to audition everything else that you have not personally owned it would be a crap shot.

revel f30 or f32, vonschweikert vr2 or vr4se, joseph audio, vmps rm30 or rm40
this is a curve ball, but if your memories of the hales are (as i suspect) great...even legendary), i'd tell you to look at avalon, hales(used), chapman, and dunlavy......if your memories are they are 'just ok', this opens the field up to pretty much anything....and there are lots of greats out there.
Gallo Ref 3.0 or 3.1. Excellent and easily within your budget used.
These "speaker search" threads on AVS Forum are worth browsing:

Speakerquest (so far...)
My Journey to find the "perfect" speaker

My bottom line: I purchased the Salk SongTowers and am very pleased with them. Custom wood veneer and ribbon tweeter upgrades would bring the price to just under $3000.
In your price range, you might want to try mail order speakers from manufacturers and retailers that offer home-trial periods. Some specific models in your price range:

Ohm Walsh 2000 - follow the thread on Ohm speakers here. I am in the process of a home trial of the Walsh 2000s myself.

Reference 3a Veena (if you have no local retailer, they sell direct from distributor with a 30-day return option). based on the Grand Veenas, which i've heard, you might like the Veenas.

And I know this is way below your price range, but these $1000/pr speakers compared favorably to many I've heard in the $3K price range:

Used, I have heard the Merlin VSMs at shows and they never failed to impress.

Although if you're unhappy with a used speaker purchase, you can usually recoup most or all of your cost by reselling them, you have to decide if you have the time, patience and physical stamina for numerous purchases and resales. Buying direct from places like Salk, Ohm, Zu Audio, AV123, etc. takes the resale part out of the equation. Just check on each seller's restocking fee policy before you order.
Ooh. I forgot one great candidate for a home trial in your price range: The Odyssey Audio Lorelei. www.odysseyaudio.com.
Just curious what (if any) you decided on?

You may want to put a general location in your profile or this post. Someone who lives in your vicinity may be wiling to have you over to hear their set up, or even bring their speakers over to your place.