You wouldn't want to give any clues regarding room size, listening preferences, associated electronics, musical taste or anything else germaine to the discussion would you?
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There is only one on your list that I have heard, which is the Pioneer S-2EX. I was very impressed by its sound, and it looks great with its companion stands. I compared it to the B&W 804 Diamond and actually preferred the Pioneer, but I went with the B&W (despite a much higher price tag) because I felt the the B&W would hold more of its value over time and be easier to sell if need be. The Pioneer is not well known.
If you do seriously consider the Pioneer, be aware that sells at a much deeper discount from its list price than most speakers. I recall the list on the speakers being $7000 and the list on the stands being around $1500. A dealer offered to sell me the speakers with the stands (all brand new, not demo) for $4500 total.
I have a Breeze owner ($1300) pair who compared them very favorably to his Clair Audents. I think he posts as Wcheng, something like that ... maybe he'll see this thread.
I have to admit, I do like the sound of the new Totem element series ... not as much top end air and extension as I'm used too, but very nice transparency and speed through the midrange. Enough so that I'd love to play with one of their woofers to see what it could do, but alas it's proprietary to Totem.
I thought that Steinway/Lyngdorf S-System was North of $20K?
I'll let the thread run it's course without interjecting, even though you do have 2 of my designs on the list :) If you want any more specifics on my work let me know, or if other want me to post it here I will. But I'd rather not make comparisons to other speakers out there ... I'll leave that for customers to do.
Your price ranges are all over the map. The Kiss goes for sixteen grand and the mmmones for 2 grand.
How about some background info such as your room size, associated equipment, musical preferences and volumes ?
I know a bit about the Vapor line as I own the Breeze and heard all of their speakers at Akfest .
If your looking to spend under 7 grand , i would look at the Cirrus Black. With its base price of only $3750 or so you could add stands and upgrades to the tweeter and crossover and have awesome speakers. The Blacks are a better value in their lineup I think. They are cheaper, have more bass than the whites, and in my opinion are better looking, and Ryan says they are a bit more musical. You will need a sub with the Whites , but probably not with the Blacks.
If you are in a small to medium sized room, really a set of Breeze and a fast 10-12 inch subwoofer might do the trick for you. The Breeze is a stunning speaker in its own right. My custom Breeze include curved cabinets, matching stands, Dueland resistors, and Amorphous core Raal upgrade, in redwood burl. I'm in a 16x24 room and listen without a sub, although down the road I would like a sub to fill in the bottom end , and for movies.
Vapor is the only company on your list where you can totally customize your speakers, and save a boat load of cash compared to some of competitors on you list, and you very well may have speakers that out perform them all.
Thanks for all your replies. We will be downsizing so I don't know the dimensions of the new place yet. My guess is a small to medium sized room. I like all kinds of music except hip hoop and rap. I like to listen at low to fairly loud. Right now my system consists of John Tucker modified Usher BE-10 loudspeakers driven by Belles Power Modules M-01 Monoblocks driven by a Supratek Cabernet Dual preamp and sourced by a John Tucker modified Oppo-95 player. I will keep the Oppo but the rest must go. The 4 piece amps and pre will be replaced by a integrated amp. I'm still researching on either a tube or SS unit. At the time I first posted I was unaware of prices so I guess I 've already eliminated several of my options because I want the loudspeakers to be under ten grand.