"I've followed many-a-thread here over the years and this one may be the most pointless of all."
The issue with your view is I don't think you have had many people over to actually hear stuff - I have - nor have you gone to others places to hear different stuff - I have.
It varies enormously what people think is a 'better' sound and system synergies cause widely varying effects. On my speakers for example my reference DAC sounds very dynamic, detailed and, for me, real sounding - so much so some hate it - describing the detail it reveals like ultraviolence - it's like watching clockwork orange and they don't like it. In other systems its very smooth and a bit boring - the exact opposite.
It is quite possible some prefer PMC to Salk - its just the way Hi Fi is - if you don't like it - get over it - because its rampant in this hobby.
I am very perturbed about the use of electrolytics in such an expensive speaker - but people listen to the sound - the parts used are simply what is used to give the sound - if they like it what difference does it make?
You need to listen to more stuff with others - a LOT more stuff IMHO.
Audiozen, audiophiles also claim all kinds of advantages to: putting speaker wires on lifters; adding baubles to their racks to deal with "resonances"; 3' of power cable between the 30' of romex in their walls and their amps. Common knowledge, so to speak. Common knowledge with no basis in any kind of objective metric. It's common knowledge that Bigfoot is real too.
If you're here to praise Salk's stuff, fine. But spare the mumbo-jumbo about fuses turning an amp or preamp from blah into something positively amazing. This is a speaker forum after all.
A cult following does not define a good speaker. I used Bose as an example of that since their customer base is much larger, and probably as loyal, as Jim's. Bose's fan base proves that you don't have to make great sounding speakers if you have adequate marketing prowess. Salk's following proves that a good product will garner a long list of customers.
I got to agree with Vapor1 here and also Dodgealum. I don't post much here anymore because the questions never get answered but comes down to a lot of wienie wagging.
Parts do make a difference and they don't have to be laid out in a neat order. Look inside a TRL Dude preamp. Wires all over the place. Circuit boards can also go bad over time do to heat, not sure how much heat in speakers but in repairing old tube gear I see many circuit boards damaged beyond repair. I wonder why a $14K speaker uses cheap parts? More expensive resistors don't cost that much more or even better caps but I see so many high end manufacturers of components using cheap parts (resistors, caps, volume control). That is why most people are spending so much on having upgraded parts installed.
As far as the two speakers, I have heard both in different systems. Cannot say that I prefer either. I don't judge a speaker until I can hear it in my system with my gear. I know the sound of my system and room. Only then can I judge what I prefer. Too many times people hear something and say that they did not like the sound. Not sure how they come to that conclusion. For example in the past I heard Dodgealum's system. I brought over a preamp that I designed and I thought his system sounded completely different with my preamp. He has moved on to a different preamp since then and my preamp design is significantly better now also. I can tell you that most if not all of you have a preamp that does what my preamp does. The Salks won't sound murky or glassy. I have also heard manufacturers use components at shows that I wouldn't use with their speakers. I wonder all the time, do they think this sounds good? Why would they use that gear with those speakers? And last, the price of a component means nothing. It comes down to the sound in your system and what you prefer. And to me the only way to tell is to get them in your system.
Bigkidz..the price of a component means nothing? What a stupid statement. I have a metal lunch box I converted into an integrated amplifier with a five inch speaker on the side and a internal transistor radio amp that I can sell you for $10K. Because it sounds great! Hell, when I buy a speaker, amp or preamp I make damn sure I look under the hood to know what I'm getting for the price. Not to just buy a product blindly at a high price because its a politically correct audio component. In the real world of costs, The PMC PB1i speaker should sell for $3K, not $14K. but since PMC has made a commercial name for itself in the Pro recording world, they want you to pay for the name first, and ignore the very low cost to make the PB1i speaker. Is their a better British speaker at a lower price that is superior to PMC? You betchum!! Proac!! Their killer stand mount monitor, The Response D, is only 26" high but weighs a very heavy 55 pounds, with better drivers
and crossover, and it will play all the way down to 25Hz. Cost is only $6K. Or the very large Proac floor model, the D40-R, that is 47" high, weighs 88 pounds, and will play down to 20Hz. No need for a subwoofer. Cost is $12K, $2K less than the PMC.