Pre-audition advice needed

I am building my first "high end" system. I am taking what might considered to be an unorthodox approach in that I've gone ahead and purchased both a MHDT Havana DAC and a Rogue Audio Cronus integrated amp sight unseen based on characteristics common to their reviews. I now need to complete the setup with a pair of speakers.
Room size: ~12'x14' with a large doorway to the right that cannot be closed.
Music tastes: Classical, blues, rock (nothing too heavy), jazz, world.
I live upstairs in an apartment so i would like to avoid a subwoofer. I am flexible on speaker placement and while I do have a wife, the W(acceptance)F=0 because my W(awesomeness)F=10. I would like to avoid speakers that have too narrow of a sweet spot since these would be pulling double duty watching TV and movies and I don't want my guests to be hearing crap off axis. Based on a week long research blitz here is a preliminary list of speakers that i have my eye on. I almost certainly want to buy used since bang/buck is very important to me. The budget is $500-$2500 (willing to pay for quality).
-GMA Rio
-Eminent Technology LFT-16 or LFT-8b
-Vandersteen 2CE
-Omega (something in the Alnico range)
-Devore Gibbon Super 8
-Merlin TSM-M
-Totem, something in the Arro-Hawk range (would also consider a monitor from them.
-Basically anything that is a good deal used.
What I am curious to hear from you all is whether any of the choices listed above would be a particularly good (or bad) choice given the front end I've assembled. I am also of course open to any other suggestions. One thing I am worried about is whether I might be better off with a smaller cheaper speaker that my amp will find easy to drive vs a more expensive, potentially nicer sounding speaker that my amp would find more difficult (not straining, just more difficult) to drive. I've heard two things about speaker demoing:
1. never buy without auditioning in store
2. you can't really know what it will sound like til you get it home in your own room.
Based on the many contradictory experiences you can read about for the same speaker, I'm inclined to believe more in number 2. Since I don't foresee myself being able to bring a plethora of speakers home for in home auditioning, I'm sort of leaning towards just buying something that is a good deal used, and if I end up not liking it, just returning it if possible or selling it and moving on. I know this is a long post and thanks for sticking with me. Any advice is much appreciated.
One issue in doing a store demo, is you should make an appointment. To listen to some speakers you need TIME. At least a half hour for each pair at that store. do NOT let the saleman jabber. He WILL not stop talking unless you ask him to stop fiddling with the stuff, while he is telling you everything you never wanted to hear bout whatever.
Ask them to turn on and have the system playing for a half hour before you get there if possible. (or, remember it may take awhile for it to settle) Also, some places use a switchboard to swap equipment, if it is an electronic switcher, not so good. better all switching stuff with manual means. Also, they may not have the speakers you want to listen to with each other. that can be a problem if they also have different electronics, and are in a different room... but do what you can do.
BRING YOUR OWN MUSIC!! CD or LP, best usually CD. several CDs you know well, some for female vocal, some strings, (Jazz or classical) some bass, some big hard rocking slamming CD, a quiet then loud piano, and whatever your fav insturment is. You want recordings you KNOW inside and out.
Just relax and listen to the full favorite cuts from the CDs. make certain the vol remote is in YOUR hand, not the salemans!!!
Set the vol to YOUR comfort level. Nearly ALL salesmen turn it up too loud.
ANd again, tell him to be quiet, go help someone else etc. Just get him to leave you alone so you can listen.
(this is usually the hardest thing to accomplish!!!)
Good luck.
Some places can understand your needs, other places (or just salesmen) act like they are doing you a big favor. Some cannot go away, or shut up. sad.
I auditioned my stuff last time at a place I've known the guy for 25 years.. I still had to turn it down, but he knew to leave me alone for three hours. And I went to audition twice for the same pair of Magnepan 3.6s, with Bryston gear.
He got my 20 large.
Since you're going about this backward by buying your amp before your speakers, I recommend taking your amp with you when you demo speakers. Ask the salesperson to put your amp into the system. Amp/speaker combos can sound very different depending on the amp driving the speakers.

I strongly advise against the buy-and-try method for auditioning speakers. It wastes time and money.

Another suggestion is to do a search of the Virtaul Systems and Discussion threads for owners of your amp to see what speakers they're using.
Based upon your amp selection and the speaker choices listed, I'd be looking at Merlin's and Devore.
Elizabeth has given you excellent advice.
Thanks everyone so far.
@ Elizabeth, yes I have a very good CD of lossless files with various songs that I know very well ready to go. I also live in Boston so there are several well respected audio shops around that should let me demo for as long as I need.
@Tvad, yes I do plan on bringing my amp and DAC along with me. The only problem is that I can't really burn any of the gear in beforehand.
@Pdreher, Are there specific reasons why you would suggest the Merlins or Devores? In a review I read for the Rogue Cronus they do specifically mention using the Gibbons and really liking the pairing.
Thanks again everyone I really do appreciate the advice.
Tvad, yes I do plan on bringing my amp and DAC along with me. The only problem is that I can't really burn any of the gear in beforehand.
Thp57 (Threads | Answers | This Thread)
I don't consider that a problem. It'll still provide a good idea of how well the amp drives the speakers. A decent match will sound like a good stereo. An excellent match will come alive. If you don't hear anything come alive, then don't buy.

You'll know it when you hear it.

Thp57 - I live near Boston as well. I have four pairs of excellent speakers that I will be willing to let you hear. Feel free to contact me. They are:
1: Revel Ultima Salon2
2: Anthony Gallo Reference 3.1
3: Dahlquist DQ 10
4: Paradigm Mini Monitor

Regards, Aaron
Nothing, and I mean nothing, substitutes for an in home trial. Yes, choice at a dealer is the first step. Elizabeth covers that one in-depth. But, do not buy anything unless the dealer will let you 'audition' your dealer showroom choice in the actual room that the speakers will be used in. Thirty day, 100% refund is a must, and get it in writing. Just don't expect the dealer to do any serious discounting.
Thp= Maybe is goes w/o saying but I'll say it anyways. I think you need to decide if you are going to go the dealer route or the buy (used) and try route. Don't have the dealer set up a demo, make your selection and then buy on-line. T'ain't fair. I don't know anything about your front end but the Merlins are easy to drive, so should be easy on your amp. And there is a reason that the Model 2 Vandersteens in their various iterations are probably the longest running, biggest seller in hi-end. Not a lot of sizzle, but plenty of steak. A bit on the laid back side and cannot do realistic concernt spls, but always sound good. The used prices on the 2cesigs are, IMO, an absolute steal. I am puzzled about one thing, tho. What is your source? CD transport or computer files? Network player or direct from HD? If you go w the Vandys used you would have plenty of $ for cables, source upgrade, music, life!!!
I can't really burn any of the gear in beforehand

Why not? I would strongly suggest you burn in your equipment at home for at least 25-50 hrs. before using it to decide on anything. I would never evaluate speakers with brand new electronics, especially tubes. IME tubes can vary wildly in sound within the first 25 hrs. and may not settle in until around 50 hrs.

If it is because you do not yet have any speakers I would go to Goodwill or Craigslist and buy an el-cheap-cheapo pair to load your equipment for burn in of your new gear.

I might be better off with a smaller cheaper speaker that my amp will find easy to drive vs a more expensive, potentially nicer sounding speaker that my amp would find more difficult (not straining, just more difficult) to drive

Do not equate size of speaker to dictate which speaker might be able to be driven easier or be more difficult. Not a good indicator.
Omega is located in Norwalk,CT. Louis has a few different modles that will fit right in your budget. Give him a call to set up an audition. Bring your gear and music. Omega also offers a no hassle,flexable,30 day money back gaurantee.
Audio Connection has had fine results with the Rogue Cronus
integrated and Vandersteen 2 series as well as the less expensive 1 C.
One thing that Swampwalker points out which I agree has made them their success is for this reason.....
Because the speakers are able to incorporate
4 serious drivers in a Full range better measuring
box less design multi enclosure vs spending the money on a typical 6 sided 2 way veneered box design.
one thing I disagree with is the the latest Vandy 2CE sig 2
features the Model 5 Patented Midrange and Tweeter and
is more open and alive than any prior 2 Series before.
With a simple input/driver tube upgrade change to the Cronus that Mark OBrian can help with you will experience a level of refinement
that puts you right into your favorite music.
Omega link.
suggest you try the Harbeth HLP3 ESRs. They are very good in a small - medium size room.
Given your choices I would recommend the-
Vandersteen 2CE. (used)
But I would add the others
Thiel CS2.2 and CS 2.3 (used. these need power)
Harbeth llp3
B&W (used)

And I would reccommend given your budget to spend
$1000 on used speaker
$1100 on used JL F100
(I know you said no sub but it will elevate these speakers)
and $100 on the ANTI CABLE