PSB Imagine Minis or Audioengine A5+?
I realize the very comparison might offend purists around here, but I'm prepared to learn. :-)
Here's the situation:
space is an elongated living room (12' W x 22' L x 8' H) divided in two by a long couch making the effective listening area 12' W x 11' L x 8' H where I would like hi-quality 2.0 music played through my Mac laptop into an Airport Express. I already have the following system:
MacBook Pro => AirportExpress => HeadRoom MicroDAC => cheap pair of powered computer speakers
set up as proof of concept. AirPlay is consistent, beautiful, and the DAC really provides a nice signal into the otherwise inexpensive speakers (an RSL 2.1 system from 2005 that went for $60 new).
The major limitations of the room: it will not be maximized for hi-fi listening. It's a living room first, carpeted, furnished, and full of things like dog beds and blankets. Also, during cold weather, a gas stove circulates heat using a somewhat noisy fan. It would be four feet from the right speaker. Not a heating issue for the speaker (I've checked and there is no appreciable increase in temperature after two feet of distance from the stove), but the sound can drown out low-volume mid-range sound. Not too concerned about the noise since I can merely turn the stove off during devoted listening sessions.
For a space this untamed, would I see much difference investing in a pair of PSB Imagine Minis (or Image B4s) and a NAD c316bee to run with the DAC:
MacBook Pro=>AirportExpress=>MicroDAC=>NAD=>PSB Minis
which would run $1130 new, or would I be just as happy with
MacBook Pro=>AirportExpress=>MicroDAC=>AudioEngine A5+
Auditioning is not really an option. I like very detailed sound (I've also considered the ADAM Artist 3s, but there's no heatsink and that worries me), what could best be described as "dry" (think the way Glenn Gould engineered his piano sound: crisp, sharp, punctuated, and clear -- that's the sound I like).
Given the space these would go in, would the PSB/NAD set-up really be 3x better than the AudioEngine A5+ (based on cost)?
Thanks for all the expert advice.