I’m in the Denver area with a small room. I was looking for speakers under $2k, and especially wanted to audition some.
I have gone to a number of dealers in our area — Crescendo, ListenUp, Soundings, Gold Sound, QAV. Gold Sound was a nice place to visit because they have a lot of new and used stuff; don’t let their retro website fool you. They’re nice and had genuine expertise.
For speakers in my price range, I have ruled out B&W, Focal, GoldenEar, Polk, Dali, Elac. Some of these speakers sounded very good at a higher price point (e.g. Focal, Spendor, Sonus Faber, Vienna Acoustics), but not at $1-2k. What I heard which really impressed me were Dynaudio Evokes (at Crescendo) and the Totem Sky (at QAV). I have not had the chance to listen to KEF LS50, which I hear is great.
I admit that I listened to some more expensive speakers, just in case they popped up used, e.g. at Tmraudio.com, which is a not-to-long a drive away for Denver area folks to drive to save on shipping. They list a number of very good deals on speakers and I’d be willing to drive up to bring some home for an audition. You might surf their site for deals, knowing that you can purchase, audition, and return without spending anything but a little time.
In the end, I headed the "direct" route and went for Salks; I was seriously tempted by Fritz, Buchardt, Omega, Zu, Ascend. Many of these companies seemed great, but there I didn't see models quite small enough for my listening room (nearfield, desktop). The Salk reputation and build options and quality seemed decisive. I chose a standard veneer, so I have 30 days to change my mind.