Speakers, confusion, any ideas?

I've just rebuilt my front end after 20 years. I now have HCA-2 amp, MusicHall mmf-cd25 mod level +, and a Carver Sunfire Symphonic reference pre. (yes, Wally at underwood hifi has had some influence on me). The last link are speakers. I have refurbished my epicure 3.0's mids and subs from Meniscusaudio. With their advice, I will still need to replace the tweets, and have the speakers shipped to them for a computer analysis to create the new crossover, have it installed, etc. I have already spent $600.00 on drivers, with about $600.00 to complete the modification/refurbish process. At their current level, I listen, and am just not satisfied. The upper end, especially female vocals and horns are just edgy. I keep wanting to turn it up, but when i get to performance levels they make my ears hurt!!

I suppose the cross over could be the missing key, however, i wonder if my journey is futile.

I've read about three speakers that catch my attention, in no particular order: The Gallo Reference III, Paragdigm Studio 100, and the Theil CS2.4. All have gotten some serious print. Once I make my decision, I dont want to look back. What ever I pick, will probably take me to the next 25 years, hearing loss, diapers, and the true terminal* whatever.

Any ideas?
I personally wouldn't try to have Meniscus Audio reinvent the wheel. (Though that's what keeps high-end business flowing.) Just because they sell parts, refoam old drivers, and have a PC with Spectrum Analysis software doesn't mean they know anything more than rudimentary crossover design. The great speaker designers spend hundreds of hours tweaking and testing and re-tweaking to match a crossover with it's components and the cabinet. Have they asked if you prefer 1st order or 4th order crossovers, and why?

If edginess bothers you, avoid the Gallo's. They're the latest "hot stuff", but they are definitely for people who want it very live in the upper end. Of the 3 you mentioned, the Thiels sound about right. Or consider the Vandersteen 3a Signatures. Both Thiels and Vandersteens are available very reasonable used, too. Used Alons are another good alternative.
Hey thanks for the input...and by the way, i am using all signal cable wires, inconnects, power cords
If you like the look of your current speakers and want a minimal investment to see if you can "correct" or "improve" the sound, try either a Bybee Quantum filter on the terminals or a Harmonix Enacom speaker filter. These would be relatively inexpensive treaks which may help you with your system. Good luck!
Let me stick up for Meniscus first, they can build great sounding speakers and nothing they do there is rudimentary. their measurement software I believe is MLSSA or better now.

Which is more than adequate.

Opalchip has been reading to many magazines audio isn't that complicated.

Your drivers determine what crossover works the best, if you can't pick the drivers to start with.

If you start with a clean sheet of paper you can then select drivers that fit your philosophy. 1st order 4th order etc.

I would take a $2000-$4000 Meniscus made speaker over any of the speakers on your list.

I like the Thiels, but the guys at Meniscus can build better, Chad AND Mark will not mislead or promise things they cannot deliver. I use their small subwoofers because no one makes better for the price and performance.

If you need tweeters, then you need tweeters, you also likely need new crossover parts, your caps are likely dried out. etc. I don't see the risk for $600 to solve an easy problem. Abd the worst thing that happens is a speaker you've owned for so long and enjoyed sounds like new again.
Yo Cine, thanks for the reponses. I read some of your answers/threads 2.3 v 2.4 pretty compelling. I would have to give your comments a lot of weight. Just for the record, the meniscus boys didnt say I needed to replace the tweets, "i did". One of my baby audiofiles thot the fine wires coming from the tweets needed to be pulled out. I soldered the connection back, but, it always seemed a little off after that. I am also glad to hear from you that a crossover is determined by driver characterics. I changed the drivers so the crossover needs to be optimized, it just makes sense. I know it all boils down to what *I* hear, ie, if it sounds good to me, but its good to know that an objective person indicates that i could be modifying to an audiophile level and NOT just barking up the wrong tree. I will probably continue on my mod/refurbish path with the epicures. One day, I will hopefully get a chance to play some of my reference music ( a lot of acoustic stuff...how can anyone use electronic or distorted rock an roll to determine speaker quality? after all hifi refers to the ability to reproduce the source, how do you know "what" that kind of music is supposed to sound like in the first place (another thread for sure) on a set of 2.4's just to either prove to my self, i have "done good" or produce that sick "system lacking" feeling. Oh by the way...with a full range speaker such as the 2.4 (down to 25 to 40 hz) do you recommend a sub?
"how can anyone use electronic or distorted rock an roll to determine speaker quality? after all hifi refers to the ability to reproduce the source, how do you know "what" that kind of music is supposed to sound like in the first place"

True but those kind of recordings can put stress on the system such that speakers are stressed and make their own noises. So you cannot use them for absolute accuracy, they can be used to stress the system and test systems in extreme frequencies normal instruments cannot reach.

The key to "knowing" about speakers is experience. Listen to all you can and do not be in awe but always be evaluating what is happening. Select a limited amount of recordings that you enjoy that have unique attributes that seem to vary from speaker to speaker. This takes time.

Building and measuring your own speakers is a way to become very good at recognizing flaws and how measurements and system performance correlate. making bad sounding speakers is very educational...I speak from a great deal experience.

Subwoofer if you feel you're missing bass. A speaker like the 2.4 for example may have an extended frequency response but at its lowest frequencies can be limited in its output. So getting a boost from a subwoofer can be helpful.
Obvious experience and apparently credentialed Cine, I would be interested in knowing what your own. Also how about a top five sounding CD recommendation?
Here are 5 CD's that have a great deal of good music and an eclectic selection of music. Not all tracks are perfect but the range from outstanding to just listenable can help define how fragile or how flexible your system is.

Until the End of the World Soundtrack
Sopranos Sound Track (Original)
The Soul of a Man by Wim Wenders (PBS series The Blues)
City of Angels Soundtrack
Into the Labrynth Dead Can Dance

These are some tracks I use to evaluate systems, notice how old some of the CD's are!

Enya Watermark track 3 "On your shore"
Crash test Dummies God Shuffled His feet track 10 "The Psychic"

Peter Gabriel So Track 6 "Mercy Street"
Megadeth Countdown to Extinction Track 1 "Skin O' my Teeth"
Depeche Mode Violator track 6 "Waiting for the night to Fall"

All of the tracks above accentuate areas that many speakers seem to have difficulty reproducing.

Almost all of my other "test" Cd's are limited "demo" cd's and cd's from Cd Classical magazine. None of my Classical test CD's are available for resale.
First of all, if you aren't using vinyl when doing these "demos", you aren't really hearing the music.

Second....ok, there really is no second. That's it.

Yo Cin Sys,

Do you have any advice or experience with the Vandersteen 2wq?

The upper end, especially female vocals and horns are just edgy
That sounds a lot like a x-over matter to me. As such, Meniscus (and other reputable resellers) are of course experienced enough to offer viable solutions -- better so, with some INPUT from yourself (i.e. your tastes).
Or it could be a tweet-mid mismatch (unusual, but it happens) in which case again, the same people can offer solutions.
I really wouldn't worry (or invest in commercial spkrs) until the spkr project is completed! Cheers

No I don't have any experience, but I have heard previous models and I liked the subwoofer.

But I don't want to go any farther because the last 2W I heard was probably 10 years ago.

But I still might be able to help, what is the application? 2 channel, surround? what main speakers and what size is the room (include open adjoining spaces too.
If you get those Theils or Paragdigms your ears may not survive.
2 channel critical listening
I have to think the Vandersteen will still be a good choice, email me for a little $400 trick i've been using to integrate subwoofers perfectly lately.

There are other options out there but if you have or can get a Vandersteen it will work well.
I was lucky enough to purchase a used pair of Vandersteen 2wqs. Significant wow factor. Not only did they provide the bottom octave but they also improved the overall sound quality of my full range speakers ( as advertised). An unqualifed recommendation to any true audiophile system.