The Gallo Reference speakers work *very* well when located away from walls. Shameless plug: I have a pair of Ref. 3.1s with Stein Audio stands for sale...
Wow, fantastic responses so quickly - I'm stunned! Thanks, and keep it going. To answer the questions raised in these posts: The room is 17 feet wide and about 24 feet deep. The speakers will be located along one of the short walls. It has a cathedral ceiling which starts at 8 feet and goes up to an apex of...12?14? feet. The speakers are in front of one of the 8 foot high walls, so the ceiling angles up evenly in front of both speakers. At the moment, my couch is more or less below the apex, about half way into the room. Its a new house (new to me that is) so have some floor and wall treatment in front of me...quite a bit of echo at the momen. I have heard Totems, a friend has Totem Hawks which sound superb in his space which smallish - 10 by 12 I think. I wondered how they might sound in a wide open room, but haven't convinced him to bring them over. I'll look into the Gallo and Vandersteen suggestions - I don't mind shameless plugs at all. I'm shamelessly asking for free advice!
Running Totem Forests in a space that is ~20' wide by ~29' long. Speakers are
5-6' from sidewalls with rears 3' from short wall behind them . Speakers are
positioned about 5'6" apart. I sit ~8' from them. PLENTY LOUD and great
imaging since moving to this space that provides more distance to sidewalls.
Also, positioning Forests closer together than previous 7' was a revelation.
Tipped off by one reviewer who commented, Pay attention to how Vince B.
positions Forests at shows. Very much agree with Elevick...yours is a good
problem to have. Actually, I wouldn't call it a problem.
I would also offer for consideration; not choosing speakers for amplifiers, etc., instead choose amplifiers, etc. for speakers. You've taken the very wise step of considering your room first when choosing speakers, I'd suggest you consider going in that direction. Don't let your existing gear exclude other speaker options. You can always sell your existing gear and get what might be more appropriate gear for particular speakers. This is Audiogon after all.:-)
BTW, Thiels could work in that room too.
Again, "wow" and thanks to everyone for their input. @Ghosthouse -- in a room that size I'm guessing you had some echo issues to address? If yes, do you have any recommendations. I'm starting (this will get howls from every corner, I'm sure) with 100% tile floor and bare walls. I've coverd about 50% of the floor with rugs, so I've got a ways to go. At the moment, its a cave, though even just that first large rug made a noticeable start.
Phil - The system relocation was associated with a basement refresh that did have me concerned. Went from full berber carpet on thick pad flooring and acoustic tile ceiling to engineered hardwood floor and drywall ceiling. YUP there were echoes! However, several large area rugs with padding now cover probably 3/4 of the floor. But the biggest help was from GIK Acoustics. Called them and sent a schematic of the listening area. The panels they recommended made a dramatic difference - much improved resolution without any hint of harshness. No problem with echoes now. I would definitely recommend checking out their website. Things sound way better than they did in the old space. Good luck to you.
You have a lot of space to fill for $3K, but an interesting solution occurred to me--Axiom Audio. They're an internet-direct company with design and manufacturing in Canada, with offices in the US. They have some serious talent there including Andrew Welker, former designer with Mirage who had designed that company's Omnipolar and Omniguide lines of omnidirectional speakers.
I think omni, bipolar, and dipole speakers are a good fit for your situation because their designs can bring your room acoustics into the mix in a good way, helping to reflect the sound to fill the space.
Axiom offers three omnidirectional speaker models designed by Andrew Welker. They include DSP and a rear-channel amp that modifies the rear channel signal to provide a room-filling soundstage and at the same time provide sharper imaging than is customary with omnis.
Their top two omnis are priced above your stated budget, but the LFR 660 comes in at $2960 with free shipping. Even this one is pretty good-sized, with twin woofers and front- and back-firing mids and tweets.
If you go with a conventional front-firing model, you can get their flagship M100 V4 starting at $2790. However, for a more furniture-grade solution, you could go with the M80 v4 and trick it out with real wood veneer and outriggers and still come in at budget.
There are plenty of reviews linked from the website to get a more complete picture of how these speakers sound and what they're good at. As mentioned, shipping to you is free, you get a 30-day eval period, and if you return them, the return shipping is far less than you would spend on your own.
I have no affiliation with Axiom, but I am a fan and owner of several Andrew-Welker designed speakers. I love their tonal balance and the uniform way they energize a room.
@Johnnyb53 thank you for your thoughtful reply. I've been thinking that possibly over the long run I'd end up with two pairs of speakers, one set directional and the other non directional as you've described. I've had DefTechs in the past which I enjoyhed (7001SC, then I had to move into a small apartment and sold them) and thought about buying another pair when I got into this house, but thought I would also get suggestions on this forum. How do you feel Axiom, or even Mirage, compare to Definitives?
As I mentioned, I have owned and still own several Mirage speakers. Last fall I was on a speaker quest and so listened to quite a few, including MartinLogan Motion 40, Sonus Fabere Venere 2.5, GoldenEar Triton Seven, Magneplanar 1.7 (which I bought), and Phase Technology bipolar towers. Of those speakers (and of the Mirages I already had at home), the Phase Techs--while sounding pleasant on their own--did not have anywhere near the resolution of the other speakers mentioned.
Their bipolars never impressed me the same way the Mirages did--and still do--as my 1998 M5si's anchor my HT rig which gets used every day.
Sounds a lot like my room, a study in compromises.
I used to have a pair of Mirage M7si speakers. Liked them well enough, but then fell into a pair of legacy Magnepan 2.2/R, then upgraded those to Magnepan 3.7, which I'm running now.
Both of the Maggies are more than 4' from the side walls; about 4' to the back wall (I brought them as forward as my room allows.) About 8' between them. As can be typical with Maggies, the listening position is rather narrow, so putting the tweeters on the outside helps to widen the stage a bit.
When Philtangerine first posted, I immediately thought of Maggie 3.7s plus a sub or two, but it was above his stated budget. 1.7s plus subs would fit the budget, but w/o knowing his listening preferences, wasn't sure if they'd be big enough.
I listen to 1.7s plus subs in a 15x18 LR with 15' vaulted ceiling and the whole thing projects out onto a near wall-less open architecture. It fills the space just fine, even for big band or large scale orchestra, but I don't listen to much head-bangin' rock.
To answer the question, a 200 wpc Adcom should do fine with the 3.7s. Maggie's new x.7s series seems to be more amp-friendly than the older models.
And of course Maggies thrive with lots of space around them. I sure love mine.