This may be a rhetorical ? but

Have you ever had this experience? I own Meadowlark Shearwater Hotrods and the less expensive Kestrel Hotrods. After using the Shearwaters for a few moonths I switched back to the Kestrels. Reason not relevant. Anyway, I think I prefer the sound of the Kestrels. I remember my first impression of the Sheawaters; great detail, accurate bass. As for the Kestrels. they don't go as deep as the Shearwaters but there is an ease, or rightness that the larger speakers can't duplicate. This is not the first time this has happened to me. I had a similar experience with Vandersteen 1Cs versus the 2CE Signtures.
I'm wondering if my taste is just no sophisticated enough for the more refined speakers. Both the Kestrels and the 1Cs are noted as easy to listen to. Wondering if anyone else has experienced this.
I've noticed this phenomenon in rooms too small to accomadate the "bigger brother" in a line of speakers.
Unsound brings up a very valid point. Room size does matter.
All the above members are on the right track. According to Stereophile's John Atkinson, in his measurements of the Shearwater, he stated that it would sound somewhat aggressive in all the the largest rooms. Your 12 x 11 room is probably too small for them, which is why the Kestrels sound better. Tell your wife that you have to move the stereo out into the livingroom. :)
I noticed the room's effect more each time I upgraded, and the Shearwaters' arrival was no exception. My room is our living room, roughly 13 by 22, and I realize I will have to start treating its acoustics seriously in order to get the best of what my gear can do. (Fortunately there is no bass mode reinforcement problem. The room is bright, but there is ample scope for treatment.) James 50, I think you mean Mr. Atkinson said these speakers would sound aggressive in all BUT the largest rooms, didn't you? To that I would add untreated rooms.
Of course, size matters!

(I had to get rid of my Dunlavey SC-IIIs when I moved to a smaller listening room, the sound from the drivers just didn't integrate properly)
Greetings, and blessings, Tim,
my friend, do room tuning! You'll be shocked at how much it'll improve/focus the sound. Make your own sound panels from Owens Corning 700 series panels. Cover them with acoustically transparent material of your choice - it can make them look quite appealing. You can do this fairly inexpensively. Should be under $100.
Then do the shootout with the speakers again, you may find your preferences shifting. At the least, you should like more what you're hearing from your favorite speaker.
Yep; what they said. Just had a very similar experience in bringing my floorstanders upstairs to compare to my monitors. Both are superb speakers. Downstairs, in a different space and configuration, I preferred the monitors for their fuller sound. Upstairs, in a different room and configuration of space, they overload the room with bass and the monitors are far more pleasing to listen to. Room is as important a component as any other in the chain.

All good advice from the knowledgeable among us. A room is a room, but let's not forget some other factors like better driver integration with crossover and cabinet, greater speed/linearity of lower mass woofers, or a better production run of drivers which can be all over the place. Not to criticize the designer but some variables do creep in.

I had a similar experience albeit with different monitors from different manufacturers. After some high-priced specimens, I settled in with some well-designed and -implemented models that cost a fraction of the others, yet I've had and enjoyed them for two years now, an eternity for some of us. The room certainly didn't change and the system remained constant. I guess I just found what I was looking for. No sub either, as I'm afraid of upsetting the balance, and the bass quality is quite good in this 14 by 15 bedroom.

Good thread, but I would not 2nd guess your sophistication. Call it a preference and enjoy the music.
Appreciate all responses. It seems as though most responders checked my system so I should've mentioned I recently moved system into a larger 12X15 bedroom. Probably need to fine tune placement but I feel pretty good about room treatment. Anyway, thanks again and nice to hear from you again Doug.