I addition to the three speakers mentioned in the title of this posting, I also auditioned the Verity Taminos, a small, beautifully finished floorstanding speaker.
It is extremely difficult to auditions speakers at different audio dealerships given the fact that there are so many different factors that affect the sound quality....room, interconnects, speaker placement, components, etc. With that said, I'll provide you with my findings along with any additional information about the stereo setup...
The Verity Tamino's were auditioned on a Linn system, including the Linn Ikemi player. My listening notes indicate that the system was detailed and precise with excellent imaging and soundstage. I found the midrange to be a bit recessed and a bit on the analytical side. I found the bass (although the Taminos are not known for it) to be a bit on the shy side. Overall, I felt I wanted a warmer sounding speaker.
The Totem Forest were auditoned on an Arcam AVR300 along with an Arcam DV79 cd/dvd player. I believe they were also using Monster speaker cables. I really enjoyed this speaker overall...warm...clean, solid midrange, esp on female vocals. I felt that the system lacked a bit of detail and depth, esp in the upper frequencies. I firmly believe this speaker did not show it's full potential during my audition.
The Spendor s8e and ProAc Response D15's were both auditioned on what I consider to be exceptional equipment: Pathos integrated amp, Ayre Universal CD/SACD player, Acoustic Zen cabling and power cords. Both of these speakers were simply amazing! The Spendors were the warmer of the two speakers. I would give the edge to the ProAcs however; the ProAcs had a more refined sound in the treble, with greater detail and finesse without any harshness or glare. When I listened to the ProAcs, I truly felt I was getting a taste of what ultra high end equipment sounds like. I was captivated!
I was fully prepared to place my order for a pair of ProAc D15s when I came across a posting on Audiogon about PMC speakers. My preliminary search of this particular brand indicated that the OB1 would be a good speaker in the same class that I've been auditioning. I generally don't place a great deal of trust in magazine reviews of equipment, however, I came upon an assessment of the OB1's by Andrew Marshall (Audio Ideas Guide) who loved the speaker. I've been reading his magazine since the mid 80's and have always trusted his opinion about equipment. It one of his early magazine articles that made me audition and ultimately purchase the B&W CM2's that I've had for the past 16 years!
In the end, I could have been happy with either the Totems, the ProAc or the Spendors (with my favorite of the three being the Proacs). However, based on my research of the PMC OB1's, I was confident they would be an excellent choice as well. I bid on an pair of PMC OB1's on Audigon (WITHOUT having auditioned them!!!) and won the bid. I have no regrets.
For my needs, the OB1's do it all! As I progress though this hobby and experience the urge to upgrade, my electronics may change, but my OB1 speakers will be with me for a long time.