I really like my JM Lab 926s. They are efficient enough to never strain those amps and yet have bass that is about the best quality I have ever heard. They can be picky about associated equipment but, then again, any revealing speaker will be.
However, the easiest/best may be for you to visit the nearest dealer and see what they have since you aren't starting with any real direction. Good luck in your search. Arthur
Go for the Merlin VSM-M, tube harness, battery BAM. Can't go wrong with these.
Take a listen to the Revel Perfoma F32's or the Vienna Acoustics Bethoven Grands
I have owned many speakers including Merlin VSM's, Silverline Sonata's, Gallo Nuc Ref 3's, Talon Khorus xII's and many others. Some of these cost up to $10,000 - $18,000 new. However, the speaker I have enjoyed the most is the Usher 6381. Very, very formidable speaker. Build and sound quality are the best value I have heard in high end speakers. Cost is $3000 with a slight dealer discount new.
Does everything so right. Speakers are full range and always in control of the music. So intimate souding! Anyway, that is my 2 cents worth. I felt they outperformed the Merlin in every way and I love the Merlin VSM so much I owned it twice.
Check out the offerings from Green Mountain Audio. The sound of the Callisto is stunning.
The Tyler Acoustics Linbrook Signature System 2 piece (the one with the bass modules) can be had used in your price range for 3-4K (5K new).
I own a pair of these, and I can honestly say that I have not heard anything I have liked *as much* until you get to the Von Schweikert DB99 mk IIs, (and they are just shy of 10K a pair new). There are better speakers I have heard above 10K, but value-wise, the Tylers are tough to beat. Definitely worth seeking out a home audition, IMO.
One other possibility in your price range used would be the Dali Helicon800s (4K used, 6K new). I rate the Tylers as better, but these did stand out from the rest of the pack at their price point, and they are sold in stores (so they are more readily available for audition). Also worth a look, IMO.
Shahinian Obelisks. If you have nothing against a polyradial design they are the cat's meow in this price range. Midrange to soothe the soul, and very fine bass and high end extension to boot.
Magnepan 3.6R (about $3k, needs a TON of power, min 400W/ch at 4 ohm), Magnepan 1.6QR ($1k, a lot of power, and a Vandersteen sub for about $800, makes it a great system), Gershman Avant Garde, Gallo Ref3, Vandersteen 3A Sig, or 2CE Sig, Paradigm 100 V3. If you have the room, I know they are not new, or fashionable, but the Klispch Klipshhorn has such a great distinctive sound.
Alot of good recommendations, I'll add VMPS RM 40's, an outstanding speaker for the money. You really need to listen to these as they all sound different. Some people love planars and some people can't live with them and must have cones. The only way to tell what you'll like is to listen to it and hope it sounds good in your room.
I'm waiting for my Hyperion HPS-938. Having audition the Usher 6831, AG Ref 3 and VS VR4Jr, I found the Hyperion sounded most "balanced" among the whole lot with the ability to play all types of music with a certain unforced naturalness that is somewhat magical.
Von Schweikert VR4jr($4,000 New). You should check them out. They sound awsome with the Quicksilver M80 monoblocks(Plenty of power). I would love to hear them with the V4 monoblocks and hopefully will!
I agree totally with Elb about the VR-4 jr's recommendation!
I have seen GMA Continuum 3s have listed for the price you are looking at. They beat all the well known 10k MSLP contenders and I've auditioned and/or owned many. If you have a specific speaker in mind, E-mail me and If I've heard it I'll tell you what I think.
Best bang for the buck in the used market is Martin Logan reQuests. PHENOMENAL when driven by a good amp.
As the above posters have stated,go for the Merlins and dont look around.You will come home one day,Bob
Merlins are good, but I have heard better for the money including Silverline Sonata II's and III's. Usher speakers also better the Merlin including the 6381 for $3400 new. The Merlins are up to $10,000! Wow! BTW I have owned the VSM's twice as well as the other speakers listed. Again, Merlin is very good, but others are as good for a lot less money.
OK, back again: Maggie 3.6R. There is a reason most people who have ever owned Maggie buy again. Simply the best speaker made. Ethereal.
I'm in the minority here,being agnostic about Maggies needing tons of power. That said,I don't know how much current the Rogue unit delivers or how loud you listen.
I prefer panels to boxes,but that is just me.
Over Easter weekend, I heard a pair of North Creek Music Borealis 2 ways. They are intelligently designed;they are fairly easy to drive(85db into 8 ohms) and the port volume is adjustable. I was stunned how accurate and clean they were! A look at North Creek Music's web site will also describe the Rhythm speakers(that I have not heard),if you have a large room.
The bass was outstanding,but it took my friend several trials and errors to get the ports volumes right.
Enjoy the search.
Yes,another Merlin vote ...
Merlin VSM-MM owner.