So pick up a pair of used Merlin VSM's. Much better resolution and refinement, smaller (but with BAM), attractive. At least many people chose these at the show for their compactness, ease of transportation, transparancy, resolution, and they just plain sound great.
You could of course chose others. You say you want bass but smaller. Hummmmmm.
If you like warm sound (which MIT, MAC, and Paradigm are all warm sounding), you may search reviews for warmer tonality speakers. IF that doesn't matter (and I like more neutral over all in a speaker), you might consider picking up some used Sonus Faber Electa Amators. These are more resolved, like the Merlin VSM's, with the exact same drivers. Although Merlin claims his crossover is more friendly with different power requirements for best sound consistently(I can't argue).
Really however, there's a lot of ways you can go with excellent speakers used. B&W Nautilus 804's might get in at that price used. There's a plethora of large bookshelf monitors you could do, and still get solid bass down to 40hz range. And in that room, that's sufficient for most music you'll need(otherwise add a sub). Celestion Kingston's were $4k new. SF Electa Amators(like I said, original versions) were $5k new, $2k used. You might could find B&W Silver Sig's at $2500 used, or close, maybe.
Or, you could find the one's you mentioned to fill that itch if you can find them.
Really, the only way you'll know is to try in your room with your setup(which will be key). I'd do what all us other aduiophiles do, and that's trial and error...till you find what's right for your tastes.
If you motice the threads "best speaker you ever heard" or "speakers you'd never sell", everyone's got a different opinion on what they like.
try to find the usher 6371's or 6381's. great speakers for the money.
p.s i moved up to the usher 6381's from paradigm studio 60 v2.
How about Paradigm Signature? I have not heard them but they are what the Referecnce are not. They are many members here who have heard them and they all had the same opinion, none have come up with a negative opinion on the Signature series speakers. You can if you like add a sub at later stage.
Just my $0.02
try a pair of totem speakers. if you are looking for floor standing speakers listen to the forest. if you like a book shelf type of speaker, listen to the totem model 1's or the totem mani 2's. i have a couple pairs of the mani 2's (1 pr for my ht room, another pr for my audio room) and they are a highly regarded speaker for their full range, musical sound. they do need good amplification to perform their best. my audio room is about the size of your room and the mani 2's perform fantastic in there. good luck.
Confused now? I"m sure others will add their 2 cents.
Still, the ones you have "freshest on your mind" should be what you try. Otherwise, you'll never know. Try something and compare....you can always sell later
Thanks for the replies. Trial and error is what I have done so far but I would rather not deal with changing speakers several times before finding the right sound - can't guarantee it though of course...
I haven't really liked Totems for some reason. I have heard the Forest and Arrow (I think). I had B&W N804 before the paradigms. I like the paradigms better. However, I did audition not too long ago the N803 and really really liked those but they are a little expensive.
Sonus Faber might be a good bet. I do like warm sound (although the MC7200 is not quite as warm as most McIntoshes I have had) and I hear that is what SF delivers. When I was out of town last week, I went to a Tweeter that had several SF but I didn't have time to hear them. I auditioned ML electros instead which was enlightening but I definately don't have the space for them.
I will look into Merlin too. Don't hesitate to suggest others. Thanks everyone!
Have you listened to the small Snells (Type K I think), or PSB Stratus Mini's. I had the mini's a few years back and evry now and then think about how I'd like to have them back again. Note that many of the Canadian speakers have similar tonal properties, so Paradigm, Pinnacle, Psb (what's with the P thing?) might be a reasonable place to start.
Good Luck - Les
I went from the Paradigm Studio 100 (ver. 1) to Von Schweikert VR-4 jr -- it costs twice as much mind you. I couldn't be happier. As good as the Paradigms were, my system sounds so much better now.
The VR-2 s arrent bad either and will sound better than the Paradigms as well for cheaper.
just an FYI
The Tyler Acoustics Linnbrooks have that full "bloom" sound, excellent mids and highs due to the high quality drivers, and have impressive bass - the beauty is they are easy to place, even close to the walls, and easy to drive. They don't change at high volume levels, either. I should mention I have a pair - and have owned paradigm, B&W, and Aerial before the switch. I have not bought new speakers in almost 3 years now, which is a new record for me...
I just replaced my 100 v2's with some ACI Jaguar / LFM's. They are very musical and give nothing up to the paradigms in bass. They are not fully broken in yet. But I like what I hear so far
I have been listening to quite a few different speakers to replace my current speakers in the $2000 to $3000 range. I do like the studio 100 v3 an excellent value. But as you said they are to big for your room. I really like the b&w 703 a lot. They list for $800 more. And are more detailed and have a better midrange then the 100s v3. The bass is not quite up to 100v3 but is very good. In fact they sound better then the older b&w 804. The Totems Forest need more room, other wise they have little sound stage. not impressed with the totems. The monitor audio gold 20 are also very good neutral clean sound with tight bass.
I am in the same boat, a month back sold ref 100 v2s, since then tried Odyssey Lorelei .. listened to Gallo ref III, Theil 2.4(?) and Monitor audio gold ref 60's with MF gears.. Lorelei was the best of the bunch .. then Monitor audio gold ref 60's then Gallo's and in the last Theils .. still looking, may go back to lorelei's !
You can consider the Sonus Faber Grand Piano's. The most Neutral in the lower priced bunch from Sonus.
I bought JM Lab 926s. They are already broken-in and sound simply sublime. Smoothness and refinement make vocals easier to understand than before and the soundstage is more in focus with greater depth. Very nice speakers - I am impressed! The improvement over the 100.2s is not huge but is present in every aspect. I have to say that the Paradigms are excellent for the money. However, I like the JMs much better. My McIntosh amp says they use 1/3 of the power of the 100.2s which will allow me to play with tubes more comfortably now. I am very happy with my purchase. Thank you to all who left advice. Good luck!