Is most of your listening music or HT? Are you set on having floor standing speakers (715)? I was auditioning JMLab 706's, Paradigm Ref 20's and Triangle Titus 202... I picked the Titus for $495/pair. Great sound stage, air and clarity superb. Still breaking them in...great on jazz, classical, vocals (what I mainly listen to) but is still bright on top40 and rock. Sam Telig of Stereophile has written great reviews for the floor standing models as well (Celius @1995/pair and Zerius @995/pair... Zerius looks similar to 715).
I agree with Keith, the Electra series is where their stuff starts to really shine. However the Electra series is fairly pricey.
For the money Triangle speakers are really tought to beat.
Another French speaker manufacturer that makes some really great bookshelf speakers is Jean-Marie Raynaud.
Overall, French speakers seem to have been overlooked by the US market for many years, but their quality to price ratio is excellent even with all the taxes and dealer costs thrown in, and this being recognized is really gaining them a foothold here in the States.
I watch a lot of movies, although music is far more important to me.
I'm not set on floorstanding but I do think they look cooler. They way a speaker looks is important to me because its always going be in my face.
I did listen to the Paradigm monitor 7's (didn't really like) and the Paradigm Ref 20's but I don't like the look of stands. I've also never heard of any of those other names you guys mentioned. I'm also not sure what kind of selection I can find up here in Canada.
I had a listen to these Saturday while searching for replacements due to a lightning strike. There is not much to choose from around here when it comes to speakers and these where by far the best I had heard. Others were Klipsch and Boston Acoustic. Looks like it will be the Chorus 710's, CC 700 and the 705's for me courtesy of a lightning bolt!
I see Blair you have been to Audio Ark as of late. I haven't heard much of the bottom line JM Labs but I have heard the Utopias and Grand Utopias hooked up to the Mark Levinson monoblocks and they sounded phenomenal. You say you were not keen on the Paradigms perhaps give Mirage a try. They have the OM-10s(discontinued) on for $899.00 and I must say thats an absolute steal, since the OM-9s that replaced them are nearly double the price.
If your curious about the bipolar sound give them a try the price is definetly right. They are very musical speakers and look pretty cool too. Good Luck!!
Yep, its about time actually. I was in Austin over the weekend and auditioned them with Brian Kurtz at Sound Mind Audio. Brian was extremely helpful. A wonderful person to deal with. I must have spent close to 5 hours auditioning with him. I highly recommend checking him out if you are in the Austin area. Sound Mind Audio
To my ears, the JMLab Chorus 706's had more clarity than the other models I auditioned. I finally auditioned the PSB Image series and although very nice I found them to be a little more neutral than the JM. The Energy line was also nice but lacked the bottom end.
I recently auditioned several speakers to replace my Klipsch KSB2.1 mains and KSC-C1 (the older model) center channel. Initially, I was sold on the Klipsch RF-3's and RC-3. I have become very attached to the extremely detailed sound of Klipsch, and this seemed to be the natural upgrade path.
However, I thought it would be foolish to blindly buy more Klipsch without testing out the competition. The first contenders were the Energy Connoisseur C-9. These are very stylish speakers with an innovative "magnetic" speaker grill - no pegs or tabs to break. The dealer (whom I trust and have a good relationship with) indicated they were very dynamic and excellent for home theater. However, upon auditioning them in my own home theater, I found they had a very loose bass and compared to my Klipsch, the top frequencies were veiled and muted.
The second contenders were the JM Lab Cobalt 816s. To my extreme surprise, the Cobalts had a very detailed and forward top end (like the Klipsch), but in a more refined and less "shrill" way than the RF-3's. I had never thought Klipsch were "shrill" until I heard these Cobalts side by side with the RF-3s. Quite a surprise.
However, the Cobalts are bit beyond my current budget, so I also tried the Paradigm Studio 100s. But, compared to the Cobalts (which I listened to side by side), the Paradigms just didn't have the same resolution.
In the end, I decided to wait until I can afford the Cobalt 826s (which have an extra driver than the 816s). Everything else I tried just didn't measure up to these excellent JM Lab speakers. Now I just have to get a second job so that I can afford to buy them.