Rega Brio R and Totem
I've been a long time lurker and wanted to first say thanks to all for the great advice. I have gained some useful knowledge that has helped me narrow down my choices in my hunt to replace all my Nakamichi kit from the early 90's. I thought I would quickly share my experience as the combination I ended up with has not been discussed (or at least I don't think so).
Anyway, I ended up with the Brio-R and Dac about 8 months ago and have been fairly pleased. For speakers I started with a pair of PSB Imagine Ts. I suspect most won't be familiar with these Canadian speakers but they are a reputable, accurate and forward presenting speaker. As 4 ohm floor standers, the Rega was not quite able to get the most out of these at higher volumes (I've been told the bookshelf version goes very well with the Brio-R) or maybe it was just not a perfect match for my ears.
I've been auditioning other speakers recently and narrowed it down to little Harbeths, Neats and Totems. I don't think I could have made a bad decision with any but I decided to go for the Totem Model 1s.
All I can say is wow. Now that I am listening at home, I think the Brio-R and Totem Model 1s are a fantastic combination. Even though I heard the Totems also needed alot off power, the Brio R has no problem driving them. I almost went for the Rainmakers. It is a great combo too but the the Model 1s were not quite as bright, produced a fuller sound and were a little more transparent - as one would probably expect for a sibling costing twice the price. Whether they are worth the extra money, that is always a personal call, but I plan on keeping my kit for a while and didn't want to regret anything.
It is too bad that the Totems are quite exensive in the UK and Europe as that may rule them out for many people. Nonetheless, if you are looking for a good match for the Brio-R and have a chance to audition the Rega with the Totems, I would recommend you give them a try.