[Long post - please bear with me]
First, some background:
Current setup: Yamaha RX 496 (2 channel receiver) driving B&W 602S2 on Atacama stands filled with atabites. CD-player is a Yamaha CDC-775. Panasonic TX P42GT30 plasma and DMP BDT310 BR-player on Atacama rack. QED analog interconnects and speaker cables (bi-wired), HDMI-cables Audioquest Pearl.
In my home office I use the PC for playing FLAC-files throught a Benchmark DAC1 HDR with Sennheiser HD580 and HD650 headphones.
I am in the - tedious - process of converting all of my +2000 CD’s into FLAC files. I will no longer be needing a CD-player since I am strongly considering a wireless streaming system in combination with a good DAC. I had all but settled on the Squeezebox range when Logitech decided to phase it out. Not willing to buy into obsoleteness, I am now, reluctantly, looking at Sonos, even though I really dislike the inherent track limit and lack of support for higher resolution tracks.
My taste in music is, well, eclectic: I absolutely love classical music (esp. early music and opera, but also romantic concertos and symphonies), frequently listen to jazz and classic and contemporary rock music, with occasionally some electronic music (think: James Holden or Laurent Garnier) thrown in. I am also using my audio system to play the soundtracks of HD/Blue Ray films.
My listening space measures 3.5 metres x 5 metres. Thick carpet, but also some reflective surfaces. Due to the layout of the apartment, I can only place the speakers, audio and av-equipment very close to the 3.5 metres wall - this will be an element to take into account for the choice of speakers…
I bought the receiver, cd-player and speakers some 13 years ago, when I was a postgraduate student. I fondly remember being ecstatic about the leap in sound quality and enjoyment…
Last year, I acquired a second hand Benchmark DAC1 HDR and Sennheiser HD650. In the wake of these purchases, I understandably started to think about upgrading my speakers and amplifier.
For the speakers, I have looked at and listened to (used and/or demonstration) B&W 805S, PSB T2, B&W803D, Paradigm Signature S6 and B&W802D.
With the floorstanding speakers, I am aware of the expected problems in my small listening space (listening distance is only about 3 metres), especially with the unavoidable placement of the speakers *very* close to the back wall.
Also, while I am making a good (but not great) living in academia, I do quite enjoy living somewhat below my means. Finding the best price/quality ratio as possible, coupled to at least some beauty in the design, is important for me. Although real “giant killers” are difficult to find, I do try to find them. The above-mentioned speakers and their peers command (very) expensive amplification, which, in turn, makes me think about diminishing returns… On the other hand, the real cost (i.e. depreciation cost) of some higher end equipment may be quite reasonable (but then again, is this really true?).
Very recently, I have started to think about a much more modest approach, i.e. a Marantz SR7007 with for example Dynaudio Excite X32 or Wharfedale Jade 5 (these speakers especially are very interesting for me due to the aperiodic design, which allows bass extension ánd easy placement, a difficult combination – I was able to listen to them shortly and found them appealing). This setup would be a considerable step up for me, while keeping costs very reasonable. Note: I expect to be paying 25% under MSRP for both the Marantz and the Wharfedale, as they are available at reduced prices / ex-demo.
Would the respected and experienced readers of this forum, which I have been following for quite some time, kindly offer some advice about :
A) (the components of) the “modest approach”, i.e. Marantz SR7007 with Wharfedale Jade 5
B) my reasoning that this modest approach may sit at a much sweeter spot on the curve of diminishing returns while offering a high percentage of the listening enjoyment of higher end solutions. Is this sound reasoning, or rather a recipe for buyer’s remorse, unhappiness and quick upgrades?