then go in, and ask to hear (even if you're not going to buy) a pair of their Cremona (2003 model) standmount speakers...\r\n\r\n\r\nI visited (with Paul (of birkett fame :MILD: ))Global hifi in Newcastle last Wednesday as I was mildly considering replacing my MS860s (possibly too big for my room and imaging is not up to scratch) and basically asked them to shove the best circa £1ks worth of standmount and smallish floorstanding speakers in the dem room to see what I'd think. I took my Plinius 8100 amp along but the rest of my stuff (cd, dac, wires etc) were dahn sarf in Suffolk so we made do with a Roksan Candy cdp and Nordost Red Dawn s/wire and Solar Wind i/cs.\r\n\r\nFirst up were some 2nd hand Ruark Equinoxes (£1000 - new was £2000)which had a fantastically detailed treble- Donald Fagen's Kamakiriad was the best i've ever heard it through these, but the midrange was a bit too bare for my liking although imaging was fair. Bass extension wasn't too bad for standmounts either.\r\n[img]http://www.ruark.net/archive/images/equinox.JPG[/img]\r\n\r\nSecondly were some Quad 21ls (£700). Erm. They weren't filled and basically midrange was all over the bloody place, bass was boomy, wasn't as well extended as the Ruarks and after 2 minutes of Cornflake Girl i'd told our friendly Chinese guy to take them off.\r\n\r\nThirdly were JBL Ti2ks on matching stands and a matching HOLE in one of the metal dome tweeters (£1200 with new tweeter- new is £2000). Unimpressive is one word, total feck off brightness is 4 words and lack of imaging is 3 words.\r\nWe were getting through quite a few boxes now....\r\n[img]http://www.stereomag.cz/obr/repro/1jbl_ti2K.jpg[/img]\r\n\r\nFourthly were some Linn 5140s (£1000 - new is £2000). No imaging, but deep bass (tho theres a 10 inch driver on the back which helps i guess :D but the bass tended to cloud the whole sound if u get my meaning. Again a damaged tweeter probably didnt' help...\r\n[img]http://www.deopera.com/images/linn_av_5140.jpg[/img]\r\n\r\nFifthly were the salesmans recommendations- the PMC FB1s (passive - £1000 - new) which i was expecting to demolish all in terms of bass depth- i knew they were going to be far too big for my room but i thought i'd give him the pleasure of telling him my views. Bass depth actually was the same as the Ruarks (with their 8 inch drivers) and it was a far too bright sound and like the Linns, no imaging to speak of. They lasted for 2 minutes of Justin Timberlake then off they went.\r\n[img]http://www.audio-ideas.com/reviews/loudspeakers/graphics/pmc-fb1-b.jpg[/img]\r\n\r\nLastly were some little Sonus Faber Cremona standmounts (way over my budget- £2200 w/out stands, £2500 with) which the salesman said had been selling quite literally like hot cakes (well, 5 in erm...dunno...i wasn't really paying much attention now to him) . He shoved them on the Plinius and put Tori Amos on the Roksan. You could hear it was originally a mp3 recording, but what mattered is how musical it sounded. There was texture to her voice, when the bass and drums went away, there was a silence. Bass went down as low as the Ruarks despite only being a 6 1/2 inch drive unit. Imaging was as good as I have ever heard. When putting Justin's JT album on you could hear properly his gravelly voice in a manner i cannot possibly emphasise strongly enough. These are quite frankly excellent speakers in that you hear [I]the music[/I] because the speakers don't, as far as I could make out, colour it as much as the others.\r\nThey look stunning as well- just go there to see the leather baffle and the grill- wow.... you even save on cables as they're only single wire\r\n[img]http://shows.soundstagelive.com/shows/avtour2002/sept27/sonus_fabers_on_stands.jpg[/img]\r\ni'm a stingy git so i'm not buying them, especially at that price but i really recommend to everyone passing a Sonus Faber dealership to drop in and listen because its worth it. IMHO ;)\r\n\r\n\r\nEdited to add- we went to another dealer in Gateshead shortly after and listened to B&W 805s (£1400)....these were a tad disappointing, I have to say. Imaging and midrange neutrality was pretty much spot on, but treble was distant from the rest of the mix, and very brash and harsh. Bass was boomy and there was no definiton to the lowest (5th) string of Walter Becker's bass on the Donald Fagen disc. Very very disappointing I felt.\r\n\r\nThe chappy there also had the new Jamo Concert 8s in (forgotten their new model number, but they look very tacky in hearing aid beige baffle finish). These sounded much more promising. Bass definition was much better although still a bit wooly but imaging really was spot on. A really nice rounded speaker I thought. Shame they look so naff now (and then you look round the back and theres a black reflex port on a pine veneered speaker :( ).\r\nI should point out that at this second dealer the power amp was a Rotel THX 1075 5 channel job which didn't help things along at all- it probably contributed to the B&Ws downfall greatly although the Jamos didn't make too much out of it :confused: . Preamp/ SACD/CD transport/ goodness knows what else was £15ks worth of DCS Verdi/ Elgar (i think) stuff.