The best thing about this hobby is the wide range of opinions out there, I tend to follow the "speakers are the most important component" doctrine, so it was interesting to see that both Nrchy and Warrenh believe the source is the most important component.
I currently have a speaker budget of around $1000 and I'm looking at B&W DM603 S3, and Paradigm Reference Studio 60; both of these are available at local dealers. Any other suggestions? I also have access to Tannoy, Audes, Spendor.
On a slightly different note, does anybody know anything about nOrh speakers?
The only line you mention I've heard is Paradigm. I have a pair of Studio 20s and I think they are great little speakers, especially for the money. The 100s are great as well but a bit out of your price range. I'd say the 60 is a very good speaker and probably a great bargain like the other Paradigm Studios.
Well, Nrchy and I are on opposite sides of that fence! I'm a big believer that speakers ARE the most important part of the chain. You can have a Linn CD12, but if you're speakers can't articulate the great sound coming from the source, what good is the source? Also, your speaker will have the greatest say in what kind of sound you have. Do you want big bloomy base? Get a big fat speaker with a big woofer. Want really tight base with maybe not quite 20 Hz extension? Then get something with a couple of 8" woofers. Do you want a bright up front or laid back sound? Those come from the speakers most, in my opinion.
I say go to a dealer, pick out some speakers you think you might like, hook 'em up to the best equipment they got, and then pick your speaker because you know how it can best sound with good equipment, that way you get a speaker that fits what you want it to sound like. Then your source is #2, then preamp or power amp, and you go from there looking for that sound that you liked so much to start with. That's my opinion, at least!