$8,000 budget--Need help

I am purchasing a new stereo system. I have a $8,000 budget to spend on speakers and equipment. I am working with a room filled with travertine that is 35 ft. wide by 55 ft.long with 18 foot ceilings. I am going to the CES Show in Las Vegas for my evaluation. One speaker line I am looking at is the Von Schweikert VR4 SR. Can anyone recommend speakers and equipment for my comparison? I listen to all types of music; soft/hard rock, pop, oldies, classical, jazz, etc. I enjoy listening to music that is very defined and realalistic. I do not mind used equipment.

Thank you in advance!
I think that I'd grab a Herron VTSP-1A/166 pre-amp and a pair of Herron M-150 monoblocks off of Audiogon for around $4,000.00 used ($10,000.00 new) and then get the Theil 2.4's for $4,000.00. I can't suggest the Harmonic Precision Caravelle's like I have in a room that big, but the Theil's need that kind of breathing room.
If I had a room that size and could get a ways away from the speakers and liked to rock and roll (which I do) I'd buy a big pair of Klipschorns (used) a moderately powered tube integrated or tubed CD player and call it good. Keep it simple and try some Paul Speltz anti-cables and spend the rest of the money on music or tuning the room. There are many integrates that would fit the bill as well as CD players. Maybe a modified Jolida with a Creek integrated? If you have more money move up the food chain, the options are unlimited. No, I don't use Klisch speakers but have had them in the past, but I didn't have the room to let them breathe and/or get some distance from the horns. Put em in the corners and rock...or whatever your tastes run to.

Another option (if you are strictly going digital) would be to add a DSP preamp (like a Tact) and a moderately powered tube amp. This way you wouldn't have to spend any money on room treatments.

One other thing that would work with this would be a passive preamp like the Placette with a tube amp and CD player. The possibilities are unlimited, but big speakers in a room that size are a necessity in my opinion. My $.02.
everything im about to suggest goes against popular choices but your GIANT room present's a ton of problem's & treating a room that size is not cost effective so your gear must be chosen around the room,choosing gear that sound's great at a dealership or at ces will not help you in your room no matter how great the review's are.

avoid ces like it's the plague,ANY gear that is being shown at ces will be new model & carry a price tag to match the hype,with an 8k budget & such a demanding room you need to pay for rock solid gear & not hype,an 8k budget can go along way but not on new gear.

first off vr's wont cut the mustard in that room even though they are top flight speaker's they will end up sounding like mini monitor's with zero bass or dynamic's & your ceiling's will suck any bass they have right out of them,ANY audiophile speaker that need's to be away from the wall to sound it's best will not help you in a room that large,you need speaker's that like being close to the wall to add bass response & dynamic's.

a used pair of modern klipschorn's would be about the best speaker still allowing you some cash left to go tword's the rest of the rig,you must have big speaker's with big driver's or you will end up with lifeless & undynamic sound.

dont even think about buying a preamp without tone control's & a loudness contour control,your going to need all the help you can get in the bass dept & tone control's will come in handy to increase bass response & to tame any harsh high's,there are not that many high end preamp's with tone control's other than mcintosh & cello but a cello pre would smash your budget to bit's so a mcintosh c38 would do the trick.

you will also need an amp with huge ball's & i dont think an intergrated will cut it & you can forget tube amp's right from the start,you will need a high current high power solid state amp to make the speaker's move some air.

for amplification i would look to threshold & krell,there are many high current high wattage amp's from both manufacturer's that will fit the bill.

for a cd player i'd go with a tube player to smooth out all the ss gear,a dynaco cdv pro hdcd tube player is hard to beat at any price.


mcintosh c38 preamp................$1,000

theshold sa6 monoblock's...........$2,500

dynaco cdv pro hdcd tube cd player...$700