Bookshelf Bake Off

Fellow Audiogoners,

Lend me your ears.  I live on a farm in South Georgia and have a 3+ hour drive in any direction to audition anything.  The price I pay for land, peace and horses I suppose.  I am putting together a secondary system and can't audition everything I have interest in, so I am hoping you can help me shorten the short list to a manageable set of maybe three (two would be even better) auditions for bookshelf speakers. They will be driven by 2 x PS Audio M700 Monoblocks, Schiit Freya+ tube preamp and a Mytek Brooklyn DAC+.  The space is fairly small at approx. 10'x20'.  For a number of reasons, floorstanders are not a possibility, hence the call for bookshelf speakers.  I would like to keep the budget in the $2K range, +/- a reasonable %.  I am not someone that feels the need to max the budget, i.e. linear correlation of price and quality, so feel free to suggest high value brands/models less than the max budget.  I have a pair of Focal Aria 906 in another system and very much like their sound, but want something a bit warmer with similar (or better) resolution.  Deeper low frequency extension would be a plus.  The brands I have narrowed the field to are:

Monitor Audio
Sonus Fabre

This list is not written in stone, just my initial list after research.  Feel free to suggest anything I have omitted that warrants consideration.  Thanks in advance for your ears.


128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xmarkcdaniel
Have a listen to Mark Audio Sota Cesti B.  Great sound, under budget and they have a 30 day trial period.  And the red is very cool looking!
If you like the Aria, perhaps consider the Electra. I picked up a nice used pair of Electra 1008 BE and they sound great. I haven't heard the Aria so can't compare, but everything I've read indicates the Electra is a step up. I'd also give strong consideration to Harbeth P3ESR. I have the SHL 5 Plus and they sound warmer than the Focals, but in fact are very neutral and detailed. I've heard the P3ESR, similar magic in a smaller and more affordable package. 
So I don't have a ton of experience with monitors but in reading that you are located in Georgia it reminded me of one of my favorite speakers from this years Chicago Axpona show - the LSA-10 Statement.  These are made on the east coast (hence the Georgia reference jarring my memory!) in North Carolina I believe.  Anyway, maybe give them a look.  I liked them better than their floorstanders.  Great imaging/soundstage and very surprising low end.  They had a show special then for under $2k (I was tempted), not sure what they are now.  
These I have heard and would definitely recommend... 

-Focal Electra1008 BE.  Worldwide stereo has a pair for $2k right now.  Killer speaker, killer deal.

-Dynaudio Special 40 (Probably one of if not “the” safest bet!)

-Monitor Audio Gold 100


These I haven’t heard but would take a look at (i.e. read reviews on-line, research research research)

-Buchardt S400
-Revel Performa3 106
-Ascend Acoustics Sierra 2
-Pro Ac

@b_limo That is actually a good idea, I have Focal 1028Be in my primary listening system and the 1008Be would put me one speaker away (cc1008Be) from being able to integrate the listening and HT systems and retire the DefTech BP9040's currently running there.  I was wanting to try a different sound, warmer, but this makes a lot of sense. I was leaning toward the Monitor Gold 100's before this very obvious answer was presented.  There are some very good deals on the 100's also, so maybe I'll pick up a pair just for giggles anyway.    I am going to sleep on it.