Looking for speaker recommendations under $5K

Greetings. After 51 years on Earth, I'm new to the world of high end home audio. Always knew you guys were out there, but was never did anything about it. Suffice it to say I thought my Pioneer L80t3's sounded great paired with a Denon AVR 1803 receiver. I had no idea what I was missing.

Well, I bumped into an old friend (who I later determined is a fellow Audiogoner) at the Phil Lesh concerts at the Nokia Theater in NYC last Fall, and next thing you know I've got a pair of Energy 2.2i's (purchased new on what I now know was a closeout from Audio Advisor) connected to a Pioneer VSX 59TXi receiver and a Pioneer DV 79AVi DVD player (both Pioneer units purchased here on Audiogon). Also have a Hsu VTF3 MK3 sub (also purchased on Audiogon). Not the greatest setup, but night and day compared to what I had. I'm using some hand twisted/sanded magnet wire (ala Anti-Cables) for speaker cables. I have the speakers bi-amped - although I'm not quite sure why. DVD player is connected via Firewire and via MIT Terminator2 interconnects. Sub is connected via Blue Jeans LC-1 subwoofer cable.

My listening room is 20x25. Thin carpet over concrete floor. Plywood walls all around. Believe it or not, room acoustics are good. (Or so I think LOL) I listen to lots of Grateful Dead, but more importantly to any high quality recording I can get my hands on. Everything from Dire Straights to Eric Clapton to 10,000 Maniacs to Alice in Chains to Frank Sinatra to Miles Davis. Definitely into acoustic music. I buy all the remasters of the 70's music I can get my hands on, as well SACD or DVD Audio discs within reason (which rules out Neil Young's Harvest - which is going for $100, as is Frank Sinatra's Live at the Sands).

So, now that I have a taste of your world, I'm wondering what I might be missing. I would be willing to spend $5,000 on a new (or used) pair of speakers - if doing so will make a noticeable improvement. And I'll buy a new preamp and/or amplifier if it will make a noticeable difference.

One of the reasons for the timing of this inquiry is the fact it seems Energy will be unable to provide warranty support for my speakers. I don't know exactly what the problem is, but I noticed what I can only describe as "distortion" when I was playing the Alice in Chains MTV Unplugged DVD the other day. Don't know if its the speakers or some other problem. I have noticed some very minor "anomalies" in the past, but never could put my finger on any specific problem. I have been writing it off as "diginoise" (I don't know if there even is such a thing) or to my ever-declining sense of hearing. Or perhaps to the auditory hallucinations brought on by having attended over 300 Grateful Dead concerts. Fortunately, 99.8% of the time the speakers sound fantastic.

However, well prior to hearing this "distortion," I have been scouring this site and every other site I can find to try to get some idea of what "upgrades" I should be considering. For some inexplicable reason, I have a desire to acquire a pair of floor standing speakers. (That desire has nothing to do with the size - or lack thereof - of any part of my anatomy. LOL) I gave the Anthony Gallo 3.1 a listen recently. Sounded real nice, but didn't have a reference disc with me to make a meaningful comparison. Plus, the exposed nature of the drivers in those speakers probably wouldn't be the best idea considering I have a 12 year old and a 13 year old who, along with their friends, like to play on their Xbox in my listening room.

So, I would really like to hear some suggestions/comments/criticisms.

Thanks for listening.
Re: the poster putty. It's this stuff. You can usually find a generic version in the arts/crafts section of any drug store. You pull off a marble-sized pinch, kneed it a bit, and stick it between the speakers and the stands at the corners to prevent any movement and provide some damping between the speakers and stands. The idea is that there might be some speaker cabinet resonance that is causing the noise.

The idea of bass management is to send only the low frequencies to the subwoofer and not the satellites, which takes a lot of stress off small speakers. Check your HSU and Pioneer manuals.
No need to spend as much as 5K where you are right now in the journey. I'd recommend Revel Concerta F12.
I've been demoing speakers recently, looking to upgrade from my Quad 22L2's. Tried to stay in the $3k range (new), but I'm now demoing a pair of Living Voice IBX-R2's.

It depends on the gear you're using and what your tastes are, but I've tried both Devore and Living Voice (and had suggestions offered to try Proac, Harbeth, etc.). I've been trying to find a speaker with a "british" sound.

Key thing was efficiency, 90-95db with a forgiving tweeter since I listen to a lot of rock (Tool, AIC, Pearl Jam, Floyd, Bad Company, Soundgarden, etc...). Very tricky to set things up right with digital. Seems tweeters with a 20-25k response are on the softer side of those with extended 30-40k response (even if human hearing can't reach that far).

The Devore's were a bit on the forward side, though very nice. The Living Voice seem to be perfect after a few days listen. Key thing is, try to demo speakers for at least 3-4 days to see if you can live with them. Impressions can change drastically over the course of a few days listening.

Efficient speakers will open up options for tube gear and lower powered solid state amps and most will play nice with amps in the 75-125 watt range.
Two new speakers I recently heard and loved are the Devore Fidelity Gibbon 3XLs (~ $4450) and the Verity Finn's ($5495). Superb speakers that are so new you probably won't see them yet on the used market.

The Verity Finn's replaced Verity's excellent Taminos, which sold for $5995 new. I have a mint condition pair of Taminos with NMT 250 hours on them that I could make you a great deal on, far less than either of the above figures and so obviously well below your stated maximum. If you are interested, contact me directly.

Good luck!
I agree with Shadorne, at least the first part. Not as big a fan of the Revel's, but that's besides the point.
Budget for a system! Sure, choose your speakers first. Do make sure that the speakers will work in your given room, and work back form there. Your new speakers might be best suited to very different amplification. Your room might need a bit of treatment, etc., etc.