Speaker audition: a novice’s journey

I am no expert at audio. But I like to listen to music, primarily classical and then a little bit of everything else such as jazz and soft/alternate rock, both at home and concerts. I am looking for speakers that can play classical well, can represent the ‘body’ of a full scale orchestra. That can soundstage and image well. And that can isolate different instruments. Oh yes, my budget is 10-15K.

On this forum I got tremendous help from several folks. Now I have a list of speakers that I need to check out.

So, sooner the better and I decided to take a plunge. Along the way I’ll also learn how to really audition speakers. It’s a little dummy’s guide to myself. I wouldn’t get into technicalities, my head rings when a dealer tries to explain first order network and phase-time coherence. After all it ain’t matters how sophisticated the science is. The speakers need to sound good. Period. My evaluation is purely by how it sounds, caveat being on untrained ears. I am planning to use the same set of music so that I can get a fair comparison.

I decided to write down my experience (coming in the response links below); hopefully someone, someday will be benefited by it. I welcome your inputs/suggestions.
I believe the Leonore has a front-firing midrange (and tweeter) and two rear-firing woofers.
Sounds like you're off to a good start. Don't apologize for your inexperience. If you regularly listen to live, acoustic music, your ears are well trained. Using the same recordings, as you've mentioned, is the best means for comparison. You are in a price range that is more than adequate to get what you are listening for, but beware, it's also in the paying for prestige range. There are many speakers that do a good job with full orchestra, yet very few are exceptional. Let me know if you'd like specific suggestions.
Neal1502 if the dealer doesn't want to assist you with buying the right speaker you need to go to another dealer. Doesn't seem like this dealer provided much value.
Based on your stated preferences, please explore products by Thiel and Vandersteen. If preservation of musical timbre is important to you and it sounds like it is, then phase and time accuracy would be a goal of yours in auditioning speakers.
A word of advice. It's not the speaker, but how the speaker is setup and interacts in YOUR listening room. As a hypothetical example, a $5k speaker properly setup in a good sounding room will out perform a $15k speaker in a bad room, say 12' x 12' with the speakers too close the the rear wall.

You need to find a dealer who will work with you and if you're willing to spend up to $15k, it should be worth your while to get on an airplane or otherwise travel distance, if necessary. And by work with you I mean a dealer who will listen to what you want, guide you and then let you listen for hours, or ideally even take products home, and then setup your final purchase.

Finally, regarding your budget. Expand it to $5k to $15k. Product pricing has a large degree of marketing input. If a designer can't produce a really good speaker at $7-9k, then it's unlikely that they can produce one at $12-15k. Within any product line the cheaper speaker may be better suited to your tastes and your room.