This may be a rhetorical ? but

Have you ever had this experience? I own Meadowlark Shearwater Hotrods and the less expensive Kestrel Hotrods. After using the Shearwaters for a few moonths I switched back to the Kestrels. Reason not relevant. Anyway, I think I prefer the sound of the Kestrels. I remember my first impression of the Sheawaters; great detail, accurate bass. As for the Kestrels. they don't go as deep as the Shearwaters but there is an ease, or rightness that the larger speakers can't duplicate. This is not the first time this has happened to me. I had a similar experience with Vandersteen 1Cs versus the 2CE Signtures.
I'm wondering if my taste is just no sophisticated enough for the more refined speakers. Both the Kestrels and the 1Cs are noted as easy to listen to. Wondering if anyone else has experienced this.
I've noticed this phenomenon in rooms too small to accomadate the "bigger brother" in a line of speakers.
All the above members are on the right track. According to Stereophile's John Atkinson, in his measurements of the Shearwater, he stated that it would sound somewhat aggressive in all the the largest rooms. Your 12 x 11 room is probably too small for them, which is why the Kestrels sound better. Tell your wife that you have to move the stereo out into the livingroom. :)
I noticed the room's effect more each time I upgraded, and the Shearwaters' arrival was no exception. My room is our living room, roughly 13 by 22, and I realize I will have to start treating its acoustics seriously in order to get the best of what my gear can do. (Fortunately there is no bass mode reinforcement problem. The room is bright, but there is ample scope for treatment.) James 50, I think you mean Mr. Atkinson said these speakers would sound aggressive in all BUT the largest rooms, didn't you? To that I would add untreated rooms.
Of course, size matters!

(I had to get rid of my Dunlavey SC-IIIs when I moved to a smaller listening room, the sound from the drivers just didn't integrate properly)