Your thoughts on best audiophile speakers in $10,000 neighborhood?

I know the best way to select a speaker is to auditioon them at a dealer or in my own home. However, living in a rather rural area in northern Michigan, there's only one reputable dealer (Sonus Faber) in town so I may end up relying on reviews and your feedback. 

I used to own Vandersteen Model 2Cs in the late 1980s, but finally want to step up my game. I currently have a legacy Nakamichi receiver / amp with 1000wpc, but will probably upgrade that once I select a new pair of speakers. Currently I'm playing mostly LPs on a Technics SL1210G. I now listen mostly with a Mark Levinson 5909 headphone connected to a small Class A pre-amp, so I treasure detail and transparency and don't lean toward "warm" speakers.

Room is good size since it encompasses living room and opens to dining room and kitchen behind it. Cathedral ceiling is about 12 feet high. 

I'm considering the following speakers: Vandersteen Treo CT, Wharfedale Elysian 4 (perhaps too big for my room), Monitor Audio Gold 300 and the Sonus Faber Sonetto VIII. These all fit within my budget. What are your thought about any of these...or do you have others to recommend?

Thanks for whatever guidance you can give me.



Buy used. You could get a pair of beautiful speakers for that much money. Read reviews(not only Stereophile!) and what people have to say on this and other chat sites. You have to spend this kind of money to get great quality in audio(pace that other poster) but just because you spend this kind of money doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily get great quality. I spent 10K on a pair of demo Dali Epicon 8s. Half price. Very warm and musical. Like that other poster with the Dali Rubicons. Winnow down your choices(will they fit comfortably and pleasingly in your space?) see what pops up used on the market and then buy from a reputable dealer with great feedback. They might not be perfect but what it is they ALL have different personalities with positives and negatives which comes inevitably with the territory. Nobody’s perfect.

+1 for Totem Forest Signature

(Currently about $7200 new)

Had mine for 2 years and in Love!

Great image, huge soundstage.

Quick,Tight, Deep bass.

Beautiful Finish.

Solid Build

Biwire/Biamp capability

Like roxy1927 said, buy used so u can demo at home. For larger rooms the Usher Be 20 DMD is fantastic, legacy Meridian DSP 8000’s, for average size rooms D&D comes in first. Dali Epicon 8, retail $25k used $11k. Haven’t heard the NS5000 but trust yyz and kef reference 3 for around $6k

Having experiencing Axpona yesterday I can tell you what really, really struck me as remarkable: Alta Audio Alyssa ($5K)—a stand mount speaker, which is what I’m looking for.  These are in my list! The Alec is a tower type in the $8K range.  These are speakers one needs to hear to understand.