Responses from bojack

Cary SLI-80 vs Manley Stingray
Haven't heard the Stingray, but I have heard the Cary SLI-80 driving Aerials and Spendors. It is a wondeful sounding piece that I would buy in a skinny minute. 
Review: Spendor SP-2.3 Speaker
I purchased my SP2/3s in 1999 after having owned Martin-Logan Aeriuses for one painful year. Within 2 weeks, my CD collection grew more than it had in 2 years, and it has grown ever since, expanding to genres I would never have explored with other... 
Quad vs. Martin Logan?
Ditto. I owned a pair of MLs and never got used to the tonal difference between the Mylar and the enclosed woofer. Yeah, MLs look cool, but they don't sound like what hi-end can sound like. 
Front Ported vs. Rear + Distance from wall
Yes, you can place front-ported speakers closer to a wall. The reason: Boundaries reinforce low frequencies, and ports are tuned to reproduce low frequencies. The distance depends on what your ears perceive as sounding good! 
Monitors $1,000 to $2,000?
Good choices, but please add Spendor to your short list. You can get a pair of used SP 1/2s or the slightly smaller SP 2/3s for this price, and either will offer a musicality far superior to almost any speaker made -- regardless of price.