Please pardon a potentially lengthy post. I have been searching for a while now for new monitors for mastering. I enjoy my NHTs, but I find them to be a tad forward in the upper register, translating into fatiguing sound after a few hours of working on them. Also, they are phenomenal at sane levels, but when pushed, they tend to compress. So, thus far, I have listened to numerous monitors to replace them. Here are my thoughts so far. First, let me state that I have done my best to account for room anomolies by moving speakers within the room and listening for consistencies and inconsistencies which give away tell-tale signs of issues. Here are the speakers and my thoughts in no particular order (based on notes I took during listening tests) - B&W 804 (Nautalis) - Good soundstage both front and back. Build up around 200-300 Hz - suck-out zone around 4 kHz. B&W 802 (Diamond) - Excellent bass - accurate and quick. Treble a tad too forward. Soundstage excellent. PMC OB1 - A tad forward but not fatiguing in the upper register. Very smooth extension into the bass regions. Amazing resolution and soundstage. A tad loose on the lowest frequencies. Totem Forest - Also a tad forward in the upper register but soundstage among the best I've ever heard. Very accurate, almost to a fault. Bass extension almost non-existent past 50Hz. Dali (not sure of the model, but cost is around $8K MSRP - that I recall) - Bass seems reigned in - to a fault. Extremely tight and controlled speaker. Organic treble sound - very nice with great extension. Soundscape is large but not very deep. Theil 2.6 - VERY accurate. Clearly a BIG speaker. Low bass a tad anemic (could be room though) but soundstaging is huge. Treble quite quick and accurate. Beautiful sound, but I fear potentially fatiguing after long hours. Gallo Reference 3 (with sub amp) - Simply put - a VERY fun speaker to listen to. Bass is extremely tight and pretty quick over all. Treble is quite smooth and open. Unfortunately, I feel that these are ideal hifi speakers but not so perfect for recording - treble is TOO wide. Vandersteen 2Ce Signature - Huge sound. I mean HUGE sound but a tad laid back in the 1.5 - 4 kHz region. This appears to be a great, laid back hifi speaker. Perhaps my favorite that I've heard in a while. Ultimately though, I might mix too much upper mids in with this speaker. Quad ESL 989 Black - WOW....I mean, friggin WOW. This might just be the most exciting and accurate speaker I've ever heard. True, the bass isn't quite as deep as the 802 or the Gallo, it's super, super quick and accurate. So...here's my big shocker...my favorite speaker out of the whole bunch... Quad 22L - Exciting, accurate, smooth, simply beautiful! Tight, accurate, quick bass capable of pipe organ extension. The soundstage is HUGE. Not quite as big as the vandersteens or the theil, but pretty damn close. A sound which belies both the price and the size. Easily preferred over EVERY other traditional (non-electrostatic) loudspeaker I've heard yet. Toe in a little but not much. Listen approx 5 degrees off-axis. Wow...smooth without forcing the smoothness. Dynamic as hell, no hint of compression until insane levels. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Listening evaluation hardware and software - Hardware - Marantz SACD->Conrad Johnson Integrated Tube Amp (40W/side) - PMC, Dali, and Totem NAD CD/Pre/AMP - Vandersteen and Quad 22L Marantz SACD->Conrad Johnson Pre->Conrad Johnson Tube Amp (60W per side) - Quad Electros/Gallos Denon SACD->Rotel Amp/Pre B&W 804 Denon SACD->Mac Pre/Adcom Amp - B&W 802 Yamaha SACD -> NAD Pre/Amp - Thiel Software - Telarc - Baroque Brass (Empire Brass and Pipe Organ) Telarc - Classics at the Pops (?) - Pines of Rome (Pines of Apian Way), Schwanda the Bagpiper SFSO - Mahler 1 Telarc - Mozart Requiem AC/DC - Back in Black Diana Krall - Girl in the Other Room All Software = SACD except AC/DC. Anyway, just thought I'd share. I think I'll be picking up a pair of the Quads! I encourage EVERYONE here to at least take the opportunity to listen. You'll be blown away with what to expect from a $1700 pair of speakers! J.