I haven't read your whole thread but I'm wondering what level of quality parasound preamps and amplifiers are in your system?
I have a pair of ht2's (non tl) and they are a very good speaker. I find that every time I either purchase a really good cd or perhaps a component change they really rise to the occasion. Its pretty easy to hear any differences.
I currently have 2 dacs i.e. bel canto dac 2 and perpetual technologies p3a (modwright level 2) and to be honest the differences are fairly minor. My advice would be to listen to a number of different components in your system to ascertain which component will give you they best bang for buck.
Btw I think that the salk speakers are that good I've spent about $5500US on a new amplifier that I'm importing to Australia.
I hope you go well with your search and take my comments for what they are intended as friendly advice .
I think my Parasound gear sounds great. I haven't been able to detect any coloration or issues with the preamp or amp. Are there better? Certainly. Can I fault them in any way? Not yet. I find the pair transparent and true the the source. I've done little testing to prove anything to myself, but I can tell you the pair sounds "better" than anything I've owned to date.
I completely agree that my Salk HT2-TLs make it very easy to discern the slightest change in sound from any piece of gear I've listened to. I have yet to change anything in my setup without hearing a difference; no matter how small the change.
If you haven't read the thread, then you may not know I have found what I'm looking for and I'm currently VERY satisfied with my setup. It is by far the closest I've ever been to the sound I had in mind that I wanted to achieve. I have a very strong feeling there could only worse instead of better if I change anything. That's what I believe anyway.
As far as DACs go, I have found no two that sound alike and the differences are much bigger than I would have ever expected. Nuance is welcome to comment here as he has heard every DAC I've tried. The PS Audio DLIII and the Music Hall are bar FAR the best DACs I've listened to. I get a very strong connection to both of them.
The funny thing is, since I'm new to tubes, I thought I'd try a tube damper from Herbie. I put the thing on the other day and the change is surprisingly bad. I'm still trying to figure out if I crazy or not, but I think the tube damper has to go. I'll get this all figured out by Saturday afternoon.