As I had noted in the ad for my DA-RMa V2s that I posted here, I have developed quite an annoying case of tinnitus. It is often very loud and interferes with my appreciation of hi-rez audio. Not a happy thing since audio has been my principal hobby, and in a big way since 1968.
As I've been learning to live with it over the last 18 months or so, I learned that it is more intrusive in far field listening. Headphone and near field (4-6 feet) listening is still affected, but not to the same degree as when ambient noise is mixed in.
With that in mind I decided to deprecate my main system and upgrade my office system and headphones. HiFiman HE-500 cans turned out to be very nice driven by a good HP amp/DAC, and I'm trying out some new monitors for my office.
Thus the DA-RMas are now living in the Southwest with another AC member who is enjoying them quite a lot.
As for my main system, I had decided I wanted to find an adequate pair of floor standers to replace the DA-RMAs that could be bought for a lot less $. Adequate for me is still quite a high bar, and I looked at a lot of candidates. I found a pair of used Joseph Audio RM-33LEs with a little cosmetic damage for a very low price. This model garnered lots of good reviews and such a dozen or more years ago, and has a lot of technology and clever design features in them, using Seas Excel and Millenia drivers and a tricked out version of the Infinite Slope crossover in a hybrid version (3 different xover topologies are used-series, high slope parallel, and Infinite Slope). They originally retailed for about the same price as the DA-RMA v2, $10,500.
The comparison between them was a lesson. The Joseph is a very transparent, high resolution speaker that offers superb imaging, stunning clarity and good bass, in a modest size. It offers an almost microscopic view of the music, and it is very enjoyable to listen to. That said, the DA-RMA offers a view into what else there is.
The top end of the Joseph is very smooth but pushed forward some to my ears, and the upper bass to lower mids are somewhat recessed. The effect is a thinner, brighter, sharper presentation that seems to be pretty typical of high end speakers. I do find that after 2 or 3 hours of listening I need a break from them.
On the other hand, the Daedalus are paragons of balance, from top to bottom, and the way they handle the lower mid and upper bass power range is simply more like what I like to hear in live music- not obfuscated, but with good weight and body. I've listened many times for 6, 8 or more hours at a time with never any fatigue.
I've read that Joseph displays and recommends Manley amps for their speakers, which have a reputation as having a gutsy power range, and that sounds like it might be a good match. As I have written here, I've heard at least 8 different types of amps with Daedalus speakers, and they all have sounded in the range from very good to awesome.
Given the state of my hearing, I'm very satisfied with the Josephs as a fall back. However, amp rolling in my big rig is now a dead sport.
In the end there is one decider of quality for me. Ignoring the particulars, if I had my choice, which do I simply enjoy the music with the most? For me, Lou's speakers hold pride of place. I'm very glad I had my time with them.