Location Location Location, Ha. The room is the largest element in the mix. That's why I'm thinking of a one or two grand room correction device of some sort. Does this make sense with the latest greatest electronic music shaper ? Why spend 10 grand on new speakers when your room sucks. Keep what you got if they ain't 1/2 bad and buy a music room shaper ? Thinking out loud with limited experience if none on these devices ? But they do look interesting. Some have a dac and pre built right in. Good lord. What Am I missing ?
Regarding spending $10k when the room sucks, that's exactly what I did, about 15 yrs ago. I came into a windfall, bought a pair of Revel Ultima Studios, and found that, in my room, they sounded just like my old speakers. A huge disappointment! That's when I got started with room acoustics, and later with room correction devices. I used the TacT 2.2X, which made a big improvement. One of its greatest feature was that one could reshape the correction manually.
This stuff is not for everyone. It requires considerable fiddling, and there is a learning curve. Many users report they press a button, and with automatic correction, the sound is just what they wanted. I always had to tweak a little. [Now, instead, I'm using a preamp (CP-800) with parametric EQ that can be adjusted manually after measuring. I like the manual approach, but again, it's not for everyone. It requires getting measurement capability.]
So my advice is, digital room correction (DRC) definitely is worth a try. My suggestions are, (1) Try to get the room in as good shape as you can, first, with acoustic treatments; (2) if you decide to try DRC, negotiate for a few weeks' -- even better, few months' -- trial before you decide on taking it or not. This is not an area to "save" a few hundred dollars on a bargain and buy something that might not be for you.
I haven't heard it, but the new Anthem STR looks interesting. It is more money than what you said, but it includes a preamp and DAC, so for $4k a reasonable price if its performance is topnotch. A far cheaper approach are the miniDSP units, which I have heard sound good in a friend's system. Were you thinking of any particular products?