Standmount speakers 4k-8k

On the lookout for standmount/bookshelf in the 4k-8k range. I've now got Monitor Audio GX-50 which are great for the price but I'm looking higher now. 
So far I've heard Aerial 5t, Totem Element Fire and Kef Reference one. The Kef's offer a huge sound, but are, hard to describe it, a bit grainy in tone. The Totem are sweeter, but a little dead sounding. The 5t were really quite good--fast, clear, lively. None of them had noticeably better bass than what I'm using now! so I'm still in the hunt. 
Very interested to know if anyone has heard the new Monitor Platinum II line, particularly the 100s, which are what I'm interested in. 
I'll be listening to some Focals soon, and Dynaudio. 
Any other tips? I need to get something fairly small, and very conventional looking (that's why not listening to BW D3). 

Thanks folks. 
What electronics (preamp, amp, source) do you have.  It may be that the KEF have enough resolution to reveal characteristics in your electronics that other speakers do not.
Hello, In your price I'd recommend investigating the Swiss made Boenicke W 5 SE.
Proac Response D2
Play the Who Live at Leeds, Its like they had singing lessons.
When all that spectacular fairy tale audiophile recording trick music stuff wears off
 Proacs play the music
Best JohnnyR
Proac dealer

Extremely efficient French-built standmounts that represent  Goliath killer gear that are still tsleepers on this side of the pond.

look for them used or demos.
Wow. Thanks for all the informative replies. 
As to my current electronics: they are low level and will be improved when I get the new speakers. But I heard the Kefs on a 2500 Parasound...

The Monitor Audio Platinum II series is significantly better than the 1st series. In addition, I would listen to the Dynaudio new Contour 20's.
Proac Response D2
Proacs play the music"

+1 on the Proac recommendation.

I have had many speakers and keep returning to Proac.
I'll see if any of these are around where I live. There are so many brands, and so few are available within, say, 40 miles
--either people only buy the brands near where they live or folks are buying without listening!
Post removed 
Wilson Benesch Arc - at original retail they were in your price range ($6500 new, I think) but pre-owned they can be easily had for $2500-3000.  They're the small monitors that cured my upgrade-itis.  They replaced a pair of Proac D2 which frankly aren't in the same ballpark, but they also cost $3K more than the Proac so not that surprising.   Alternatively, Wilson Benesch replaced the Arcs with the Vertex, which are a tiny bit warmer, less airy, but also harder to find used and when you do they're about $4K-5K. 
You are correct in that there are numerous excellent mini monitors and it's difficult to actually listen to them prior to purchase. For instance the Boenicke W 5 SE I recommend may be a relatively rare bird  (small European company) but it has excellent reviews, show reports and word of mouth reputation. It is considered to be a world class small speaker that is affordable. 
Good luck, 
Yeah, I usually don't post in the speaker section because there are a million different opinions and a ton of manufacturers.  Speakers are really a very personal taste thing and it can become hard when you have 10 opinions on the "best speaker", lol.
Agree with you,  when a thread solicits opinion/recommendations the list can grow long in a hurry.  There's a lot of really fine speaker  choices available yet it's impractical to compare and listen to more than a chosen few in reality. With high quality  mini monitors the worthy contenders could easily number 10 to 15.
I had the WB Arcs which were great. Replaced the with Vivid V1.5 about 5 years ago and they are tremendous. No stand needed either.  Detailed but coherent. Easy to work into a room like the Arcs. 
The Evoke Eddie's are about $3200 right now and were designed after the VMPS 626R speakers with ribbon tweeter and neo ribbon mids.  The difference between the 626R and the Eddie is quality of drivers, crossover, and cabinet--all which are in the Eddie's favor.  John Casler was a dealer for VMPS and owned virtually all of their best speakers.  He has been selling them off since hearing the Evoke speaker.  I have not heard them, but was also a VMPS demonstrator for a few years and owned most of their models during that time.  I still have use of the best pairs of RM40's that Brian ever made in a very good sounding system.  Their sound is very detailed, open, transparent, dynamic with airy highs and very good bass.  John says the Eddie's are just more so than the VMPS line along with greater leading edge to the music.  John says they are more like live music than ANY of the VMPS speakers.  To me, that's saying something!!!
I have a pair of mint Dynaudio C1 signature mounted on the Dynaudio stand 4, which I am gettting ready to sell.  They are well within your price range.  They look and perform flawlessly.

Contact me if your interested......

I recommend any Green Mountain Audio monitor.  A little difficult to audition but very efficient and lifelike.  Numerous testimonials on the web and also excellent reviews on Soundstage and Six Moons Audio.  Well worth trying. 
My thanks to everyone for great suggestions. So many fine speakers, so little time...!
I still wonder if people are buying speakers without hearing them, since while I live in a big city (Boston) there are an awful lot of well reviewed speakers that a way too far away to hear. 
Are people taking reviews and recommendations from other folks as enough to go on?
Just askin....

The funny part is that even if you CAN hear them, you often won't be hearing them in your own space.  I've written previously about when I bought my WB Arcs...I got them pre-owned from someone in my area, and in his space they sounded awful.  If that was my only reference point I never would have bought them, but I'd heard them before at a dealer so I knew what they could do.  Moral of the story - it's best to not only hear them, but hear them in your own space.  If that's not possible, then yes there's a bit of faith involved, no way around it. 

But as has been said so many times, you often do get what you pay for.  In my case with the awful-sounding Arcs, I had to stop during that session and remind myself that I was listening to $6500 speakers that had been on the market for more than a decade with happy listeners all over the world, and that what I was hearing was not what I should hang my hat on.  And I was right - got them home, and they're superb.  But there was some faith involved...not just wishful thinking, but faith that the many who'd gone before me and spent $6500 weren't all crazy.   It was like in "Lost Boys" when Kiefer Sutherland said about the rice "how could a billion Chinese people be wrong"!

So yes, many of us have purchased based on reviews, knowledge, word-of-mouth, etc. and had it work out just great though we all know that in a perfect world we would prefer to test everything in our own room with our own equipment.
Good points you make, yes sometimes you have to rely on faith. I bought my power amplifier, DAC and speakers without hearing them and I’d say that they exceeded my lofty expectations. Information gained from certain reviewers and definitely owners word of mouth proved very candId, generous and valuable.
I agree with bcgator and also with what auxinput said. If you plan on spending upwards of 8k on a pair of speakers and do not have the means to go out and listen then you should at the very least spend some time researching speakers. Also what are your goals? How big is your room? How far from the walls will they placed? Where is your listening position? Do you plan on using tubes or solid state? What is your source? And on and on.....

If you do a search just on this site alone for standmount recs under 10k there are many threads that cover this topic. You will also see many of the same brands recommended over and over. I would venture to guess that is due to the fact that either they were favorably reviewed in the audio press and so many went out and bought them and then reported their experiences in the forums or word of mouth spread about them through the various forums by members who's opinions are deemed trustworthy.

Also keep in mind brand regocnition comes in to play quite often and many will make recommendations based on the general consensus that brand x is known for having certain characteristics.

For example I could probably tell you about the attributes and shortcomings of many speaker brands just through the amount of research and discussions I have had with fellow audio nuts through the years. However, that doesn't mean I could make a solid recomendation just based on that in information alone.

One last thing I would tell you is that beyond the usual suspects that are commonly recommended on here keep in mind that there are many small owner operator speaker designers that sell internet direct or have a very small dealer network and these guys can more than compete with designs costing thousands more. Selah, Fritz, Salk, Sonist, Ryan Speaker Art and Spatial Audio are just a few that come to mind of the many that are out there.

Maybe take your budget, spread it out and buy a few pairs to audition instead of spending it all on one pair. If you do some homework and buy and sell properly you could do this with several pairs and learn quite a bit, That's what I did and you never know, you might find that you don't actually need to spend 8k to get good speakers.  

Best of luck with your search.

Bcgator is right about the Wilson Benesch. The newer model, the Vector retails for $8500. Carbon fiber cabinets with stand. 
More details here:

You may want to seek here on AG, owners of the same amplification you have and ask what monitors / speakers they have paired with said electronics and what led them to there  selection / purchase.
Great and helpful comments. Thanks to all. 
I'd just add that in my limited audiophile experience I've bought two sets of speakers for 2 different rooms. Both of the sets I bought (BW CM9 and Monitor Audio GX-50) I liked much more than the 1/2 dozen or so competitors I listened to.
So for me it's certainly not about 'best' but about what I like, and to my surprise, given how expensive this stuff is, I have very strong preferences, which is why I doubt I'd ever buy any speakers, at least, without hearing them first. 
Gershman stand mount monitors were one of my favorite new finds this year at Captal Audiofest.  Maybe worth a look.

Tekton is very popular in these parts due their affordable cost and friendly load that might lend themselves uniquely to some amps.
Not sure if you have a Joseph Audio dealer near you, but the Pulsars would certainly be worth an audition.  Best of luck in your search. 

Post removed 
I'd like to add another Proac Response D2 recommendation. I've owned mine for about a year now and they really communicate the music. Proac speakers have a distinctive personality which I find very appealing. KEFs would also be a good choice, but a very different sort of sound. I briefly auditioned a pair of Totem Element Fires which seemed pinpoint accurate, but sounded a little more recessed and slightly less sweet than my Proacs. I didn't get to hear them in my own room though. As the above posts illustrate, there are many excellent speakers out there and choosing the right ones can be a fun adventure and/or an exercise in frustration. Best of luck with your search. Hope you'll let us know when you finally decide. Footnote: if you buy Proacs new (and this is true of many speakers) please have patience with them; they take at least 100 hours of playing before they find their voice but when they do, you'll hear the magic. This is based on personal experience.
The KEF reference one are the best that I have heard in this price range. I own a pair of the blade two, and feel that the reference one are very competitive.  I have heard them with a number of amplifiers and source components in a listening room at a local high end dealer. They have been my favorites for the past two years. 
Some great options at your price. Key reference 1excellent choice. If you had issue problem likely elsewhere in chain. Also new B&W 805d3 is excellent. Used focal utopia Diablo.  Not sure of price for totem element stand mount. At the high end of your range you might find a very good small floor stand that has similar or smaller footprint. May find a used B&W 802 d. Best wishes
With what you said about your electronics I don't think you've truly heard your Monitor Audio's yet.  You always want the start of the chain to be the strongest.  How can you end up with great sound if you don't START with great (sounding...don't have to be expensive) components and cables?  Also, you are starting down a slippery slope if you think you have to spend significantly more to get better.  I have heard a pair of Focal Aria 900's sound absolutely life changing hooked up to the right stuff (if you're curious it was a Marantz SACD player Prima Luna Prologue Premium preamp and pair of Red Dragon audio M1000's).  If you got more specific in telling about electronics maybe would have some suggestions but I am sure you probably haven't got the most out of those Monitor Audios...IMHO
Check out the Legacy Audio Calibre, a new speaker that was just released. It’s right in your price range and maybe the ticket for you.

If yashu's Dynaudio C1 is within your price range, you should definitely consider that. 
Otherwise, my choice would be the Evolution Acoustics MicroOne, at $4000 new. It's by far the best stand mounted speaker I've heard at that price point.
Then there's Dynaudio's active speakers. Since you're looking to upgrade the electronics anyway, maybe you should consider these too. The Focus 200 XD is $6999, and all you'll need is a source.

A Big +1 on the JM Reynaud Offrandes.  Reynaud has very limited distribution here in NA and it's baffling.  The Offrandes V2 are some of the finest standmounts I have heard at ANY price.

I would also recommend any Raidho speaker, however they would have to be pre-owned to be within your price range.  
Joseph Audio Pulsars or Dynaudio C1's.  Both are absolutely stunning monitor speakers.  

I'm really grateful for all the input, advice, and good wishes 
What a great bunch on this site. 
Seems I have to get a new car before new speakers (old one has 170k miles so it's cool). 
But will check in whenever I listen to something, and eventually let folks know how it turns. 
My thanks!!!
Dynaudio has gone through almost their entire lineup in the past year or two, and are producing some very nice speakers. At all price points. New materials have made their way into all parts. There is a lot of trickle down of components. The result is a bunch of speakers that are catching the ear of many publications. ("Best of.")
I bought a set of Excites and I agree with the reviewers. They work with my vintage tube equipment (H-K Citations) as well as my Parasound SS setup.
And they don’t seem to have a favorite type of music. Impedance is well-controlled across the spectrum, so they are easier to drive. Their strength of lack of phase shift distortion, and it’s a nice relief - listener fatigue is gone.
Worth a listen. Their Active speakers are impressive, too.

By the way, I was looking for stand-mount speakers, too, because inherently fewer audio and placement compromises, and WAF. But I ended up with the Excite X34 floor-standers which don't visually dominate the room. Wife approves and prefers over the stand-mounts - a first!

I got a pair of atc scm 19's coming tomorrow...certainly at the lower end of your budget...its going to be more speaker than my dinky room will need but closed box will help...

the offrandes are amazing...

I would also recommend you check out the Joseph Audio Pulsars. I own a pair and love them.  A used pair can be had for quite a bit less than your budget, or brand new within your stated budget. They are at their best with a set of Sound Anchors stands. 

concur with the sound a pair to go with the 19' comparison with others...nothing comes close...imho
 Having completed my new car business I'm back in the hunt.. 
At a lovely local dealer listened to Sonus Guarneri Evolution (24K, but as demos 12K) Focal Electra 1008: $4000/pr (N/I stands).Focal Sopra One: ($9,000, includes stands; 

The Sonus--my goodness, that's what incredible sounds like. Detail and space, warm without feeling colored, crisp in a way I hadn't heard before. 
Out of my range, but fab. 
The Electra--very good--big sound for a little thing. As good or better than the Aerial 5t I listened to. More or less same price.
Sopra one: very very good. Not the Sonus, but not too far away, as far as I could tell. Liked all 3, even the electra, more than Kef Ref one and Totem Element fire. Personal taste all the way, of course.
For single instruments or a string quartet the Electra weren't that far off the other two. But with the orchestra or complex world music, you could really hear a difference. 
of course the whole thing was colored by the around 10k worth of cd player and amps and cables I was listeneing to!
So... soon to try the Paradigm Persona B, just off the boat new. And then I want to check out Monitor PL100II, and if I can one of the good Dynaudios. 
Then all I have to do is make up my mind. 
Thanks for all your tips and good wishes. Happy holidays to us all. 

Don’t take this the wrong way but I don’t think setting a $4K to $8K price range is  realistic. It’s like saying I’m looking to buy a four-door car, something between a Toyota Carrolla and a BMW 3-series. And then go and test drive full optioned BMW M3. As someone mentioned earlier, first make sure you’re taking most advantage of what you have by feeding them the best you can. You may be pleasantly surprised.

I am a dealer for Wilson Benesch loudspeaker. Carbon Fiber cabinets crazy components and design. I am ordering a pair of the Vertex monitors or my shop. I can have them sent to you for an audition,