Ok, I went out looking for some good places to demo speakers. Out of all the possibilities, only Long & McQuade really worked out. I listened to a pair of Adam A7 head to head with Dynaudio MB5A. However the MB5A were burnt in and the Adams were not, so it wasn't totally fair. I liked the warmer and more laid back sound of the MB5A better than the sound signature of the A7, which sounded much colder and brighter to me. The guy at the store told me that the A7 tend to mellow out quite a bit after burn-in, but the question is how much. I don't think it would be enough to put them in the same place as the MB5A, but I may be wrong. To put it in another way, the Dynaudios sounded like listening speakers to me, while the A7s sounded like mixing speakers. I also have a feeling that the A7s would get very tiring after long periods of listening, which I do almost every day. One thing I did like more about the A7s, however, was the deeper and punchier bass - the extension was far better on the A7s. I will be getting a sub, however, so bass extension isn't a huge issue, although punchyness and definition is important. One other thing I liked about the A7 is the greater level of detail and refinement, which I felt was a tiny bit lacking in the Dynaudios.
I went to one other store that had, among other things, nearly a full range of paradigms. I listened to the mini monitors, although it wasn't really fair because they were not burnt in and were in a cabinet type thing which was seriously restricting the sound. So I can't really comment on these. The main ones I wanted to look at were the Studio 10s which they didn't have in stock, and the Studio 20s were not hooked up.
Although I didn't get as much as I hoped out of today's testing, I think I am now more able to tell what kind of sound I want. Ideally, I am looking for the smoothness and warmth of the MB5A, but with more bass punch and definition and more detail all around. I am fully aware that this most likely will not come true, but I would like to get as close as possible within my budget. Soundstage is also quite highly valued.
By the way, I found a pair of Quad 12Ls available used in the fs forums for $570 for the pair. This is looking quite tempting. What's the sound sig of the Quads - would it fit well with what I'm looking for?