Just to give you some background on the equipment and rooms we have: She has a very lively but well balanced with good detail Alchemist Forseti amp, whereas I have a gutsy but somewhat unrefined Marantz PM-80 with splashy treble. Additionally however, the difference in our rooms has to be heard to be believed. My room is concrete, and as such anything too forward sounds harsh and unforgiving, but the bass response is excellent. Her room is dry-wall - plaster on a timber frame over brick. It sucks the life out of anything, crap bass response (she now has an REL Storm). It does mellow harshness, but it's difficult to get anything sounding forward enough without disappearing into a haze of mess.
Anyway, I set the Royds up and was rather surprised, relieved and distressed all at the same time to hear that they simply had next to no presence especially compared to the Castles, and came over as a little harsh in the upper-mid and tizzy.
I realised that the lack of presence was colouring my judgement of the Royd's performance, and that if I were to have them I would have to have a sub with them. Unconventionally I removed one Royd and connected one Castle to provide some presence for the Royd and be able to see what each sounded like. My amp has a Mono button which I used to help me with this. It highlighted the difference in tonal qualities between the two speakers - the Castles are laid back and produce delicate detail, but lack a bit in the upper-mid while annoyingly emphasising a very slight nasal quality. However, the Royds in my room with my amp sounded TOO much in the upper-mid and the treble was tizzy.
So, annoyingly I want a balance between the two, about 70% Castles. Having said that, you don't notice the tonal differences after a while when you're listening to the Castles by themselves.
Anyway, we currently have the Castles plugged into kissycat1000's equipment. Surprisingly they have no bass response at all here. I'm waiting until 9am when I can turn them up a bit, as I have a feeling that her amp and the Castles will sound better than volume alone could justify.
Next up is to try the Naim Intros at mine. I have a feeling I might quite like them as they are more forward than the Castles - but the potential is there for them to react badly to my amp and room again. We shall see.
At any rate I will be able to go back to Audio-T and tell them of our experiences and have them recommend something else, or try the second-hand Tannoy floorstanders (if they're within budget). I may well still end up buying the Castles as I'm pleased with their overall sound in my room.
You know how owners are supposed to look like their dogs? Well, I have a feeling the same could be said of speakers and their (would-be) owners :) The Castles are large and heavy, and have great presence, but they're laid back and a little bit quirky...