I'm curious how many have listened or owned other speakers from the most recognized, before you found Axiom? And at the time thought you had the end all be all. And then after hearing the Axiom brand were blown away?
Here's my advice, as I have been anxious in a similar scenario.
Forum opinions and magazine reviews can guide you, but mean nothing compared to your personal experience.
First grab a cd(s) that will be your reference for all your tests. I used Michael Jacksons history. Horns, strings, vocals, bass, percussion. It has it all. Who doesn't like mike? lol.
Then get some great floorstanders the hard way.... by listening to as many as you can in proper listening rooms. This may mean looking up your local dealers and dropping in. Take your time and enjoy the experience. Bring a friend. Resist the urge to buy if the salesguy dangles the sales carrot in front of you. "On sale only this week" talk is a common tactic to close the deal. When you hear your first "Wow" speaker rest easy. There are more like them.
You will soon get a feel for what 2k can buy in speakers compared to the deftechs you mentioned. Chances are your list will change considerably.
I heard B&W, Focal, Tannoy, Mordaunt Short, PMC, Mcintosh, Sonus Faber, Leema, KEF, Klipsch, etc. etc. Auditioning many speakers will help you become more critical in your listening. In the end you will appreciate your choice more as you will recognize their strenghts with experienced ears.
You may soon learn as I did that the big box stores can't compete with qualtiy brands in terms of sound for $. Low end high end murders flagship big box store stuff IMO. Don't pass up the opportunity to go listen to some greats. It's free.
I would also consider looking up locals that own axioms in your area for demo. That is one thing I didn't do when I bought and will always wonder where they would have stood compared to the others I tried.http://www.axiomaudio.com/boards/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=184230#Post184230
Cheers. Good luck!