Thinking through a flash upgrade took more grey matter than I had anticipated. Also, my use case wasn't very well described.
I've come to understand the current world view of strobes as tiered systems. That is, there is almost a caste structure as to which manufacturers are on top, and each of the systems is a family that inter-operates best within their own kind. Some product lines are not well developed (small family), so even if they are at a higher tier their overall value might be less useful.
At the top are companies like Profoto. And a step down would be Godox, which is such a heavy favorite in the professional, nearly-professional, and wanna-be crowds. Then there are the almost-Godox, like Jinbei, who are very price competitive but lack the full family range of higher tiered offerings. Next down are Yongnuo and finally all the little off-brands.
Why read books on the subject, when I've just wrapped up a huge industry in a few sentences ? Hmm, yes, it's a simplification.
I ended up with this selection: https://www.adorama.com …c.html?rfkref=productPage
Pluses, it comes with a Canon-compatible transmitter, it's battery powered, 500 w/s, Bowens' mount and backed by a US distributor with a good reputation. The transmitter supports Canon's proprietary RT and Jinbei's RF. This means that I can use some RT transceivers for my own speedlites. I believe this to be a price/value combination that hits all my use-cases and there is still some room to grow with the Jinbei family.
Thanks all !
T2i / 6D / Canon 35 f2 IS USM / Tamron 28-75mm 2.8 / EF-S 55-250mm / Sigma 70-200 2.8 / Sigma Tele 2.x / Samyang 14mm / Yong Nuo 568Ex's / Yong Nuo 622 / Pixma Pro-100 / Epson P800 / ColorHug / Tokina 100mm AT-X M100 AF PRO D / Yongnuo YN-14ex
Ubuntu / PrintFab-TurboPrint / AfterShot Pro / GIMP / Zerene Stacker