The B&W 685s are an excellent choice for the price I believe in the $600.00 area. Monitor Audio is another great brand. So many to choose from but you can't go wrong with the 685s.
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I auditioned a lot of speakers in this price range for my winter system, and ended up with a pair of used Totem Rainmakers. Absolutely love these speakers. I push them with a tube preamp and class d amplification, all digital music. Sound is brilliant. I use stands, so I'm not sure how they would sound in a book shelf.
Hope this helps.
I started placing my speakers inside bookcases to make it difficult for my cats to get at the speakers. The bookcases are sealed back, as well, so I have a box inside a box situation.
The best performing speakers in this situation were the Rega Ara (now the R1) and the Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1. The worst were the Totem Mites, B&W 302, and the Spendor SA1. So-so performers were Energy RC10 and Wharfedale Diamond 9.1. I have tried a few speakers out.
The box inside a box situation is a killer. Speakers that perform well near rear walls, may not do well with a furniture ceiling an inch or three away. Make sure to place the speakers as close to the shelf's front edge, as possible. You will not get good sound separation, so don't torture yourself trying. You can get good sound, though.
Unfortunately, mp3s will not sound as good as CDs or vinyl. Fact of life. Could actually negate all the effort put into getting the best speakers.
I agree with Tpreaves and others that the OP should change from MP3s to a lossless format. Storage is cheap, so why not?
But I'm not completely convinced that a blind A/B between formats would reveal huge differences in SQ for the contemplated system. Anyone do the relevant comparisons on comparable kit?
Do yourself a favor..get "THE CLUE" bookshelf speaker out of Seattle from the Sjofn Company. The reviews have been over the top and Stereophile went nuts over it and rated it a 10/10. Other reviews have been remarkable. It will play lower than any other speaker for its size currently on the market. Plays all the way down to 28 hertz. It will take 100 watts or 1000 watts. Cost $ 1000.00 a pair. A giant killer for its size. Its only 14" high and weighs 17 pounds.
12-31-12: Jburidan: "...I second the thought of Tpreaves. MP3 isn't hi-fi quality..."
Jburidan and all the others nailed it! MP3 quality recordings simply fail to measure up by a not-so-subtle degree.
Stepping up to new hardware in an attempt to improve your listening enjoyment w/o first upgrading the quality of your source material is an exercise in disappointment.
I just checked Audio Advisor and the PSB G-Design GB1 Bookshelf Speakers are no longer available at all.
To the OP check out the KEF Q300 loudspeakers. I have them now right up against a wall in a room with similar dimensions as yours and I really like them. They can be found used sometimes at 1/2 your budget.
I've owned the Silverline Minuets and really liked them. But I recently found another sub $1000 monitor I like even more and I would stack it up against any bookshelf speaker under $1500. It is the Aperion Grand Verus Bookshelves and they cost about $700. The finish is spectacular (mine is in high gloss cherry although black is also an option). Do I like them as much as my LSA-1 Statement monitors? No, not quite up to that level (nor should they be considering the LSAscost 4X as much) but they are very close. Also the 10 year warranty and free shipping (both ways if you decide you don't like them! Who else does that?). Really no way to lose with these and you can try them out risk free but I don't think you will return them. Truly incredible and not just for the price. Just my .02.
Best of Luck!