Any speaker that doesn't use a crossover. Or doesn't use one in the critical fequency range where voices are.
B&W Signature 805's, JM labs 907 Be are two that I would look for. Really depends on the type of sound you want. Do you like neutral sound, warm, detailed sound? That might helps others offer opinions. I've had the best luck matching speakers and components with sister companies or within the same distributor. I like JM Labs and audio refinement from audio plus services. I also like B&W and Classe.
Another option to consider are the Revel M20's or Revel M22's.
I love my Dynaudio Special 25's
I listen to Patricia Barber, Diana Krall, Fiest, Miles Davis, Joe Pass, and to many blues players to list. The warmth, space and detail of this speaker continues to amaze me. I do reccommend you use an integrated with some push behind it. I have used the Sim Audio Moon I5 the Rowland Concentra II and now the Musical Fidelity Tri Vista 300. I have heard some guys are using the Pathos Classic one with the Special 25 to great success. Stands are neccessary.
Enjoy the search it's half the fun of the hobby.
I agree the B&W 805s used with stands would be under $2,000
(I bought the DEMO pair with stands for $2000. locally... but I am a very long-time customer of that store.)
I am VERY VERY fussy about female vocals.. To the point that it is the primary focus of my purchase decision!
Other speakers I would have considered included made in New England Revel M20's (later units are made somewhere?? else after the company was sold)
And I am partial to Magnepans too.
So for female vocals I can promise (with good ancillary equipment) the B&W 805s will do the job. (the 805s now has a first order crossover.)
I've listened to all the above mentioned speakers and there are some very good monitors listed, but for me, the Green Mountain Audio Callistos took the prize. First order crossover's do not color the vocals or the music. Pure clean sound that has brought me closer to the music than any other speaker I have owned in the last 30 years. Demo several and find out what sounds best to you.
Northwoods_maine: Harbeths are hard to find used. However, incredibly both Super HL-5 and somewhat less expensive classic Compact 7-es2 are listed at A'gon. You can't go wrong, you can always sell at the same price.
If you like this British sound, you could listen to Proacs. Otherwise the usual Americna suspects at A'gon: GMA, Salk, Silverline Tyler, Zu. They all have great models in your budget. They work on direct sale model and are not easy to find for audition.
I was out of town and out of touch for a couple days - thanks for all the responses. Actually, I did get a chance to audition a pair of B&W 805s and Paradigm Signature 4s this week in Grand Rapids. My ears liked the 805s a lot better than the Paradigms. Set up both pairs of speakers in the exact same spot and about the same distance from the listening position as in my home. The most radical difference to me was the soundstage. Not saying the Paradigm might not have gotten better with position tweaking but as it was there was no contest. Also good was this demo room was not one of their high-end rooms so there was virtually no room treatment other than rug and leather furniture so it gave me a good "baseline" to work against.
Has anyone out there been able to do an A/B of the 805s vs. the Harbeth Super 5s? How would you describe the difference? It's VERY unlikely I'll ever get to hear them in the same room so it would be a big help to get your opinion.
I'll try to demo the Merlins as three of you have highly recommended them. Thanks for your input and have a great weekend. I plan on spending my fishing.
Sonus Faber Cremona Auditors, Reference 3A, or Zu Tones. If you don't mind a floorstander that won't take up any more floor space than a monitor on good stands, then just make it easy and buy a new pair of Zu Druids and wait for them to break in.
Most subwoofers are tone-deaf and slow. With any of these, the Zu Method or Mini-Method sub is toneful, tuneful, accurate, and lightning-quick.