I'd suggest avoiding speakers with any kind of metal drivers. You might like Linn Majik 109's. Unfortunately, I haven't auditioned enough other speakers recently to make other suggestions, but the Majiks have a very smooth and clear upper range, IMO.
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I agree with Mateored: Avoid metal drivers, especially metal tweeters. Look for soft-domes (plastic, cloth, etc.), ribbon tweeters or the revived folded ribbon (a.k.a. Heil air motion) tweeters. Also, the sound that bothers you, which also bothers me, can result from poor crossover design or implementation, so just having non-metal drivers is no guaranty of a winner. Some brands to audition:
GoldenEar (although they really don't have a "monitor" yet)
Silverline Audio (good luck finding a dealer)
Mark & Daniel
Anthony Gallo Acoustics
Great list. I might also add Merlin TSM in one of its various iterations to the list. They come up for sale fairly regularly, used, these days on this website. They are very revealing and resolving and have a fabric dome Tweeter and are definitely not harsh or overly bright. They were, ultimately, not my "forever" speaker, but they are worth listening to. Worth talking to Bobby at Merlin to see what he can do for you. As for Reference 3a, I currently have the Dulcet which, brand-new, is within your price range and very special, indeed. In either case, check out some of the reviews online. Hope this helps.
Can I ask why only bookshelves? Compact floorstanders could give you more bass per dollar, with no need for stands.
Also, have you got any acoustic treatment in your room? And have you experimented with speaker placement. Brightness can come from side reflections and excessive toe-in.
I agree in principle with several of the brands posted above: Spendor, Dynaudio, Nola.
I wouldn't rule out metal drivers automatically. I've heard some metal drivers that sound the way soft drivers are supposed to sound. And I've heard soft drivers that sound the way metal ones are supposed to sound. I believe it depends on how the driver is employed rather than what it is made out of.
This widespread perception about metal tweeters is crap and has taken on the status of audiophile myth along with direct drive turntables and MM cartridges. Metal dome smoothness depends on how the dome is damped among other things. I have a low tolerance to harsh treble, but my Mirages have a treble that's sweet as silk--powered by titanium domes. They use a cloth suspension to damp the tweeter and it works. Because of the light diaphragm and titanium's resistance to breakup, the titanium tweeter is both articulate and very smooth with no artificial high treble boost or edginess.
That said, there are lots of great fabric tweeters as well. It seems the Nola Boxer would be a great choice for the OP's criteria. Also, GoldenEar DOES make a pair of monitors, the AON 2 and 3, which are stand-mounted and use a most excellent Heil-inspired folded ribbon tweeter.
For exactly what you are looking for I suggest JM Reynaud. If you can get a hold of a set of used Twins or Duets go for it. The new model is the "Bliss" I have an old set of Twins and they are exactly the kind of bookshelf speakers you are looking for. Amherst Audio is the US dealer.
"The Bliss (formerly called the Duet).
The ideal for JMR has always been that elusive marriage of warmth and clarity we hear in the concert hall and jazz venue and that has eluded speaker designers for years. Over the half-dozen or so years that I have been listening to Reynauds father and son have steadily and conspicuously moved closer to this goal. But in the latest speaker iterations they have taken a giant step - and with the new Bliss they have brought this level of improvement to the entry-level speaker. I loved the MK III Twins, I loved and admired the Twin Signatures. But the Blisses really are a new ball game. Again, the most dramatic improvements are in the immediacy of the midrange and authority of the bass. Where the Twins used to seduce with a degree of beguiling opacity, the Blisses amaze with the warmth, speed, and immediacy of a 'live' performance. And where the Twins sometimes wanted a subwoofer to fill them out, the Blisses often sound as if they are already subs somewhere in the room. Still no hint of the brightness or over-assertiveness that often accompany great presence. Just there-ness. The Blisses are warm, immediate, passionate, and fast. What they do for saxes and cellos will amaze.
I am getting the sense it will take me quite a while to discover all that these little miracles can perform, especially on the JMR Magic Stands. More than even their predecessors, the Blisses are the kings of the under $2000 speaker market. $1995."
I definitely agree with staying away from the metal, and other hard dome tweeters. Stay with soft dome tweeters. Possibly, Spender, and Dynaudio, and others without the metal dome. I've seen this problem brought up a lot of times. A lot of metal dome tweeters have a resonance, that is over 20 kHz. They call this noise ultrasonic, but it sure can be irritating and fatiguing on any gear, to a lot of people. You could see on the Mirage M-3si, it states they must be using a filter to try and tame the metal dome down. Links to tests, and them metioning the metal tweeter problem.
The Dynaudio Excite X12 or X16 should work well and are in your budget. This Stereophile review of the X12 indicates that even the X12 has room-filling projection, unusually good bass for such a small speaker (true usable bass to at least 40 Hz), and the review makes particular mention that it stays clear and articulate on large scale classical orchestral/choral pieces. The reviewer loved its midrange and listened to a lot of female vocalists as well.
The Focus 160 (their next line up on the quality scale) is reputed to be significantly better but I think it's more like $3K.