Wharfdale Diamond Series. Fabulous for the money.
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I have the Sierras and enjoy them a lot. Good, well rounded speakers that can play most anything. Love the soft domes. I listened to both Sierra 1 varieties and also the Sierra 2’s and preferred the standard Sierra 1.
Plus I found a LCR used set of pristine gloss cherry for $750 so great value as well.
You might want to add the Martin Logan Motion 35xl. An underrated speaker I believe. If you can find any Gallo Classico CL2 I don’t believe you can do any better in this price range. Another overlooked gem. Compared them side by side with the LS50’s and I preferred the Gallo for their better, wider and more holographic imaging, more neutral/detailed presentation and more energetic sound. Also had cleaner, more solid bass than the KEFs.
I totally agree with clarinetmonster2, the Gallo CL-2's are pretty amazing, as I had them for about 4 months (prob weren't even broken in) and just sold them thinking I was upgrading with a pair of Sjöfn the clue. I should have kept them a little longer, as I am still in the adjustment phase for the clue's but are they sounding pretty nice now. Waiting for my 20" stands to come in (have 24") and that should be the final adjustment. Just in case, I have ordered two pair of the ProAc Tablet 10's. I will be set then...Keeping one, selling the other, couldn't decide on the finish so...
Good luck, in your journey nhskier...If you search the Gallos, you might still find a pair, you would not be disappointed...
You can't go wrong with ELAC Uni-Fi BS-5 designed by Andrew Jones for $499!!! Andrew Jones has designed these to sound as good or better than bookshelf speakers costing 3 times as much. In my opinion, no other speakers come close in this price range. If you want a real bargain, get the ELAC Debut B-6 for $279 a pair! You simply must read the ELAC reviews or audition them (if possible) before you buy ANYTHING else!
**ELAC dealer disclaimer**
When I first started carrying Elac, I compared the smaller UB5 to the CM7s. Despite the huge difference in price, the UB5s not only compared favorably, but 4 other listeners heard the comparison, all found the UB5s to sound better in almost every performance metric. The bass was more delineated, focused, and midrange was cleaner. There was less smear everywhere, the detail was better...it was amazing to compare a $500 bookshelf to $2200 floor-standers and come away with that conclusion. The UB5s perform better than speakers 2X-4X their cost. UF5s are cleaner still in the bass, though not that much more extended than the UB5, and the UF5s offer up a larger soundstage. I compared the UB5s to the CM5s as well, but that wasn't fair. The CM5s sounded broken compared the UB5s. It was as if the UB5 was cheating. I highly recommend adding the Uni-Fi series to your list. Good luck on your search.