Think the Harbeth P3 ESR or Nola Boxer would be worth looking into. Both for sale here in your price range. Best of luck.
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I would suggest you go out and listen to as many speakers as you can. Without knowing your room or the rest of your system it will be tough to make a solid recommendation. In the past I bought and sold a bunch of monitors to audition which was a lot of fun and I learned a lot along the way. If you are wise about buying and selling you can do this with little or no loss. You may even find a pair you like that falls well below your stated budget. Best of luck.
+1 the suggestion to get out and listen to as many speakers as you can. I know it's hard these days with the scarcity of brick and mortar dealers, but it's the best advice. Alternatively, try some of the directly marketed brands that give you an in-home trial period - even better than a dealer because you get to hear the gear in your room and system. Finally, if all else fails, minimize your financial risk by buying used.
I mean, I (or anybody else) could simply tell you what their favorite speaker is in your price range - I'd start going on about the Reference 3A Dulcet - but to be fair, my taste and room are quite probably entirely different from yours.
Good luck! I went though lots of speakers before finding the ones I'm currently enjoying so much.
How big is your room Peter?
Totem speakers are a great choice for jazz/classical and most models will fit your budget. For a really small room you connot go wrong with the Dreamcatchers. For a bigger room you cannot go wrong with a pair of used a Totem Model Ones.
Dreamcatchers are perfect for classical music without breaking the bank.
Model Ones are much better for Jazz/classical in a larger room.
As usual Kiko65 is spot on.
I own both Dreamcatchers and Model 1 signatures.
1 Sigs are one of the best reviewed boxes out there and the Dreamcatchers give up little to them,
Another cheap speaker that will run right with them is the Triangle Titus 202, which was a Stereophile class B and rightly so. In fact the Triangle has a better soundstage than the Totems and will fill a big or small space.
May not be warm and mellow as you'd like (I think you'd get more of that with the Harbeths), but in that price range, I'd try to listen to the KEF LS50. A stunner of a speaker, worthy of the praise and awards it gets.
Another company to consider is Fritz Speakers. Sold straight from Fritz (great guy BTW), and so no dealer markup. The most impressive monitors under $3k I have ever heard at a show.
I've heard great things about the Nola Boxer too, but haven't had a chance to hear them myself.
I have owned the Totem Model 1 Signature, Dynaudio Focus 140, Harbeth Compact 7ES-3. I currently have the Harbeth 30.1. I have listened to the Harbeth P3ESR at a dealer. To my ears the Totems sounded great at the start but became fatiguing after a while, especially with violins. The Dynaudios give a big sound, but were a bit tubby. However the Confidence C1 is a totally different speaker, far surpassing the Focus line. I had the C1s and enjoyed them. But to me the Harbeths sound so much more natural and musical. The P3ESR plays much more robust and room filling than their physical size would indicate on first glance.
If you can listen to them I am confident you will be impressed. Take some of your favorite classical with you, particularly solo violin and piano.
FWIW I just took delivery of a pair of Wharfdale Dentons from Music Direct - cost $499 delivered. I've set them up with a 40wt tubed amp, 3 feet out from a back wall and 2 feet from side walls and I'm impressed! Warm with detail and excellent bass (considering their size). I'm really enjoying them. (They are not replacing my main speakers though, just used in a second system.)
I am a big fan of the Vapor speakers' sound (my faves are the Aurora and Nimbus, but I have also heard the Joule and the Breeze), but I would not say they have a "warm mellow sound", which the OP is looking for. I also love my SP Tech speakers (just grabbed a pair of Revelations and have had a pair of Minis for a couple years), but I wouldn't recommend the SP Tech Minis to someone looking for "warm mellow sound". Let's not forget that audiophiles have different listening priorities, and try not to just recommend our favorites reflexively without taking the OP's stated preferences into account.
Some of Fritz's speakers would fit this "warm mellow sound" description, and Harbeth (along with other BBC speaker manufacturers) has long been known for that sort of sound. I'm partial to Fritz personally, but that would come down to personal preference most likely (Fritz's monitors would likely have considerably more bass, which is a biggie for me).
I have the Vapor Breeze. I don't like a hard edged forward sound and I love the Breeze. I think a lot of people hear about the wonderful detail of the Raal and worry that it will be harsh. It is not.Just smooth w tons of detail.
I am using VH audio cHela cables and they are a very nice match with the Raal. Also the diffusers on the Raal can be adjusted to tailor the sound. They are attached w magnets and are simple to slide up and down. Kinda fun to mess with and they do make a difference.I was listening to a Widespread Panic LP that is kind of dark and opening up the pads gave me the detail I was looking for. Dwight Yoakam's Under the Covers CD is great with a lot of air, seperation and sparkle but it's a little too harsh for my tastes. Moving the diffusers closer tamed that.
The Raal's are so good they give you an amount of detail you wouldn't expect without harshness. Wonderful.
I have also heard the Raal in two of Ryan's systems w high end cables and they also sounded incredible as expected.