Triangle Titus 202s + a sub are first rate at low volumes.
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The sub is one thing that I was going to try to avoid. Frankly, I don't know where I would put it! I'm very limited in options for placement of the gear and I also have a turntable on a table by my rack. I guess I could put a very small sub in the corner, but with a room that size, I don't know how well it would integrate with the room acoustics. Thanks for the suggestions!
If I had your room and was restricted to low volumes in the near field I can think of few speakers I would enjoy more than the original Rogers LS3/5a. I loved mine! Lots of my friends moved on to them after they heard mine. They were designed for just that purpose and were very successful. Problem is they are hard to find, especially in good condition. Other companies manufactured according to the BBC req's as well and if your looking for something very close they would be something to check out.
Acoustic Energy AE1 is very good in near field, you can even place them very close to back wall to reinforce bass. I had the Signature version and it was very sweet.
Dynaudio Craft was designed for near field and against back wall, but Dynaudio in general do not sound good till high volume.
Usher BE-718 can be placed close to back wall, they are near full range and very sweet and extended on top. Your ARC should be able to power them well in that small space. I played my Usher in low volume and it had incredible amount of detail even at low volume.
Look into the Omega Super 6 Anico Monitors. I had these for a while and was extremely impressed with what they can do. I have since moved up the Omega line to the Super 8 Alnico XRS floostanders.
There is a classified ad for a pair here on the Gon for less than $1000.00 now. Or call Louis at Omega and disscuss with him your needs.
Another small monitor to look at is the PMC DB1+. When I originally hooked mine up I was sitting approximately 9 ft from the speakers and thought they sounded very good. When I moved up and sat on the foot stool I was amazed how good they were. This was 3 or 4 ft closer. They go surprisingly deep for their size.
Used price about $550-600, new I believe is $2K.
The Harbeth P3ESR is very nice but above your budget. A friend of mine who owns the 40.1 got the P3ESR for his 4th system replacing his Totem Model 1. Very nice and musical small box that will excel in a nearfield setup in a small room. Maybe the older version would cut it but it's quite rare in the used market.
The suggestion of PMC is also a good one that gives a more neutral sound with slightly better bass response but of less organic qualities as with the Harbeth.
I heartily recommend these: http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?spkrmoni&1261462753&/star-Sound-caravelles-with-Mat
I've had my pair for five years now, replaced my B&W Silver Signature speakers with them. Excellent, excellent speakers!
I just stepped down from the Vandersteen 2CE Sig II to a pair of Spendor S3/5 for very similar reasons--I moved to a smaller space where the Vandies wouldn't work.
In the near-field (5 foot equilateral triangle) and at low volumes (60-75 dB) I couldn't be happier with the change. Soundstaging, timbre, musical detail, and enough low-end warmth to sound full and rich... You could buy the new S3/5R new within your budget or a used pair at $600-650. I haven't heard the Harbeth or Stirling, but the Spendor is a great speaker. I don't miss the Vandies...much.
I'm currently using a pair of very affordable and excellent sounding Polk Audio RTI-A1 in my office system.The equally affordable Mission M-31i also do a nice job.The older and more expensive Canton Karat M-30 speakers are a little larger and feature a side firing woofer.They sound almost full range.I have also heard Usher 520's,718's and the affordable Gini System LS 3/5A at my local dealer and all 3 pair sounded promising!!!