The new issue of Stereophile had an excellent review of the Mordaunt-Short "Carnival" speakers. List price is only $250.00 a pair.
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These days there are many many takes on what's the best way to create a $500 speaker, give or take a couple hundred. At around $700 there's the Totem Mite. For $479 there's the PSB Image B25, and for less there's the glossy little Usher you mentioned.
For an all-rounder, I like the PSB. It's 4 dB more sensitive than the Usher, which is equivalent to more than doubling your amplifier power. Its power handling is much higher than the other two, it has more bass extension, its on-axis frequency response is as linear as an expensive speaker, and its dispersion pattern is smooth and wide.
Dracule1, I had Thiel's, Acoustic zen, JBL monitors and a few others in my main system for a good while. All were excellent. I decided to keep my MMG's as my mains for a good while because I could not give up those mids/highs. I tried a few different positions for the placement of the speakers AND my listening position. I found the spot where I had plenty of base for my taste. I listen to everything...classical, rock, metal, punk, progressive jazz...and all on vinyl mostly. I throw in a cd every once in a while. As for a secondary system...you cant go wrong with these guys. Period. IMHO of course. Cheers.