Can you add a powered sub? How about Vandersteen 1C and sub?
Maybe Dynaudio Contour 1.1 can fit within your budget, but still not as much bass you used to have.
If you can use 15-18 inches out from your short wall, consider Platinum Audio Solo's. The rear ports worked fine, even at this close range. Used prices on Audiogon running less than $800, including matching custom speaker stands. Can use any strong stand for your application, if matching stands not available. Without custom stands, about $625.
In your modestly sized room, there will be surprisingly deep, pitch accurate, bass. The rest of the sound will be full bodied, three dimensional, musical, and alive. Never dry or analytical in the "thin" way you described.
This speaker has the best quality bass I have heard from a low priced, monitor size design.
you might want to consider the green mountain europa. like the 2ce's, the europa's use a first order crossover, and the drivers are time and phase aligned. the europa uses excellent quality parts, and has a very full bodied sound. i don't think anyone who has heard them would characterize them as sounding like "monitors." they should also fit right around your budget.
i have owned both speakers (currently have the 2ce's), and i must say, they are the best bang-for-the-buck speakers i have ever heard. right now, i am really pleased with the vandies because, as you say, they have such a musical, full-bodied, nearly full-range sound. it's convenient to have a floorstanding speaker that images like a monitor, yet has usable deep bass response, all in one package. however, the europa's had a lot of the same magic, and had respectable bass for a non-floorstander. sounds like it might be just what you are looking for.
best of luck, and happy listening.
vandys sound great in small rooms too.
Funny. The two speakers that I thought of as I was reading the title to this thread were Platinum Solos and Green Mountain Europas.
My personal preference would be for the Solos, but considering the room placement constraint and your preference for the Vandies, the GMA Europas are a MUST audition.
The hype surrounding these speakers is justified. They are absolutely amazing - especially considering their modest asking price.
As stated earlier, they are (like Vandies) a first-order time and phase coherent design and, consequently, possses much of the natural coherence of the Vandies.
In addition their port is front firing making them more suitable for placement near the back wall.
The only thing that I'm not so fond of with respect to the Europas is their appearance. They DO look better in person than in the photos, but they're still not the best looking speakers I've ever seen. They only come in black and are very utilitarian looking. The good news is that they are reportedly coming out with a newer version of the Europa that is said to be more attractive. The bad news is that a considerable price increase comes with the new cosmetics.
It's obvious, based on your selection of Vandersteens, that sound is more important to you than appearance. (You've gotta' admit the 2CEs aren't exactly pretty.) If that's the case, I say run don't walk to your nearest GMA dealer and grab a pair of Europas before the price goes up.
Thanks for your suggestions. I'll see if I can't track down some Platinums and Europas. It's not the room size that's the problem, it's that the room is also going to have a lot of furniture in it--very little room for floorstanders of any kind. In fact, if I go the monitor route, I'll probably build a wall shelf or bracket to mount the speakers.
As silly as this may sound, you did say you'd like full bodied sound, and if you can't find a pr. of Platinums, try a pr. of the Polk LSi's, such as the model 9.
I have a lady friend, that got hers from Crutchfield. Hey, they pay return shipping if you don't like them. They are a little too full for my taste's, but maybe not yours. Btw, low-end isn't a part of the Green Mountain Europa's.That what I've gathered from other post's, on other threads.
You might consider the Von Schweikert VR1's while you're at it. Exceedingly musical, drop down to 40hz(!), beautifully built w/ real wood veneers and serious components right down to the Cardas rhodium binding posts. They also have a ridiculous off-axis response...it has to be heard to be believed. $995 msrp but I purchased mine for $675 NIB from an authorized dealer.
Keep the speakers and make the space for them!!!!
They do NOT 'have' to have a lot of free space around them!
I would at least try them out in the room! Before getting something else. Putting speakers on a shelf is bad, worse than sticking your current speakers wherever they can fit in.
I lived with Infinty IIa doorsize mothers in a tiny 9' by 12' hellhole and was happy as a clam with the nearfield sound!!!!
You should definitely consider keeping the 2CEs. You could use an external crossover that would allow for fine-tuning the speaker to your room. Richard Vandersteen could help you do this, but you might want to contact a dealer for detailed assistance. John Rutan at Audio Connection is a good bet. Good luck.
Assuming you can't for any reason justify the 2Ces as floor standers then I suggest you get the Vandersteen VSMs. Couple them with a V2W or 2WQ sub (depending on your pre-amp) somewhere on the short wall and you'll get great sound. If you can find used VSM Signatures, they're worth every extra penny!