Not so fast. New opinion here.
I've upgraded systems over the decades and I've learned it's not best to try squeeze as much as you can into one budget. At best you buy in at low to mid grade level, and be locked in there for quite awhile.
For the OP with a $1500 budget, I would get the best sounding pair of L&R speakers for the money as long as they weren't really bass deficient. Also they shouldn't have such low SPL ratings to force you to upgrade your AVR.
If and when it's time to add a sub, you can then make it a quality matching sub. So at that point you'll have speakers that are a couple notches above what was originally indicated. And speakers, unlike the component du jour, can be enjoyed for years or decades and sometimes in other rooms.
With that said, my previous experience might help. I had expensive but older Meridian DSP 5000 speakers as my L&R in my HT. I just replaced them with GoldenEar Triton Sevens at $1400. Everything I read about them was true and then some. When I listened to them at the dealer next to the Triton Twos, considerably more expensive, I liked the overall sound stage of the Sevens better, but the Twos (active) had some serious slam on the bottom end. But when we added a sub with the Sevens I actually liked their overall sound better. So home they went.
As you might guess, in my home demo the Sevens won out over the Meridians. Now here is the good part. While doing all this testing I was doing some testing for bass after I had ran Audyssey XT32. I was about to switch off the sub for the next test, which can go down to 18hz, when I noticed it was already switched off. Wow, these mid size towers can go low for non active speakers. Still not as low as a good sub, but you won't be running out to the store to buy a sub. This is not to ignore the benefits of sub placement flexibility. The Sevens have the same ribbon tweeter and mid as the upcoming Triton Ones at $5000/pr
and maybe why I prefer the Sevens over the Twos with the slightly older mid.