Do they have to be Bookshelves? Because something like the paradigms, they are extremely small for what they put out, honestly probably have a smaller footprint than some higher end bookshelves with a nice stand
anyways heres my input: (copy and pasted because i clicked new thread instead of reply the first time and realized you said monitors)
Sounds like you're in the same boat as me.. Trying to keep my budget in the 2000 dollar range as well.
I have listend to quite a few speakers, as much as I coudl around here, out of speakers I could listen to in a 3.0 configuration with Movies etc
The B&W 683's with the HTM61 Center (thought i really dident get to hear the HTM61 center in a proper way)
The Paradigm Montior 7s/9's with the Center 3 and Center 1
I am also really interested in Aperion Verus Forte speakers now as well, they look great, have a gorgeous 3 way center and a 30 day trial, figure MAYBE worth a shot, might buy them, bring them to the local audio shop and put them up against the Paradigm as thats what I'm leaning more towards myself.
I personally loved the Paradigms More for the movies, The Dark Knight sounded amazing. I have seen the opening scene to the dark knight more times than I can count at this point, I know exactly how that sounds on my system, how it looks on my system so i always use that as a benchmark for what I think is better or worse than what I already have.
The Paradigm 3 way center's are amazing, I am pretty much hooked on HAVING TO HAVE a 3 way center after hearing that and even the HTM61. The Dialogue was crisp, different tonalities in different voices were much more distinct and not as blended. I always hated a couple parts of the opening scene, I always felt like the tone/loudness etc of how each actors voice wwas recorded was off or much different. For example the "crew" always sounds somewhat normal, muffled behind a mask a bit. While The jokers and even the bankers voice almost seem louder, a lot more bass, but like it was recorded with a different mic or something and the change in this always drove me nuts (may not have explained it right, but maybe you nkow waht I mean) With the 3 way center, their voices seemed much clear and blended much better with the overall atmosphere of what was going on, where before it just felt like a voiceover was slapped in there to me.
All of the sound was extremely detailed, while the Monthir 7 and 9's don't throw out a ton of bass, chances are if you're using this for movies you're going to end up getting a sub.
I personally would get the Center 3 over the Center 1 if you could, just pack a little more punch, but they both sound sonicly the same to me aside from the 3 having a bit more punch with the bigger driver.
My local dealer would do the Monitor 7's and the center 3 for around 1300, im waiting for him to get the monitor 11's in, if I like them as much as the 7's Im going to pick them up, gonna cost me 2000 plus tax if I pick them up.
If I had to choose between just the monitor 7's and the monitor 9's I'd get the 7's. Their mids just seem much clearer and more distinguished than the 9's, and im waiting to see if the Monitor 11 being a 3 way keeps that great mid but also packs a bit of a punch...
I am also thinking of ordering the Aperions and trying them first though.. I hear good things.