Ascend Acoustics CMB-170s, go to ascendacoustics.com; amazing clarity, accuracy and natural/neutral reproduction with zero fatigue.
What to look for: bookshelves that do not claim to be "full range" because at that size and price range, it just ain't gonna happen. What will happen is such a "full range bookshelf" speaker will have boomy muddy bass, zero midrange, and weak highs---like the Polk R20s I bought cheap on Black Friday and immediately sent to my bedroom mini-system.
If you want stronger bass then you'll have to save up an extra $300-400 for a good subwoofer like an SVS or Hsu.
I found the Ascends far more pleasing than similarly-priced B&W. (Notice, please, that I use the very subjective term, "pleasing," because there are so many factors related to the listening experience that your findings might contradict mine.) In the B&W line, I thought the 600/601 sounded leagues better than the 303 in a/b tests.
Above 80 hz, I've yet to hear a speaker in the <$800 range that keeps up with the Ascend cbm-170--at least, not in my living room, running off my system, playing my music. *(I'm fond of using "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots," by the Flaming Lips as my audition disc. It's got everything from Wall o' Sound metal to bare vocals to orchestral passages, to acoustic piano.)
I believe that the Polk RTi6 replaced the RT35i but will cost you around $300 with shipping off Ebay. The RTi6 is what I am planning on getting. However, if I find a good deal on some RT35i when I am ready, I might get them instead.
There are really good speaker choices in this price range. Both the Titan and the Atoms are good speakers for their price. The Atom just isn't substantial enough for me but they sound very good for dollars. The Titan in my opinion is a bit more substantial but not quite as well balanced. The Foucus is the best sounding and balanced speaker of the Paradigm Performance Series. I must tell you though, that at $300 I would buy the Epos ELS3. Above that price are so many good choices by so many manufacturers that really all we are doing is giving you a shopping list. For Paradigm I would probably start with the Monitor series. The Mini is $399 but can be had for less. Give those Epos speaker some consideration and a good long listen. Anyone who carries Creek or Music Hall products should have access to those speakers.
Edster, you said the polk R20 has crappy mid-range. What would u say about the Wharfedale Diamond 9.1s then, because they claim a very wide frequency range. The B&W dm303 claim around 75hz but are about as good as the 9.1s supposedly. How have wharfedale managed to sustain the good mid-range with such a wide frequency response?
Don't judge a speaker solely by its frequency range specs; sensitivity is more relevant in many ways.
Don't know about the Diamond 9.1 but have heard the 9.2 which totally did not impress me. For a small bookshelf speaker with awesome midrange and highs for under $1000 I'd say the Ascend 170s are way ahead of the field at $340 shipped.