I would agree with KennyT the Canton Vento 802s or the new 820s are a very musical two way speaker. I don't think that there is any thing in your price range that can come close to these speakers. They can take the abuse of playing loud, they have a lot of bass for a 2 way, they image extremely well and the cabinets are very well made and do not have a lot of resonance, which means they do not color the sound as much as many speakers in that price range.
I have become very good at reconizing cabinet resonance, because my reference speakers are made of granite and they virtually have no cabinet resonance. When you A/B against them, you instantly hear the colorations that other speakers impart. The 802's are one of the few speakers that I A/B'd with the Summits that did a really good job at not coloring the sound.
FYI- if interested, below is a very biased review of my reference speakers, it's long but kind of entertaining.
If you audition the Ventos, make sure they hook them up to some decent equipment. If you just hear them on a standard receiver (sony, pioneer, denon, marantz etc) they will sound good, but it won't be even close to what they can actually put out. The 802s or 820s are a speaker that you can grow into, they will resolve many upgrades in equipment. IMHO
Here is a tweek for the Ventos that makes them 20% better. Put a set of 3 StillPoints under each speaker, between the speaker and the stand. You will be amazed at the difference.
In the 2K range for separates: If going new consider the Arcam receivers AVR280 or AVR350 they have a lot of power and sound very close to separates with out having to buy a bunch of extra cables. NAD and Rotel are also worth an audition.
Another idea is to get a decent reciever and then get a amp/pre amp combo with a HT pass through built into the preamp. Belles (Power Modules Inc) makes a sweet little amp/preamp combo for less than 2k. You could have that little rig run your fronts when you are playing two channel. For movies you hit the HT passthrough button on the preamp, turn on your less expensive receiver and you are watching movies or concert DVDs.
This senario is kind of the best of both worlds.