Hi, I just bought a 5.1 Pioneer HTP-071 and I'm thiking about returning it.
But now I'm faced with two options. I was thinking about either getting the Onkyo S-3500 or a Sony W5500 Soundbar (any good soundbar will do really). The issue I'm having right now is the 5.1 surround wasn't what I thought. I didn't know the back speakers were only used for back sounds and not used as much. And that most of the sound should be coming from the front speakers. Silly me!
Now, I've been weight my options heavily (note that I live in a town home) and I'm not sure what to get. If I get the soundbar, I'd lose the surround speakers, but I'd gain less wires. But if I get the 5.1 set up, I get the full surround but more wires and less portablity (upstairs living room and downstairs livingroom).
I'm really kind of stuck right now and I'm not sure what's the smartest option. I know having a budget under $300 kills me right now, but I'm being really strict with my finances right now.
My opinion, I would get a 5.1 system. Run the wires, it's worth it. The rear speakers get more involved than you think.
I have the Onkyo HT-S3200 from 2009 and the HT-S3400 from 2011 and they are great systems. You can get great deals on Amazon within your budget.
Edit: $248 on Amazon with free shipping as of today.