My portion of the basement room designated for HT is 12' wide, 16' long, with 8' ceiling height. One of the 16' lengths is open to the rest of the room. Is this space too small for a 7.1 set up? Thanks for your advice.
Depends on where your seating is. For a 7.1-speaker layout to be effective, you need to be sitting several feet away from the back wall, so that you can get clear rear-vs-side separation in the surround field. If your seating is at/near the back wall, then stick to a 5.1 layout.
If your receiver can do it add a second sub, I just added a small Polk sub since my Onkyo receiver is 7.2. I'm kicking myself for not doing it when I bought the receiver, it adds a lot to the experience.
Thanks for your suggestion. My plan is to install a HSU VTF-15H as the sub. While a second sub sounds appealing, my $1000.00 sub budget only allows for one. From what I've read in this forum, and elsewhere, the HSU sub should be great for the space.
Have a great weekend! Working on my HT, flooring and carpet to install.