Thank you all for your responses,
I believe i might have out grown my speakers as you suggest but i am unwilling (and unable at this time) to replace them. I have played with the placement quiet a bit and have found my best results thus far to flip the speakers over and put the HF on the bottom more in line with my listening position. I am still learning about the whole axis thing and i don't completely understand why that worked (maybe someone could help with that explanation) but it did help. I am also unable to add stands to the equation due to the shelving i have all across the entire wall.
question: what is it about speaker stands that make a difference? other than position of the speakers, maybe i can add some characteristics to the shelving.
I intend to upgrade the system from the weakest point up and i do believe that will be the AVR (which i will save another post) is the weakest link here. I will be adding the sub woofer prior to that as the next addition to the program. It will be my first full speaker build.
question: i understand the basics of timbre matching for surrounds but how importance is that when it comes to a single sub in this system? and if so, what would you recommend for a sealed enclosure front firing sub? I also could use some direction to understand how i "tune" a box. I am more interested in clean tight bass for quality rather than then boom boom.
The upgrade speakers for my L/R will be my second speaker builds. I am currently still trying to research this plan. I have been going around and around with the ideas of full range single driver vs 2 ways. either way i intend to have a sub (or 2) and i will have to experiment with the phantom center for a bit before i plan a center.
P.S. I do have all physical skills required for the tasks at hand and where i lack (mostly knowledge based) we will chalk up as experience