In case anyone is interested, I posted a request for advice on speakers from Axiom. They do have a pretty neat request form which helps them recommend a system. I know they are probably steering me to some of their more expensive stuff, but at the same time, the extra cost isn't going to break the bank, so why not go with the config recommended by the speaker company themselves?
Note: I did especially appreciate the recommendation for the receiver given my request for center volume control.
Here's my request, which I sent along with the current floor plan.
I'm seeking advice on a 7.1 system setup with Axiom speakers. I'm thinking of using the following setup for 7.1...
Axiom Audio M22 bookshelf
Axiom Audio VP150 center Channel
Axiom Audio QS8 surround Speakers
Axiom Audio EP 350 sub for decent bass or EP500 for big time bass
The room is 16'x19'x10' (WxLxH) with a raised ceiling (up to 12') centered in the middle of the room. Attached is a floorplan with approximate seating configuration.
Here's the response from Axiom's "expert".
My name is JC (Jean-Claude). I am an expert audio advisor at Axiom.
I thank you for your interest in Axiom Award-winning audio speakers and taking the time to send us in your request. Your sketch is well done and is very helpful.
You seem concerned about the center speaker level and dialog intelligibility. I am proposing you a system which will exceed your expectations on the performance of the center speaker avoiding the need to constantly play with the volume level. Once the initial adjustment and set-up completed there will be no need to modify its level.
For your application, you should consider the Axiom Epic 60 – 500 in an 8.1 configuration Home Theatre Ensemble - http://www.axiomaudio.com/epic60_500.html
. It consists of a 7.1 system (main left, main right, center, side surround left, side surround right, rear surround left, rear surround right and a subwoofer) with an additional center speaker. You install one center speaker on a wall bracket or a stand below the screen aiming at the ear level of the first row of seated listeners and a second one mounted on a wall or ceiling bracket aiming at the ear level of the second row of seated listeners.http://www.axiomaudio.com/fullmetalbracket.htmlhttp://www.axiomaudio.com/fullmetalceilingbracket.htmlhttp://www.axiomaudio.com/fmscc.html
Furthermore, the Axiom VP150v2 center speaker offers exceptional dialog intelligibility with superior dispersion. The Newcastle A/V receiver R-872 will be able to power both center speakers from its single pair of center channel binding posts. The Newcastle A/V receiver is warmly recommended by Axiom to power its brand of speakers. You can buy it from Axiom benefiting from free delivery and the 5% home theatre discount.http://www.axiomaudio.com/sherwood_r872.html
The Newcastle offers you the flexibility to adjust independently the center speaker volume level if you desire.
For the main speakers a tower or floor standing model would be more appropriate for your application it will provide you with a fuller and smoother room filling sound at lower volume which you prefer. I will email back your sketch from my personal Axiom email account with a suggestion to position your Axiom speakers shortly.
Thanks again for your e-mail! If you would like me to me to follow-up directly by phone, just drop me a line with an appropriate time and a number for me to do so. Alternatively, you are always welcome to dial Axiom's toll-free number (1-866-244-8796) - any of our Audio Experts would be pleased to help.
Have a nice day!