PLEASE HELP WITH SPEAKER TYPE, SELECTION, LAYOUT, ETC....ON A BUDGET.
Hello, I'm new to this forum and would really appreciate some basic advice on setting up a new stereo system. It has been about 20 years since I have bought anything and I am feeling overwhelmed after researching here and elsewhere...so much has changed since then. I have read through many relevant threads/reviews but am still quite unclear; sorry for another newb thread....
I am looking for advice with the following situation:
Music 100% (or 65% and movies/TV 35% if we do HT/surround). 0% gaming, etc.
My wife is a part-time opera singer, so it is important that the set-up be geared for her to listen to her practices and other works, as well as a range of music from classical to jazz and blues. We have a nice television but have never looked into home theater, etc. That might be nice, but is not a major criterion, especially if it affects the music. The music is essential.
In terms of equipment, the only stereo components we use now (these are old and I don't know if they are worth keepingbut if possible we would like to in order to contain costs) are a Philips FR 920 A/V Surround receiver; a Sony C77ES CD player; and a DVD player. The no-name speakers are trashed and that is our primary need. We also have several Sonos pieces throughout the house, and play those through the stereo and computer, but none of these are in the living area.
If it helps, I have attached a plan of the living/dining area. The space is quite long (37') and is divided into 2 sections in terms of height. The shaded area that has red dots over (where the stereo/TV are) is about 12' x 14' with a flat ceiling about 8.5' high, while the area not dotted (over the dining table) rises from 8.5' at the windows to about 16' high at the curved dashed line. The floors are terrazzo except for 3 rugs; the walls are plaster over brick; the ceilings are drywall...so mainly hard surfaces.
I realize that it is best to listen to speakers before buying, but we're not yet ready for that I think, and not even sure what to ask a salesman (although we will go to some stores with the same questions listed here). I would just feel better with a bit more knowledge and focus before running that gauntlet.
Despite my wife's avocation, we are not really equipment audiophiles; not tech geeks; and are on a budget. Basically, new (used would also be fine) speakers at $400-$600 total are the first necessity, and this is where it gets confusing. I have read all the best speakers under $300...$500 etc. threads here and elsewhere, but I'm feeling information overload because I don't know how to set the system criteria.
I don't know if we should focus on:
A) 2 bookshelf or towers (bookshelf would be much better for space and position reasons, but towers may be more efficient = no subwoofer?);
B) 3.1 l/r/center or at 2 speakers + subwoofer; or
C) 5.1 music/TV setup + subwoofer.
Is one approach "better" than others for predominantly music listening?
In reading the relevant threads I'm taking notes and trying to set up a list of various speaker options, but that is not the main issue right now. I'm not looking for a list of brands, etc. although any recommendations are certainly appreciated. I'm listing things from the Best Buy Pioneer package to things like HSU, etc. A bit too much range I think! I would rather understand the approach first, then research speaker options, and only then present some packages for comment.
So, perhaps this is too general a question, but I would truly appreciate advice first on which direction to pursue, from among the options listed above; this will help focus the research and hopefully lessen the overwhelming amount of choices.
Also, it would really help to know if we need to replace the receiver. I suspect so, but I really don't know. If we need to do so, we would probably go with a Denon or Cambridge Audio Azur refurb (possibly Onkyo too, but the "overheating issue" scares me a bit...I don't get it) from Accesories4Less.
Thanks in advance.
I am cross-posting this on a couple of other forums also, so apologies to those who read the same thread twice.