I fully agree to the viewpoint that speakers should be auditioned personally; however, unfortunately, the nearest city where I could find a KEF store is approx 10 hrs drive away. On the B&W 684s, I could find one in my local BB store and did audition that ... but to my utter disbelief, the 684 tower sounded more bland than a Def-Tech bookshelf speaker [Studio Monitor 45 model]; even the B&W 4" MIMB satellite speakers sounded better than the 684s. I consoled myself maybe there is some problem with the connection or positioning ... but this was really weird - I do plan to make another trip .... but don't know if anything would change and moreover whatever I can do, auditioning a KEF seems very distant possibility; hence looks like I need to take this leap of faith.
I do feel that, any of these speakers should 'wow' me, because this will be my first real speaker system ... my previous one was a Samsung HTIB
What I am gathering from the response is that either (iQ90 or 684) should be good enough with a matching center ... and more people have given a bit more edge to iQ90. I am also inclined towards that (might be because of my previous auditioning experience with the 684s)
Now comes another dilemma - for surrounds, my personal option is to go for bi-pole / di-pole model and not the direct firing ones. KEF has iQ30, that is in the same line of speakers, but that is front-firing - the di-pole model that KEF offers [Q800ds] are not in the same speaker line and also a bit more pricey [$800/pair]. B&Ws most affordable surrounds [DS3B] pretty much are in the same range. Can you please suggest me a good surround speaker that would go with my set-up of KEF iQ90 & iQ60C [or B&W 684 & HTM62B] and would cost not more than $500 [with maybe 10% tollerence factor]
Q#2> Someone had suggested emptek E55Ti/E56Ci/E55Wi combination - this was also suggested by audioholics website as their recommended system for $6.5K budget[http://www.audioholics.com/buying-guides/system-buying-guides/6k-home-theater-system
] ... should I be considering those while deciding between the KEF & B&W ... I know brand-name wise KEF / B&W have got much better reputation than empteks
Q#3> For the receiver I am pretty much decided on Marantz SR5007 (decided based on the following factors: reviews, aestheticity, airplay capability, 4K display support) ... can you folks please suggest if this is going to be a good overall system?
Once again, thanks for your opinion and time