Originally Posted by ericuf
I really want a 7.1 this time, not 5.1
I have a great denon receiver already (1912)
Originally Posted by ericuf
I also already own a phenomenal subwoofer (Pioneer), so if one came with the system, I'd probably keep the pioneer and sell the other ...
No offense, but you may be over rating your gear a bit. Polk or Pioneer does not have any phenomenal sub no matter what the cost is and 1912 is not a great receiver. I have the Denon 3310 and there is nothing great about it. But there is nothing bad about it either. I just would not call it great. In fact there is really nothing great about any mid-level receiver. They are just adequate to drive 8 ohm speakers of high sensitivity. That is something you have to keep in mind before buying speakers so that you have enough power for 5 or 7 speakers.
Unless you get 8ohm (nominal) speakers with high sensitivity like 95db, that 1912 may not be adequate, especially if you want to play the speakers very loud. The harder you push those receivers, the higher will be the distortion. Even if you go to the higher models, you dont get a significant boost in power (except may the ones at the very top). There is not much difference between 100W and 130W as they dont give you significant increase in volume. So adding an external amp is something you should keep in mind for future.
Given your current system, I would presume your primary interest is movie. If you are willing to spend $3000, my suggestion is KLIPSCH.
Contact Sound Distributors or any club if you are a member, regarding Klipsch RF-82 II, RC62 II. I dont like to recommend the RS II's for surround as they are over priced unless you get a deal at Sound Distributors. Instead I would get the RB61 II or RB 51 II for rear.
Start with 5.1. You are not missing much with 5.1 as there are very few true 7.1 mixes. There will always be people here who have a different opinion. There are people who want nothing less than 11.2 so I am sure you are going to hear many posts that you will be missing a lot if dont have 7.1.
And dont go crazy with the sub. Again there are going to be proponents of multiple subs and people who argue that you gotta to have 3 subs. There is no need to get everything at the same time. Start with just want you need to enjoy a movie and upgrade later. But dont go too cheap either so that you can always build on what you get now.
Considering the fact that you are coming from Pioneer/Polk sub, you dont have to spend 4 figures for sub. You may be happy with the SVS SB12-NSD. If you prefer more low end, you could go with a ported sub like SVS PB12, HSU VTF2-MK4 or Outlaw LFM-1 Plus, if weight is not a limiting factor for you. I dont like a bottom ported sub like HSU or Outlaw as they make too much rustling sound when I run the Antimode (sub calibration). So I thought that may affect the calibration. With Audyssey, that may not be a problem as Audyssey uses a much faster pulse than a slow sweep like Antimode. I didnt have a receiver with Audyssey when I had the HSU STF-2.
If you still have money left, you can put it on a receiver that has pre-outs. If network and other bells and whistles are not important for you, Denon 3311 may be adequate for you or if you want Audyssey XT 32, you can try the Onkyo 818. A receiver with preouts is good to have so that you can add an external amp in future as these receives just will not give you enough head room.