I'm looking to replace my old Pioneer 5.1 HTB speakers with some THX speakers. About 3 months ago, I retired the old Pioneer receiver and replaced it with an Onkyo 818. I've been using the old Pioneer speakers; but now I'm ready to upgrade them.
The system is in my living room. The room is closed on 3 sides with one length opening to the kitchen and eat-in dining room. The living room volume is approximately 2100 ft^3. For the entire area (kitchen, living room, and dining room), the volume is approximately 5100 ft^3. The speakers will be located strictly in the constraints of the living room.
The speakers would be used primarily for movies but also music - probably 70 / 30 or 80 / 20. So music is important but not the primary purchase. I've never been good at judging how close a speaker sounds to studio reference - so I figured going with THX speakers would take some of my guess work out. This maybe a poor excuse for lack of research but I am partially deaf in one ear and have lost some hearing in the other ear. Also, there's no local distributor of either of these two companies locally to test the products.
My budget is constrained to no more than $3300 for the speakers. Both of these companies seem to have outstanding reviews with possibly Atlantic Technology have a bit better music quality. I know my budget can get me a 5.1 Atlantic Technology 4400 system but it uses 100% of the budget. For approximately $2500, I can purchase the Crystal Acoustics 7.1 T3-7.1-UL system which includes THX Ultra 2 front left, right, and sub; or even cheaper $1600 for the Crystal Acoustics 5.1 T3-5.1-UL system. I'm looking for the best bang for my buck.
Has anyone compared these units? Any noticeable difference between the two? For the cost, would the Crystal Acoustics 7.1 be a better purchase? It seems to me that the Crystal Acoustics is the better value. But I haven't heard either system. I would like some opinions on this.
I know the Atlantic Technology 4400 series provides surround sound speakers capable of bipole and dipole and the Crystal Acoustics surrounds are dipole. Should this be a factor? Right now I am using 5 speakers that are all forward facing (relative to the person); I have read where this seems to be optimum. I'm thinking this is likely the case due to my room configuration (one side not having a wall. Of course, I've read many mixed answers as to what is the best surround sound speaker (bipole, dipole, direct). Anyone have thoughts on this? I was thinking that maybe the best approach for me would be to buy 2 sets of Atlantic Technology front right and left and use one set for the surround sound channel similar to my current configuration.
Lastly, i have read that the Atlantic Technology 4400 sub isn't very good in respect to better prodcuts being available at cheaper rates. Could you please provide feedback on a quality sub if I choose to go with the 4400 syste?
Thanks for all your feedback and help.