So after two weeks of waiting, I finally got my receiver back yesterday and set everything up (new sub seems to be ok as there is no squealing sound this time). After being frustrated as heck the first while attaching the speaker wire to the post (didn't leave enough slack to pull completely out of media center cabinet) I used sewell deadbolts with my 14awg monoprice wire. First thing I thought when I turned on my HTPC and watched TV is that it sounded quiet, moreso than I remembered without the banana plugs. When playing movies I have to turn it up 60+ to get any fullness/volume at all, even more with the TV, and Pandora radio.
Would the banana plugs affect the sound that much? Maybe I did the setup wrong? I really don't want to remove all the deadbolts, but I am kinda underwhelmed with the sound stage when compared to my girlfriend's take 5 classics and HK AVR1700 I bought her her this last holiday season. I will redo the Audyssey either later tonight or tomorrow to make sure.