Having matching surrounds of smaller stature are very important due to my room and speaker placement. I want the same timber for 5.1 music so this is a must. Having a shallow footprint of say 7" deep or less and not weighing too much would make placement much easier for the rear right surround speaker. I'm still most likely going to have to make a custom stand anyway.
Here are some pros and con's of the brands I like the most so far - minus how they sound which is most important of course
Pros - can bi-amp, looks, three-way center looks like it can do the job, SVS customer service and warranty, 45 trial w/ free shipping, 5% military discount. Surrounds are only about 6" deep and should be easy to mount.
Cons - $1200 surrounds so will have to buy different brand until I can afford the SVS surrounds.
Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1:
Pros - Fantastic ability to upgrade in many ways [huge plus], can bi-amp, great customer service and warranty, 30 day in home trial, most affordable from my list.
Con's - 200SE surrounds won't match if I upgrade the tweeters to RAAL or get sierra 2's [Huge minus,] another set of sierra 1 are too big for surround duty. Sierra 1 center is just one tweeter and one driver - might not be as good as other brand centers. Horizon center is big and pricey at $1100. I'll save money in the beginning, but will spend the most inevitably later on as I know I'll get the upgrade bug lol.
NHT Classic 3's:
Pros - Great looks, three-way speaker, center channel looks solid and isn't too tall, plenty of options for surround duty like the Absolute Zero wall hanging speakers and not too expensive either at $400/pair, in home trial period.
Cons - No bi-amp option so may have to get a separate amp later on to drive them loud. Heard they can eat up power pretty easy [but also heard that about the Sierras.]
Pros - looks, easily attainable at decent prices unlike the 800 series, surrounds are only 5" deep and affordable at $600 a pair, center channel seems legit, affordable, may be able to be driven harder with less power due to their slight increase in sensitivity.
Con's - No idea on customer service, warranty, or in-home trial, not sure how they compare to the speakers above in SQ. These aren't really con's, more so ignorance on my part.
I'm sure there are other I can look at too. But this is just what I've found so far. I'm not sure if Dynaudio is in my price range but I keep hearing how amazing those are.
Anyway, I didn't think it was going to be as big an issue as it is, but looks like the surrounds have a major play in my decision.