After going back and forth on this issue, I think I may be mostly sticking with what is already set up in my living room. I got them relatively cheap - the two Energy CF-50 towers were $299 each, the Energy ESW-C10 was $299, and the klipsch icon center was a floor model at $100. I think I'm going to return the center and get the matching center - Energy CC-10. I'm hoping I can get a great deal on it, too... going to try to see the same salesman and see what he can do. It also helps that I got this stuff at 0% interest and while I do intend to pay it off in less than a couple of months, it certainly is nice to keep cash freed up for the other home improvements we're currently doing. When all of that is done I will look at upgrading the receiver and perhaps even get some timber-matching rears.
I get that these aren't the top-of-the line, perhaps not even the best available in their price range. That said, I really like the sound they put out in my living room. More importantly, my wife likes the sound and also really likes the way they look... she even likes the silver woofers - she wants to keep the grilles off!
The sub is not perfect, but for just under 300 bones, I'm not sure I can do much better. I have been ogling the Outlaw LFM-1 EX, and it does indeed look awesome. It goes lower and louder but it's twice the money. I'm not convinced it's twice the sub. I'm going to do the sub crawl and experiment with adding my old HTIB sub into the mix and see if I can fill the bass in a little bit... it's honestly pretty decent as-is. Yes, I would like it to go a bit lower. The more stuff I throw at it though, the more I'm impressed with the performance of this sub that doesn't have the greatest specs. It's definitely not a ferrari, more like a hopped-up mustang, but that might just be what my budget and room can handle
Anyway, I just wanted to thank those that responded - the info you guys provided has not only increased my knowledge in this arena, but it has pushed me to find even more info out there on the interwebs. I still don't know 1% of what many people here do, but I'm now a lot more comfortable tweaking, testing out the setup and deciding if it's right for me. for now, I think these will do nicely... it might be hard to believe, but I really do like the way they sound. They sound perhaps even better in my room (now that they're more broken in) than they did in the Magnolia demo room. Thanks again!