A little help: Speaker selection, placement for new 5.1 system. Bookshelf speakers
I am in the process of finishing up my basement and have been visiting many forums like this trying to figure out what speaker system to get and just how high end I should go. My max budget is a couple thousand for the entire system including sub and receiver but lower is always better right now. The goal is to have a better space for watching movies, playing games, and entertaining friends. I prefer bookshelf speakers because I don't want something big and will have a sub anyways.
I have attached a diagram of my basement floor plan. The grey areas are hard tile, the rest is carpet. The space at the top left is where the TV will be going. I will be building in some basic shelving or buying a stand but leaving breathing room on the bottom sides for a computer tower and probably the sub. Behind the TV wall is the mechanical room with furnace and water heater and otherwise generally open 10ft square space currently not insulated and full of tools. At the front of the TV area is a steel support beam wrapped in drywall that sticks down about 11 inches and runs the width of the house (left to right). Ceiling height is just shy of 8ft. The fireplace will be covered in stone and the cavity behind it is quite hollow. So there will be a few hard surfaces and spaces I might need to insulate in the room to improve the sound quality.
That should be enough information about the space but if there are any questions I will be happy to answer.
The primary use will be video games(PC, many consoles) followed by movies and TV (including netflix, hulu, etc.) so a 5.1 setup is important. I don't anticipate much music playing but that could all change if it becomes a relaxing hangout space. Right now I have:
Pioneer VSX-819H receiver
4x Polk Audio RM7 speakers,
Polk Audio RM7 Center
Polk Audio PSW111 sub (I think its starting to die, it was acting weird for 2 months then went back to normal)
I was extremely happy with the setup when I first purchased it 5 years ago but I have since been spoiled with experiencing quality speakers and love hearing the full clarity and sound stage afforded by a good setup. I now understand and appreciate the difference between that and just 'hearing the speaker' which I mostly never understood from pure ignorance and not knowing anyone with a quality audio system my entire life. My above system is at least 5 times what anyone I know has ever spent on audio as I grew up with just the TVs built in speakers. I play a wide variety of games and love watching movies of all types. The most important things to me are clarity, realism, accuracy, and definitely don't want something to be too 'bright' or tinny sounding. My ears are sensitive to higher pitched noises. I frequently pick out something like electrical whine from a low grade transformer a couple rooms away and if something sounds out of place it will draw my attention like a bug zapper draws insects.
I went to a Magnolia center and listened to a few speakers in 2.0 setup.
I listened to B&W M-1 and they sounded a bit harsh or maybe closed in but still significant steps up from what I am using now. Next came the Martin Logan Motion 4 which I liked a lot more and had an interesting shape. They sounded more full and clear and then there were the Sonus Faber Venere 1.5 which sounded very good to me and I loved their styling but the price was a bit higher than I think I would like to spend. Also at basically double the Martin Logan price it wasn't that significant of an upgrade when listening to music but over time I might grow to dislike something like the ML as mains. Might be different with movies but I didn't get to test that. I am willing to spend a bit more for aesthetics too; something with curves, piano black or high gloss white would be great (and high WAF, I think her biggest concern is money though). Neither of us really like the cheaper fake wood veneers but a bamboo might be OK.
TL;DR: Room is roughly 13x18 but the entertainment area is 13x10. Need something on the smaller size so that they can be on the shelf in the front next to the TV without blocking it and not having the speakers up against the walls but there is plenty of horizontal space even if we get a 70" TV or so (the one thing the wife actually wants is 65" minimum). Also want something a little bit more compact for the surrounds because of the sofa and wall positions and don't want giant boxes next to our heads. If they can be put behind the sofa or slightly behind and just fill in the spatial awareness parts without being the odd man out, would be best. The sofa will also recline. Will be used 60% games, 40% movies/tv, and music might squeeze its way in over the years but probably less than 5%.
Would like a little feedback on the following list of options and how they might compare or a general cost benefit between multiple speakers from the same brand as the price varies wildly in my list. Are there some nice looking speakers in similar price ranges that I haven't mentioned? There aren't many audio dealers near me without a long drive so internet direct or something I can pick up from Magnolia or Amazon would be great. USA.
LCR: Ascend: Sierra-1, or CBM-370; Sonus Faber: Venere 1.5; Paradigm: MilleniaOne or Studio 10 (whats the matching center for the studio 10?)
Surrounds: Anything small enough to put behind the sofa or on stands in the corner without moving the sofa more than 1ft from the wall?
Was thinking of using my current Polk speakers for that for a while or: B&W: M1 ; Axiom: M3 or QS4 ; Ascend: HTM-200; Martin Logan: Motion-4
Sub: HSU VTF15 or VTF-2, SVS PB-1000, PB-2000, or SB12-NSD
And of course, really appreciate any feedback offered to me and already appreciate much of the feedback I have read from other threads.