Thanks for the advice, all.
I'm a total believer in the "identical units up front across all three channels" school; even though there are additional room-related factors that will influence sound at the center position, relative to front-L/R placement in my room, starting with all-identical drivers is important, I think. (Room modes also may be a more intrusive factor; hopefully Audessey or one of the proprietary DSP fixes in a new pre/pro will tame these complex beasts, as below.) Also, there's the issue of the center carrying as much as 50% of the signal in a HT environment. So, I want a center as robust as the L/Rs.
O.K. Let's face it: I want a killer 3 X 3.1 array up front, and would make up excuses if this weren't desirable!
Barryecohen, nice to know buying an individual center is possible, without the added expense of buying two pairs...although I bet someone out there might've been interested in picking up the extra ref 3.1 for the same reasons I am.
Repdetect, the "main room" is apr. 22 X 12, opening into not only a kitchen, but also a ~14" hallway leading to a bathroom where the door usually is open (for feline ingree/egress). I probably won't run a sub, although I will be interested in the Gallo amp. (Two, one channel of the second amp for the center? Probably not necessary/desirable in terms of even more complex room modes.) Still, the center's ability to do sub-35 Hz will be desirable.
Dizzie2: Get yourself a cane (don't cheat with two canes, now!), hang on tight, and go for the wild assymmetry ride!
Seriously, I'm wondering about placement of the left and center woofers--these will flank my front door...woofers outward (relative to the door opening) for protection, or inward for sound quality? Decisions, decisions.
In any event, a major concern maybe I didn't mention is the close placement of the front L/Rs relative to the sidewalls. There won't be any clearance to speak of--inches. Obviously, toe in will be necessary to tame first reflections (also a given, even given the wide dispersion, in that they will flank a 10-ft. diag. drop-screen
and seating distances will only be about 12 feet away from the screen--less from the Ref 3.1s, which I will pull somewhat into the room to help mitigate, albeit slightly, the close sidewall placement. (And, hence the "woofers inward for sound quality" mention in the last paragraph.)
This is not an ideal room for the Ref. 3.1s--or any speaker system, for that matter. But, I won't be here forever, and do want a system that I can begin to enjoy in the near future, while planning on a different space that'll do it proud in the more distant future. Wanting to get the 3.1s before the 3.5s bump such a sytem totally out of my price range is another factor.
Ah, decisions, decisions--and compromises...inevitable compromises...
Thanks, again, guys!