you better readjust your expectations about the quality of the sound and "impact" of the kick drum if you are aiming for a tiny sub/sat setup. that's going to be a tough one to reconcile.
you can't take some tiny speakers and pair them with a "musical" receiver and suddenly have full bodied smack-you-in-the-face-awesome music performance. there is going to be a hole in the upper bass in almost any sub/sat setup...
I agree, my first post above attempted to explain what speakers are needed. Your post is exact to the point....small speakers will not equal the performance he wants. Its a pure physics thing.
It is not "open-minded" to reject knowledge - Bob Lee
ccotenj -- if you looked at the design of the speaker befor posting you would see they are designed in such a way that you mount them above 7' upside down and they work. I think you would understand if you saw the design.
"Sometimes you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right"
I ended up taking Russdawg's advice and found a used Arcam AVR300 (I got it for $600 and have seen it for a bit less on ebay recently). I really like it so far, but I am currently running it on some inadequate speakers. I am currently looking into getting a set of Paradigm Studio 20s and will then build up my remaining speakers over the next few months.