Penngray, great to see another scientifically minded poster of reason in this thread awash with believers in superstition, magic, voodoo, and "audiophile BS" (as you put it so well) who swallow the recommendations and accept the lies and distortions of the snake oil peddlers (aka "the audio industry") so easily. I've enjoyed and concur with the majority of your posts in this thread and just wanted you to know that you are not the only one here who thinks subjective reviews (without carefully controlled conditions such as, using only one example, level matching using instrumentation) is completely meaningless/worthless and no different than believing in an invisible god or spiritual being simply because you were told to or because one blindly accepts the "wisdom" of others.
Agreed: The front three speakers should be identical, or at the very least "timbre matched", and all the other speakers' accuracy is much less important. For proper stereo reproduction of music the surrounds aren't even turned on at all and for most movie/TV reproduction they have an active output that contributes to a human's perception perhaps only 10 to 20% of the time max, I'd say, depending on the movie.
It seems a shame to spend over half of one's speaker budget (4/7th's if one has a 7.1 ch. system) on the least important speakers that play a greatly diminished roll to human perception (both because of their direction and infrequency of use), compared to the front three which are active and the dominant contributors to a human's perception 90% of the time or more.
In A/V reproduction accuracy, there IS no concept of "accounting for personal taste/preference". As art consumers we don't "pick" the level of bass, nor the tint/brightness of a scene's sky, any more than we pick the ending of a novel or Mona Lisa's type of smile. "High fidelity" means "high truthfulness", faithful to the original artist's intent: an unmodified, neutral, accurate copy of the original master, ideally being exact and with no discernable alterations, aka "transparency".