Okay, some upgrades...
In the bottom of the rack - another amp. Why? I have upgraded to 5.1
I tried many surround speakers from different brands. Klipsch was nice but a bit too bright sounding for my system - didn't match the front. Polk had better tonal balance but not involving enough. In the end, I bought the Jamo THX Ultra 2 certified D600 surround speakers and I just love them. They sounded a little harsh in the beginning but after a month of burning-in they are now amazing. Good punch, excellent tonal balance and you don't notice them - they just add a fantastic ambience to the sound track.
The biggest improvement however is a new signal source.
I have previously owned:
* Oppo BDP-83
- I was happy with this player for almost 2 years until I discovered the advantages of storing all movies on an external harddrive. The BDP-83 could only handle files up to 4 GB so I decided to replace it with...
* Oppo BDP-93 Nuforce Edition
- I was very happy with the sound and picture quality of this unit. I used the built-in DACs connected with analogue interconnects to my pre-amp. Unfortunately I never managed to get lipsync to work out with it. I even bought a HDMI processor with lipsync adjustment but I quickly found out that the lipsync error on BDP-93 is actually drifting throughout the movie which makes it impossible to adjust.
* Dune D1
- Since I almost only play BD-ISO or MKV I decided to get a streamer to replace the Oppo. I started with the Dune which is a great piece of hardware. Lipsync for BD-ISO was a lot better than Oppo but not perfect. Especially on MKV where the lipsync could be way off (a known problem with Sigma-chipset products).
* Netgear Neo-TV 550
- I still own this unit and it is great. No lipsync issues with BD-ISO but unfortunately with MKV. I finally decided to take the last step and build my own HTPC.
I use a Streacom FC5 chassi with Pico PSU and SSD drive. This makes the machine dead-silent (no fans or moving parts at all!). It plays everything with perfect lipsync and no annoying bugs. I couldn't be more happy.
I recommend everybody to take the HTPC route. The only issue right now is the lack of HD audio support in XBMC. I currently use MPC-HC which does not have a fancy GUI but it works great.