Yeah, what I've heard of my friends ELT's has been pretty good! Unfortunately of course I have no idea if they'll still be on sale when I'm ready to buy.
I really am very happy with my Athena's and my receiver, a combo I ended up with basically by accident. I got the receiver when I was in college in like 2002 and was just getting into higher end equipment. My roomate had a Marantz 2 channel receiver and CD player I was really impressed with, and I really didn't know all that much about higher end brands and such. My parents, being unusually generous, agreed to let me pick out a receiver for my birthday, and didn't balk at the $600 or so I spent on the receiver. I'm super happy with it, but really I didn't know much about what I was getting into, so I really just kind of lucked into it!
The speakers as I said came later, (had been using the receiver with different combo's of my own and various room mates speakers for the next few years), and I really got them because Best Buy was closing out the line, and I could get them (most of them were floor models) for huge discounts.
The combo of the speakers and receiver was a pretty clear upgrade from my "franken-speaker" set up's previously, and as everything got really broken in the sound only improved! My happiness with the set up is actually why upgrading the speakers is the part I'm still most hesitant about!