Not sure if it would define as "reaching farther" with the same cash, but I'd definitely want to hear a simpler 5.1 system, or 5.1 with shakers, using some proper cinema passive speakers. For example JBL 4722
x3 with something random rears, and two really big diameter woofers with DIY low tune enclosure for the bit under 40hz (just copy proven designs). With that you could do with a rather cheap receiver since 1 watt goes a LOONG way on those speakers. You'd really feel like you're getting shot at in that scene of Saving Private Ryan when they land on D-Day.
Then a cheap sofa or two that's placed on rubber-separated platform so that a pair of shakers can shake the platform. Then a cheap projector (you're upgrading to 4k at some point anyway, maybe even find a used decent 1080p one) and acoustically transparent screen so you don't have to gawk at the LCR's. Then the rest on DIY acoustic treatment (thick rug, coat the walls and some parts of the ceiling with mattress foam or rockwool covered in black or another color dark fabric). Throw in surge protection that has a very lucrative insurance policy associated with it if it fails to protect the equipment.
This would be max future-proof, I'd argue. You can always get a good 4k projector later without losing lots of sunk cost on whatever you get this time around. And you will be able to get a 4k receiver without having sunk lots of cost into this one, since you don't need tons of wattage on such speakers to play louder than anything you've ever heard. And you'll have shaking seats and block-rocking volume from crystal-clear horns, which is what people want from a home theater.
Yes, maybe it will be a better experience if we did an ideal 7 or 9 channel ultra-new type of surround sound system, but chances are it won't be ideal given the space limitations and monetary limitations. Particularly given the difficulty of placing the rear and side speakers properly without simply having a single lone seat in the room.
Whereas a 4722N 5.1 system is the epitome of good 5 channel systems. And its not too difficult to place them right due to very decent horns (and there only being three of them to place well). Not even sure I'd bother with rears, not really a lot of information on rear channel. Given the chance to really fill half the room with seats and absorption, or leaving room between seats and rear+side speakers... My fear is that the rears won't sound right in any seat if they're too close to the rears. Just the occasional sound from disassociated speakers at the back. Heads and seats in the way, and having different distance to every single rear speaker in every seat, further worsens the problem. And unlike the 4722N's the speakers you'll fit at the back won't have very even dispersion from huge horns, so tiny differences in rear speaker angles from seat to seat will change the volume drastically, in addition to the changes in volume due to distance.
Originally Posted by Aareses
On the power conditioning note, to both you and Ronny31, are you both suggesting just getting a simple surge protector and plugging the gear into that?
Yes. The power quality is good all over the US, there's tougher regulations and control on your power and water than your banks.