Originally Posted by HarleyRider
I've had the 60XT's for over a year and are very happy with them. I use them 50% HT, 50% music. I never understood the comments saying the 60's are muddy and/or thin. Seems those comments come mostly from the same folks who categorize B&W as "warm" when, to my ears, the mids in the lower B&W lines are so in your face it's fatiguing to listen. It's important to note both the 40's and the 60's are rated at 4 ohms. It's possible the folks who found the 60's thin sounding weren't powering them with a decent 4-ohm capable amp. When I compared the 40's with the 60XT's at my dealer, the 60XT's had an all-around larger, fuller sound to me, with a much clearer and more realistic sounding mid-range. As with any speaker, proper placement is important. They're a big speaker and they need a little room to breath, which shouldn't be an issue given the dimensions of your room. My only criticism of the 60's is that they can be a little on the bright side, but any decent AVR's room calibration function should easily tame that.
You didn't mention what you'll be powering them with. In my experience, the 60's need some decent wattage from a 4-ohm stable amp to really come alive. All that said, my priority was music first, HT second, and to my ears, the 60's did a better job. Given that you're focusing on HT and have a capable sub, I'm sure you'd be happy with 40's. And since you already have the 30 center, the 40's are probably a better match tonally. Another thought, since HT is your priority and you're using bookshelfs now, you might be happy with a pair of 35XT's. For about 2/3's the price of one pair of 60XT's, you could get 2 pairs of 35XT's (front L+R, surround L+R) and build a really nice matched 5.1 HT setup.
I would tend to agree with your suspicions because I have read comments noting those characteristics with just an AVR powering them, only to rave about them upon getting some good power to them. It would help to explain why some people have had really opposing experiences - it could be the 60's truly need separate power to perform their best.
I've actually got two similar setups that I'm looking to upgrade, although they don't necessarily need to be the same. On one of them, I have an older Yamaha receiver but speakers powered by Emotiva XPA-5. I'm considering doing 60XTs with a 50XT on that setup. On the other setup, I have a Denon AVR-X4400H. That is the one limited to the 30 center, so maybe will stick the 40's there, although that is the larger room.
I appreciate the suggestion on the 35XT. I have considered it, but I suppose my past experiences with bookshelves (like the ones I have now) have made me want towers. I didn't feel like they create an immersive viewing experience, and while the SVS is good for the stuff down low, I felt there was a quite a bit of midrange getting lost along the way. I'm really looking for immersion and a dynamic viewing experience. I've also never had towers, and who knows, maybe I'll also enjoy listening to music more on them. Going back to some of the earliest pages of this thread, most of the early impressions seem positive, so leaning towards at least one set of the 60's. But if you feel like I'm not likely to achieve what I'm hoping for, please let me know.
Thank you guys for your input!