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For my home theater use only (5.1 only), if I were to buy 4 identical bookshelves + center channcel + subwoofer, what would I be missing vs a setup consisting of 2 towers + center + rear bookshelves + subwoofer??


It just seems like a much more affordable route for me to take, and placement would be much easier. But if I would be missing something substantial by not getting those near full range towers in the front, I might be inclined to foot the bill for them. And I do think that no matter what I would get a subwoofer, something like a HSU VTF-2 or SVS brand.
 

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With proper bass management you'll miss nothing, and since you'll pay more for the towers, you can take that differential and apply it to something else.
 

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you can take that differential and apply it to something else.


And that something else could be a better center channel, as this is the most important speaker in the setup.
 

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For HT, it will not matter as much. But for music, IMO, the towers make quite a difference. I went the with the 4 bookshelf approach but have since gotten towers.


Towers offer the ability to listen to music in 2.1 where bookshelves will, most likely, leave you wanting more in a non-5 channel mode. Even in 5 channel mode, my towers greatly enhanced my music experience.


All of this is subjective. Listen to both options if possible. Especially if you can do an in-home demo. Make your decision that way.


I wish my room was big enough to handle 4 B&W 604s! :D


JMHO.


I think the most important requirement is that the front 3 voice coils match.
 
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