In entering the world of Home Theatre, or when upgrading your system, it pays to do your homework.
Firstly, here are two links to some tips on auditioning speakers / subwoofers:
A nice article on how to audition speakers - yes AUDITION and Not Audit... :)
This is a useful link to assessing what size sub do you need:
When buying gear, often it's the synchrony or proper matching, plus good positioning that gives the best sound for the same money.
Good gear can only take you that fair. How it all hangs Together is even more important. And that will be highly dependent on:
- your own music tastes: do you like it bright, smooth, or neutral, and what is neutral or bright varies
- your room size : a small room and a large floorstander speaker will be a big mismatch, typically for those using a spare bedroom, bookshelf speakers make a better choice, unless you invest highly in room treatment
- again for the choice of subwoofer: SPL loudness vs tightness vs musicality. These are not mutually exclusive, but if you want all three, be prepared to pay more.
- music to HT balance: as much as we like to have both worlds, with a limited budget, we will need to decide which matters more and pay more for the front speakers for music, or more for the sub / centre speaker in HT
- some brands make better centres than others. Certain companies have been doing Home Theatre longer than others, and it shows. Some companies make the centre speaker as an afterthought, and you can see it in the design of the centre.