There really is no single answer to Stewart's question. There are so many outstanding brands of quality speakers many which are superb in sound and build quality.
Some are superb in sound but not applicable for us on a beer budget. Many of those with exotic designs place a very difficult strain on the amp and are always driven by high priced separates. Many of these are of very low impedence and also difficult to drive with the common A/V reciever.
Others like the original Altec Lansing, J. B. Lansing, and Klipsch could blow the walls down with 10 watts per channel. A neighbor of a freind of mine in the Seattle area specializes in super high quality horn speakers. He builds his own extremely expensive tube amps which are rated at 5 watts per channel! You can imagine how sensitive these speakers must be.
Getting back to speakers for us mortals, there are many, many fine brands and models of speakers in the reasonable range of $1000-$5000.
Much more important in my opinion is the most important component in any sound system: ROOM ACOUSTICS, and the proper set-up for ones system. I have seen friends with supposedly great speakers that sounded awful because they; placed the mains or surrounds in the corners or too close to the ceiling, placed bookshelf speakers on the floor, placed their speakers against the wall, had a severe problem with standing waves, had the sub crossover set way too high or low, had the speakers out of phase because the wires were reversed, center channels that did not match the mains and on and on.
Sometimes moving a speaker, especially a sub, even a few inches can make a big difference in sound. That is why I always now buy and recommend to my friends Sub/satelitte systems only. The big fullrange main towers, especially those with the built in subs, are a poor choice because usually they cannot be moved to improve on bass frequency anomalies. Subs (sometimes two) and satellites are much more flexible in placement for maximum sound quality.
Stewart happened to start with an excellent choice with the Atlantic Tehcnolgy's. Now who is going to volunteer to go over to his place and make sure they are placed correctly?
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