Best HT speaker system

I am building a dedicated HT room (movies and sports only)- the room is 20' x 40' X 8' - what speaker systems would be the very best - I wish to install rears, sides, LCR and two subs and an LFE sub - my electonics are Theata Dreadnaught amp(s) with a Lexicon MC-1
B&W makes two classes of matched systems which includes the units that hang on the wall at the mid-point and/or rear. One is in the range of the 600/CDM series, the other is mulitple-thousands and in the class with the Nautilus speakers. They are both THX certified. See the web site which is BWSPEAKERS.COM
I guess there are four B&W classes in all Nautilus, CDM, 600, 300; All but the 300 series have a wall unit which would give you a 7 channel system if you used them at the mid-point and still had rears. If you really want the very best money no object the Nautilus line are excellent. The CDM-NTs are quite good also. I would consider using 7 speakers if you really want the best experience, and you may well see Dolby 7.1 decoders sooner than you think.
For HT I've become a fan of Aerial loudspeakers. They play loud and clean with good punch, and will provide excellent treble without getting harsh. You could run up front LR3/CC3B/LR3 (2x7", 1x5", 1x1" driver configuration), and for the sides and rears a combination of SR3s or LR3s. Not cheap at 1.5k each. If your budget allowed Aerial's new LR5/CC5/LR5 up front would easily pressurize your large room, but you may need more power.
Go Talon Audio speakers. They are among the best. If money were no object, I'd get the Talon Khoruses for front and rears, the Peregrine for the center channel and two ROC subwoofers. MSRP about $40k
I had considered using Kef model 4's as fronts, w/ model 2's in the rears, but my space is just too small. You have plenty of room, but make sure you are on very solid ground,(preferrably concrete) because these speakers can put out a lot of energy. A sub may not even be necessary, depending on your tastes. But if you want to wake the neighbors then by all means add a sub.
All those are nice, but if you want great dynamics and incredible smoothness, go with the Linn AV system, it's amazing. If you've got more money than you know what to do with, the Revel Ultima series if impossible to beat, but the #38,000 price kind of is out of my reach!
I use all clzIIz for front and rears as well as a logos. I appreciate how electrostatics can deliver at low volumes across the sonic spectrum. I have two velodyne subs @ 50 hz for the bottom end. I am using cardas neutral reference speaker cable, a mc1, and a krell kav-500. I have used the apm-1 genesis (2 pairs) with the logos, but found nothing can touch an electrostatic for great fidelity at low volume. The genesis setup is now used for very loud ht and music in my other, less used, room.
i saw and heard several jm lab ht systems at ces. they have a very large selection and their "big" stuff is as impressive as grand utopias on 2-channel. they are beautiful, too. well worth auditioning.
This is a little outside the box but here goes. Pick for yourself your favorite a/v pre/proc with balanced outs to all channels. Then buy as many GENELEC ACTIVE monitors as you want!(this company is based in Finland and have been around for 20 yrs.) As much as i love audiophile speakers driven by great amps, the above setup will pummel all comers. These speakers are of extremely high resolution(in a good way), and they Will Not Bottom out ever! The Genelec model HT 208 is a two way w/ a 1" twtr and 8" mid/woof--they play ~45hz to 22khz. Capable of 120+db without compression for sustained periods of time. Cost is $2300ea. Bear in mind that includes the built in amps. Also active crossovers feeding bandwidth specific amplfiers(120watts per driver!). Add the subs of your choice, spec the right balanced interconnects and you have a HT that is most impressive. Your room is pretty large, so its gonna take some serious gear to pressurize it without blowing up, this scenario will do it for you with ease.
used linn speakers are hard to beat and there are quite a few always have the option of going active with linn cards and amps, too, and that materially improves the already excellent sound

SINCE you didn't put in a price, I'll tell you that the "greatest system in the world, at any price" (Quoted from Stereophile Guide to Home Theater). This system won the 2001 Stereophile system of the year.

5 ATC Active 100's plus 2 of the 01/15 1000 Watt Subs will run you around $58,000. For your sized room, you'll need a much more dynamic speaker. Go check them out in Stereophile GTHT and check out their new website at!

Each Active 100 is internally Tri-Amped with 50Watt Tweeter, 100Watt Mid, and 200Watt Bass. Active Crossovers always make for a better speaker sound than internal Passive crossovers w/ external amps.

I guarantee you that this system will blow the living doors off of anything else in the market place... I have never before seen people coming out of the CEDIA demo room that actually broke a sweat before. Nothing short of awesome.

Lower budget lines are available from ATC which are just as astounding as almost all of their products use the same drivers w/ different sized cabinets.

Lastly, this is the system that I own....
Try the VR3.5's, LCR35, TS350's and the S/3 sub. See at www.vonschweikert. Revealing, quick, acurate, slam,,, this speaker grouping really does it all!
I have a Lexicon DC-1 with (7.1channel) M&K's set up. front is s-125's sides and rears are s-85's and two MX-150THX subs. For strictly home theater you can't beat M&K.

Lets not forget Definitive Technologies. They're great for HT
I'm using KEF Model 4 for the front main, a KEF 200C for the center, KEF TDM34DS dipole ceiling mounted for the rear, all powered by Proceed HPA 2 and HPA 3, with great success. For the LFE, I'm using the Velodyne HGS-18 Sub, which really rocks the house. I have found this combination to be very magical. The front end is a Sony 7700, McIntosh Pre, and Meridian Processor.
Deiselr, Dannyv, and C123666 all have touched on good points by mentioning "powered woofer designs" or "actives"! The dynamic potential is going to be far greater than with competetive similar "passive" designs!!! The greater control and dynamic ease that's inherent in to "active designs"(even with only active bass woofers, like in Def Tech's) gives a great advantage in the dynamics, slamm, and authority department..DEFINITELY A PLUS WITH HT!!!!
Something to consider if you do passive design speakers/monitors, and that's that usually higher sensitivity models, active designs, and horn loaded high sensitivity designs offer a more dynamic and offortless potential usually! When you do bass management with a speaker system, and let powered subs handle the BY FAR MORE DEMANDING BASS INFORMATION, the dynamic ability of the system seems to increase a lot! This is why I always tend to recommend doing bass management so often. (THX understands dynamics, and they offer excellent set up advice and parameters!)
However, with powered towers like Def Tech's(mentioned by "Danyv"), you can run full range for excellent dynamics(at the very least in the critical bass reigion), making your amps in the front of your system also soun dmore dynamic and "at ease dynamically"! Having Diappolito mid's/bass configurations also help with dynamics.(Def tech incorporates both in many designs.
Still, with actives and especially horn speakers, the midrange and higher frequencies are more pronounced and have a more effortless dynamic in those reigions, which also brings power and "involvment" and "pressence" to the table!(while a lot of powered integrated sub speaker systems will still stay rather "laid back" in these reigions accordingly!
Of course, in a small room set up acoutstically, you can get by with less sensitive/efficient speaker designs, simply because of less room volume to fill(alot like what happens in a small car interior acoustic environment).
That all said, you mentioned L/C/ I assume you want smaller monitor speakers. EXCELLENT RESULTS CAN BE HAD but I recommend staying with the Diappolito and THX designs! They maximize dynamics, focus, coherency, immaging, and reduce coloration off axis somewhat.
if you go with the more traditional 2 way monitor designs, with tweeter on top of mid/woof, the results aren't usually as good in a larger room.
Stay with more efficient designs with higher sensitivity, and you'll be at an advantage.
Dunlavy SCIav's are excellent chioces in passives. So are B&W THX older systems. Another STRONG CONSIDERATION IN a monitor IS THE POWERED M&K S150P ACTIVE THX SPEAKER SYSTEM!
You wont' be able to listen off axis to your favorit music as well as others, but the sound for ht, when properly set up with some matching subwoofers(plural for your room) is ASTOUNDING!
Another recommendation might be for you to simply dig through all the audio magazines and see what they editors and writers are using!!!!...HOW CAN YOU GO WRONG!?!
Infact, if you buy the AVInteriors magazine, just flip through the first few pages and check out the "editors systems" they display! Might help.
Oh, I also forgot, besides the large number of excellent "diappolito" monitor chioces out there for passive speakers, you should't forget the otherwise TOP CALIBUR WILSON CUBII'S! They are highly refined passive monitors, diappolito designs, and highly efficient at 93/4 db at one watt!!! They are stellar high end monitors!
Hope this helps
Get 5 (or six?)Spendor SC3 5-1-5 D'Apolloto centers. I'm not kidding.
Why Spendor doesn't market this wonderful center speaker turned sideways is beyond me. It's a great evolution of their 3/5 but with an extra woofer, octave of bass, and +4dB sensitivity! Trust me on this one. Add a Rel or Vel HGS12 and be done with it. Have fun.
Check out the Vandersteen line -
Legacy! n/m
B&W Nautilus system is best. You can also mix and match,
1)Atlantic Tech THX series systems, if you don`t want to spend a fortune.2) M&K.3) NHT. 4) Canton.and the list goes on. If you only specified your price range.
I heard the GENELEC'S for the first time recently and was really impressed. These speakers are extremely flexible and can be tweaked to match just about any scenario. As mentioned before, each speaker has it's own amp but also an "eaquilizer". If you get a chance to listen to them make sure you get help from someone who knows how to tweak them. Very dynamic and loud.
B&W Nautilus if you have the money - the best
CDM-NT if on tight budget.
No one should rule out the HOT TICKET selection of many, the little unknown RBH Company of speakers!

Do you investigation, and you will see.......

Just picked up a pair of SEP-1010's, NICE!

What is the RBH company porschecab?

I can only speak from experience, having had systems that were first B&W, next Dunlavy and now Revel Ultima. My current system consists of the Revel Studios (as the main left-right speakers), the Voice (as the center speaker), the Embraces (for rear speakers) and two Sub 30 subwoofers. The power amplification is all Krell: FPB 200C for the main speakers and KAV-250/3 for the center and rears. The cabling is all Transparent Audio Reference.

I do not know whether my sound is "perfect". What I can say is that I hear "everything", and my fellow movie watchers are consistently entertained -- and new ones often wowed.

Seriously, I have heard a lot of systems, but I have not heard one that provided a better sound yet.
I agree, B&W is the best. You really can mix and match, I use Signature 805s for fronts which are great for 2 channel, htm 1, and nautilus 805 for surrounds. Sound quality is tops and the tweeters match nicely.

This totally reinforces what I Learned from years of seeing people buy/install typical audiophile speakers in more ambitous(at least in intent) home theater setups!
Most everyone here is suggesting some sort of typical "highend" audiophile passive speakers from the mainstream for their HT systems. And especially in this guy's situation, THIS IS QUITE THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT WORKS BEST!...sorry people.
All the potential clarity, detail, neuances, soundstaging, imaging, dynamics, focus, and coherency will be lost to the low ceiling interaction using those speakers you're mostly recommending! Not only that, but dynamics will mostly be limited,inherent in typical audiphile speakers. (if you doubt, compare to ultra high efficiency pro audio, horn, and even active speakers!).
I personally think you'd do much better, all things being equal, if you chose some more (high end sounding if you wish) DEDICATED HOME THEATER SPEAKERS! And, like the guy who recommended the Active ATC speakers(althogh that design wouldn't work as well, and would have the same acoustical challenges as the other "tweeter over mid/woofer" design's mentioned above), chosing much higher efficiency designs like actives will give you WAY BETTER dynamics and slam!
Also, every other aspect will be greatly improved sonically.
Keep in mind however, you still either need some serious acoustical attention to your room/ceiling especially, or you should stay away from typical "open tweeter mounted above midwoofer designs", and stay towards either "Dappolito", Horn loaded, or some other more "focused architecture designs" for speakers!
Basically, you need to somehow ensure you hear more dirrect sound vs, reflected sound from the mains in relation to the boundary reflections for good sound potential and foundation. In this room, you neglect that, and you're sonics will pay dearly!...and you can expect sonic mediocrity.
If you are after high end refinement, and still want an effective high end full blown ambitious Home theater speaker effectively, Systems Design Group in Redondo Beach/Torrance California makes a high end studio dubing grade ACTIVE audiophile speaker line called "AVLAR". These are active custom driver speakers that are high sensitivity and high efficiency, and pump out tremendous dynamics and power! They are very coherent, detailed, clear, refined, and audiophile grade in every way, yet utilize THE ACTIVE DESIGN for much much better dynamics and power handling/output, more like what you could expect from large commercial audio and pro audio applications!
Basically, dynamic are in another league!...alot like what you get from high end designs from Avantgarde horn speakers! (yet without the sever off axis listening limitations. Anyway, they're worth looking into.
Otherwise, I like Active speakers in the high end such as these for tremendous cinematic high end results, which are unsurpased!
If you chose to go more "main line speaker companies", I'd suggest considering likes of Infinity Prelude MTS's, NHT VT3's, and or other speaker systems with "built in active/powerd subwoofers" for efficiency! And/Or strongly consdier big (maybe custom, with 1000 watt amps) powered subs. Getting at least the bass woofers active is a necessity anyway.
Basically, what youre typical high end misses is the heart, soul, power, coherence, involvment, brut force, dynamics, and effectiveness for full blown dedicated HT experiences in a large difficult setting like what you have. You need to chose wisely, and avoid the typical pitfalls. (if you doubt, simply read '98-2001 issues of "home theater architect" in SGTHT magazine, and find out why that guy spent $300k on a system that sucked!!!!, and what it took to fix it!)
If you must go typical "passive speakers", consider the more controlled focused designs, use SERIOUS BASS MANAGEMENT, and get as close as you can to the speakers, and or do heavy acoustical treatment(wisely)