I went through this when building my home theater system. Read all the reviews, went to every store in the greater Seattle area, listened to everything I could find. Even brought a few things home to audition. Tried everything. Started with A/V receivers, graduated to separates, paying attention to everything- how they sound with movies, with music, with the different codecs. Everything from very affordable to megabuck high end as this was going into a great big home theater room that was the centerpiece of a major remodel.
The unexpected conclusion I came to after all of this is that for whatever amount of money you have to spend the best result you can get is with a traditional two channel stereo system. Yeah, I know. Flies in the face of the party line. But its just a fact. Which in hindsight makes total sense. Whatever amount of money you have, it will always buy you a lot better speakers if its two than if its 5. You simply cannot buy a 5 channel amp that sounds as good as a 2 channel amp. Not for the same budget. Speaker cables? Interconnects? Power cords? The situation is even worse.
Classic case of more is not better.