looking for performance speaker recommendations

looking for recommendations for 7.1 speaker system. must excel at both theater and music. budget is low (roughly $1000 - $1500) but looking for very high performance. therefore, most likely looking for something that is in large supply on the used market (ebay / craigslist / audiogon).

do not want tower speakers in front. i want to mount all speakers high on the wall to maximize sweet spot in the room. will have multiple seating areas and do not want front right tweeter right in someone's ear. because speakers will be mounted close to ceiling around room perimiter, they will be mostly out of the way and it's okay for them to be somewhat large (but they don't have to be) such as 8"/10" 2-way or 6.5"/8" mtm.

here is only an example of the type of system I am looking for: mackie hr824's with bag end infrasub-18. mackie's can be found for $250/ea and have seen the sub for $400. that's an estimated $2150 ($1650 for 5.1), which is a little above budget, but this system saves on the amplifiers.

just looking for lots of opinions and recommendations.
Check out the package systems from (HSU Research), the HB-1 MK2 speaker systems are very easy to drive (you won't need a lot of power in a receiver to drive them), and the subs are some of the best budget subs around.

Use one of the many budget receivers with room correction...buy it used right here.

Matched speaker all around are very important...this gets you there, on or near budget.....just one opinion.

First of all, wall mounting will count out most speakers. You need something designed to be against a wall. That means definitely no rear port. I'd go for a sealed box.

Secondly, mounting up high means that you will have to angle them downward. Awkward to say the least. You will never have good imaging for stereo listening.

Third, mounting the fronts up high creates a really weird phenomenon: you see the picture in front of you but the sound doesn't relate to what you see. ie car crash in front of you but the sound comes from up high some where.

Fourth, high performance is a relative term-do you want loud, efficient, musical or what?

I'd give 3 suggestions here:
If theater is the main choice find a set of Gallo micro's, mount them up high and angle them down. It will fill the room, sound good and won't be affected by the walls.

If Music is more important-Put your center, right and left all very close to the TV. When you are really listening to music, just pull a chair into the sweet spot (if you can find one).

Go buy one of the sound bars like a Boston Acoustics. They sound good, go right under the tv and fill the room. Add a sub if you like.
Tip, hang speakers upside down so that the tweeters are on the bottom, angled down towards you. The closer to the height of the TV for the fronts, the better as noted above.

Here are some good choices for complete systems:

Epos AVS 5.1 System - Wow!

Quad L-lite - WOW!!

KEF KHT2005.3 - either stunning or funny egg shapes, depending on your taste - but great sound.

Aperion Intimus 5B Harmony SD - great sounding two-way boxes from the Internet!

Mirage MX 5.1 - Omni present sound.

Definitive Technology ProCinema 800 - great for movies, not quite up with others for music

B&W MT20 - will look and sound good in your groovy modern pad (buy the MT30 if can find used for your price - has better sub)

ACOUSTIC ENERGY AEGO T - Best Buy in many comparos
thanks for the responses thus far. i will take as many as i can get. this will give me grounds to do some research.

Elevick, to answer your questions: speakers will not have to be completely against wall, so rear port should be okay, but something to consider so thanks for pointing that out. sorry i did not mention that i plan to use a projector for the display. because of the large screen, speakers mounted high will still be close to screen height. and by performance, i mean accurate, musical, dynamic, etc.
Yes, I assumed you would use some sort of mounting brackets with swivel to dial in the sound stage. (rear ports not a problem)

If you have a fairly large room, and want to go 7.1, the (Enthusiast 3) system at $1,599 should do great.

You need a good balance between picture size, and sound size. A small television with huge sound doesn't work...a huge picture with small sound equally doesn't work....in other words, the sound impact should match the picture impact.

these systems look great! keep 'em coming! i like the systems from epos, quad, aperion, hsu (though not a fan of horns)... and might add the svs s-series and the less expensive energy take classic series to the mix.

would really love to see some larger 2-way systems and larger subs though. looking for something a bit beyond home-theater-in-a-box, although I have not heard many of these and I'm sure they sound really great.

would like to see some systems that use something along the lines of higher-end monitors that are common on the used market and can be found affordably.
Here are some more ideas for larger and more expensive bookshelf speakers systems. All of these manufacturers make serviceable to very good subs and center speakers to go with these great bookshelf systems. If the price new is too steep, look for them used online.

Check out Totem's website and then see if you can find some of their gear used. Stunning build and sound...


B&W 600 and CM series:



System based on used Dynaudio Audience 42


Epos system based on the new ELS8


System based on Focal Chorus 705V and 706V


System based on the Monitor Audio BR2


System based on the Paradigm's latest Monitor series


System based on PSB Image series


Quad system based on the larger 11L and 12L - these speakers have Steinway piano-like finishes and sound to go with it


Good luck
More food for thought:

Given your suggestion about the Energy brands, you could get a new Energy 7.1 speaker system consisting of two Energy C200 bookshelf speakers as fronts, four Energy C100 bookshelf speakers as satellites, Energy C-C100 center channel and an Energy S12.3 subwoofer. Total for a new 7.1 system is $1430 from Audio Advisor (http://www.audioadvisor.com/).

The energy speakers are the best I have heard at this price point, and the larger C200's with the S12.3 sub would provide enjoyable music listening as well in 2.1 if that is your intent. These are quite common products, and you can probably find these components at a local video store on sale new for less than AA's current prices.

In contrast, the smaller PSB Alpha 7.1 system from AA would cost $1460. Of similar size to the Energy set up but with more capable speakers, the all PSB Image 7.1 system would run $2440 from AA, and an all Epos ELS8 system would run $2600 from the same source.

The Energy system would provide a bigger overall sound and fill a bigger room than the smaller PSB Alpha's, but the Alpha's would be a bit more accurate if that is your bag.

The all PSB Image or Epos ELS8 systems would start to get you at the edge of "performance speaker" territory, but you can see that new those are outside your current budget. The suggestions in my above post will be similarly priced or higher than these two suggestions for a whole 7.1 set up, so used is the ticket if that's your final destination.

Keep in mind what you will be using to drive these speakers. The PSB Image and Epos or any of the other entry level audiophile speakers I suggested above will be less forgiving of source and amplification than the complete speaker kits or the Energy system, so that is another consideration for you.

One last point - I would definitely not scrimp on the subwoofer, as muddy or sloppy bass can really ruin your level of enjoyment. I would budget 30-60% of your total system cost for the sub. It cost a lot of green to go down well.