Need suggestions for speakers, processor and amp

I am building a new house with a 17.5 x 20 ft family room that will have a cabinet built to house a rear projection tv and will have cabinets/bookshelves built on each side to house speakers and processor and amp. Cabinet will be on the 17.5 ft wall and left side of 20 ft wall will have fireplace while right side will have approx 15 ft of windows. Ceiling height is 10 ft and rear speakers will need to be in ceiling. Cabinet can be built to house either bookshelves or floor-standers. My wife prefers front speakers built in to cabinet, although I may be able to place floorstanders outside the cabinet on each side. I am also going to buy a subwoofer. I'm considering totems or spendor (local av retailer recommends jamo concert series)

I also need suggestions for preamp/processor and amp. I don't know whether to go 5.1 or 7.1 in this size of room (rear centers would also need to be in ceiling). I'm considering the new outlaw 950 and matching amp, but I've heard good things about rotel.

Any suggestions would be helpful.

Showing 2 responses by grandpad

Your interest in Spendors suggests that you're looking for a musical sound, but you don't indicate whether the system is also for music or dominately HT. Give us a little guidance.

BTW, congrats on the new house - envy you being in a position to build a system from scratch.
First a couple thoughts about your room and speaker placement. Are you planning on having drapes on that right side with the 15' of windows? Strongly recommend it, otherwise you will have to contend with an overly bright sound. Glare will also likely be a problem during daytime TV viewing (football Saturdays and Sundays). My room is similar and drawable drapes proved a necessity. Similarly, heavy carpeting, or at least rugs with pads and upholstered furniture are important too.

Whatever speakers you ultimately go with do not put them inside the cabinets, you'll destroy the sound quality. Most speakers should be placed several feet from the rear wall and side walls. Check this cardas site (the cable folks)for guidance on speaker placement:

The Cardas "Golden Rule" would place speakers over 7' from the rear wall and almost 5' from side walls in your room! Use this as a starting point, and if your wife objects compromises will be in order ;).

I'm not familiar with the Soliloquy speakers but know the Spendor line well. Have heard the Jamos and my advice is to stay away given your 70% music mix. Of the Spendor line suggest the SP1/2s or SP100s - do a search for reviews or check their US distributor's site (

Besides being among the most musical speakers (IMHO), they do a beautiful cabinetry job. The natural cherry or walnut should be easy to match with your cabinetry. They also make a center speaker and subwoofer, although you won't need a sub for the SP-100s, and may not with the SP1/2s - you can always add one later if you feel the need based on your listening tastes. I assume you have heard the Spendors somewhere since they are on your list. They just introduced a new "S" line that I have not heard so you should listen to them if you can - indeed don't buy any speakers that you can't audition, ideally in your own home.

As for electronics, a number of manufacturers introducted new products at CES last week, so if you're timetable isn't pressing it might pay to wait for the new products to be reviewed, either by the "professional" reviewers or by contributors to Audiogon - or again by auditioning products yourself ideally.

If you have any questions feel free to drop me a private email.