Opinions on Paradigm vs. Axiom vs. NHT?
System is in room that already has slight brightness/reverberation issues (hardwood floors, though with a very absorptive couch and good area rug setup). Overriding criteria are that music and dialogue sound terrific. Not a big explosions freak but being a professional sound effects editor, I certainly appreciate good action scenes having nice dynamics, power, and punch. TV as yet unpurchased, receiver is a Denon 2802 (90W/ch). Receiver capable of 6.1 but I am currently not interested in installing the center surround.
My biggest dilemma is that I have been spoiled by having by Mackie HR824's as my stereo setup for three years. Absolutley unbeatable sound: custom biamping, passive radiator...mmmm. So every budget system I've heard has fallen short. For my budget, here are my three final speaker options:
1) Purchase a pair of Mackie HR624's as surrounds and make the system "quad." This is actually sonically viable, as the Mackies get down into the 35Hz range cleanly. We use them at work and haven't needed to buy a subwoofer yet. They're pretty awesome. However, the wife was looking forward to a more traditional 5.1 setup,which I kind of agree with, and I don't feel like running AC across the ceiling for the surrounds, so this is my least favorite option. The battle is really between the final three plans.
: Any of the System 3's or System 5. Keep in mind I'd like to appropriately match the Denon's power to the speaker's capacity, so more is not necessarily better.
: A system consisting of M22's for the fronts, VP100/center, QS8/surrounds, EP125/sub. I might actually prefer to replace the EP125 with an EP175, in exchange for downgrading the QS8's to QS4's.
: The System 15, available through Crutchfield and perhaps other places, which is SB2's/front, SB1's/surround, SC1/center, and the SW10/sub. The most noteworthy difference is this is the only system without dipole surrounds, which I'm not sure if I care a whole lot about or not in my weird little room.
NOTE: My friend has NHT's, albeit in a nicer setting and also much larger speakers. But I understand their characteristics somewhat. I can demo Paradigm locally and will do so before making this purchase, but haven't done so yet. Axiom, of course, is mail-order only and I don't know anyone who has them. Hence, your opinions, especially on the Axioms, will be tremendously important.