Jwin,nice to hear from you.I want to mention that if possible,the distance from your rear wall can be stretched another few feet.This would greatly enhance staging.I originally had my speakers five feet from rear,but wound up moving them to 8 ft out,at the insistance of Mike Hobson,who originally sold these "Classics"!I called Avalon about this,and they were,also,very supportive of the longer distance.
My REL is a Stentor,which I use in the right side of room,about two feet from side wall,and three feet from back.I blend very low(like 25-26hz and use very little gain.
Surprisingly,I find the speakers unbelieveably revealing of virtually anything upstream,and am now in the process of running my entire system in "balanced/regenerated A/C"!
Amazingly,after auditioning this configuration,my Ascents took on an altogether bigger/relaxed stage.I was quite shocked,so I ordered the Exact Power EP-15A/Ultra Pure combo.It will be up,and running in about a week.I cannot wait,for this!!
I called Paul Weitzel,of Tube Research Labs for his thoughts on the Ascents(he used to make tube amps for up to 140,000 dollars),and he stated he felt the Ascents "were the ONLY speakers Avalon made",as far as he was concerned,and absolutely loves them,far beyond the ported newer designs(only his opinion,but I still like all the new stuff,too).He mentioned that Winston Ma was sorry he sold his pair,and liked them better than the big Sentinals.Hey,this is what was told to me.I'm not making this up,yet it certainly makes me feel good to know I never lost faith in this great design.I keep mine in emaculate condition.
Also,there is a beautiful pair of Ascents for sale,on Audiogon.I am trying to talk a friend into getting these,as he has a very similar set-up,as me.He is a bit fickle,so we will see.I believe he will go for a pair of Verity Parsifal.A lovely design,but still a port,and you know the Ascent manual really gives great creedence to the benefit of a big sealed design.That manual is one of my Bibles,in this hobby,and is irreplaceable as far as I am concerned.
Best of luck.