Excellent question! What you are looking for is a near-field system, like a recording engineer's. If you look for speakers that sound good up close, then match electronics to go with them, especially a source that is not too bright on the high end. My experience: i have a large room so it got Dynaudio floor-standers, a large Hsu sub, etc. I recently finished a small library and really am enjoying the Von SChweikert VR-1s, Creek amp and REL sub. The VR-1s sit in a bookshelf and still are spacious and detailed. The REL picks up the bottom end. You could get an excellent audio surround system for less than $4000, not including video. Good luck!