KEF Q500. Dimensions with plinth (H x W x D) 36.1 x 11.6 x 12.3 in.
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I am doing 5.1 but my current concern is improving the 2 channel performance. Currently I have Totem Mite-T mains and Totem Mite-T center in front, a small pair of Mirage speakers (forget which model) in rear, and a Monitor Audio ASW-210 sub. The Mite Ts (on stands) will block the screen, so they must be placed on either side of the screen, leaving a big hole for 2-channel use. Using shorter stands wont work because of the MTM layout of the Mite-T (the tweeter would be too low).
I have tried Totem Arros as mains (only 33-34 inches tall), but they don't have the impact needed for the occasional HT use. This is partly due to the room layout which leaves the listening area with essentially no left wall and 4 feet of missing right-rear wall (an open entranceway). Thus, I think I need a short, somewhat muscular floorstander. I know Totem makes some bigger models, but I am interested in what else may be out there.
given your existing Totem config, why not go with Forests, and if they are too tall Hawks. You can move the Mite's to the rear. Another option is Mani-2's. I have a pair of Sttafs, and Mani-2's. Wouldn't recommend the sttafs for HT for the same reason you experienced with the arros. I would recommend the Mani-2's though - provided you have the power to drive them. Mine are 40" on 24" stands.
If impact and dynamics are high on your list of priorities, imo high quality prosound drivers are a viable way to get there. Tyler Acoustics and Pi Speakers both have models that fall within your height and price range. Yours truly has done some semi-custom work in that area as well.
You didn't mention footprint size, so I presume you're okay with a larger footprint than what you've been using. As we go up in efficiency (and dynamics), we have to increase the box size if we want to still have decent low end.
Thanks for all the suggestions so far. A couple of quick comments:
a) spending less? they should revoke your Audiogon account! ;-)
b) the acoustically transparent screen suggestion is cool, but won't work in my environment. Such a screen would need to be 2-3 feet into the room and I am dealing with a room in the main living area of my home, not a dedicated home theater.
c) my speakers are 12-15 inches off the rear wall. I *might* be able to go to 2 ft if necessary.
d) I drive the speakers with a Sherbourn 5/1500a. A "five monoblocks in one chassis" design, similar to some Bryston amps. Rated for 200 wpc in 8 ohms and 300 into 4 ohms.