But, I would consider some of the Vandersteen bookshelf or on wall speakers. It would be hard to go wrong with them, though anything in the bookshelf/small form speaker would be best served with a sub woofer.
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Just read your post at audioholics, and to answer your last question about subwoofer hookup, no, you cannot use that type of adapter. Looks like your main objective is a home theater for a very large area. The Elac speakers do get good reviews, however they have a low sensitivity. A higher sensitivity speaker would be much better for your setup. The Hsu research bookshelf speaker gets very good reviews as well and has a 7db higher sensitivity. As far as matching speakers, take a look here.
IMHO, the best sound is achieved with all identical speakers. If this is not possible, then at least use timbre matched in the same series. Definitely do not mix brands. It's ok if the subwoofer is a different brand, and in your setup, I would recommend two subs.
I don't think you'll be disappointed by SVS. I have their SB2000 sub and they're a great company to deal with and offer very high quality products overall. If you choose their 7.1 package I'd try to see what it would cost to upgrade to their Prime center speaker and to the PB1000 sub. A large part of what you hear, and thus your overall enjoyment factor, from movies will come from those two pieces so try to get the best you can.
Another excellent option would be Aperion audio. Their 5B package system would be a great option, but to save some $ you could ask to downgrade the four surround speakers to 4B as they'll be fine for that duty.
Both of these companies sell direct and offer outstanding service, value, and in-home trial offers. For a receiver I'd get the best Marantz or Yamaha receiver that fits your budget and has the features you need. With either SVS or Aperion and one of these receivers I think you'll be absolutely thrilled with the results. If it were me I'd opt for Aperion because they've been primarily a speaker company for longer and use fabric dome tweeters, which I generally prefer to metal dome tweeters in this price range. SVS gets the nod from me in subs, but the Aperion sub should be fine for home theater. Hope this helps and best of luck.
" Get the Elac B5 instead. 7 speakers for $700, another $200 for subwoofer."
Elac is a good sounding entry level speaker. But just 1 pair of Vandersteen Model 1's will put that entire Elac system to shame. A good compromise would be to get the Model 1's and an entry level Sony ES receiver. Both of those should still be under 2k. Then go to Best Buy and fill in whatever speakers you need with the Pioneer's they sell. They're designed by the same guy that designed the Elac.
Since you are on Agon, I think you are aware that buying used will save you lots of money through depreciation- kind of like buying a new car vs. a used one.
That being said, a pair of Vandersteen VSM or bookshelf speakers or even a pair of Vandy 1's would be in your price range. As far as sound goes, Vandersteen speakers are about as good as you can get for the money. I know that sounds trite, but after 30 years, I have heard many speakers and the Vandy's give the best bang for the buck.
As far as amp/preamp goes, I would suggest either a McCormack micro amp and preamp or go with an Adcom like the GFA-555 and matching preamp. They can be found used for not much money, but will give you a heck of a sound stage.
" AV receivers are the best buys in audio nowadays, short of going fully active monitor."
Just because something's cheap, doesn't mean its better. When was the last time you heard someone upgrade from a receiver to separates and say they weren't happy with the results? You get what you pay for.
As for powered speakers, I've owned many pairs and found them to be overpriced for the level of sound quality they deliver. As a matter of fact, I just gave away a brand new pair of Tannoy Reveal 502's.
" A $500 receiver can easily pump out 500 watts total."
There's not a receiver on the market that can even come remotely close to putting out a clean 500 watts.
You may want to rethink your approach to audio. You can't get your listening experience from reading magazine reviews and spec sheets. (There's no reason to reply to this post. I already know that absolutely nothing will change your mind, and I know what your counter argument will be. I won't be sucked into yet another senseless debate. The info in my post is for the OP. Its stuff that he may find useful).