Transitioning to a new system
I intend to purchase a Pioneer VSX-820-K receiver (actually through Aeroplan) and I am trying to come up with a 5:1 speaker configuration. I have a Panasonic HT 900 HTIB set up currently and am thinking of using the speakers from this set-up (except the sub woofer) as a temporary set up until I can figure out what type of setup I need. I could buy the sub woofer separately and then buy the 5:1 speaker set, but I have no idea who sells such a set up and what I should be looking for. I am looking for small speakers on stands (similar to the HT 900 speakers) because I simply don't have the space for tower speakers. I have looked at the Bose Acoustimass 10 speaker system (which to me at ~$1000 is expensive, to the other extreme of Polk RM705 set of speakers, which may be no better than the Panasonic HT 900 speakers I already have). For those that know speakers, how good are the Panasonic speakers I have, and what should I upgrade to? Thanks in advance for the help.
Great questions for us to address here on the forum dougd! You must have quite a few Aeroplan points to buy the Pioneer VSX-820 with them
Panasonic makes some of the best TVs in the world but the company is not exactly known for its speakers. Plus no HTIB system that I've heard over the years is actually capable of accurate or immersive sound reproduction. So you have no where to go but up by upgrading to a standalone AV receiver and a seperate speaker package
I would personally look toward brands other than Bose, but I will let others comment on that.
If you're willing to invest somewhere around $1000 for speakers you will be able to get a set of small speakers that sound substantially better than your current setup. In this price range you should be able to find a 5.1 channel system from brands like Paradigm, PSB, KEF, Klipsch, Polk Audio, Energy and Harman Kardon. I would likely go with something from Paradigm or PSB - both Canadian companies that are known worldwide for their speakers. As you mention above, it may also be a good idea to consider buying the speakers first (say 4 small bookshelves and a centre channel) and then adding in a subwoofer. This will allow you to purchase fuller range speakers and a higher quality subwoofer.
As with any audio product it is best to find the speakers in a store that will demonstrate them for you.