I have a Harmon Kardon AVR 247 that's about 3 years old now, with a 100 watt PSW10 Polk subwoofer, 2x Energy bookshelfs (wired to front), and 2x old JBL bookshelfs (wired to surround).
Currently all four speakers are in the same stand as my TV, facing the couch. Since I'm missing a center channel, most of the speaker settings (even the stereo settings) on the amp sound empty and far away. I had the sub setup by the couch, but the bass was a little overpowering. I have some acoustic panels on the way to help with general room acoustics.
I want to improve the sound setup for movies, gaming and music. Since I live in a smaller apartment, I don't really want to buy tower speakers but would go that way if it's the best bang for the buck. A friend suggested I ditch the amp and speakers and invest in a good soundbar. The simplicity appeals to me, but I worry that would be a step in the wrong direction.
Any suggestions on the best way to improve my sound at a reasonable cost?