ok, after having looked at numbers pretty much straight for the last two days, i realized that i'm never going to "know" what a good choice is on speakers. Being that there are very few places to actually audition speakers, apparently even in houston (the only store that I could find in houston that appeared to have a storefront was Modia, there was another but i dont recall the name).
So, i went to frys. they had 2 rooms of speakers set up, one room for their higher end stuff and another room for the rest. In the high end room they had a spread of Klipsch reference stuff, a setup of polk, and some martin logans. in the other room were the lower end klipsch, polk, plus some JBL, infinity, sony and pioneer.
I first listened to the infinity and thought.."these sound like they are in a tunnel, vocals were very, muddy or boxy". so i went over and found the polk tsx330's (i think they were). they sounded great, and thought, these might be the ones. the polk retail for $249 and were on sale for $199, the infinity retail for $329 and were on sale for $107. I asked the salesman why the difference in price, yet the polk sounded better. He informed me that the polk were bi-amped and the infinity were not. Eventually, they offered, and i accepted, that they move the polk speakers over to where the infinity's were and hook them up in the same config using teh same amp, so I could get a more direct comparison. I must say, they still sounded pretty good, better than the infinity speakers, more detailed and more crisp and louder. as i switched between the two speaker sets, listening to their celine dion dvd they had in, playing "all coming back to me now", i thought that her voice just sounded muddy or in a tube on the infinity, but seemed clearer on the polks.
I then had him switch to an acoustical version of Dave matthews "Crash into me" (radio city), and again, on the polk, it seemed you could hear the strings of the guitars more vividly, however, the "tunnel" sound of the infinity speakers was less than it was previously. I think I realized what a big difference was, is that the polk speakers had a lot better bass than the infinity P363's, but that i will be running a subwoofer, so that really doesnt matter, right?
Also, while in the room, i moved around a bit, and noticed that the closer i got to the infinity's, and crouched down just outside an even plane with them and in the center, they started to sound better.
So, i asked about the polks, of course which they had none in stock at that store, and to get them would either be a 5 day wait for them to get them from the store across town...or I drive 45 mintues across houston to get them. Being the impatient and impulsive and lazy guy i am, i decided not to deal with driving across houston. Also, the difference in price, $100 for each speaker, I wasnt sure that the difference was enough to warrant the extra money, especially considering i still have to get surrounds, a center and a sub.
So, i walked out with the speakers. For $214/pr, it's a great deal. However, i still think maybe i should look at the polks, but, going to the polks is going to increase my spending.
Truth is, there are a thousand different speaker combinations out there, and a thousand different companies that I will always be saying "woulda, coulda, shoulda", but without being able to actually go an listen to them, it's all just a hip shot in the dark to pick one. so, i suppose ill just stick with the p363's and make the best of it, if i find i really dont like em, i can always sell them or take them back and upgrade later. And really, until I can get my speaker budget to where i can spend alot more money, is there really going to be "that" much difference between speaker brands in the low end?
there is one question i do have about them though. these speakers are not bi-ampable. is this going to be a problem or a major drawback?
other than that, i guess ill find the matching surrounds and center channel, select a sub and ill be done.
thanks for all your help. maybe i should take the next 6 months, start putting some money aside and really start researching speakers, then maybe ill be in a better postion to make a more informed choice