Recently I had the chance to put my mantras to the test.
One has been, "You can't make a silk purse out of pigskin."
The other has been, "Audyssey is a must have."
I'm moving house. (Always a great thing, it helps you declutter, if nothing else. Not that my better half would think so!)
With my HiFi in transit I stumbled upon an advert in the local classifieds for a 5.1 system with Denon AVR for a very decent price. I rocked up and found the front floor standing speakers in dreadful condition, so I bargined them down for only the 2 satellites, AVR and subwoofer. A 2.1 Audyssey system for just $150!
Plugging them in the sound was.... mediore. No-name-brand loudspeakers. I wasn't surprised. But the Audyssey calibration microphone was still to come (the sellers were searching for it) so I just connected it up to my PVR and I left it at that - we had "better" sound than that from our (temporary) 32" TV.
A week later my HiFi and other household items arrived and I pulled out my own Audyssey calibration microphone and and gave the system a go, before I sent it to the games room (or trash!)
The sound improvement was... amazing!
Yes it was no silk purse - not having multiple non-mirrored powered subs my own personal biggest gripe. But certainly the audio was very much improved - better than the majority of "hi-fi" systems I have heard, even those which have been super-tweaked.
So, instead of throwing good money at equipment, cabling and bad rooms, get yourself the best loudspeaker you can afford with a (pair of) subwoofer(s) and simply connect them to a DSP-"smart" AVR. Remember, cross them over at no higher than the THX recommended 80Hz (and, I say, no benefit to drop it below that too - Audyssey manages all those bass frequencies very well, so let it do its job).
The future has arrived.
What are you waiting for?