I need some advice on speakers and I am turning to you as I am completely disappointed with the knowledge of the sales training staff at my local stores.
I have a 20 by 20’ room that I have turned into my office/library/music room. The room has cathedral ceilings that start going up at 3’ from the floor, giving it very good acoustics for indirect sound reflections; ergo no need for surround sound. I am currently using two 1984 Yamaha’s NS 8181 that I have since high school. They give me an incredible sound clarity and they can also fill the room with beautiful sound without the need to crank up the volume. I am driving them with a 2006 Yamaha 200W per channel that has a very good signal to noise ratio. The amp does have digital sound processing, but I am not using it. I do like to listen to acoustic, classical, and jazz music and I truly enjoy being able to hear the sounds from different instruments. For example listening to Casals playing Bach on the cello is a complete treat to the senses.
My wife wants the floor space that the Yamaha’s take and she is willing to spend money on bookshelf speakers. I have visited a couple of stores, but the sales staff is only trained on sounds for movies. One even had a hard time understanding that I wanted to use an amp without digital sound processing turned on! I loved this quote: “What do you mean using A and B channels instead of Front and Back”
These are the questions that I have and I can use help on:
1) Assuming a subwoofer; Is it better to have two top of the line bookshelf speakers on one end of the room or four good bookshelf’s separated on four corners? I know the theory, but I could use your experience and advice.
Two top of the line should give better sound clarity, instrument separation and sensitivity
Four speakers should give me more air movement that will help fill the room with sound.
2) How does the new technology compare to my 30 year old speakers? I find it hard to compare due to the room acoustics on the stores, but my first impression is that there has been significant improvement for movie sounds but hardly any for acoustic music. I have been unable to find 30 year old reviews for my speakers, and for the new ones the sales personnel have no idea about frequency response curves, cross over curves, sensitivity, etc.
3) Any advice for a $600 budget?