I am with Pete on the in-ceiling and rear mounts. Ears are not as multidirectional as speaker placement can be. I've found rears that fall between 210-330 degrees with respect to your viewing/listening position are sitting in the "dark zone". if they are behind your position they will have to be driven harder. A sound pressure meter really makes the set-up come alive when you balance channels.
Lots of speaker companies. I've run PSB, older Mordaunt Shorts (mix-match) 3-way towers and bookshelf center/surrounds, and currently B&W's. I am certain they all perfom(ed) beyond my well-used ears. Don't know of the availability of PSB (Canadian company) globally, but they were (and still are) well regarded and priced competitively. I'd like to still think a guy could get a really sweet sounding 5.1 setup from for <$4k new. Considerably less for gently used. Been a few years since I was in the market.
My bro runs Naim amps and Totem speakers. Whole different price point. Positively chubby inducing.
the faq dont answer much, but panel speakers were round in 70s & some sounded ok. in a sound room. never seen a set in a house.
wouldnt mind checkin those out, tho.
like anything "new", needs to prove itself. hard to beat round drivers, they work anywhere. even a high end horn has round driver behind it.
would like to try a 462 and the 500i. not likely to own either, tho.
Don't scrimp on wire either. It is as important as components. Monster Cable made some good stuff years ago, but I haven't kept up. I am running PhaseTec speakers, Denon power and a Yamaha p550 turntable. All wiring has been upgraded.