Need suggestions for speakers, processor and amp

I am building a new house with a 17.5 x 20 ft family room that will have a cabinet built to house a rear projection tv and will have cabinets/bookshelves built on each side to house speakers and processor and amp. Cabinet will be on the 17.5 ft wall and left side of 20 ft wall will have fireplace while right side will have approx 15 ft of windows. Ceiling height is 10 ft and rear speakers will need to be in ceiling. Cabinet can be built to house either bookshelves or floor-standers. My wife prefers front speakers built in to cabinet, although I may be able to place floorstanders outside the cabinet on each side. I am also going to buy a subwoofer. I'm considering totems or spendor (local av retailer recommends jamo concert series)

I also need suggestions for preamp/processor and amp. I don't know whether to go 5.1 or 7.1 in this size of room (rear centers would also need to be in ceiling). I'm considering the new outlaw 950 and matching amp, but I've heard good things about rotel.

Any suggestions would be helpful.
perhaps soliloquy or tyler acoustics speakers?

maybe B&K or adcom processor and amp?
Firstly speakers must be positioned at ear Level to sound good.Dont waste your time mounting them in the ceiling.
Also whatever you buy will not sound good placed in a cabinet.
In your situation.Since your wife is more interested in looks than sonics.
I would not invest a great deal of money since you wont be able to set it up properly.
Look at PSB Atoms 189.00.
They are a great little speaker and will be invisible.
A 5.1 will do.Entery level Mid fi products will fit your room and placemt limitations.
You are just not going to benift from HI end gear with the type of set up you are trying.

What would work well if you can pull it off is a pair of monitors on stands for the front and a piar in the back on stands with a good sub.
Then you will get nice sound and steping up to some Hi end Electronics will pay off.

DO not under any circumstance put speakers in the ceiling.
I agree that cabinets are not ideal places for speakers, and while I always don't agree with Natalie... I've never heard speakers in the ceiling that were as good as well placed monitors.

There are many good monitors for HT and some are great for music too. I prefer to only comment on speakers I've heard first hand and like Msf commented, I like Soliloquy. However, unless you can get them out of those cabinets and atleast 1-2 feet away from the cabinet and walls the only one I would go with is the Soliloquy SAT 5. These are outstanding sealed monitors and won't give you the trouble that rear ported speakers like all the other Soliloquys are. The Soliloquy S-10 subwoofer is outstanding. I just read a review on it that says it's is very comparable to the REL line, offering more slam than the Strata II and more refined than the REL Q-series subs.

I'm having a hard time getting the Soliloquy C3 center to work right in my system, but I don't think it's the speaker. I would bet that 4 Sat5's, a C3 center and 2 S-10 subs (or subsitute another Sat5 for the C3)would be incredible. If you get them away from the cabinet go with the 5.0 though which offer greater bass extension.

But this is just one option. While paradigm may be considered more mid-fi than hi-fi by some... I still like them. The Soliloquys are defintitly more refined though and are among the most beautifully finished I've ever seen.

I don't know what your wanting to spend, but the Pro Ac 1SC is a great speaker also.
Your interest in Spendors suggests that you're looking for a musical sound, but you don't indicate whether the system is also for music or dominately HT. Give us a little guidance.

BTW, congrats on the new house - envy you being in a position to build a system from scratch.
I use my system for approx 60-70% music. I'm hoping that I can get wood samples from some of the floorstanders and have the cabinet stained to match ( local amish are building the cabinetry)

Unfortunately, I don't think anything but in ceiling spkrs will work for rear surrounds because of the amount of windows on the right side and the wife acceptance factor.

I'm not going all out here. I will have an unfinished room in the basement (27X 35 ft) with no windows that I could turn into an all out HT. But we have a 2 week old baby, so I doubt that it will happen anytime soon.
yes, the 5.0's are rear ported. I think the Sat5 would work great in the 17.5 x 20ft room, but I'm not sure about the larger room unless you put them on stands closer to your seating position. Regardless, in the larger room the 5.0 would work better.

I think that if you go with Soliloquy, you need to work it out with the wife if you get the basement or not. Because, with a room that size (basement)I would opt for atleast the 5.0 monitors or better yet, one of the floorstanders with the 5.0 as rears. But those rear ports would be BAD inside a cabinet. Also, the C3 center is rear ported, basicly a shrunken 5.3

Don't know what your plan is for video, but with a basement that size with no windows I would take a serious look at front projection.
First a couple thoughts about your room and speaker placement. Are you planning on having drapes on that right side with the 15' of windows? Strongly recommend it, otherwise you will have to contend with an overly bright sound. Glare will also likely be a problem during daytime TV viewing (football Saturdays and Sundays). My room is similar and drawable drapes proved a necessity. Similarly, heavy carpeting, or at least rugs with pads and upholstered furniture are important too.

Whatever speakers you ultimately go with do not put them inside the cabinets, you'll destroy the sound quality. Most speakers should be placed several feet from the rear wall and side walls. Check this cardas site (the cable folks)for guidance on speaker placement:

The Cardas "Golden Rule" would place speakers over 7' from the rear wall and almost 5' from side walls in your room! Use this as a starting point, and if your wife objects compromises will be in order ;).

I'm not familiar with the Soliloquy speakers but know the Spendor line well. Have heard the Jamos and my advice is to stay away given your 70% music mix. Of the Spendor line suggest the SP1/2s or SP100s - do a search for reviews or check their US distributor's site (

Besides being among the most musical speakers (IMHO), they do a beautiful cabinetry job. The natural cherry or walnut should be easy to match with your cabinetry. They also make a center speaker and subwoofer, although you won't need a sub for the SP-100s, and may not with the SP1/2s - you can always add one later if you feel the need based on your listening tastes. I assume you have heard the Spendors somewhere since they are on your list. They just introduced a new "S" line that I have not heard so you should listen to them if you can - indeed don't buy any speakers that you can't audition, ideally in your own home.

As for electronics, a number of manufacturers introducted new products at CES last week, so if you're timetable isn't pressing it might pay to wait for the new products to be reviewed, either by the "professional" reviewers or by contributors to Audiogon - or again by auditioning products yourself ideally.

If you have any questions feel free to drop me a private email.