Re: Speaking of speakers, can I have your input?
Like you, I also have a champaign appetite with a beer budget. So here's what I did. I listened to speakers for several months disregarding price, even traveling as far as 300 miles to listen to some that were not available nearby. When I found that I really liked the sound of the Revel Salons ($40k) and the B & W 801's ($20k) (speakers I obviously couldn't afford) I began looking for ones that exhibited as much of the same sonic qualities as the big dogs but priced near what I felt I could afford. I also started out looking for a 5.1 setup and quickly realized that I wasn't going to get the quality I wanted if I tried to get the whole setup at once. So, once I found the speakers that I felt got me as close to my idea of the absolute sound as possible within my budget, I purchased them over the span of 3 years. I started with the main L/R's then center and surrounds and finally a sub.
Speakers are like cars. Everyone has his/her own idea of what constitutes great ones. Go out and listen as much as possible. Don't be in a hurry because you may have to live with them for a long time. Many speakers that seem to sound great during a short listening session in a showroom can end up fatiguing in the long run. I think that the best way to audition speakers is in your own listening space as you cannot believe how much your listening space affects the sound of speakers. Failing that, when you've whittled the list of candidates down to 2 or 3, listen to them using electronics similar to what you will be using.
Shopping for speakers is great fun. Bring your own music, relax, and take notes. Be sure to audition the various speaker types to discover your preferences. There are cones, ribbons, horns, and electrostatic drivers to choose from.
An agnostic, dyslexic insomniac lies awake at night wondering if there is a dog.