Marius wrote:Surround systems, to my knowledge, are designed to be balanced across all the speakers. Wouldn't cutting one in half just leave you with a couple of underpowered front speakers taking all the load outside their optimal range? It may sound alrightish, but the speakers weren't made for doing that.
That's not how it works. No idea where you got that idea.
A surround sound system is basically a receiver/amp and a bunch of speaker connections. They are only designed to pump a set number of watts over each speaker connection; it's not like it takes the total wattage output and divides amongst the connected speakers, that would be idiotic (and lead to blown speakers).
I have a 7.1 system, but only run it as 5.1 because I couldn't be arsed having side and rear. It works fine - you choose what output is being used (within the config you specify which speakers you are using - besides, it knows whether speakers are connected or not, basic engineering). And that way, you can expand in the future should you choose to. Whether it be upgrading the speakers to better quality ones, or adding extra ones.
I'm personally running a Yamaha receiver with some **** Kenwood shelf-sized rears (from my last surround system), along with a smallish Yamaha powered subwoofer, two large front + one centre Dali speakers (which are fairly good quality). Your rears don't have to be particularly good quality, really - it's just ambient sound on the whole, unless you're an audiophile.