"You pay your money and you take your chance
When you're dealing with love and romance"
Bruce Cockburn, Canadian singer/songwriter
And when you're dealing with audio and video too, I believe. Well I think what I've decided to do is do as others have done and start with the M80s, since after all they are the "stars of the show", and if I am happy with them in my setting as I expect I will go ahead and order the rest of the epic80/600 7.1 system. Do I wish I could afford a second sub now and go 7.2? Absolutely, but as for most others the funds just aren't there yet. I've noticed there are less expensive subs out there that are highly regarded, however, for the 5 minutes or so that I listened to the EP600 it seemed like it was worth the asking price. I'll probably place an order in the next day or so for the M80s, after my credit card clears, hopefully my Wamu credit card will still be operative given the financial meltdown.
I have a Rotel RA-840BX3 amp (yes it's been a while since I could afford to update my audio) that I can use to drive the M80s for a little while but I am thinking about purchasing an Emotiva UPA3 (followed later by an UPA5?) at the same time; with all the processors in development I am still on the fence regarding what receiver (972, 3900, 3809?) or pre/pro (997, new Emo?) I want. With even Alan Lofft recommending at least 250 watts per channel for perfectly clean sound in my size room, I doubt I will be unhappy with the decision to buy at least a separate amp to power the mains.
Yes, as you can tell, buyer's remorse is an issue; I have little doubt the M80s will be very satisfying, however, this process will also give me time to finalize details of the system and figure out how to put things together.
I would love to do the install myself in part due to cost but I'm not sure how hard it will be to run wires through walls. I have an unfinished attic above the living room so it might not be that hard.
Thanks to every one for advice and suggestions, this truly is a great forum.
"If you try to turn toward it, you go against it."