I am a high-school student looking to put together a reasonably good stereo system. Why did I post in the DIY forum? Because I am considering using the Adire Kit281 as the basis of the system. My total system budget is probably between $600-800 total, and I would like to get the best possible performance for my money just like everyone else. What I have tentatively planned at this point is to buy a used integrated amplifier and CD player from a friend/family or Ebay, and build Kit281V speakers. Right now I'm thinking over two things: the cost distribution of the system (~75% for speakers, and relatively small amount for components) and the choice of speakers in the $500 range. I listen to a variety of music, mostly light-to-medium rock and classical. What I am looking for is a system that provides me with reasonably full-range (say, preferably down to around 40Hz or lower in room) response and realistic reproduction of music with a well-defined, clear sound and good soundstaging. (Sadly, the only decent speakers I've ever had a chance to listen to are the original Large Advent, the JBL S38, Allison AL115, and the Klipsch RB-5. Of those, I like the Klipsch the best for its 'forward' sound and transient impact.) While I don't usually listen at very high (95dB+) volume, I would like to have capability to do so anyway. The room the system will be in (my bedroom) is about 11x14ft, and a convienient location places the speakers about 5 feet apart and 7 feet away from the 'listening position' (bed). Anyway, what I am asking (and this is why the post is here and not somewhere else) is if the 281s are my best option in the $500 range. I don't have any significant experience in designing my own crossovers and picking drivers that would match well, so at this point I think it is best to go with a kit-style speaker; I do have the sufficient (basic) woodworking skills to take on such a project. (Would it be worth it to learn about crossover and driver design so that I could custom-design a speaker better than the 281?) From the testamonials I've seen so far online, it appears as if the 281 (and other kit style speakers) far outperform 'retail' speakers (even used ones) in comparable price ranges; for example, many have stated that the 281 is comparable to other speakers in the $2000 price range. Are there any other kits in the $300-400 range (like the Kit281) that I should consider? I am not very familiar with other comparable kits, and that's why I'm asking. I do have a few questions about the Kit281 however. 1. I understand that the t-nuts used to mount the woofers on the baffle extend into the side panel. Is the best way to fix this filing metal off the t-nuts, or cutting a small notch out of the side panel? 2. Should the entire box be built before making baffle cuts, or should each piece be fully prepared (drivers and crossovers mounted) before final assembly? I've seen people build speakers both ways, and am wondering which is easier. 3. Does anyone have a ballpark estimate of what the cost would be for a laminate or veneer finish? I am trying to decide if I should finish whatever I build, as opposed to simply painting them. 4. Is there a significant loss in bass transient response due to the low-tuned port on the 281 and how much would plugging the port help this? (And if I were to add a low-cost subwoofer later, should the port be plugged for that purpose?) Thanks for your help, and I apologize if this post should be in another area as opposed to the DIY forum.