I just want to share with those who may feel that it is simply to hard and expensive to get a good system. First of all don't look at Bose. Good that bridge is crossed. I would like to share my personal experience as a demonstration to show that you don't have to be rich to get good sound, you just have to know how to look. I dabble heavily in the used market because I can usually tell what is going to work out and what isn't. Having a basic idea of what certain audio companies are and where they stand in the Hi-Fi world can help you determine what is good and what is not good. Note: This is only helpful, some companies make some things good and some things bad. Sony for instance makes great LCD flat panel TV's but makes poor speakers and receivers for the most part. It also can vary from series to series. Polk makes some good speakers and some not. You can usually tell if a speaker is good by it's weight, knocking tests, and driver quality/configurations. Same goes for amplifiers, only look for heavy amps, with big power supplies, large power consumptions and large capacitors. Weight isn't always a factor, but commonly is, especially in a used electronics market. Speakers: Bigger doesn't always mean better. You look at a pair of Optimus floor standing speakers with a shallow depth cabinet and a 12" woofer, and then a pair of NHT 1.5 bookshelf speakers with a funky design. They both cost $100 (hypothetical scenario). You think to your self, hey the Optimus are bigger so they are better right. Well they are better for being loud and having boomy acoustically inaccurate bass, but of course they cannot match the tonal clarity of the NHT's. You knock on the Optimus, it makes a hollow sound, you knock on the NHT's you hear a dull thud of your knuckle cracking on the cabinet. Guess what, that means that the cabinet will be less prone to vibrating and making it's own sound when you listen to music. The hollowness you hear when listening to the Optimus is mostly cabinet noise. Getting to the subject at hand, Can you afford a high end system without out spending thousands? absolutely. I have a very respectable system IMO for much less than what you would pay at retail. Just for illustration I will share the suggested retail of each item, and how much I paid, rounded prices of course. Some of these items may no longer be in my system, of course redundancies serve their purpose, but there are limits. Onkyo TX-DS787 6.1 Surround sound receiver (100 watts per channel and THX certified)Blue book MSRP:$1100. Price paid at Speedy Pawn:$100 M&K MX-100 subwoofer w/ a high head-room 200 watt amp and two 12" woofers in a Push-Pull configuration, MSRP:$1300, price paid at Broadway Loan:$350 PSB Century 600i Floor standing speakers, Dual 6.5" woofers and 1" tweeter. MSRP:$600, price paid at EZpawn:$100 Toshiba SD-9000 flagship DVD player, built in DD decoding w/ 5.1 analog output. MSRP:$1200, price paid at EZpawn:$40 Carver AV-505 Five Channel amplifier (80 watts per channel all channels driven @ 8ohms) MSRP:$1100 price paid, at EZpawn:$300 (not the best deal, but still very good IMO) Rotel RSP-960AX Preamp/Processor with Dolby Pro Logic, and good stereo performance, MSRP:$600 price paid at B&B loan Pawnbrokers:$90 Pioneer Elite PD-65 CD player with stable platter design, nice, MSRP:$800 price paid at B&B loan Pawnbrokers:$90 NHT 1.5 bookshelf speakers w/ 6.5" woofer and 1" tweeter high Gloss black finish, MSRP:$600 price paid at Cash America Pawn:$60 HSU STF-2 Subwoofer w/ 10" woofer and 300 watt BASH amplifier MSRP:$400 price paid at Cash America Pawn:$70 Three Boston Acoustic's HD-5 bookshelf speakers with 5.25" woofers in a sealed cabinet, Total MSRP:$235 (one was a HD-5v, a shielded model that cost $10 more) price paid at garage sale after haggling:$20 My current stereo system has the NHT's, The Rotel pre, the Carver amp, Toshiba DVD, BIC speakers, and the Pioneer CD player. A system with a suggested retail: $4550 that I paid only $600 for. So as you can see, that with patience, attention to detail, and not so much care about cosmetics and remote controls (just get a Harmony remote), then you can have a very good system with out spending all of "Lois's rainy day fund".