You know what it’s like. Start with a budget, raise it. Raise it some more. Listen to this component and that, and your appetite gets further whetted. You know you have to sacrifice something when working within a price range, but you don’t want to. You want the absolutely perfect component and … well, you know the story. Well, I’ve pretty much decided on a receiver, the new Yamaha RX-V1300. I looked at stepping up to the 2300 (which I listened to last weekend). Yet the 2300, listed at $200 more ($1000 vs $800), only has 10 more watts per channel and weighs the same (33 lbs). I don’t need all the extra multizone stuff or slightly enhanced remote. I also doubt my room (or spouse) will allow me to get the benefit of those extra watts. I generally won’t use more than one-third of the amplifier power in a mid-sized room. The speakers are another story. I’ve listened to Def Tech, Energy, Boston Acoustics, B&W, Canton, M&K, Klipsch, Infinity and a few others. I’ve read tons of reviews from mag writers and users. But I am still stumped, and unusually indecisive. Basically, here’s what I want. Speakers that have good detail and clarity at the top and in the mid-range, but that are also neutral to slightly warm, with supple but not overpowering bass. At first I was looking at spending $600 for the mains, $300 for the center, $400 for the rears and $500 for the subs. Now I am considering as much as $1,200 for the mains, $500 for the center, $500 for the rears and $700 for the sub ($2900 overall). I might even bump that up to over $3000 given the right system. For reasons I can’t fully explain, I’ve ruled out Klipsch, Infinity and NHT. There are others I would like to listen to, but I can’t find a local dealer. And there are others I am interested in that only sell over the web (aperion, axiom). I love B&W’s detail, but they aren’t as warm as I’d like. Boston Acoustics VRM-50 is excellent, but a tad bright. Cantons are fine, but they seem to put more money into the bass in their bookshelves than I want to pay. The sub will take care of that. Def Tech isn’t as well suited for my preferences -- 65% music, mostly classical and jazz. At this point, Energy is my top choice, though I am still hesitant to pull the trigger. It does everything well, but isn’t a standout. Even then, I am not sure whether a C-3 Connoisseur bookshelf is the best place for my money, or a C-5 mid-tower or C-7 full tower. (The books vs tower debate). Looking ahead, I expect to listen to Paradigm and PSB and perhaps Mission and Mirage. Any others, with decent distribution, that others here would recommend, given my preferences? As for the sub, I am pretty settled on a Hsu or SVS in the $500 to $700 range. Whichever one has the edge in music. The only other one I am looking at is the 12-inch sub by Aperion – and only if I buy their HT system. Thanks for listening to a would-be audiophile’s lament.