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I have my own room this year, and I was looking to get a nice sound system for it.

However, I'm rather uneducated when it comes to such things. I don't really know the basics of what makes up a good sound system, and I'm really not sure where to start.

I've been to some stores, like Target and such, and mostly all I've seen are 'mini systems' and such, but they really don't sound all that impressive to me, despite their advertised high wattage.

Also, having a home theater system is not important to me. I rarely watch any sort of T.V. I'm only concerned with getting something that will produce a powerful, clear sound. Listening to music is my only priority.

But right now, I just have lots of questions.

Is it better to shop for individual components, or buy a system that is all put together?

What components should I be looking at to get the most out of my sound?

My budget is about 600.....what can I expect to get with this?

Would stores like BestBuy be good enough, or should I go to an audio retailer?

What should I be looking for?

If anyone could help me out with any of this, or give me some good links, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.
 

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I've been to some stores, like Target and such, and mostly all I've seen are 'mini systems' and such, but they really don't sound all that impressive to me, despite their advertised high wattage.

I agree mini systems are overrated. I had what i thoght was a good Pioneer one, but its now down at the dump. My mom and two friends have had their mini systems break down on them ( all different kinds). Remember, wattage as advertised is usually peak wattage, and quality of sound doen't really figure into that measurement at all.

I find most mini systems to be cheaply made, and the spindle motors that spin the CD's wear out quickly, resulting in cd players that sometimes will/won't play certain cd's or burned cd's.

I bought a Home Theatre Receiver and a 5 disc changer earlier this year, both Sony ( I already had some speakers). I know you say you don't plan on getting into home theatre, but the difference in receiver price between theatre and stereo is negligable.

My 2 pieces came to about $550 Cdn ( About $420 US) so you could certainly get speakers that would be OK and still be near $500. You would also have a system that can be a home theatre in the future with a few more speakers and a good DVD player. You also have a lot more options for additional inputs like Turntables and Cassette decks (wow, remember those??) than you would with a mini system.
 

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Believe me, if you know something about wiring, it is much cheaper and overally smarter to buy individual pieces. If you don't want to use it as a home theater as much, your reciever doesn't have to be top of the line. What is important is your speakers. Watt's isn't always what you should look for. As CrookedJ said, they are measured by peak watts.

Individual pieces usually take more time to find. If you want to go a quicker route, I suggest a small system. One system that produces nice audio sound is the Onkyo SKS-HT240. It's 150 watts, but quite powerful. Circuit City has them at about $450 US. It comes with 5 speakers, a 8 inch sub, and a 6.1 reciever.



You will need to get an additional CD changer though. Those run around $115, so you should be fine. Try the Sony CDP-CE375 5-Disc. Great sound quality and is made by a trusted company. It has a 20 track music calendar.

 
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