Best budget 5.1 surround receiver and speakers?

5.1 is behind the curve, I admit, but it's good enough for me. For now. Besides, it's cheaper to buy behind the curve. I'm looking for recommendations for the best budget 5.1 sound receiver -- $500 or under used -- and speakers -- $1,000 or under used. Vocal clarity is, of course, essential. Thanks!
I've had good resulis with my Sony STR-DA 3000.I bought mine new for $700/list was $1000.Have seen them go for $300.Using Home Depot and Parts Connection /MAS ICs to good results.Just paired it with their NS9100 DVD with HDMI.Speakers are a modified Lineaum LX-4 based speaker system with Dayton RS 10" subs.Spend some $ on the front/center and upgrade the surrounds as money permits.
Marantz A-V receivers for the money are one of the best buys out there. To me they're superior to their Denon counterparts, also superior to Yamaha, Onkyo, etc. Marantz is not sold is mass market stores. That should tell you something. The SR4001 (80 watts x 7) sells for $550.00 list and the SR3001 (60 watts x 7)at $380.00 Go to For loudspeakers, PSB, NHT, B&W, Boston Acoustics, etc are all recommended. Not sure you can get a decent 5.1 loudspeaker arrangment for under $1K though new. Going used could do it for you. The fun is in the hunt.
Pdn is right about the Marantz receivers. Find one on here or ebay and then shop for speakers the same way. Paradigm or similar will give you great sound on a budget.

Enjoy the hunt.
Used to own and sell the Marantz receivers. Never cared that much for all but the most expensive for the money, personally. The Denon's are good Value. They have the MultEQ feature, which is superb! Also, good power and and balanced sound for the money. Actually, they work good with the highly efficient Klipsch speakers, and the EQ balances the sound superbly! For cheap, for MOVIE SYSTEM, I'd go HSU SB-1's (can't beat that "horn efficiency" and focus for the money!...great dynamics), matching sub, and Denon 2708(?) for around $750 on the net new! I doubt you'll get a more potent movie combo, unless you go with powered speakers. Good luck
I'm building my first home theatre and agree 5.1 is a great cost effective way to start.

My problem is reading too much and wanting the best, without even hearing anything.

I think what's important for us on a budget:

1) Good amp/pre/receiver that can grow as speakers get upgraded
2) Good L/R Speakers and if possible identical centre and rears
3) Self powered sub

If I could do it for $1500 as you suggest I'd be all over that in a second and will read this thread every day.

I've calculated used:
Sunfire 5.1 amp - $1000
Sunfire Sub - $1000
Pre - $?
Speakers - $?

As you can see I'm already $500 over budget with no speakers or pre. Please help. I'm thinking of getting this anyways with really cheap speakers until next year. Am I sick?