Best Budget system? $500-$750 tops

Partially out of curiousity and partially because I am pondering this myself for a second set-up, can a moderately musical system be set-up for $500-$750???


(cabling, stands etc. would be above and beyond)

Here's my submission:

I first heard a pair of Kirksaeter Silverline 60's at a local dealer and was impressed for their size and price, they were also modestly paired with a Pioneer Elite A35r integrated amp and multi-disc CDP (forget model). There retail price is $850, however I've seen them go on here for more like $300. So...

CDP - Pioneer Elite DV-45a $240
Integrated - Pioneer Elite A-35r $165
Speaker - Kirkseater Silverline 60 $300

Total - $705

How musical that system is is questionable, but for the price I beleive it would be musically tolerable. In my case the system would be background and entertaining only, so I think it would perform pretty well in those functions.

So, what's your BUDGET system look like?
My recommendation (all new):

Onix A-60 ($299 b-stock at
Sony DVP-NC875V - 5 disk/SACD($150
Epos ELS-3 ($300 new)

Of course these can be purchased on the 'gon for less.

Some used speakers worth considering are:
Magnepan MMG ($350-400 used)
Triangle Titus ($350-450 used)
My system would include (1)New Panasonic DVD/CD 5-disk player, (2)New Tannoy Fusion 1 Spks., (3) An older 1980's model Sony "Legato" Int. amp or receiver. IC's would be Wireworld Oasis 3 or AQ Diamondbacks and spk. wire would be either Kimber 4 VS or Straightwire "Quartet." (4) 20" Stands would also be needed. Easily done for under $750.
I bought a Tivoli sytems as a spare a few years back and have been very pleased with this purchase.
Its not the last word in detail but has a very pleasing full sound and looks great to boot. It even fits well within your budget and you don't have to mess around with trying to match different components!
denon dcd-1800 (older 2nd gen processor) with headphone volume control.

grado sr-80 headphones

The absolute value king today (IMHO) is the Sharp SD-EX111 all-in-one combined with a decent pair of speakers. Check out this amazing thread at AudioCircle:

I own a quality 2-channel system and a separate HT system. Based on my personal experience, I could live with the Sharp if my finances dictated a reduction in audio spending.

The Sharp is now sold out at, but many were purchased for $70-85 (yes, that's $75 for a digital amplifier, tuner, built-in CD player, pre-amp, aux inputs, and 5-way speaker binding post), so some will likely show up for sale here (at much greater prices based on supply/demand).

So, Sharp CD-EX111 (I paid $79 including shipping!) and a pair of Athena AS-F2 floorstanders ($399 at Audioadvisor) or a pair of Athena AS-B1 bookshelfs ($179 at AudioAdvisor). For as little as $260 total you have a real audio system that will scare the pants (if they wore pants!) off of many $1000 rigs.

Tis true, I tell you! It's a good time to be a jr. Audiophile!!