For the money, Best set up for HT and music

I have been reading for about a year; about all the different equipment you can buy to make the sound be the best it can be. I know it sounds extreme, but I want a good starter that I can build on.
He is my history (you can skip this if you like I'll put separator in front of my question)
I'm not super rich, but I do have a crazy love for music, unfortunately I'm young and haven't had enough time to build wealth to build on this hobby. Originally I was looking for the best surround sound (5.1, 7.1) for music and home theater. I came to the conclusion after a while that the Denon 2808ci would provide exactly what I wanted and give me room to grow in the future. I figured with this receiver I could pair it up with KEF 3007 5.1 speakers. I then found that, this might not be ideal. I have picked and matched other speakers and receivers, but at this point I've read so much I've become lost. So if anyone could help it would be much obliged.
In my (short story above if you didn't read) I originally picked the Denon 2808ci for my receiver and KEF 3007 5.1 speaker system. From what I've read though, a 2.1/3.1 might best fit my needs though for now; while optimizing my money.

What would be the best set up for 4500 or less for a nice sounding home theater and music combo. It seems seems 2 speakers, with a center and a sub would optimize the sound quality; but then others say the center won't be needed for the stage if you position the two speakers correctly.

Sorry for the epic writing, but your help would greatly be appreciated, if you need any other details I'll gladly post. By the way, the living room is 18x18; unfortunately wood floors, but I suppose I could get an area rug.

Thanks so much in advance for your help and again sorry for the epic read.
There is so much you can really do. Just to put in my 2 cents, I just set up a system for just under $5000 that has great 2 channel sound and fantastic Home Theater Surround. Try the Z series speakers from BG. Z7 floorstand, Z5 center channel, Z1 bookshelfs for surrounds and a Z sub (best sub under a $1000). New, the speaker setup may cost you around $2500. I then put in a Integra 6.8 which I believe sonically beats a Dennon into the ground. New cost around $1000. Now picking up a decent DVD/cd player that can give you great sound on both ends. I used the pioneer elite blue ray player, but it would put you over budget with cables. The player has excellent sound both for movies and 2 channel. To keep on budget I like the Integra 6.7 dvd player. Around $500 new and you still have money to spend on some decent cables. All and all you might be able to find some of these components used, but even brand new you are with in your budget and I think would not be disappointed. At the very least, take a look at the BG Z series at Great speakers!!!
Since you're already getting tons of ideas thrown at you, here's another.

I'd echo some of what Knownothing and Zigonht and others have mentioned. Also, this is based on my own experience as someone who went down this path of wanting a good HT system and a very good 2-channel audio system. Use a receiver to power the center and rear channels. Use the pre-outs to a good used 2-channel amp to drive the main speakers.

Get a decent HT receiver (5.1 would be good) with a set of pre-outs. I'm using an Outlaw 1050. (Used receiver for less than $300.)

Very good set of full range used speakers. You can find a set of fantastic speakers on this site for $1500 or less. I use a set of Thiel 1.5's.

Used 2-channel amp. Some of the older ones are built like tanks, are inexpensive, and sound great. You can get a really nice older SS amp for under $500.

For the center and rear speakers, I'd get a decent center and some so-so rears. I don't get too terribly concerned on matching the rear effect speakers up to the other (except for volume balancing). With certain receivers, you can phantom the center channel by having the sound emminate from the two mains, but, I think having the center sounds better for HT. You can probably get a set of rears and a center for under $300.

So far were around $2600. With the rest of the budget you could get a powered sub (if needed), a source component, and some decent cables. On cable, I've found that moving up from the crap that ships with components is absolutely necessary, but, one does not need to move into the $100+ level for interconnects and speaker cables for good sound.

Have fun.


Actually, I would co-sign on "Jrwr7's" proposed setup. If it were my money, that would be the setup I would buy.

If you can stretch your budget to maybe another $1,000.00 beyond your proposed budget, you can also throw in some cables and power protection as well.

As for a source, I would look at a used Denon DVD-2910. You should be able to get a used one for about $300.00 to about $400.00.

The additional $1,000.00 I was talking about should buy you the cables, power protection and the DVD Player I was talking about.

If you do that, then without question, for about $5,500.00, you're going to have a killer home theater setup.

Good Luck and Happy Shopping......