new system for beginner

i am not terribly familar with hi quality stereo equipment. i am looking to build my first system though. i am mostly interested in buying used quality equipment. i do not have a lot of room to fill and i only listen to cds. i am wondering what the good brands are to with. speakers are the area of most concern and i haveno idea what to look for. if this is too novice of a thread i understand. my knowledge is limited and i have to start somewhere. thanks for any help.

I'd pick up an old Pioneer SX-950 or SX-1050 receiver. Lots of pure power, excellent tuner and has A/B switch to operate two pairs of speakers should you want to expand. You'll find them on eBay for $100-$200. Made in the 70s, but real workhorses. Heavy, too.

The Yamaha CDC-765 is a decent CD changer (5-disc)for the money ($300). The Sony 80ES equivalent is also nice. Both offer random play, so you can sit back and enjoy. If you want a single tray player, there are tons to choose from. If you stumble upon a used CAL DX-1, snatch it up. Good unit for around $150.

Bookshelf speakers? Check out the reviews for the DIY model
on You can get them from EFE Technology as a kit($350) or Ed Frias will build them for you. Superb
sound from a speaker at this price.

This scenario puts you into a good system for around $800.
Won't take long for the upgrading bug to bite !

Nashville, TN
Do you want tubes or ss? Can or are you interested in diy?
Tube amps like the antigue sound labs wav-8 approx 10 watts start about 130.00. Diy preamp kits are available very reasonably. Options like this can free up some money for the real task at hand speakers and source. There have been many good suggestions for speakers but the best advise is to audition as many as you can. Hope this helps
The speakers will be the most critical & if possible try to audition in home with your other gear. I'm guessing you are only going to use a CD as source, so my suggestion is an AMC CD8b, which is an excellent 24/96 player for the money. You can pick up a demo for $169 at AudioAdvisor. As for power, I would go with an integrated to start with. Again, I recommend AudioAdvisor, as they carry the Musical Fidelity line & you can get some great demo deals there. Additionally, they have a 30 day in home trial, so if you decide you don't like or want the stuff, you get to send it back minus the shipping. I've bought & sold about $8,000.00 of used gear using this site, AudioShopper & the old Audio Review & have been extremely satisfied. Most of the people you deal with at these sites are all here for the same reason & can be trusted. This site offers feedback & if you have doubts you can use COD. There are also some good dealers who can be trusted. Again, refer to their feedback. As for cabling, that will take some experimenting. There are so many good cables out there-for example MIT has some good entry level stuff that won't set you back too much. There is also the Absolute Power Cord that can be had for $50.00 new. Hope some of that helps & if you can't find the links & are interested, email me & I'll send them to you. Good luck.
I started a a beginner about one year ago. This is what I have learned:

1)Audition as many systems in the store as possible before making a selection. Your hearing will "mature" as you listen more i.e. it will get easier to hear differences between systems as you listen more. I listened to at least 10 different speakers before I heard one I really liked and could afford.

2)Find a dealer who will let you audition your favorites AT HOME for the weekend so you can spend some time with the system.

3)Cables and interconnects really do make a difference in the way a system sounds so try to include those in your auditioning.
4)Trust your own ears. Great bass for one person is not for another.
5)Don't be surprised if you end up spending more than you originally planned. When you hear what you really like it will be hard to say "no".

6)Audiogon is a great source of info but as you will find opinions vary widely. In the end you will know what makes you happy just by listening.

I had alot of fun doing this and remember feeling very confused sometimes since there are an incredible number of combinations available. Good luck