Getting the best out of a tight budget.

You don’t have to spend 6 figures to get a good sound.

Yes, a 6 figure sound system will probably sound like angels are dancing and singing in your living room (or some gut busting drum ‘n’ bass, you do you), but 99.999% of the time we have a budget to stick to. You don’t have to spend necessarily huge amounts of money to get a sound you will love.

The budget can be broken down into Speakers, Amp, Source, and Accessories. If your budget is tighter than a fishes bum, then put as much as you can towards the speakers.
Speakers will always have the biggest say in sound quality, everything else supports them or sways them one way or another. You can have amazing speakers and a garbage amplifier, and your system will still sound like it has nice speakers. On the other hand, you can get the holy grail of amplifiers and hook them up to a $5 plywood box with something resembling a speaker in it. It will sound like the best $5 mash of parts and cardboard, but its still gonna sound like a piece of junk even if you power it with a 10 grand amp.

So speakers are a priority. What about the source? In the interest of saving money, your phone or your laptop can suffice for the time being. They sure as hell aren’t going to sound as nice as a dedicated CD player, but it is a reasonable start. Getting a DAC will bring the sound quality up a fair bit over phones and laptops, and doesn’t have to cost a kidney.

Accessories? Cables, Speaker stands, isolating feet, power cables, conditioners etc etc and so on. As I said earlier, speakers are the priority. If you can get away with parking your bookshelf speakers on milk crates, it will do. Saved a couple hundred bucks right there that you could put to nicer speakers. Speaker wire and signal wire will make a difference, but it is a small difference. You can get away with basic wiring (better than stuff that comes in the box).

In short, a pair of Wharfedale Diamond bookshelf speakers on sale, and the Aaron ZA100 slave amp would make an excellent little entry kit.

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