Originally Posted by Matt675
...I was wondering if anyone could help me make my own setup. It's just going to be two speakers and a sub for my dorm, and i'm trying to go cheap....
I've made two clean-sheet 2.1 systems, one for each of my kids. My approach was to use a 2.1 plate amp installed in a subwoofer so there are 3 pieces (sub, L, R) and 3 cables (L, R, and mini-mic-to-RCA), nice and simple. It cost roughtly $300, all up, and that's with a wood shop for box construction. It works very well, but it's not cheap, even taking time for sales. I'll give you more resources if this route looks promising.
Cheap would be a used boom box. In fact, used is a great place to look - garage sales and the like - as there's a lot of stereo gear replaced by multi-channel, and older AVRs replaced by HDMI-compatible ones.
Just keep in mind that "new gear always sounds good." It's a psychoacoustic thing, similar to the observation that speakers sound different when you can see them (and develop biases based on their appearance).
It's also hard to truly fail - just about any combo makes sound, and the folks here may steer you down some odd alleys, but they won't steer you wrong.