AVS Special Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Iowa City, Iowa
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I am pretty much a noobie as well...
First, for every thing someone tell you as fact, someone else will disagree. Second, no matter your budget, someone will tell you you would be stupid to not spend more. That notwithstanding...
2.0 means two regular speakers, 2.1 means two regular speakers (tower or bookself style) and a subwoofer, etc.
for Home theater, most of your "sound" is directed to the front two or three speakers, with maybe 5% of the sound or less coming from surrounds. So the best bang for the buck is to get the best front two or three you can afford.
Most tower or floorstanders are capable of playing lower (more bass) than bookshelves...so if you get towers that can hit low freq (40 hz), you might be able to get by w/o a subwoofer. however, even with towers, subwoofers really give the whommp for HT!
In terms of recommendations, my experience with various systems is limited, so take the advice of the experts and LISTEN to as many speakers as you can.
Set up #1: EMP e5ti, e5Ci, and SLS Q line Audio surrounds, EMP 10i10i sub
Set up #2: Def Tech SM450, CLR2002, SLS Qline surrounds and Klipsch 12wD sub
Set up #3: JBL130, JBL120C and Klipsch synergy sub