Hey all. I'm a college student moving into a small apartment this fall. I know relatively nothing about audio equipment (I've only ever owned cheapo headphones and earbuds), but I'd like to buy a starter's setup for the small living room. It would be used primarily for music and occasionally for movies, and ideally be able to sound good quiet (for ambiance/studying music) but be able to bother our neighbors for the occasional small party. Given my lack of knowledge about speakers and need for room-filling sound, along with a relatively small budget (around $400, maybe a little over), I figured the best option would be pair of self-powered speakers with decent bass, since buying a receiver would cut into my budget a lot and they seem way easier to set up. I could always upgrade with a subwoofer later if need be. From what I can tell, floorstanding speakers might be the best option to get room-filling sound at low and moderately high volumes. Would that be the best setup, and does the community have any suggestions for the best speaker set to use? Also, any warnings about setting up such a system to a guy who knows very little about any of this would be appreciated.
tl;dr I have about $400-$500 to spend on a sound system from scratch for a small apartment, preferably on something that sounds good at all volumes and throughout the room. Suggestions?