Originally Posted by m_vanmeter
OK, $2,200ish for speakers, sub, and receiver. A hint.....about 1/3rd for receiver, 2/3rds for speakers and sub.
Declaration: Buy the least expensive AVR from a reliable brand that has the features you require. Spend the rest on speakers and sub.
If your budget was $200, you are gonna spend a lot on an AVR. If your budget was $60,000: then your AVR won't be a considerable percentage; even if you went out and got a $2k preamp. If possible, and if you might expand in the future: try to hunt down an AVR with pre-outs. I think you can get one from Accessories4Less starting at about $350.
Focus your money and effort on the sub and front 2-3 speakers. You can get away with less capable surrounds (unless you are doing multi-channel music).
So if you've just spent $400 on your AVR, you have $1800 left for a sub and 4-5 speakers (depending on your experience in your room; you may find a phantom center comparable or better than a real physical center: if so; more money for L/R).
At that budget: I really wouldn't be looking at spending more than $250 on the surrounds, and likely less. But let's take that (say you decided you didn't like stands and got a pair of Infinity Primus 363s on sale).
Your are going to need a sub (or two)
Truth be told (and I've heard a lot, but I've also not heard a lot): I'd be really tempted to Get P363 fronts ($220 on sale) + matching center if needed ($200), then depending on your room either run P163s for the other 4 channels (running 7.1) for a total cost of about $300, or more P363s (what can I say: it's a great speaker).
At this point you've spent about $800 on speakers and have about $1k left. That's a lot of sub (which in an area with tremendous impact: especially in home theater). A SVS PC12Plus, a Hsu VTF-15H, or a pair of Hsu VTF-2 Mk4.