Newbie looking to put together a budget speaker system
Hi guys, I am a newbie to avsforum and audio in general, though I am a lot more familiar with video and televisions.
I bought my first speaker system, a pair of Boston Acoustics CR8s (used on craigslist) and a Yamaha receiver at the recommendation of some online friends. A friend of mine was thinking about getting a pair of computer speakers or an ipod dock recently and I recommended that he consider a set of loudspeakers (is that the proper term to distinguish between heftier speakers?) and an amp just because of my positive experience. I far prefer the sound and I have found it to have greater longevity than any of the cheap speaker systems I'd owned previously, and with the used gear it costed roughly the same as some of the solutions out there.
I looked at some of the forums on amps / receivers and the thread on how to identify quality audio. Here's my conundrum. Unlike many of you avsforum regulars, I have little exposure to instrumentation live in person, and to high end audio gear. My only frame of reference for how many things "should" sound are my CR8s.
I am looking to put together a system for around $200 USD with some wiggle room to $250. I have seen the JBL Studio 180s on sale for $80 each and I read a glowing review of them online. I also see the Paradigm Atom V3s on sale used for $100 on ebay with a very positive review. Are there any other speakers in this price range, new or used, that you guys would recommend? Is the Lepai 2020A+ adequate to drive the Studio 180s until he can part with some more cash for something like an AVR with a more powerful amp and some more input options?
Also, he has access to some old speakers owned by a relative that he's wanting to sift through. Are there any rules of thumb I can use to identify potentially "good" equipment? Someone once told me that the weight of a speaker or amp can indicate the quality of the audio. What are other things that I can look for as a layperson? I've told my friend that I don't know much about these things, but as the only person he knows with any remote interest in it, he has asked me to look with him.
What are some good speakers / amp combinations that can be had for around $200 USD, used or new?
What are some general things that a layperson can look for to determine the quality of a speaker they see in store?