I wanted to say first off that yes, I am a n00b, and I've been reading a LOT on this forum for the past few days. I'm not going to bore you all to death with my life story, the funtioning level of my ears, etc. etc. - so straight to business. I am sure this is the question-equivalent of small fry on here - but I don't have anywhere else to go. Please - don't hit me.
So I've just made my debut into the world of home audio research. I am looking to at some point in the ner future upgrade our living room audio. Some background:
Our room is SMALL by anyone's standards (not sure on exact size - it's slightly on the rectangular side of square - maybe about 20'x25' but don't quote me on that I could be WAY off). It's got a fair bit of furniture in it, sofas, coffee table, aquariums etc. etc.
We have a 42" HD LCDTV, on which we run tv audio, Blu-Ray player and XBox. We are currently routing the audio through our (to be fair very satisfactory) Phillips stereo. I'm not sure on its specs, but it's a very average stereo with two speakers either side of it - purchased about six years ago. I think it's somewhere in the 350-380watt catergory, the speakers have tweeters and woofers etc. etc. It does a very fair job of handling almost everything we throw at it - and it's been abused by anyone's standards with our weekly movie nights etc.
So I've decided I'd like to upgrade our system at some point. Yes - I'm the wife - and yes, I'm the one who has a hankering for better audio. It's my baby. Get over it.
Here are the deal-breakers. I have absolutely NO desire for 5.1 or 7.1 setups. I've heard them - don't like them. Maybe I'm old school, I don't know. I don't want or need noises coming from the back of my furniture. I also have a VERY limited budget - probably no more than $300 - at least to start out with I tried out a system briefly (before it overloaded our amp - yeah, can you say learning curve?) with two Polk bookshelf speakers added to our current setup (making 4 speakers total) and LOVED it. But then our stereo's amp went into protect mode. Ooops. Commence learning mode.
So what are my best options? I am looking for a clean-sounding audio setup with good fidelity for the budget-conscious. I'd like to have four speakers in order to fill the room a bit more, and I don't want a mammoth wiring job. I want RESPECTABLE bass performance under most conditions, with good performance at the other end of the scale too obviously. It had to be loud enough, too (what is WITH those 5.1 and 7.1 HTiB systems? They look so small! How can you get any decent level of sound from them?!??). I need something that's sound level will not cut down on what we are currently using.