How much should I spend on a sound system? If you ask me, my eyes glaze over and I go to a happy place filled with Dynaudio Confidence speakers and YBA power amps. I do realise that most folk aren’t interested in spending their entire income on a stereo, so what about say, $3000? What does that buy you?

It's hard to simply roll into our store and say "I would like one sound system please." Try it. We'll just stare at you blankly for a while. Not out of malice, we simply won't know what to do for you. There's so many permutations on what a sound system can be that we really need some indication on what you want it to do.

Movie focused or Music focused? Surround sound or stereo? Floor standing speakers or stand mounted? Digital or analogue? Black or silver? Chocolate or strawberry? Shaken or stirred?

Let me put a few suggestions to you:

Rega Brio $1000
Rega P2 $800
Ortofon 2m Red Cartridge $120
Monitor Audio BR5 $1100

Turn table, amp, speakers. Easy. A simple stereo system for playing your vinyl with nothing fancy; no remote control, no automatic control on the turn table, and nothing much to go wrong. Just a good solid system that does one thing very, very well.

Denon AVR1508 $800
Denon DVD1740 $350
Morel Nova System $2000

A great surround sound system to give your movies a hell of a lot more pizzazz. A good solid set of minimalist satellite speakers with very high quality drivers and full steel construction all paired with a thumping sub. AVR1508 is Denon's entry point amp, but it still sports the same build quality of their higher end models and represents fantastic value for money.

Cambridge 540A $650
Squeeze Box Duet $600
Monitor Audio RS6 $1700

Have you got all of your music on a hard drive some where? Or does the idea of getting up to change a CD seem like way more effort than it's worth? This is where you need to be. The Squeeze Box will wirelessly pull music files from a PC or Mac and feed it through an impressive DAC in a tiny box through to Cambridge's punchy amp and out to the down right fantastic RS6 speakers from Monitor Audio.

Arcam Solo Mini $1700
Audio Vector K1 $1075

Want something small and non imposing that will still sound fantastic? The Arcam Solo mini is a half sized component that rolls a CD player, amp and radio tuner all into one box with very little in the way of compromise. Audiovector deliver some serious speakers in a tiny box that does some amazing things with such a little speaker cone.

NAD Viso Five $1700
Q-Acoustics 1020 $500
Q-Acoustics 1000s $800

You have the surround sound system you want in mind... but you can't afford it yet. Start building it bit by bit. Here is the great DVD/Amp combo unit from NAD and a set of good stand mount speaker from Q Acoustics, rounded off with a sub to kick in the low note and get the house shaking. Add a centre speaker and surrounds when you can, and your 5.1 kit is complete.