You are skirting the used category budget wise. If that's OK with you, go ahead and look around in your city for a reputable used audio shop. That's where the best bargains are on the good quality stuff. AVSforum.com will tell you more about what to focus on. Too much to write up here that isn't already covered over there in greater detail.
**Keep in mind if you are mostly focused on music and not surround sound for movies, spending a much higher portion of your budget on the speakers should be considered. Do *not* buy any Bose equipment, btw.
All that said, you can go 2.1 now and buy new at the entry level for price/quality. Amazon sells a basic entry level Polk Audio T50 speaker for $99. (I still prefer to look around for a gently used high quality speaker, but this would get you there faster.) Two of those and an Onkyo/Denon/Marantz/Sony/reputable brand 5.1 receiver with all the bells/whistles can be had for <=$300. At that price point the quality of the mass produced receivers is very similar IME and O. Only the slight differences in features or personal preference for brand might sway you purchase one over another. (Hint: Ask yourself if you need future expansion capabilities such as 7.1 or 5.2/ATMOS, etc. Might you need bluetooth or iPod connectivity, etc.?)
I'm trying to put together a speaker system in my house but I know woefully little about speakers.
I have a 6 year old B&W sub that's been sitting in my parents attic unused and in great condition. I'd like to spend around $500 on speakers and a receiver to complement sub. I was hoping someone could give me some suggestions as to what receiver and speakers would best fit my budget.
I'll be using the system primarily for music and some video games (I'm gonna use it for movies and tv too but that's not super important to me).
I talked to my friend who works at Bose and he said I should put like 200/300 into getting a good receiver and the rest into piecing together the speakers. Any suggestions as to how I could best do this?
Also, I think I'd like to get a 5-channel receiver so that I can add to it in the future if I decide to upgrade to a 5.1 setup