Okay for your budget, you're in luck (kind of). Because the Geo's stock speakers are so small (4" in the front and 5 1/4" out back, I think) you won't even be able to spend a lot of money on your primary stereo speakers. You're looking at about $40 a pair, it doesn't really matter at this price point what brand you get, they're all about the same. Blaupunkt is a good brand with a low price.
Nobody listens to music with their ankles. So, if you really want good sound, I'd suggest that (at least for the front pair) you consider getting a set of component speakers with discrete tweeters instead of coaxial speakers with the tweeter integrated. This way you can move the tweeters closer to ear level (dash mount, or a-pillar mount) for a much, much clearer sound--especially considering the small size speaker you have to work with. If there's anywhere worth splurging, here is the place.
At this point, you've spent $80 on speakers ($120 if you took my advice and sprung for the components up front). Move on to the headunit.
A good headunit can be had for $99 and up, so it's really a matter of what features you want. If you're a CNET reader, you probably want some sort of MP3/iPod integration. There are plenty of good units in the $150 range, for example the Sony CDX-GT630UI. Again, at this price range almost every receiver sounds similar, so look for the one with the feature set that matches your needs.
Okay, speakers? Check. Receiver? Check. This puts you at $230-$270 depending on options chosen. Most people stop here and if you can live with the way your system sounds, you can hold here for a while whilst your checkbook cools off. When you're ready to move on, it's time to delve into the scary world of amps and subs.
If you're trying to keep price to a minimum, you'll want to look at a self-contained system. In our test Aveo, we use a Blaupunkt Velocity 2Go system which basically a pair of 6.5-inch woofers and an amp in a self contained deal, and it sounds pretty good in the little hatch. If you want more power look for the Blaupunkt THb 210A, which is a similar deal with a 120 watt amp and a single 8-inch woofer for about $250. Which should bring your total to $480-$520.
If you want to spend a few more buck and go through a bit more trouble, you could look for a non-powered sub, a speaker box, and an amp.
Of course none of this pricing includes installation costs (if you weren't planning on DIY), which can vary wildly, or the cost for installation kits for the receiver or wiring kits the sub/amp if you choose to go that route.
Hope that helps. Let me know if you have more questions!
Hey, I'm looking to upgrade my entire audio setup in my Prizm but I don't know where to start. I don't need anything too fancy but I do want the best bang for my buck. I listen primarily to techno/trance/house/industrial and rock so I'm looking for a system that can keep up with the demands of those genres.
I don't want to spend a fortune on any one item unless it is essential to improving the entire system.
As far as I know, I need:
4 speakers (2 front, 2 back)
I'd like to keep the entire setup under $700 at the high end (I'm more comfortable with ~$500) even if that means only decent quality. It's an older car so I'm not overly comfortable sinking almost a grand into it.
Am I forgetting anything?
Any and all help is appreciated.