I am totally new to home theater so all help will be appreciated.
To start things off, I will explain what I have and my budget, then what I'm looking for.
This home theatre system will be hooked up to a PC with a Creative Labs Sound Blaster Xifi Xtremegamer sound card. In terms of sound cards, it is arguably the best in the sub $120 range, so it can support whatever will be thrown at it, be it 7.1 systems, or high quality sound bits.
It will be setup in my bedroom, and granted it is large for a bedroom, it is still a bedroom. Although its no living room size project, by the time its finished I want to be able to rock the house, and a few houses down the street is what I'm aiming for. For right now, my budget is a bit of a tight $500-600.
I had a Logitech X-540 5.1 setup, but I busted those, so now I'm looking for something new. At first it was a given that I would go with the Logitech Z-5500's, but lately I have been hearing that any mediocre home theatre system will blow away even the best PC speaker system.
Now, I don't want any towers, and I like the best possible clarity/base ratio as possible, with a little more emphasis on the clarity. Aesthetics are unimportant to me. I listen to LOTS of music, a bit of movies, and I do gaming. Whatever I get, I need to last.
I live in Canada, and would like to be able to test them out in store. Not sure if that will help or not, but I'm throwing it out there anyway.
At first I thought for sure I would be going with a 5.1 HTIB system, but I have been realizing that in my budget range, I just won't be getting anything satisfactory to my needs. So now I am debating whether I should get a less-than-alright 5.1 setup, that probably won't allow me any upgradability, or go with a 2.1/3.1 good quality setup, with the intention of upgrading once I have more money.
In fact, starting out with a good 3.1 setup, and planning to upgrade later has really been what I have ben leaning towards. So what are some good sub $500-600 speakers. I want a base woofer for sure, and then the 3.1 setup would be nice so I can put two beside me, and one on top/below my monitor.
Also, since I am already operating out of a PC with a pretty good quality sound card, and I won't be watching blu-ray movies, do I really need the receiver? It might be worth mentioning that my 21.5" Asus VH222H 1080p monitor will be acting as a television for my xbox as well, through an HDMI connection.
Ok, so I think thats a good amount of information to start out with, and we can work our way from there. All help is appreciated!