You really need to learn about budgeting! Everyone, but everyone,gets it all wrong. Except Harley.@millercarbon -- Wow! Really??? That is just an incredibly ignorant and arrogant statement. Sorry, but the only absolute in this hobby is that there are so many important variables that there are absolutely NO absolutes. PERIOD!!! Including Mr. Harley.
As proof, I dare you to list all the equipment you recommended to build that $2500 system here, and I’ll bet you’ll get tons of responses as to how you could’ve done it much better and/or much cheaper.
Just because you read a book doesn’t mean you’re the end all be all of building audio systems. The best teacher BY FAR, IME, is hearing as many systems and pieces of audio equipment as possible (optimally in your own home and in your own system) to build your own real world perceptions and mental inventory of how things really sound and work. Even then, that’s just your own personal opinion based on your tastes and how you hear. Saying there is some "magic" formula to build a great-sounding audio system based on one guy’s opinion is just pure poppycock and something less-experienced listeners need to tell themselves to make them feel better about not going out and putting in the time to really figure things out for themselves. Peace out.