B&W 650 Bookshelf Speakers for Music and 2ch HT?

Have a 12x14' room with 8' ceiling. Carpet on floor. Matt painted, textured drywall on all walls.

Local "audiophile" shop (only one in town) says these things are greatest since sliced bread for $650.00 They DO sound awesome in THEIR room. Next step up is $1,500 floor B&W speakers.

Am on budget. Not really a "phile" (too poor) but appreciate GOOD music. Don't have HT set up yet. Should I try to get by with 2ch or go for 3ch???

Anything better than these for the money?

I do play vinyl as well as CDs.

ALSO....What amp or receiver would you recommend? currently have Marantz 2230.
Sorry if this answer is rather lenghty. I hope to address all your concerns as quickly as possible.

First, I am not sure what speakers you are referring to but I think you mean the B&W 685's that have a msrp of $650 pair, right?

If so, they are very good bookshelf speakers for the money. There are many others at this price range, but if these are what you heard and they sounded good to you, they are a very good speaker to start to build a full system around.

Start with a 2.0 system. Get the 685's and a quality integrated 2 channel amp, around 70-100 wpc. Make sure the integrated has some sort of home theater bypass feature or "direct power amp inputs". This will allow easy integration with a HT AVR down the road if you decide to do so. Don't know your budget, but some real good ones around a $1000 new are the Marantz PM8004 and Creek Evolution 2. I am sure there are more. Pick whatever source you like and your on your way to great 2.0 stereo.

From this point, now you can think about expanding to a 3.0, 5.0, 5.1, etc system but you would need an AVR along with the additional speakers. B&W makes a matching center and surrounds to build a 5.0 system around the 685's as the mains. You can get any manufacturers subwoofer and there are many on other forums that will tell you the flavor of the month. Most are these are ID companies and all work well. Or consider the matching B&W sub. Get an AVR that has a full set of PRE-OUTS and you can now easily integrate your existing 2.0 system into a surround system. Use the integrated amp you bought to power the 685 mains, and the use the AVR's internal amps to power the center and surrounds. The sub is self powered. This type of config will also allow you to continue to use the 2.0 system you started with for just 2 channel listening.

See, three easy steps. Just make sure the integrated has the HT bypass feature and AVR has full PRE-OUTs and your ready for whatever direction you want to take the system. Good luck on your journey.
Yes I agree with Paraneer. The B&W 685s are excellent standmount loudspeakers for the money and to start building with. They incorporate design features found in their much more expensive 800 series units such as FST and tapered tube tweeters. I had their predecessors the 601- S3s a few years back and then upgraded to the floorstander 683's. Loved the 601s but am crazy about the 683s for the money. Both produce amazing detail. Can't go wrong.

Your vintage Marantz 2230 is probably under powered for these B&Ws at 30 watts/channel RMS but it's a start. Consider a new Marantz or Rotel receiver.
FWIW, I use three B&W LCR 6 S2's for my front soundstage with B&W in ceiling surrounds. I have a Rotel receiver w/70 wpc and it powers the B&Ws just fine. The B&Ws work well for music and home theater and I have a big room. I picked up two Velodyne 10" subs (SPL10? I forget) for my low frequencies. Been using the speakers/subs for 11 years and they work great. The rotel is my second receiver after my Marantz died in year 6 (one year out of warranty) and it was a motherboard failure (no longer available) so I picked up the Rotel.

Hope that helps.
Thanks guys. Really appreciated the info
really good plan from Paraneer. I would consider if you piece together a HT system that you migrate to the .1 standard next before a 3.0 system. Opinions vary but I think you get more from a sub than a center. as well a sub can help you 2 channel system depending on your music of choice. Wish I had done what paraneer recommended back in the day.