Beginning Audio System

Heya, i've decided that I want to start building my first Hi-Fi audio system. The problem is that I really don't know where to start or what most things are. Things like "pre-amp" and "tube" dont really make much sense to me yet :(
What i'm really after is an Amp with 5.1, probally no more than 60watts, a CD and SACD player, two good speakers for stereo music, a subwoofer and two more speakers to work with the good speakers for when I listen to surround sound. I don't think i'm going to have enough money for the two surround speakers to be of highest quality. I'll porbally connect everything with optical wiring aswel.
My budget is about £500 .. could someone point me in the right direction and explain what the different speaker types and amps are?
Thanks alot
On your budget, you aren't loking for an "amp"; you are looking for a multichannel receiver. (It includes an amp, and a preamp, and a tuner, all in one package.) Companies like Pioneer and Yamaha make good low-end receivers.

My general advice, for a first system, is to put as much of your budget as possible into speakers. That means sticking to real entry-level receivers and disk players.

As for speakers, you can go two ways: Invest in a good pair of speakers now, and fill out the system with subwoofer, center channel and surrounds (probaly in that order) later. Or go for an entry-level 5.1 set now. I don't know how far your money will go, or what's available in your country, so I can't advise you on specifics.
Pabelson is right on the mark. Concentrate on a good pair of speakers. Buying used will give you the best bang for the buck. A receiver which has a preamp, tuner and amplifier on one chassis will probably fit your needs best with your budget. Good Luck
I'm an ignorant American and don't have any idea how much 500 "lbs" is in USDs (where did you get that key for the symbol?), but Pabelson is right. I'd go for the best speakers you can find and look for used. This is a quite controversial subject - which component contributes the most to the sound of the system. I believe it's the speaker but the pre-amp, amp, source all make a big difference. However, I've auditioned speakers in my house that have driven me out the room. Have not had that experience with amps. Just found some that bore me, slightly irritate me, etc. Same with other items.

I'd find speakers first and then look for a receiver. Or better yet, find them as a synergistic couple. Or even better yet, find those two and the CD/SACD player as a trio. Damn this hobby...
Tom,i know how you feel,where the hell are all these key's at with the symbol's.
Ĉuℜ®∃η†ly, £5∅Θ įs ⌡µsŦ å ∫ iττl∍ §h¥ o℉ ❾θ⊕ ∪$™ βμc₭ς.
About $876, heheh.
How'd THAT get past the moderators????
Damn you, Gunbei!! (Just kidding...) Anyway, are you serious about the $876? I'm too lazy to Google it.
Arrghhh!! :°)
What kind of keyboard do you have?!? Guess I'd have to give a crap about computers to find those things...but I am curious.
sweet code!
Here's what I'd recommend to an American newbie with a <$900 budget, all new:

Receiver: Pioneer VSX515-K ($170 at J&R)
DVD Player: Panasonic DVD-S29 ($65 at J&R)
Main Speakers: Paradigm Titans ($229/pr list)
Subwoofer: Paradigm PDR-10 ($379 list)

That's a nice sounding 2.1 system to start. Next add a center (CC-170, $199), then surrounds (Atoms, $199/pr). If you absolutely must have SACD, J&R has some Sony's for $120.

Don't know whether that particular gear is available in Promocopy's corner of the British Empire, but he can probably find equivalents in the same ballpark.
Hey! i've got the normal UK keyboard, which has the £ sign above the 2 :P
In the end I went out and bought:
Cambridge Audio A5-B Integrated Amplifier
Cambridge Audio azur 340-c cd player
Two Gale 4040 speakers (bi-wierd)
That cost me just under £480 which is about $850
What do you all recon?

I guess that's the advantage of being in the graphic design field with access to thousands of fonts and also the knowledge that certain key commands when done in combination will yield an endless array of mathematical, Greek, Latin, Cyrillic and a litany of goofy fonts and type styles. Also, "copy and paste" works quite well too, heheh.

Yo ho! Dean
Cyrillic! That's funny!