Best $500 System?


I have a good friend who is going through a lot of stress including financial and health and misses her music. Any thoughts on a "system" that would play CD's only all inclusive including speakers and amps new or used that might give her decent quality music in her home? she is sensitive to clean highs and does not need very loud or deep bass.
gammajo
Peachtree Audio Deep Blue2 and a budget CD player.
$500 is a pretty low budget for a system. If I needed a system at that budget, and didn't need deep bass, I would probably buy a pair of new JBL LSR305 powered monitors and I'd spend the remainder on the best used Oppo DVD player I could find within the budget. The Oppo DVD players have remote controlled variable volume, so you would have all of the components required for a complete remote controlled CD playback system. You will need to budget a small amount of money for interconnect cables. The JBLs do not have RCA connections, so you'll need an adapter or a RCA to XLR or TSR cables.
A Linn Classik with a pair of SB 1 Klipsch speakers. You can always add an amp or a couple of subs later. AM, FM. CD. and you can run an I pod throught it, and xm radio. All future add ons. Make sure to get one with a remote so you can use the alarm, the clock, and the sleep timer since they can't be set manually. If you or she gets the Classik, (I just sold mine last week) I'll donate a pair of mint Klipsch SB 1 speakers if you pay the shipping. They sound really good with the Linn 92dB.
Thank you all for you good ideas - I know that the budget is very low, but feel we can do better than a boom box. I checked out the Classik and it looks like a good option if I can find used and a very generous offer on the speakers, polk432 - thank you that touch my heart. 
Reubent, I checked out the JBL's and you also gave me the thought that she may already have a DVD player that we could come off of - will check this out.
gammajo,

I would caution you that most DVD players do not have remote controllable variable volume. If you use a DVD player, or cd player, that do not have remote controllable variable volume, you will have to set the volume using the gain control knob on each of the individual active speakers. The beauty of the Oppos is that they do have remote controllable variable volume. 

Good luck in whatever your friend chooses.........
Yes I have an Oppo 105 and understand. I found an old Blue Ray Player that I am not using (replaced it with the Oppo) hooked it up to my computer speakers which have a volume control, control both left right - and it plays fine except that the speakers are of poor quality - now just need to find some good self powered speakers
I have this as my desktop system:

source: iPhone or MacPro or PC with an Audioquest Black (new version) microDAC 
https://www.wifihifi.ca/LatestNewsHeadlines/Hands-OnReview:AudioQuestDragonFlyBlack1.5/Red.html


into active speakers KANTO YU-6 or YU-5
note; these have a killer Bluetooth operations option if she has placement or access issues.

https://www.wifihifistore.com/news/2017/2/4/kanto-yu6-and-yu4-powered-speakers

These KANTO active speakers are real audio Goliath slayers with a further option of a direct subwoofer output and they also have a phono preamp built-in .
https://www.wifihifistore.com

The older model YU-5s are cheaper if the TT features are a no-go and they have an auxiliary

http://www.kantoliving.com/product/yu5/

https://9to5mac.com/2016/07/05/review-kanto-yu5-powered-bookshelf-speakers-bluetooth/

Google the stellar reviews and YouTube reviews.
E.g https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pkp0Gha66U

Now with the ONKYO HF hi-Rez audio player app (a cheap download ) she can play digital,streaming on TIDAL or downloaded digital at 24 bit/ 96khz FLAC hi-Rez quality. The CD quality 16bit/44.1khz rips also sound fabulous 

FWIW...
you can do better than a boom box

best bargain will be to look around a college campus as students leave for the summer

2nd best is to find a used stereo dealer in your town

for new, I'd look for a Marantz receiver (or Yamaha) and some small speakers along the lines of the old LS3/5a - Epos and many others make them - you will sacrifice bass to get a good smooth mid-range

Denon also makes good CD players

Next level up is brands like Oppo, Cambridge, etc.
I like the powered monitors and CD with variable output. KISS it. Active Quad 11l/12l (best as nearfield, but great all-round), Tannoy Revolution, etc.

I'm impressed with the JBL 4208 (and 4206) as an inexpensive pair of used speakers (not active) if you buy an amp. For a sweet top end, try some older Mission speakers. Heck, $100-200 can buy a lot of speaker for the money. I have a high end system, but finding the best "bang for the buck" is always a blast.
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There are a pair of Epos 3s that came up today. Can be had for $180 including shipping. Pair them with a used integrated. Otherwise, a Pioneer A20 can be had new for $270.

The amplified speaker route is also viable. Get a pair that has the volume and amp in one of the speakers which drives both speakers.
Some have a built in DAC so that disc player can be run in via digital out. 
I suggest the audioengine HD3. They are amplified, veneered, and small. Perfect for a woman not concerned about bass. The JBL 305s sound great for the money, but I don't think many women would accept their looks. The Vanatoo Transparent one is my other suggestion. Superior sounding to the HD3, but $100 more in cost.
I'd go with a NuForce DDA-120, an integrated amp with a nice DAC. It is an Absolute Sound Editors Choice at $499. Currently on sale at Audio Advisor for $299. Available in black or white. It comes equipped with a Bluetooth dongle. 
If your friend has a DVD or CD player with a digital coax out, buy a cable & hook it into the NuForce 's digital input.You avoid the cheap internal DAC in the player and now have a CD transport connected to a very capable DAC & great amp. If she doesn't have a player or it doesn't have a digital out, (optical or coax - the NuForce handles both), then  buy a DVD player with a digital coax or optical out. Best Buy, Target, and other discounters have a variety for $35-50. I'd stick with a major brand, like Sony, Samsung, Phillips, or LG. The DVD players work, but are usually slower to cue up than a CD player. On the speaker front I'd go with Pioneer SP-BS22-LRs. Best Buy usually has them at list $129 pair, but periodically takes them down to $100.  I'd try Audio Video Logic on line, they have them on special at $99 a pair. Not sure if they would ship them for free, but they are excellent retailers/enthusiasts -so talk to them. Usually Best Buy will match a bonafide authorized retailers online price, but if it is a wash give the specialty store your business and start a relationship. I've owned the Pioneers (as well as the other Andrew Jones darlings the ELAC- B5, B6 & UB 5) I think the NuForce amp and Pioneer speakers would have great synergy. Should be a nice system for CDs and Bluetooth streaming.
Sorry to hear that your friend is going through a rough time. Music is certainly good medicine. Is she interested in a casual, soothing background music experience, or sitting in the sweet spot in a dark room and doing active listening?
I think she likes active listening as well as dancing around to tunes
The DVD player I have has HDMI and then component out. I like Nuforce, have their reference 20 mono amps myself in the big rig
Bet those Reference 20s sound good!
Too bad there isn't a digital audio out of your CD player. Often a digital coax output is nestled among the component connections. The nice thing about the NuForce/Pioneer/DVD/CD system is that it's all new, with current technology and warranties. 
If you do need to go the DVD player route, there are a wide variety of prices & capabilities. At the upper end,($45-80), the DVD players have higher video resolution and streaming capability (if she wants to take advantage of the video capabilities),and still be below $500 total.
FYI (for down the road)-Last Christmas season, authorized dealers were running the compact Pioneer SW-8 MK2 subwoofer for $99 on Amazon. It's  a great match with the Pioneer bookshelf system. From your first post, it doesn't sound like she is focused on bass performance, but when you add the sub, tuned to a barely perceptible level, the combo becomes ridiculously good from top to bottom. In addition to a line level subwoofer out, the NuForce has an analog input so you can run a turntable at a later date , (with an outboard phono preamp). You can also use your CD connected to the analog inputs, without running it through the NuForce's DAC if you are really trying to save money.
Parts Express has a 24" steel stand for $55 pair that work well with the Pioneers.
Bet those Reference 20s sound good!
Too bad there isn't a digital audio out of your CD player. Often a digital coax output is nestled among the component connections. The nice thing about the NuForce/Pioneer/DVD/CD system is that it's all new, with current technology and warranties. 
If you do need to go the DVD player route, there are a wide variety of prices & capabilities. At the upper end,($45-80), the DVD players have higher video resolution and streaming capability (if she wants to take advantage of the video capabilities),and still be below $500 total.
FYI (for down the road)-Last Christmas season, authorized dealers were running the compact Pioneer SW-8 MK2 subwoofer for $99 on Amazon. It's  a great match with the Pioneer bookshelf system. From your first post, it doesn't sound like she is focused on bass performance, but when you add the sub, tuned to a barely perceptible level, the combo becomes ridiculously good from top to bottom. In addition to a line level subwoofer out, the NuForce has an analog input so you can run a turntable at a later date , (with an outboard phono preamp). You can also use your CD connected to the analog inputs, without running it through the NuForce's DAC if you are really trying to save money.
Parts Express has a 24" steel stand for $55 pair that work well with the Pioneers.