Best sounding "cheap" HT setup you're using...

Off and on over the years I've put together some rather "budget" systems, for myself, and customers. And while anyone with a budget can go down to the local AV store, and shell out bucks for expensive "highly rated" audio and video equipment, I've always found it far more rewarding (and challenging), to try and find quality budget equipment and components that are relatively inexpensive -even used gear, and try put together some KICK'N system that's just WAY over achieving!
I'd like to hear others experience with various AV equipment, associated wires and tweaks, treatments, room setups, etc, that made for simply a killer system, basically.
Larger, more full scale system/set-up, or small, compact system in small room, whatever. I just want to hear others experiences and choices that they felt just "knocked it out of the park", for basically a "steal-of-a-deal" budget! Please be specific on what piece, where you got em, how much you paid, what kind of set up and room, what tweaks you went through, and how long it took you to put the system together, if possible.
Four or five years ago I put together a HT for my parents with an NAD processor (752 I think) and CD/DVD player, Paradigm Studio speakers (60 front, 20 rear, and center, version 2), and a 15-inch Velodyne sub (CT150). Cheap Synergistic Research cables throughout. The whole thing slid in just under 3k (not including the 57-inch Sony rear projection tv, which was 2k). It was really pretty good for the price. -Dave
over the years I've experimented with cheapo stuff. And, in the process, I've come up with some pretty good sounding "overachieving systems", comprised of a fairly mixed bag.

System I'm using right now, I could MAYBE get $200 for everything if I sold it on the net! -is comprised of the following:

Infinity TSS-750 satalites (all around - replacing center
to TSS-1100 soon)
Audio Research S108PS 8" 120w downfiring sub
Kenwood VR-357 DD 100w x 5 receiver
Panasonic DVD-A310 interlaced DVD player (using as CD)
Sony DV47 Progressive DVD player
Monster 550i interconnects
Radioshack digital cables
Home Depot 7 conductor sprinkler wire (speaker wire)
Monster HTS1000 powercenter
TV??? - my 19" just went out, looking for 27-30" 16x9 tube

The above system, in my acoustically treated, VERY WELL set up system (speakers and seats all balanced very well for accurate response, phase and great dynamics), is in a little tiny room, and simply rocks!! The little Infinity TSS-750's are SOOOO clear, detailed, and DYNAMIC for such little dudes, I can't hardly believe the sound I'm getting from them! The sub kicks really hard and tight for a cheapo. And the Kenwood receiver has a "direct stereo" mode for sonic purity, which sounds simply amazing with my extremely good and cheapo CD player (Panasonic DVD-A310 -reviewed in '98 by Absolute sound as "better than levinson separates", at the time!-BELIEVE IT!...WAY GOOD CD SOUND!). The sonic qualities of the Kenwood and my Infinities is a perfectly warm, full bodied, clear, detailed, and dynamic sound! I'm simply blow away at what I'm getting from this system.
Yeah, the DAC's in the Kenwood are not so hot (10 year old, 2nd gen DD receiver), which shows through as a bit thin on DD material. But still, not bad there either! (old 16/44 dac's). But the real strength lies in the preamp and amp qualities here - just shouldn't sound so good.
I'm using THE BEST SOUNDING cheap wire on the plannet for speaker wire - the home depot audiophile "cheapo secret" - Sprinkler Wire! Yep, I've tried lots of cheap speaker wire, from Rat Shack, Monster, and others. And this stuff just is very neutral sounding, with excellent detail and dynamics. Infact, It's no wonder more people don't know about this stuff. You should try some yourselves!...
The IC's are from Monster, wich are pretty descent (I paid next to nothing for them, and have had better for more though), but are a good balance of smooth top end for my setup (Infinity's are a tad foreward in pressentation)
Digital cable is well regarded innexpensive Radio Shack generic.
Anyway, I'm upgrading my busted TV to a little 30 something inch widescreen tube tv for my tiny room, as that's all the space I have. Unless I can find a $300 price range deal on a good LCD projector, and DIY screen, I'll stay this route.
My audio system is really just a great little system for now. It sounds HUGE, very clear and refined sounding, with lots of detail and dynamics for such a tiny system. Of course it's set up very well to maximize everything - which is key.
and I'm sure I'll upgrade to something with some room EQ and newer tech soon, as I hunt for a deal. - but in no rush.


Infinity's - paid $54 ea x 5, worth about $125 for all.
AR 8" sub - paid $20 used!
Kenwood VR-357 100wx5 DD receiver - PAID $10 USED!!!!
Sony DVD progressive - worth about $25, paid $60 new
Panasonic DVD-A310 - $50 used at close out (Good Guy's - believe me, this was a great audiophile deal!!!)
Dig cables -$0 (free!)
Monster 550i IC's - paid $35/pr, worth about $15/pr on net
Monster HTS1000 power bar, paid $85, worth $60 now.

I've had some really expensive systems with Sonus Faber Electa/Minima Amators, Thiels, Infinity MTS Preludes, Merlin's, and other speakers, including Threshold and Coda amps, Aragon and Krell processors, Pass Lab's and Audible Illusion's pre's, and other rediculously expensive gear!
Now, I'm not saying this system is in the league of what I've had before. But for DIRT CHEAP, it's darn musical, detailed, clear and just plain more dynamic than it should be for a little old receiver based system!

Like to hear more from others here
Oh yeah. I forgot - I'm using "Quiet Line Filters" on my outlets, and "Vibra-Pod" equipment issolators throughout the system, as well as my old "CD Blacklight" CD tweak.
Also, extensive home made acoustic diffusors and absorbers around the room, in light controlled environment.