Best system you can assemble for peanuts ?

Hifi doesn't have to be the rich's toy - even students and the retired senior citizens on a budget can enjoy audio with a little bit of knowledge.

We also have need for a compact systems in the basement gym, kitchen, outside barbecue area, ect. Also it would be nice to be able to give it to our loved ones - kids leaving for college, our parents, etc.

Last weekend, I set out to assemble a system for about $100 and I am pretty happy with the result - in fact, I listen to it for many hours already on it despite having spent as much as a car on my other systems.

I was surprised at the quality of CD player in Aiwa all in one system, but I was not happy with the cheap colored sound of the speakers, and wondered what kind of sound I would get if I upgraded the speakers.

I was pleasantly surprised ! The CD is quite good indeed, and the amp section is not bad either. Also the clock, timer, and the remote functions are convenients not found on some hifi equipments.

I went to the Craiglist and saw many Aiwa systems for as little as $20. I got one last weekend, and hooked it upto Tannoy mercury series speaker which I also got second hand from

It's not the last word on detail, but it's quite listenable ... The color is basically right, and the sound is dynamic with enough power, the CD sound is deep and broad like a hifi piece, and the amp even has a bit of liquid quality to it.

All in all, quite listenable system - sure bits my first systems as a teenager !

I would go as far as to say, it even has some excitement to the sound ...

All kinds of music sound ok - even the picky classical.

Anyone on a budget can assemble such a system for under $100 and enjoy.

There are many speakers that will work with aiwa systems, so you can start looking for them in the craiglist for them - any speakers from these makers : paradigm, psb, monitor audio,kef, mordaunt-short, B&W, wilson (haha), Wharfdale, Athena, etc.
You can also check out this hifi magazine's review of speakers :

With a little bit of time and effort in searching for a good used speakers, you can have a tidy and good sounding system that doesn't take up a lot of space for peanuts - enjoy and share it with your loved ones.

If you would like to add your best budget systems, I would be very interested in them...
every time i flew jet blue airlines i would purchase their headphones for $1 which i think a good deal for buck.
It should be interesting to see what other people here consider "peanuts", but I agree. Depending on your standards it is possible to put together a system that sounds very nice for very little. I've spent most of my time in this hobby cobbling together systems out of traded/pawn shopped/craigslisted gear.

The nice thing about this approach is that if something doesn't work in harmony with your other equipment, back on craigslist it goes. With this approach (largely because the stuff is so cheap to begin with) you take much smaller of a hit for depreciation. There's also less guilt and second guessing involved.
Here is a previous thread that has similar stories:

I have an Onkyo mini system in my office at work I got "reconditioned" for $129. It is over the $100 threshold, but sounds great. A sales person at another store suggested getting different speakers, and I might play around with that eventually, but the balance of the stock system is pretty darn good. A subwoofer might add the most value to this rig, but finding even a "three-note" sub whose articulation is up to the level of the Onkyo gear - even on Craigslist - for less than the price of the entire mini system could be a real challenge.

Bottom fishing can be as fun as surfing the high end, and sometimes you can boat a real whopper.
Well you can actually assemble almost any system on peanuts (i.e. packing peanuts). They might actually provide some nice isolation from external vibrations :-)

But seriously, the used market is your friend, or if you are into it, the flea market and yard sales can be a better friend.
There is one whole lot of terrific used equipment for sale at heart-breaking (for the sellers) prices. However,I'm not a fan of EBAY. A'Gon is terrific site for beginning exploration of the possibilities.
Ipod connected to a Blue Sky Audio Exo. $300 and rocks my office. Second choice: the Logitec M50 boombox.