Low budget, just for fun

So I'm lookong to buy my girlfriend a stereo for christmas. Here's the catch: I'm trying to piece together a receiver, cd player and speakers, all used for a little more than the price of a boom box from say, best buy or whetever, but it has to sound way better than said boom box. I found an onkyo receiver ($45), sony dvd / cd player ($45), and some infinity sm 122 floorstanding speakers ($75 with crappy rca receiver, going to offer $50 for just the speakers). Anyways, this is actually pretty fun trying to piece together the best system you can for the least amount of money possible. Anyone else out there do something similar? It would be interesting to have an audio show with a $200 system limit and see who could come up with the best sound!
i like your <$200 idea--it's no-brainer to put together a viable system for $2000, or $5000, but much more challenging to do it for a pittance. anyway, my thoughts at large:
1. because of shipping costs, you're probably locked into craigslist for receiver/speakers.
2. unless you need a remote, i'd opt for a vintage receiver, maybe something like a modestly powered yamaha or pioneer --much more aesthetic than the bps you could find in your budget. figure $80 or so. if your girl needs a modern, remote-controlled receiver, something like a harman 3300 or onkyo 8511/8211 are better than the norm.
3. older non-hdmi dvd players are really cheap--i've picked up well-built integra players on ebay for $15 + shipping; pioneer is also very reliable and cheap. eventually you could upgrade with a dac.
4. lots of good speakers in the world, and lots of ways you could go. in general, i think canton, energy and phase tech are well-made and undervalued; you might find a worthwhile, older ads or acoustic research model on the cheap. it might help if you do a cl scan and float some possibilities on this forum.
good luck.
L, she'd probably be happier with this......
She must be a keeper if she is willing to accept an old vintage system comprised of separates. Unless you got really lucky the gear you are buying will not have the most WAF or GAF. $200 may not get you far.

From perusing my local Craigslist for $200 you can get.

$60 Sony 3 way towers model #: SSU530
$50 Kenwood stereo receiver KR-V6070
$20 Panasonic DTS DVD player DVD-A120
$50 Used Bang & Olufsen B&O Beogram 1800 Turntable

No idea where your ICs and SCs will come from.

I think you should follow Tpreaves advice.
Tpreaves, that's a bad value even at < $200.
Lol Tpreaves, have you been talking to her, because you're exactly right. Problem is, I can't go proposing to any girl without a stereo, now could I? In all actuality, I got her some cd's and the only way she can listen to them currently is through her tv speakers so I was going to get her some little boombox, but then figured for an extra $100 I could get her something decent. By the way, her last radio got sucked up by the f5 joplin tornado.
My friends Goodwill stuff systtem is like that. The turntable a Dual with a used Ortofon OM20 i sold her, The receiver a Marantz 2270 i found for $30, the CD player from Goodwill, a NAD for $9. and the speakers some old BL for $40 the pair.

Those items were found a number of years ago, before the second hand stores crawled with resellers.
I vote buy her the audiophile dream system then marry her. Thus now your dream system. :)
Elizabeth is right, second hand stores. Maybe you can find a ring there. 8-)
You can save on the CD player by ripping CDs to a computer if you have one with some disk storage available. Then play the ripped CDs (or other sources like internet Radio) on the computer and run a stereo to dual RCA phono Y connector from PC headphone output to a receiver input.

Bigger bang for the buck if you already have the computer.
Or, you might even consider finding an inexpensive pair of powered speakers and hooking that up to the computer, assuming that digital including internet radio will be your only source, not uncommon in this day and age.
I was considering powered speakers also since you can just get a headphone to rca cord and plug in a discman. There was a pair of audioengine m5's for $100 on craigslist but I missed it. They sold in two days :-( At this point it might be some cheap boombox type stereo that I can charge on the best buy card since I'm blowing $500 on some cullen power cords for my system tommorrow.
Just got back from best and scratch that idea. Might as well flush $100 down the toilet as I'm sure it would sound better than any of that crap!! You can absolutely annihilate that junk with used gear off craigslist for the same money.

I'm gonna buy those "really big and loud, brown speakers" that I saw listed! ;-)
"Anyways, this is actually pretty fun trying to piece together the best system you can for the least amount of money possible"

What a novel idea! A lot of folks this for real. Even when they are not slumming. Fancy that!!
I like a challenge.


Those were the first speakers I ever bought... over 30 years ago.

Add to that any Tripath amp ($20 to $100) and a cheap DVD player.
eek, those missions look horrible. They must sound fabulous, otherwise they would never have sold any. My first stereo was made by a compny called sound design! If was terrible all they way around.
Fabulous? As I fondly remember, they had muddy bass, a hole in the upper midrange you could fall into and just a hint of highs. Still, much better than the crap in the big box stores.
Hey Rok, I think everyone here tries to piece together the best system they can for the least amount of money possible; it would be stupid to buy a more expensive piece of equipment because it sounded worse. How much $ have you got in your rig? I would be suprised if it were less than $2k or $3k; I highly doubt it's only $250.00 :-)
My most expensive system retailed for exactly $3000. Half of that was the cost of the speakers.
Rok, totally off topic here, but what is your current set-up, and how much do you have in it? I'm more interested in the attainable systems here on audiogon, and am curious as to what you are running. You seem to be like me in that the proof is in the pudding and that there is a definite point of diminishing returns. Seems like that last 10% of sound can cost 1,000% more.

This is what I have. The speakers are perfect for my room.

Speakers -- Polk Lsi15 $1500
Amp -- Marantz PM7200 $500 class A at low levels
CDP -- Marantz SA 8001 $900 SACD
Tuner -- Sony XDR-F1HD $100 HD capable
Wire -- Monster and Blue Jeans $ ? not much
Cable Lifters -- Charmin, they will be 'upgraded' after a few more trips to the john. :)

Thanks for your interest
Beautiful Rok! I love these well thought out inexpensive (relative here) systems that sound great! I'm not familiar with that amp but everything else in that system, I've read about previously and it's all good equipment! I've spent a little more on my rig (in the 5-6k range) and I wonder sometimes if there aren't better sounding systems out there for less $, like yours, and Milpai's comes to mind also. If I knew what I know now, my set-up would look totally different. But oh well, you live and you learn!