There are a lot. I just started into this a few months back (maybe 8 or so), and here's a few things I did: look through the sales here and other places, use Audiogon to find the manufacture's web page and read up on them. Read reviews (there will usually be links to multiple reviews on the same piece of hardware). You can also look at the chat toppics here. When someone asks "whats the best X under $3k?" you can look at the answers and see what some people like. Be careful of 'brand loyalty'. Some people drive a chevy or ford just 'cause. Maybe they like the letter "C" and not "F". Maybe it's because their dad always drove a ford. Who knows? Maybe someone has had their B&W speakers since they were 5 and never listened to anything else; therefore B&W is the best. Also check out the audio stores in your local area, look at the equipment they have for sale, and ask about it. Some of the big long-time companies can kind of get stuck in a rutt. (I'll probably get flamed for this, but here goes anyway). Take Krell or Mark Levinson for example. Sure, they make new products that are better than the last, but don't expect them to make a leap forward in technology at a great price (like MSB, to pick one). At the end, stick all the information together and figure out what you like.