High-end audio can be expensive, but there are deals to be had.
Take a gander at EMP Tek's nifty Limited Edition System that goes for $595. It's a three-piece affair with a stereo tube integrated amplifier and a pair of sweet-looking bookshelf speakers.
Call me jaded, but I've heard a bunch of iPod speaker systems in that price range that sounded like glorified boom boxes. And since most of them are single-box systems they don't do much in the way of stereo separation. Yes, they make bass, but it's always bloated, thick, and boomy bass. Impressive to some at first, but its not what you'd call hi-fi sound. These iPod systems' power amp wattage is rarely specified or it's wildly exaggerated. For $600 you should be able to get a decent sounding system, and there's no such thing as a decent sounding iPod speaker for that kind of money.
The EMP Tek Limited Edition System is something else again. Its 40-watt-per-channel rating seems about right. Small enough to fit on a desktop, it's just 6.6 inches wide, 4.5 high, and 10.25 deep, and the amp has three inputs. Two are minijacks, so you can plug your iPod/MP3 player in, and there's a stereo RCA input you might use to pump the sound of your DVD or Blu-ray player through the system. The amp's two tubes are backlit with blue LEDs, which look extra cool. The amp weighs 8 pounds.… Read more