For a good while now I've wanted my own seperates system, but the two things holding me back most were: + money + deciding what was right for me Other than that, my main source is a laptop, which contains all the music I listen to in mp3 (LAME encoded --alt preset standard). I know I wouldn't want/enjoy a dedicated CD player because I'd have to swap CDs everytime I wanted to listen to something new and all my music is at my fingertips now anyway. But I've always wanted a pair of bookshelf speakers and to go with it a good amp. Before you say it, I know a guy who sells headphone amps and also uses the same encoded mp3s as me...so the sound will not be that limited by the source. If your not familiar with LAME and the alt preset standard (or extreme/insane...though frankly there's no noticable difference) you should try it and see if you can notice a difference between it and the original...though there are obviously minor differences that'll be uncovered will expensive equipment. But anyway, that's not what I'm after - to be honest I want to keep my budget as low as possible. Having said that...it's not like I don't have a CD collection and there will be times (occassionally) when I will listen to uncompressed audio. I've done my research, and it seems the (primary) problem is outputting a true 24/96kHz signal from my laptop to the amp. If anyone can suggest the *cheapest* product that can do this for me I'd appreciate it...though I'd prefer something that doesn't go outside of the case (a PCMCIA card would be ideal then). People always recommend to audition equipment before you buy it...and I never know where to go if I want to. The only real high street Hi-Fi store I know of is Richer Sounds, who, I'm guessing, (based on their floor space) don't offer such a service. But in this case it's a lot less likely I'll be able to audition anything anyway considering my source won't be anything they sell...and I'd have to bring my laptop, external HDD etc along to do so... For those of you who are still with me at this point clap: ), in summary, I'm looking for: + a device for my laptop to output true 24/96kHz sound + a dedicated amp + a pair of bookshelf speakers Oh, and my musical taste is fairly wide...though I predominantly listen to rock. I am a big fan of some electronic/r'n'b however. Thanks for any help...1st post!