Alright, before you begin you should know that this is NOT your simple 4 paragraph ‘buyers guide’ so often seen everywhere else. This article contains reams of information and is very, very looong. If you wish, you can simply skip to certain areas but I strongly recommend reading this article in it’s entirety at least once.
So where do you start? Easy. If you are simply starting out in the audio hobby there is a massive market to explore with garage sales, flea markets, swap meets, thrift stores etc. Sometimes simply asking your friends or relatives if there is some stuff in their attic or garage they wouldn’t mind letting go of can yield surprising results! There are no rules at this level about what to buy as long as it works, and there is no smoke coming from it when it is playing, and it should not smell like the bathroom Grandpa just left. If you can buy an entire ‘system’ for around 50 bucks including speakers, welcome to the hobby.