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Our experts assemble systems to suit real-life scenarios and budgets. Is one of them the solution for you? By Thomas Bartlett and Anika Hillery.

We spend much of our time here at GadgetGuy looking at equipment. We use it, listen to it, look at it, view its video performance, more or less in isolation. It is connected to whatever other equipment we happen to be using at the time.

But is that what real people do in real life? Not at all. They have specific budgets when they head off to the home theatre store. They have requirements for their systems that should enable the equipment to enhance their lifestyles.
So here we are attacking the question of equipment choices from a different angle – the angle of realistic scenarios for potential real people, who have defined requirements for their new systems.

That’s not to say that any one of these scenarios will precisely match your requirements, but we hope to give an insight into the considerations one should make. How best to divide your budget. How to take account of future changes. And maybe to introduce you to certain items that you may not have previously considered.

Even if none of these applies exactly to you, parts of these scenarios might be applicable. If you love music above video, then look to Scenario 4. If you have a computer full of MP3s, then pay attention to Scenario 1.

The important thing is to match the components of your system to your requirements. Everything in your home entertainment equipment purchases involves compromises. The more money you have, the fewer the compromises, of course. In Scenario 4, Max will be buying a Denon DVD player which most would consider to provide absolutely brilliant CD performance. Which it does. But he steps it up for a dedicated high-end CD player as well.

In case you consider the ‘money is no object’ scenario to be ludicrous, we know personally of a person who paid over $100,000 for a pair of custom-built stereo loudspeakers.

Sometimes, money really is no object.