My goal here is to build the best 2.1 system possible for around 200 bucks. I have a set of Klipsch Promedia 2.1's that gave up the ghost, so I'm looking to replace them. I haven't really found a 2.1 set that I feel would be better for a reasonable price, and I don't think I want to buy the same thing again, as I've heard the quality on them has gone downhill (the quality on my old set wasn't even that good - went through 2-3 preamps throughout their life). Another constraint I have is that I want to stick with near-field speakers, as I want to keep the sound contained within the office as much as possible. This made me discount going with a t-amp and some bookshelf speakers, as I didn't find much in the way of near-field passive bookshelf speakers. My benchmark is the Swan M50w, which seems to be basically exactly what I want, but I don't want to spend the $330 shipped for them. From the research I've done it seems like the best way to accomplish my goals with my budget is to "build" a 2.1 system using powered 2.0 monitors (likely the M-Audio AV40's) and a separate, inexpensive sub (probably something like the Dayton Sub-800). I know this topic has been brought up several times across several forums (this one included), but after searching for a few days I haven't come up with any definitive conclusions on the best way to do this. The problem comes down to hooking them up. Obviously the best option is to go with a sub designed to do this, like the M-audio SBX-10. However, this defeats the point of an inexpensive setup and at that price point i'd just go with the Swan M50W (or something even better). It appears that there are a few options in hooking these up. 1) Get a sub with low-level RCA pass-throughs: a) go from the PC sound card (onboard audio on my Asrock Z68 Pro3) to the sub RCA in using a 3.5mm to RCA cable b) then from the sub RCA out to the AV40 input 2) Using a sub without RCA pass-throughs, use a splitter to send the same signal to both the sub and the AV40's. 3) Using a sub without RCA pass-throughs, use the front speaker jack to go to the AV40's and the center/sub jack to go to the sub The problem with all of these options is that the sub volume is now independent of the AV40 volume, so I'd have to adjust them separately. To me this seems like it would be a huge pain and is really the number one thing stopping me from just doing option 2 or 3. Option 1 sucks because all of the subs with RCA pass-throughs seem to be expensive, aside from the Dayton Sub-80, which doesn't seem to be in production anymore. The other problem with all of these options is that I'm sending the full signal to the AV40's, when really I don't want them trying to handle anything below about 120 Hz. I think I can remedy this by patching some high-pass crossovers in-line, but I'm not sure how well that would work. Here is what I'm looking at: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=266-274 The problem I see with option 3 is that I'm not sure how the on-board Realtek 5.1 sound will handle the AV40's on the front jack and the sub on the center/sub jack. I think I'd have to enable 5.1 just to get the signal sent to the center/sub jack, but I'm not sure how the sound will work with 5.1 mode enabled when I only have a 2.1 setup. Basically, will I be "missing" a bunch of sound because it thinks there are 2 more speakers there when there isn't and not sending the full signal to the AV40's. I don't like Option 2 that much because I'm afraid I'll lose too much volume by splitting the signal from one jack. It seems like there is no silver bullet here. Any thoughts or advice would be very appreciated. Thanks!