the fundamental questions NEVER change:
1. What types of music do you listen too? "Everything" is not an answer. Electronica? Trance? Country? Classical? rock? Hip-Slop?
2. How do you listen? Meaning: do you listen for yourself or for the next 15 cars in the grid lock? No wrong answers. But be honest. If broadcasting your tunes is important, then the speaker choice, and overall system design changes drastically.
3. What format do you play your music? If you listen to iPod/iPhone/MP3 downloads, then we need to discuss HOW you download your music. Loss from the compression process impacts dynamics. If you listen to home made CDr's there is another realm of issues. FORMAT MATTERS folks!
4. BUDGET! plain and simple... how much $$ you have to spend = how much enjoyment you MIGHT find in a speaker set.
5. TRUST YOUR EARS. Ignore the jack-ass at the audio store's pitch. Ignore the billions of posts on forums about what sounds "awesome"... you have (2) ears, a brain, and your own music... <GASP!> go LISTEN to YOUR MUSIC on systems similar to what you think will work for your space, budget, set up...
Lastly.. shop online to establish FAIR pricing and then go BACK to the local shops and negotiate.
People who are happy do this with me every day... It's my day job... <grin>