This column has gone all over the place in the last two years. The staff at the Colorado Daily have let me wax on about whatever I want. I guess they know me well enough to know that no matter what I bring up, it will likely have to do with music, which of course we can all relate to.

But the freedom has allowed me to go down lots of audio rabbit holes with you all. In these pages, you’ve read my take on (in no specific order): local musicians and their albums, the makeup of wires and cables, new technology like the digital file type MQA, bands you’ve never heard of (but now probably have) like Vulfpeck or Billy Strings, how many subwoofers to use and where to put them, how different types of headphones work, the dangers of listening too loud, the 3-D quality of true stereo, new venues like the Caribou Room in Nederland and so on.

To be able to cover these esoteric subjects in a public newspaper is a rare opportunity, one I don’t take for granted. That’s why I pay close attention when readers ask me questions, and I try to regularly visit the subjects they bring up in between all of the out-there audio stuff.

The two most common subjects readers want to talk about seem to be the local music scene and how to put together a small audio system. Last week, I listed a few local bands who are coming out with new albums in the next month, and over the last few months in general, I’ve been more focused on local music. So this week, we’ll return to the subject of small systems, as it is the hot topic du jour.

Earlier this year, I ran a series of columns about setting up a desktop audio system, but my take and the space I have here is fairly narrow considering the staggering amount of options in the marketplace for putting together a small stereo.

So instead of offering my advice this time, with listening area sight unseen, I will instead direct you to a great resource and an opportunity to hear demos of well-thought-out, complete systems that are small and adhere to specific budgets.

I’ve already talked about Denver’s upcoming Rocky Mountain Audio Festival and how it relates to the best-sounding and most extravagant audio equipment in the world. But what I didn’t go into yet is how connected the effort is to real-world audio needs as well, and how every year, a series of demonstration rooms is set up by the festival to showcase curated, small systems, arranged in multiple tiers by budget.

These “entry level” rooms range from $500 to $5,000, so you could say entry level is a matter of perspective.

Regardless, don’t be scared off by the audiophiles — this is good stuff. On Oct. 6, 7 or 8, head straight to rooms 2001-2007 in the Denver DTC Marriott Hotel’s Summit Tower 2, and see what some consider to be the best systems for the money.

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