When you’ve finally got the money to spend on a giant flat-screen TV, don’t forget to look for a good surround sound setup, too. Bad sound can easily ruin an otherwise perfect picture, resulting in an overall lame viewing experience. But if the holiday season is otherwise putting a drain on your wallet there are a few choices for budget surround sound systems.

“Budget” is, of course, relative, but generally, you could consider anything under $400-$500 quite cheap for a full surround system. For that much, you’ll have your choice between some mid-end and premium quality bookshelf speakers. Or, you could get yourself a nice 7.1 channel surround system like the Onkyo SKS-HT540. Priced right around $350, this setup provides an excellent value and excellent sound for a respectable price.

The HT-540’s have 7.1 channels – a front speaker, two center speakers, and four surround speakers, combining for a respectable 130 watts and complemented by a 10-inch, 230-watt woofer. That’s plenty of subwoofing power for your home. Both the front speakers and the center speaker feature dual 5” woofers, with Onkyo Micro Fiber (OMF) technology. Sound quality is fantastic for this price point, and LOUD. Movies and video games might just feel real, and bass drops will make you feel like you’re in the club itself (if that’s you’re thing; classical music sounds great, too). Will you feel like you just walked into a Bose showroom? No, but your friends sure won’t be able to tell.

The only drawback to these puppies is that you will still need to get an AV receiver. However, if you’re already putting together an entertainment system, you should be looking into one anyway. And for this price, you can’t really complain; you’re not going to find a better sounding, 7.1-surround system anywhere. Audiophiles, you may want to pass, but those who just want solid, budget surround sound – this is it.