"being a music student i think i'm quite sensitive to different sounds yet i'm not sure how to compare speakers...is it about the clarity of sound from different sound ranges or the quantity or what?" - I'd say it's definitely the sound ranges that matter more than quantity (volume?). Have you listened to something really high-end like Linns (click here) for example? Most of everything else will sound quite inferior in comparison - especially if you have the 'ear' for such things, as you do.
I was going to suggest this 2.1 Logitech Z-4 set click here for £45, but I think the Philips MMS430/05 may be better. G
P.S. Don't like Amazon's website changes, but I'll have to get used to it!