What model of stereo do you have? Is it the 1-cubby, 2-cubby, or NO cubby model?
I've got a 2004.5 Spectra EX that came with the two cubbies below it. So far I've had great luck with both it and the speakers.
Being in my 40's, I obviously don't jam on it like a teen or 20-something would, BUT I play CD's in it almost exclusively and my Alice in Chains "Best Hits" has been spun through it MULTIPLE times at cranked volumes with no ill effects. At least not on the sound system!
I agree.... for the basic listener, the stock stereo isn't too bad at all.. and with an upgraded head unit, the stock speakers do quite a good job. I will be upgrading all the speakers, but its currently pretty good for stock.