This is far from the first for me. My first purchase for hometheater was a Vector Research VR3000 stereo receiver, AAL speakers, mono VCR, and a device from Radio Shack that simulated stereo from a mono signal. This is how I first watched movies; in simulated 2 channel stereo. This was in 1984, before dolby stereo was main stream. I was one of the few people I knew of that even had a VCR.
From that system, I upgraded to a Luxman R115 receiver and Polk RTA 11 tower speakers. I added a Luxman CD player and a Pioneer Hi-Fi VCR. Still two channel, but the upgrade to Hi-Fi VCR put me in heaven watching movies. This was 1986. CD players were still fairly new to the market.
In 1987, I discovered Dolby surround. Not pro-logic yet, but just the surround channels. I purchased a unit from NEC (forgot the model number) which basically connected to my reeiver via the tape loop. It provided the processing and amplification for the rear channels. It sounded OK. I had friends that thought I was crazy for spending money on such foolish ideas and it was only a fad. (If only they knew what the future for home theater held). I was still the only person I was aware of that had a home theater. I was already hooked on the hobby at this time. I bought a pair of Paradigm 3-SE speakers for my surround speakers (awesome speakers).
I got married in 1988, had kids, so things slowed down a bit. We did purchase a Mitsubishi 45" rear projection television (my first "big screen") as a wedding gift to ourselves (ok, to me). My dad thought I was spending my money foolishly.
In 1992, I upgraded to a Carver DPL33 pro-logic processor which replaced the NEC. I still had my Luxman which I ran it through. I also added a polk center channel speaker. Forgot the model number, it cost me about $150.00.
I loved the Luxman by the way because I was an audio guy back then and the Luxman had a warm tube-like sound that to me outperformed many systems costing a lot more money. The add on processors from NEC and Carver gave me the best of both worlds; Two channel nirvana and home theater from the same system.
Around 1994, I sold my Carver processor and purchased a Yamaha RXV815 pro-logic receiver. The sound offered a huge upgrade from the luxman/carver combo. However, for two channel, the Luxman was still the daddy. I kept the Luxman and purchased a used set of Polk 5jr+ speakers for separate system. At this time I sold the polk center speaker and bought a definitive technology CLR-1000 center channel speaker (which I still own).
In early 1997, my wife bought me a Pioneer DV500 DVD player. This was the very first DVD player my local hi-fi store sold to anyone. This one was a pre-buy. Again, I was the first of my friends to habe a DVD player too. Video tapes were still the dominant media available and there were only a few new releases available for rent. To purchase a DVD movie back then was very expensive.
In November 1997, we moved to a new home that had a huge family/media room. I got the itch to upgrade again. I ended up selling the Yamaha and purchasing a Lexicon DC-1, version 3.1 with AC-3 (dolby digital) and DTS. I paired this with a Parasound HCA-1206 120 watt per channel x 6 amplifier. I still had my Polk RTA11's, def tech CLR1000, and new RBH in-walls for surround duty. For added bass, I purchased a Velodyne FSR-15 subwoofer.
Two years ago when we started building our new home, I purchased a set of three B&W Matrix 805 speakers to use for front LCR that I came across on audiogon. They stayed in the box for the time being.
In May of this year our house was nearly done and I purchased my best toy ever, a Marantz VP15s1 projector and a Carada 106" diagonal BW screen. My dad and I installed the system and did the set-up. At this time I installed my electronics for audio as well. I pulled the 805's out of their boxes and put them on stands below the screen for left, center and right. I put the FSR15 next to the couch.
So here I am. Itching to upgrade my speakers to match my huge screen. I first heard Aerials nearly ten years ago (7b's and a CC3 center, SR3 surrounds) and I knew one day I would own them. Problem was, money does not nor has it ever "grown on trees" in my house-hold.
I came across a used LR5 on audiogon a couple of weeks ago for $1600. It said one owner and well cared for. Since I needed a vertical center channel to fit my room, and the price and description looked good, I jumped at the deal and whipped out my credit card. When it arrived via yellow freight, a huge box on a skid weighing nearly 140 lbs, I thought to myself that my wife will surely love this huge speaker when she sees it.
My plan was to pull my old Polk RTA 11's out of the closet for mains and use the Aerial for center. This would have to work until I can afford new Aerial mains. However, the Polks really do sound great.
I hooked it up and my heart sank. It sounded like sh#%. Much worse than the 805 matrix it replaced for center channel duty. I posted here on the forum with my disappointment and asked for ideas. Someone suggested I make sure the drivers were working. DUH!! Sure enough, the tweeter was dead.
That is where I am now, contemplating if I should return it for a refund or replace the tweeter. I can purchase a brand new LR3 for about the same price as I paid for the used LR5. I know the LR5 is a better speaker for the money, but, the size of the LR3 is much easier to live with, does not require as expensive of an amplifier upgrade, and would be new. For my room, which is only 13' 6" x 25' (opening to a larger area of the basement; my couch is 13' from the screen) the LR3 might be all I need anyway without overpowering my room.
My next upgrade is to a complete Aerial system and either Bryston or Theta amplifiers. I then want to get my room treated acoustically for the ultimate sound improvement.
Any thoughts on my LR5 vs LR3 dilemma, anyone?
Hope you enjoyed reading about my home theater journey. It has been a true hobby that I have enjoyed for years. I just wish that I could afford it. I am envious of people like Bruzonsky that have systems I could only dream of.
David Lynch Current Equipment: Marantz AV8801, Proceed HPA3, Parasound HCA-1206, Aerial Acoustics LR5's (LCR), Aerial Acoustics LR3's (sides), RBH in-walls (rears), Seaton Submersive, Marantz VP15s1, 106" Carada BW screen, Oppo BDP-103.