It is often said that "the journey" to a goal or destination can be more satisfying than the end result,
and while in the world of home theater that is likely arguable -- I definitely believe the "journey" greatly enhances the "end" enjoyment.
Short prologue: growing up, I had exactly four things I "really, really" wanted later in life,
And right after the "home" itself, has always been a "quality" home theater system.
Back in 1998, a new neighbor had a pair of bipolar Energy (Audissey) speakers; it was the first time I had heard anything beyond "entry" level speakers in a home,
and it was also the first time I had ever heard of the Energy brand (then still Canada-based).
My mind was blown at the possibilities of what could be "had in the home".
Fast forward 13 years.
Many speakers came and went, and I'm on my second projector; the screen has stayed consistent since 2000, and my original 1994 speakers kept me in check until 2008, when I gifted them to a friend who had just moved into a home of his own.
But I still "really, really" wanted those original Audissey speakers that got me on "the path".
Not ironically, I also wanted their flagship model, which had powered subs -- and of course had been out of production for over a decade, and are hardly ever seen on the used market.
(note: they're quite similar to modern-day Definitive Tech "Super Towers", actually)
At one point two years earlier I had finally tracked down a pair on craigslist; I excitedly drove a few hours to audition a pair in San Diego (from LA), finally thinking my search was over --
only to find that one of the powered subs didn't work.
I continued to wait.
Then, in the winter of 2011, I find a listing for a pair of the same Energy Audissey APS 5+2's up in San Francisco -- mind you, a long way from (now) Orange County.
But, OCD gets its way -- and during my winter break from teaching...the road-trip began.
Three days of stops, visits, and miles later...I was up in SF to audition that pair of speakers.
Excitedly, I listened, and then checked the drivers.
A tweeter was crushed...
...and so was I!!!
But this time around, I had a "semi" contingency plan coming in: a pair of lower-end Energy speakers from the same time period, that used the same tweeter, at home that I could swap one out from -- if needed.
I was able to adjust the price with the seller, BARELY fit the speakers into my car (that would have been an awful setback!)...
...and drove back down to Southern California -- straight shot, too excited to stop, aside for gas to keep the car moving.
I can't say my home theater is the greatest on earth. In fact, it's not even close to what some of you out there have.
But, 9 sets of speakers later, 2 projectors, 4 receivers, and many years [and miles!] later...
...I fired up the projector, turned on the receiver, dimmed the lights...and pressed play on the first blu-ray with what, for me, had been an 18-year journey since my first "vhs + TV + speaker" movie experience.
I remain content.