I'm not as hardcore as many people on this forum, but I've had fun tinkering with HT gear since I was a teenager.
Here's my story (dates and models are a bit fuzzy in places
1990: Bought my first AVR (2 channel Sony), and hooked them up to 5 Chase speakers (no relation to CHT)
The 5 Chase speakers were connected to a switch, which was connected to the stereo amp. The Chase switch (supposedly) created surround sound from a 2 channel source. They sounded like absolute garbage (I would compare them to cheap outdoor speakers), but this was my start.
1991: Bought my first Dolby Pro Logic AVR (also a Sony), and bought some giant Pioneer speakers with 15" woofers for my LR. I think I used the remainder of the Chase speakers for surrounds, but my memory of this is fuzzy.
1993: Upgraded to more powerful Pioneer Pro Logic receiver. Bought Cerwin Vega speakers (can't recall the model; they were 3-way with 12" woofer) for LR. I also bought a Cerwin Vega center channel, bookshelfs for surrounds, and a passive sub (15" I believe).
I absolutely loved these CV speakers (especially the mains). Parts of this system still live on in my friends' houses. I was never able to get much output from the passive sub (looking back on it I'm guessing I had something configured incorrectly), but a friend of mine is currently using it and it absolutely thumps. I always like it when old gear gets a good home...
(no meaningful upgrades during my college years)
2000: Bought my first Dolby Digital AVR and my first active sub (crappy 12" Sony sub with a 100 watt amp). Even though I didn't change a lot of gear, this was a pretty big upgrade for me. I finally got output from the sub, and Dolby Digital made a HUGE difference.
2002: Bought my first house after numerous noise complaints from my apartment neighbors.
2004: Bought the Onkyo SR-800 THX-certified receiver. Replaced all my speakers with Polk RTi (RTi10 mains, RTi4 surrounds, matching center (can't recall the model)).
The Polks served me well for many years (the Onkyo and the RTi4 live on as a stereo system in my kid's room). I loved the look of these speakers, and overall was happy with the sound quality. I also got married in 2004, which is definitely a negative for the HT enthusiast (why is it so loud! I have heard for the last 8 years).
2010: Bought the Onkyo 3008 receiver (RIP), and replaced the Polks with Mirage OMD (15 fronts, C1 center, 5 surrounds). I also bought my first "real" sub (HSU VTF2-MK3).
I liked certain aspects of the OMD speakers, although dialogue was always an issue (the C1 just didn't seem to cut it). I tried multiple placement options, and it just never sounded right to me. I couldn't be any happier with the HSU sub (I had no idea subs could even sound this good). I may get a second one, but I doubt I'll be replacing it anytime soon.
2012/2013: Following the passing of the Onkyo 3008, I replaced it with a Yamaha A3010. I also replaced the OMDs with Klipsch Reference speakers (RF82-II fronts, RC62-II center, RS52-II surrounds).
I had always stayed away from Klipsch over the years due to the negative comments I've read about horns (bright, harsh, fatiguing). My reasoning in buying these was that if theater speakers use horns, and I am trying to recreate the theater experience, shouldn't I be using horn-loaded speakers in my HT? I wish I had come to this conclusion years ago, because I am absolutely loving these speakers so far. My dialogue issues are completely gone, and they play much louder and clearer than my OMDs. As for the "brightness," that went away after a few days. And I don't find them harsh or fatiguing.
What I've learned:
1. If you don't like your current gear, try a completely different design/approach. This is why I have gone from traditional 3-way speakers, to towers with multiple drivers, to Mirage's "omnipolar" approach, to horns. Since I was never entirely happy with any of the speakers I had, I didn't see the point in spending slightly more for the same design. I'm glad I've taken this approach. If I hadn't, I'd probably still be stuck with soft dome tweeters and wondering why I was never quite happy with HF response. Considering how happy I am with the Klipsch, I may stick with horns in the future. If not, I still have ribbon tweeters, electrostats, and active speakers to try.
2. Size matters. In addition to the horn-loaded tweeter, I think the reason I like the Klipsch is that they have larger drivers than my previous two setups (Polk and Mirage). You can't beat the laws of physics, and the 8" drivers on my Klipsch mains (and 6.5" on the center) simply sound richer/fuller than the 5.5" drivers on the Mirage. I cringe when I see so many recommendations for micro satellites on this site...
Anyhow, that's my story. Ended up being longer than I expected, so I understand if you stopped reading awhile ago...