I built my dedicated home theatre as an addition to my existing home back 1996 to completion in March 1997. Early days of dedicated home theatre.
Back when 5.1 Dolby Digital was just coming into play, just before DVD, when Laserdisc was still king of the hill. Back when having a nice wetbar and storage cabinets & shelves was normal. Back when having exposed component racks was not too abnormal (like Widescreen Review's reference system).
But my how times have changed since then! Dedicated home theatres have become a big business! We have moved on from 5.1 audio, beyond even 7.1, to a top set of speakers matching bottom set of speakers for Dolby Atmos, DTS-X, soon DTS Pro, and Auro-3D!
Back in 1997 CEDIA installers mostly deadened theatres. Not anymore. Companies like Vicoustics recommend a proper mix of diffusion vs absorption and more folks, like Paul McGowan of PS Audio, emphasize better for the room to be more live but not too live (which I did back in 1997 using Michael Green acoustic treatments for this purpose, as did Widescreen Review in their reference theatre back then and for some years thereafter).
Back in 1997, it was SO COOL to have a 5.1 system with all floorstanding speakers arranged on a circle pattern. Now, not so COOL, theatres are too look neat with cables in wall and hidden. Though for so many years all floorstanding speakers simply give the best sonics. And NOW, the best theatre audio systems are based on a "bottom" of not 5.1 speakers, but at least 7.X (of course, X may denote multiple subwoofers) and even more often 9.X, with a "top" layer close or the same for speakers.
So is it time for me to change? For the past almost two years, after adding 4 top speakers, and changing out my video projector, my system has been:
Sony VPL-VW5000ES laser projector
Lumagen Radiance Pro 4444 video processor/scaler
Stewart Filmscreen Vistascope 2:40 168” wide X 70” H screen, Snomatte (1.0 gain) (with variable side masking to 4:3) (16:9 is 124.4” wide)
Theta Casablanca IV-A SSP (Casablanca owner since 1997)
5 Theta Digital Prometheus monoblocks
5 Aerial Acoustics 7t floorstanding speakers
2 JL Audio f212 subwoofers (each subwoofer has 2 12" woofers)
4 KEF Ci200RR-THX in ceiling speakers
ATI 526NT multi-channel amplifier
Oppo UDP-205 4k Blu Ray Universal Player
Apple TV 4k
2 channel music, ROON, using Sonic Transporter i7 ROON Core, Sonore Signature Rendu SE w optical/fiber upgrade, Berkeley Audio Alpha USB converter
Multi-channel music, ROON, also using CAPSv3 modded with Silverstone case and AMD Sapphire HDMI card, using HDMI out
Now what has already changed and will further change so that my entire theatre and system is revised, added to, and remodeled? Stay tuned!
By the way, I've come a long way, as I was not just a Theta luver, but also an Aerial Acoustics speaker luver since 1997. Whereas I have now left the Theta Casablanca SSP (but still have 3 Theta Prometheus monoblocks, and my new 2 Trinnov multi-channel amplifiers are manufactured by ATI/parent company of Theta):
1997: Four Aerial 10ts and a CC3
2000: CC5 replaced CC3
2001: Added three SW12 subwoofers
2008: Replaced 10ts with four 9s
2014: Replaced 9s and CC5 with 5 7ts (and sold the SW12s, now discontinued)
2019: Selling two of the 7ts, adding six of the on wall 7LCRs!
2020: When Michael Kelly comes out with his new "30T" (who knows, he might change the name by then), I plan to sell a pair of 7ts, keeping one 7t for center channel, and get a pair of 30Ts. I will finally have my dream speakers for music and home theater! (And I can finally equal or beat Ash Sharma, who has 3 Aerial 20Ts, now discontinued, up front in his theatre!)