Tell us about how you got into home theater!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Jason Charlton, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

    May 16, 2002
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    Baltimore, MD
    Real Name:
    Jason Charlton
    I got to thinking about how everyone on this forum started somewhere, with a goal in mind, and despite all the different starting points, side journeys, life distractions, etc. we all wound up here.

    I was curious to hear other folk's stories, so I figured I'd start with mine:

    My home theater "journey" started in Atlanta, Georgia back in early 1996. I was just out of college and a buddy of mine had wowed me with his laserdisc-based surround sound system. "This is cool!", I thought. So I asked him to help me get started with a system of my own.

    We shopped around and I wound up with an Onkyo 828 Dolby ProLogic receiver (I added the outboard(!) 5.1 decoder a little bit later) and a set of 4 PSB Alpha speakers and an Alpha center. I didn't have a subwoofer, and at the time, was using this system to watch widescreen VHS movies on a 27" Sony TV.

    My buddy went on to work for Dolby Labs in San Francisco, and my work took me out (briefly) to Salt Lake City. I bought my first house with the intent of building out the basement into a dedicated front-projection theater room. While I was out there, my buddy offered me a chance to get a Paradigm Reference Servo 15 subwoofer using his corporate discount. I couldn't pass up the offer and to this day, I still have that subwoofer - the only one I've ever owned, and unless it dies, I don't see myself ever replacing it.

    My work situation changed, and I never got beyond framing the basement theater before packing up and moving back east, this time settling in Baltimore, Maryland.

    Replaced the 27" TV with a 55" Sony RPTV, and upgraded my front three speakers to PSB Image series speakers (kept the Alphas as surrounds).

    Here I met the woman who would become my wife (the best thing I ever did, was go HDTV before meeting her - she saw it and was hooked), and when we finally decided to buy a house, she let me indulge my one "must-have" house feature - a basement layout conducive to a home theater.

    We found the house, and had to do some work to the basement to get it set up just right, but I eventually traded in the 55" sony for a Mitsubishi 720p projector and a 96" Carada screen, upgraded my (side) surround speakers to PSB Image Bipoles (I still use a pair of the original Alphas as my rear surrounds) and made the leap to Blu-Ray.

    That was all finished in early 2007, I think. So, in all, it took me 11 years to go from zero to "oooooh, yeahhh!".

    We've got two boys now, they'll be 4 years old in July. They've already watched bits and pieces of Star Wars, Superman (the original), and a handful of Pixar films. I'm sure they'll have plenty of "movie" parties, and we have the occassional movie night ourselves, but even though we've had the setup for a while now, the novelty hasn't worn off. We still marvel at the picture, and I think back fondly to my buddy who inspired me to start this journey.

    Sadly, he was never able to see me complete my journey. Shortly after he visited me in Salt Lake City (to hear the awesome subwoofer in action) he and his 16 year old cousin were killed in a car accident. The drunk driver responsible was jailed, but even now, some 7 or 8 years after the fact, it's difficult to think about.

    I know he'd think the setup is pretty awesome - he helped build it.
  2. gene c

    gene c Producer

    Aug 5, 2003
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    Bay area, Ca
    Real Name:
    First off, life is more than full of ups and downs. We meet new friends :cool:, and lose some along the way :( . No matter how often we hear how precious life is we never fully understand. Second, in the late 80's (or early 90's, who really knows for sure) I was working for a delivery company in the S.F. Bay Area and was waiting in Dolby Labs S.F. headquarters for someone to give me an envelope or whatever and two gentleman walked in the front door. The first one, who had an English accent ;) , said something about a system for surround sound in the theaters that he was trying to adapt for the home. My ears perked up but I had no idea what he was talking about. Little did i know.... 1981. I bought a Fisher stereo receiver and two large Fisher speakers for my front room. In 1989 I bought my first stereo vcr and my home theater was complete! Or so I thought. Fast-forward to 1999. I had heard about SACD but wasn't about to pay $350 for a cd player. But as a present to myself, I decided to buy a surround sound receiver for the millenimum. Browsing through the Frys ad I decided on a budget of $199 and bought an Aiwa DV-75 :blush: . Little did I know it didn't process DTS. Also bought a Philips 5 disc dvd player. For speakers I had a pair of Yamaha 8" three ways, a pair of Realistic 7's for surrounds and (gulp!) two Infinity 5 1/4" car speakers wired in series as a center. To make matters worse, a KLH subwoofer. Needless to say, it sounded terrible. But what did I have to compare it to? 2003. Knowing I deserved better, I walked into Circuic City and bought an open box H/K 520 for $299 and Polk RTi6's 4's and a CSi5. The next day I went to another CC and bought an open box H/K 8380 cd player ($99) and a CDR-20 cd recorder ($49!!). The Polks were replaced by Swan Diva's a couple of years later. Since then I've had at least 12 receivers*, two processors, 7-8 dvd players, same number of BR players and a hell of a lot of fun! Most of this was purchased/sold off ebay, audiogon and craigslist. Met a lot of real nice people along the way. 2011. In my family room I have a 58" Panasonic Plasma, Pioneer Elite vsx-23 receiver, BDP-23 BR player, DV48 universal dvd player, Infinity Beta 20's and a C250 center with Infinity OWS-1's as surrounds. I really like this combo. Great for an everyday room. In my livingroom I have a Toshiba 65" RPTV, Pioneer Elite SC-27, BDP-05, DV58 dvd player and the Swan Diva's (5.1's, 2.1's and C3) along with two Dayton 10" "mighty-mites". I'm seriously considering the Aperion Versa Grand's. But that's quite a chunk of money. This truly is a desease. * Aiwa DV-75 Onkyo 500 Onkyo 702 H/K 435 Pioneer 59txi Pioneer 94txh Integra 9.8 Integra 8.9 Marantz 7002 H/K 7550 HD Outlaw 990 Pioneer SC-35 Pioneer vsx-03 Pioneer SC-27 Emotiva USP-1 Emotiva UMC-1 ? (maybe :D ) Won't somebody, anybody, please help me :laugh:
  3. RogerMckinley

    RogerMckinley Auditioning

    Mar 9, 2012
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