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Introduction...re-build in progress

1957 Views 10 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  nova
Hi everyone. I have into this home theater thing for the last 20 years. In the last 5 years my room got converted to a large bedroom and then was used for other purposes. I have finally began to rebuild my system.
It started in November 1989 when I purchased a Sony AV receiver, a Sony 27" XBR TV, a laser disc player and a pair of Infinity studio monitor speakers. Within a year I had purchased a CD changer, a linear drive turntable, dual cassetted deck, and a vcr. By the end of 1990 I upraded my receiver. If memory serves me correctly it had a digital input.
In 1991 I began going to specialty high-end audio stores and auditioned a lot of speakers in the under $2,000 price range. I ended up purchasing a pair of Infinity RS8 Kappa's. When I got them home a ran into a problem, my receiver was running hot and didn't have enough power to drive them properly.
The search for seperates began. I then picked up a Sony TA-E1000ESD preamp/processor, a Sony TA-N55ES stereo amplifier and a Sony TA-N220 multi-channel amplifier. I believe my fiance' had actually put one of these on her credit card at the time. I had also had surround speakers by this time and would use my TV as the center channel. I also wanted a better CD player so I picked up a Sony CDP-X33ES single disc player.
In 2002 I got married and moved into a small apartment on the side of my in-laws house. I had equipment racks on both sides of the TV, dual Panamax surger supressors, a dedicated center channel speaker and my surrounds were wall mounted.
By the end of 1994 we had our first baby and the plans began to get a house. When we were searching for a home we decided to have a house built and convert the garage to a dedicated theater room during construction. During this time I purchased three pairs of Infinity ERS840 in-wall speakers. I wanted (4) used for side & rear surrounds and the other pair to be used for my center channel.
I can remember seeing a demo of a Runco/Lexicon/Bryston/B&W THX system at the time a being blown away. I had also demo'd the B&W 801's and wanted them.
In September 1995 we moved into our new home and in January 1995 I had a Runco CinemaPro 760W professionally installed and set up by an ISF tech. It still plays wonderfully today.
Not long after I was also searching for a dedicated processor that coud handle (7) speakers instead of splitting the signal to the (4) surround speakers. I had done a lot of demo's and had to have the new Citation 7.0 when it came out. I remember telling my wife that this (and new amps) would be my last upgrade. I also purchased 4x Acurus A-150 amplifiers. I had a problem with the Acurus amps as they had troubles driving my Infinity RS8 Kappa's.
My search to a good amplifier led my to Classe'. I ended up purchasing a Classe' CA-200 & CAV-75.
Now the system was sounding great but I also fell in love with the Infinity IRS Sigma speakers that I demo's the Classe' amp with along with the Classe CD player.
Sometime in 1997 I was searching for a great pair of "audiophile" speakers and was auditioning everything I could. My favorites at the time were the B&W 801 and the Infinity IRS Sigma when I ran acrossed a brand called Dunlavy Audio Labs. I auditioned their SC-IV speaker in Rosewood listed at $6,800. These were the speakers I had to have but I didn't have the funds. Approx 1 year later Dunlavy upgraded the SC-IV to the SC-IVa and the cost shot up to over $8,000. I drove about an hour and a half for a demo. After the demo I had preferred the older version. About a week later I called up the salesman and asked if they still had any of the older SC-IV Dunlavy's. He said they had a demo pair that he would let go for $4,000. SOLD.
Now my system sounds great...Classe' CD player, Citation processor, Classe amp, Dunlavy speakers front & center, Vifa Madisound surround speaker using the same drivers as the Dunlavy's.
The announcement of dolby digital had me waiting for the new Citation 5.0, unfortunately Lexicon released the MC-1 and I decided to go for it instead of waiting for the Citation. I personally believed the Citation had much better sound.
Finally a subwoofer...the REL Stadium II.
I also purchased a Pass Labs X-150 amp sometime in 2001, along with a Muse model 5 CD transport. I was really interested in the announcement of the Lexicon MC12B.
My obsession turned around and I sold almost everything and purchased a Harley Davidson. Later that year my father came down with cancer. I had no ambition to ride the bike anymore so I decided to sell it and use the money to put my theater room together again.
I ended up purchasing an Anthem AVM-20 processor and the MCA20 and MCA50 amps. I ran the system with balanced cables and purchased a B-P-T Balanced power conditioner. I also added (2) Vandersteen 2wq subwoofers to my Dunlavy speakers that I will not part with. For DVD's and Laser Discs I was using the Elite DVL-91. Overall this was the best my system ever sounded.
About 2 years later my father passed away, my mother moved in and my home theater room got converted to a bedroom. All of my AV equip was sold again with the exception of my Dunlavy's and my Elite DVL-91. All my cables were boxed and thrown in the attic.
Now I am re-building my system around my Dunlavy's and an old Outlaw 1050 receiver/preamp that I had in my basement. I am looking for great cost-to-performance ratio without going way overboard. I still have the Runco projector and Stewart filmscreen mounted on the wall as these will be my last upgrades.
The processor I am most interested in is the Anthem D2V but I am also considering other cost alternatives like the projected Outlaw 997 and the new projected Emotiva....the processor must have balanced outputs.
I just purchased the Emotiva XPA-1 monoblocks and the XPA-5 to drive the Dunlav's. very nice amps......
I picked up a Cambridge DVD99 for DVD's and SACD's, and a Emotiva ERC-1 for CD's and HDCD encoded discs. I also purchased a SVS PB13 Ultra subwoofer. Eventually the SVS will be used exclusively for LFE as I want to get (2) Vandersteen 2WQ's (again) to blend with my Dunlavy's for music.
The theater room is back.....for good.
other equip:
Sony PS-LX520 turntable ...since around 1989
Cambridge Audio 640p phono stage
Harman Kardon cd changer (to be upgraded)
Sony DTC-700 (DAT) since around 1990
Sony EVS-7000 Hi8 vcr
Elite DVL-91
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Welcome. You truly seem to be on the right track about upgrading your system to current specs. Last year, I tracked down a pair of Dunlavy SC-IV's for one of my closest friends. They truly are amazing.
Bloody monsters, but sound absolutely amazing and are surprisingly efficient.

Since you have SACD handled with the Cambridge, I would actually not recommend the all praised, all singing OPPO BDP-83, and save money and get a cheaper Blu Ray Player to get the newest codecs (True HD, DTS-MA). If still available in your area, Pioneer's BDP-51, which was originally a 600 Dollar player are being blown out by Best Buy. Some folks have found open box units for as low as 60 Dollars. Realistically, figure 100-120 Dollars. But, still an awesome value with excellent parts and build quality.
Load time is less than ideal, but that is really the biggest fault.

In the arena of processors, the only other SSP (Surround Sound Processor) I would look at is the Onkyo PR-SC886 and Integra DTR 9.9. They are pretty much identical and offer XLR inputs as well as Audyssey's MultEQ XT and THX Ultra2 Plus. This is also the version of MultEQ which can be upgraded to Audyssey Pro by a dealer for a more fine tuned room correction.
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Hello Teyry, Welcome aboard the Shack!

Thats quite the read, you should write a book:bigsmile:
Sounds like you have a great system.
Enjoy your stay with us.
Welcome Teyry. "Last upgrade" is an oxymoron! It is an impossiblity!! (At least for me). Have fun. Dennis
Yes the Dunlavy's are truly amazing speakers. I'm sorry that John Dunlavy passed away. If I ever had to consider new loudspeakers they would probably be Vandersteen or Thiel. I really like time/phase coherent loudspeakers. At one time I was considering trying to find a used pair of Dunlavy SC-V's or VI's, but once you hook up a pair or Vandersteen 2WQ subwoofers to them they are truly monsters. I wish I would have kept the 2wq's that I once had.... I have to start saving for another pair.
As far as HDTV goes, I have a Westinghouse 42" 1080p in the living room with a cheap Magnavox blue-ray player, and just recently upgraded to hi-def DirecTv. I've had DirecTv since moving into my house in 1995.
It will probably be a year or so before I'm able to upgrade my projector. As far as a blue-ray player for the theater room, i'm considering the Oppo and the soon to be released Cambridge 650BD. I will use the Cambridge I already have preprogramed for 2 channel SACD and my next one for multi channel SACD.
As far as the processor is concerned , I want to make sure that the digital room correction functions in a manner that I want before making a decision. My speakers are time-phase coherent designs and I don't want the processors equalization to interfere with this. There used to be a 2 channel room correction system years ago by a company called Sig-Tech that corrected room abnormalities without interfering with the time/phase coherance of loudspeakers. I believe the technology in the Anthem and soon to be released Outlaw 997 uses this type of technology, but i'm not 100% positive. I like the way Anthem lets you have seperate room correction set-ups for music and movies. I would be able to to eq about 5-6 different positions with the LFE included and have them averaged for movies, and EQ the central seating position minus the LFE for music.
I need to plant a money tree.
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Hi Teyry and welcome..
thanks for the welcome...
I mentioned in my intro that my favorite speakers are Dunlavy's, Thiel's and Vandersteens.
I just learned of the passing of Jim Thiel on Sept 18. The loudspeaker industry just lost a wonderful designer of loudspeakers. He will be missed.
Indeed. I put up a post the night word got out of his passing. Jim Thiel was an amazingly talented designer. Really loved my CS 1.5's.
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