Originally Posted by SteveFred
I do have DTS:X also (Marantz 8802A)which I am just about to hear on the new 4K Independence Day that just came out today
I have zero interest in the commercial theaters. If I go maybe once or twice a year, for say Star Wars, that would be about it. Commercial theaters do not seem to have the same quality audio as we have at home. Sure they have a ton more speakers, but they blast the front speakers way too much and the balance doesn't seem to be there(Just my opinion). I also have noticed a lot of people like you said texting/tweeting/etc on their phones during the movies and it is very annoying seeing their screens continuously light up. I will be glad once Ultra Blu rays become more prevalent and come down under $20, but seeing a lot of them already, it is worth the extra $10 a movie for the awesome sound tracks and how it looks on my screen
I really appreciate your response, Steve. A couple decades ago, my wife (then girlfriend) and I used to go to the movies almost every week. In fact, on a Saturday afternoon in 1997, we went to see a turkey called "Volcano", that starred Tommy Lee Jones, and that flick's failure to satisfy our movie craving, had us rushing to our car, after that flick ended, in order to cover the 10 miles to another theater, so that we could see a 2nd film called "Breakdown", with Kurt Russell, which turned out to be fairly good.
But since our theater room, with surround sound, was built in 2011, we have only gone out to the movies twice. The last time we went to a movie theater was in October of 2013, because I wanted to experience seeing "Gravity" on one of the Cinemark theater chain's huge XD screens.
And Steve, I sure agree with you about commercial theater sound, it's been my experience, and that of other people I've talked with, that so often the channels are seriously out of balance in commercial theaters. IMO, many times, theaters will have the surround/effects channels turned up so loud that the sound level overpowers, and even tends to drowned out the channel, or channels, that provide the dialogue spoken by the movie's characters.
I have also read that the vast majority of modern commercial theaters are using horn type tweeters to reproduce the upper end of the sound spectrum, and often, even for a good portion of the midrange, as well. Horn type speaker drivers are especially suited to where producing a high volume of sound in a large venue is required. But the horn type of speaker is not capable of producing some of the subtleties present in sound, that the tweeter and mid-range units found in many quality home speakers are capable of producing. In having used some pretty good audio products at home, since the early 1970s, I had always wondered why movie theater sound, at even very classy theaters, had rarely impressed me very much. Those horn type speakers may provide most, or maybe all, of the answer to my personal question concerning why commercial theater sound just didn't seem so great.
I have had the experience in our home theater of guests telling me that the dialogue that characters were speaking was much easier to understand with the Blu-ray we had on, than it was at the theater where they had originally seen the movie. Now, normally, few people who know me would think of me as being any kind of a "control freak", but I sure like to be able to carefully control the balance of the audio channels when playing a movie. And though we have what many might describe as a "kick ass" subwoofer, a 70 pound M&K unit that has twin 12" woofers in a sealed acoustic suspension enclosure, that unit's level is carefully set so that it doesn't overpower the rest of a movie's sound.
My wife and I, during the end of the 1990s, and in the early 2000s, used to visit a friend down in Raleigh, North Carolina, who would practically drive us crazy with the way he set bass levels when we would watch a movie on DVD, in his home theater. He had a pretty extensive set up, including some quite expensive separate power amps and pre-amps. Anyway, for front speakers, he was using a famous tower type model from Definitive Technology, that retailed for about $3,200, for the pair. Each of those Definitive Technology units contained its own built in 15 inch self powered woofer. And Gregg would have those woofers turned up so that you were always aware of the presence of the woofers, because there was almost always a sort of rumble in a movie's sound, whether the onscreen action seemed to call for it, or not.
Certainly, I'm starting to run off at the mouth, a little too much here. But one thought just sprung to mind, in thinking again about the kind of sound that people may encounter when they go out to a movie. Maybe, a major reason, at commercial theaters, that the surround channels are sometimes set at too high a level, is due to theater managers not wanting members of the audience to possibly be able to miss the fact that their theaters are really equipped with surround sound. And those managers may think that the average guy (who probably doesn't have a home theater) is especially impressed when he hears loud sound effects coming from both behind him, as well as from each side, because in earlier times, for most films, movie customers usually only heard sound coming from the front, which emanated from speakers located behind the screen.
But the problem now, is that since the sound design for today's movies still basically calls for dialogue to originate from the front, to match where the actors are usually seen speaking it onscreen, if a theater has its surround channels set too aggressively, the front channels are not only being treated like a poor step child, but understanding precisely what the movie's characters are actually saying, can become more difficult than the movie's makers intended it to be.