Originally Posted by flyng_fool
The THX certification means little other than that the manufacturer paid more to have it tested to see if it met their specs. As a result you'll pay a premium for THX stuff.
Yes, THX certification does mean the manufacturer paid extra to have it tested, and can't put the badge on if it doesn't meet THX specs. But it also means they paid extra to come up with a design that would meet the specs, because the THX specs are actually much harder to meet, and the vast majority of speakers made for home theaters do not come even close.
THX specifications were designed so that certain problems inherent with home theaters could be worked around my components that meet the specs. Ultra 2, which is actually the current version of the original Home THX spec set, is a set of specs for rooms larger than 3000 cu ft, but are appropriate in smaller rooms as well. One of the hardest things to do is to control the vertical dispersion angle, or limit how much sound goes up and down from the speaker, and make it work well with a wide horizontal angle. Not easy, not cheap to do, but makes a significant difference in home theaters, especially those without acoustic treatment. If the wife doesn't like big ugly speakers, she's probably not going to like acoustic panels either.
BTW, THX Select 2 is a spec set for smaller rooms, and does not include asymmetrical dispersion, the same maximum SPL, or power handling, though they are still very good and above the typical non-THX speakers in many cases.
There are other aspects to the specs as well, like efficiency, off-axis response, maximum SPL and power handling. The THX spec is not a guarantee that the speakers will sound good, that's still up to the manufacturer. It is a guarantee that they will work better in your room. And, it turns out, because it costs more to meet the specs, products that get THX certification are also better made.
It's absolutely possible to have excellent sounding speakers that are not THX certified. The challenge is that then you have to examine each specification to see if the speaker, as good as it sounds, will cover all your seats with flat response, has flat off-axis response, handles power and can provide adequate SPL. It can be done, but usually isn't. And horizontal and vertical dispersion figures are probably never mentioned, though Martin Logan does state them, and they have the coverage of a flashlight beam.
There are lots of other THX product out there, though, that aren't as large as the Klipsch. For example, the MK Sound S150 Mk II, which is also a film industry standard, is about half the size. No, it's not a horn speaker, but that doesn't seem to bother anyone actually mixing movies and music. In fact, you won't find even 1/10th as many Klipsch speakers in the industry. MK Sound also makes an in-wall version, the IW-150, same specs, so you can hide the speakers in your wall and paint the grill with the same color paint as your wall. How's that for THX and invisible? You still have your subs to hide, but that can be done too.
And that's just one example, there are many others.
I don't put as much weight on THX certified electronics, especially lately, but for speakers in a typical living-room-type home theater, I always suggest THX Ultra 2 speakers over anything else.
If I might ask, what's your affinity for horn speakers?