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THX or Not? The Sequel

458 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  Cam Man
I found the other forum thread closed, so I'll open another to try to keep the dialogue open.

It is interesting to hear how you we all evaluate our listening environment(s). It was a very interesting experiment (sorry I didn't write down your user name) that took different source material to each room (classical to HT, DVD to large music room). Obviously, we know what we like and tend to imprint or remember that sound for that type of material in that favorite environment. Many of us even with keen ears may like something very much that is not exactly perfect engineering or scientific. That is the freedom and joy of our interest.

I think the people behind Home THX actually chose and pursued sound principles, regardless of the obvious commerciality of the system. If you take the time to get and read the research papers that Tomlinson Holman put together in preparation for Home THX (available from THX) I think you might agree. There is fairly sound science behind the principles. They started with an established entity as a model, the mixing stage, and tried to find a way to emulate that dispite the differences that physics impose due to the different sizes of two environments.

Maybe this is the most important thing to consider about THX, pro or home: consider the source. A mixing stage, our model, is optimized for MP sound track reproduction which is 90% "created or synthesised". For a primer take a look at Side 2 of the THX WOW! Laserdisc.

The standard for music (at least accoustic material) is a live venue. The mixing stage is a santitized, EQd environment while the live music performance could be in a concert hall, a jazz club, or it might be a studio mix as "created" as a film sound track.

What music venues should sound like when reproduced at home is founded somewhat in standards (good accoustics), but is largely open to personal taste. Home THX has taken a rather strictly scientific approach that is kind of biased toward a worst case sceanrio: a large, accoustically lively room, with not so good accoustics and nearby reflective surfaces.

Will it sound good in your room? That all depends. I think that, out of the box, many Home THX systems will not sound great. Heaven knows many otherwise terrific music systems can sound horrible in a large uncontrolled environment. There are basically two ways to evaluate this, both being totally acceptable: Strictly subjectively, if it sounds great to you, then futzing be damned; or objectively--tune up your room accoustically to control reverb times, EQ the room, and adhere to THX installation protocals.

I had a nice upper mid-level sound system that served many years in two smaller homes. In our current home with much "larger" accoustics it sounded horrible, which I denied for months before auditioning new gear and realized the problem.

For me the answer was speakers and equipment that met THX specs, and equalizing the room with an Audio Control Bijou. There are many types of speakers that conform to THX specs (whether offically certified or not. Sorry George, but its affordably true.)...you can choose conventional transducers of all kinds of materials, or horns...for my large multi-purpose room, high quality soft domes in horns were the choice up front, and matching dipoles for the rear (a strict THX Ultra requirement that I prefer much more than direct sound. We find it fantastic for films, and once the processor is out of a THX mode, it is equally fanstastic for music.

Do your homework...research this forum and others, check out Feb issues of HT mag and Sound & Vision mag, listen and experiment in YOUR environment, and most of all...HAVE FUN. When you decide and make the leap, share your triumph with us.

Good luck
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