Movie Theater Sound

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ole, Dec 8, 2002.

  1. Ole

    Ole Stunt Coordinator

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    Sitting in a four year old multiplex last night watching and listening to the newest Harry Potter movie got me wondering as to what these folks have for a sound system, how many watts for the subs, number of channels, how do they get the sound off the film, do they have racks of amps and so on? Biggest question, how much do they typically pay for the sound system in a mid size up-to-date venue? Also made me realize, can anyone really say their system sounds like theater, it's just so BIG! Sure we can crank up the SPL, but the sound field would be so difficult to duplicate.

    Any sites or threads you can point me to?
     
  2. Frank Zimkas

    Frank Zimkas Supporting Actor

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    I think that most folks that are really into their HT believe that their systems sound a helluva lot better than most commercial theaters. Why? It is a lot easier to control the variables on a smaller scale. High-end systems (Not always High-dollar) in a smaller more intimate environment will always sound better because the owner is always on site and making adjustments here or tweeking there. Remember that for most people around here HT is not just about the video.
     
  3. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Well, HT is usually just "different" than a big theater in several ways. Personally I think a good setup with nice speakers will sound MUCH better than even really nice theaters. In terms of #of channels, it depends what system they are using, DD, DTS, SDDS, but its the same as in the home. (the exceptions are SDDS which is pro-theater only, and DTS-ES which i beleive is only for the home.) A regular 5.1 DD track has exactly the same channels as the same track off a DVD at home. (x-curve may have been adjusted for in some dvds) Yes, they probably have racks of amps, and professional speakers, which usually aren't as good as nice home speakers, but designed for a different purpose e.g. LOUD. Still, these can be pretty nice. As to how the sound is picked up off the film, originally they had magnetic tape i think, then it moved to stereo optical tracks. More imfo can be had, albeit basic at http://www.howstuffworks.com/movie-sound.htm
    I have no idea how much they pay for the sound systems. Probably a lot. But "a lot" to us HT nuts may not seem like that much [​IMG]
     
  4. Ole

    Ole Stunt Coordinator

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    Frank,
    I agree that sound is what makes the experience. But sitting dead center in a state of the art theater gives such a big open sound field. I am simply saying that big theater sound would be difficult to duplicate. I am not saying that a controlled HT environment may not give a better sound, just a different more intimate sound. Just like live electronic concert sound is different from studio sound reproduced at home. Doesn't make it better or worse, just different.

    I still wonder how much they sink into the sound system in a theater.
     

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