Movie Theaters Have What Kind of Surround Sound Technology?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Matthew Will, May 25, 2003.

  1. Matthew Will

    Matthew Will Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello,
    I went to see the Matrix Reloaded, unfortunately, and was amazed to see how the theater was wired. Just on one side of the theater were about 20 speakers lining the wall. Here is the question:

    Do theaters have advanced audio systems that would be comparable to us having a 30.5 audio system or are they just wiring several of the speakers on the wall to one channel?

    I'm just wondering how much farther ahead in technology theaters are using for audio systems. Do theaters even have subwoofers or do the monitor speakers handle that too? Matt

    P.S. - Oh and I posted this here because I felt that the people here might know a little more since all of the technology would be in the theaters "receivers" if they were to use such a thing. Lol
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  3. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Watertown NY Regal cinema's surround sound: Fat stoner going "Whoa!" and "Holy Crap!" Everytime something happens, seriously, The whole multiplex is stereo, except for one theater that is pro-logic.
     
  4. Phil_DC

    Phil_DC Stunt Coordinator

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  5. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    That's a new DTS product; I don't know of any commercial theaters that have installed it yet. And although it boasts "up to 10 channels of scalable digital surround sound", that's a theoretical capability, not an indication that any such soundtracks are out there.

    M.
     
  6. Cameron Wright

    Cameron Wright Stunt Coordinator

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    its not 30.1 its just that the place is so big the right surround is 10 speakers instead of one... that kinda thing
     
  7. Matthew Will

    Matthew Will Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow...10 channels. I wish they had a diagram of where you place the speakers. Perhaps some of them would be above and below the listener. Sound technicians could have a field day with that kind of technology to make our movie experience one to remember.

    What about subwoofers? Is the bass covered in all of the monitors? At the theater I was at the speakers on the walls were as big as my stereo speakers which have a 15" sub in each. Does the theater have any stand alone subs then? Matt
     
  8. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Basically, I can tell you that many home theaters with separates have FAR more sophisticated gear than the commercial movie theaters at much lower prices.

    The amps are usually el cheapo pro grade types, but wired in parallel for each channel so they can use multiple speakers with ultra high sensitivity ratings (for an easy load) powered by the least amount of amps possible (cost cutting measure).

    The standard commercial grade SDDS, DTS, and Dolby Digital decoders (I can't speak for the newest products being offered) are not what I'd call the greatest quality either, but theaters pay a lot for what they're getting. The front main speakers and subwoofers look like something you'd make in your garage: just big, ugly black MDF boxes with large horn tweeters and your run of the mill 15 to 18 inch woofers. The speaker wire used is not that great either (fairly thin stuff, maybe 14 gauge).

    Disappointing to say the least. Perhaps the top tier theaters in L.A. and New York are a different story...

    Dan
     
  9. Phil_DC

    Phil_DC Stunt Coordinator

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    Dan,

    For crap some of those theaters sound pretty damn good, the best I have heard was at a Imax theater when they showed Starwars Episode II on their giant Imax screen.
    The sound was nothing short of phenomenal not to mention seeing Yoda at a towering 12ft tall on screen!
     
  10. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    I wasn't talking about IMAX theaters. They tend to use better equipment (usually quite different) than most theater chains do. They are the exception, not the rule.

    Dan
     
  11. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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    Personally when I go out to see a movie, which is getting less and less. I always come away thinking my 5.1 setup knocks the socks of the multiplex. Theirs is just all front loaded treble.

    Kevin
     
  12. DanielSmi

    DanielSmi Second Unit

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    Think that 10ch DTS thing isn't discrete channels (notice that isn't mentioned in the description) I think it is like 2ch per discrete channel or 1ch for each of the LCR and 3 for each L&R surround channel but not 10 discrete channels.

    Daniel Smith
     
  13. JeremyFr

    JeremyFr Supporting Actor

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    and to clarify DTS-ES discrete is used in theaters as well. And depending on the theater they can have some pretty impressive speaker systems. Most Theaters around here either use JBL or EV (electrovoice) both vey top notch pro speaker manufacturers imo. and as to the statement of MDF enclosures with huge horns etc. Of course they're ugly they're behind a screen and the only people to see them are the installers,theater workers,and those curious enough to pop there heads behind the curtains next to the screen. All theaters running digital sound systems have seperate subwoofers and sometimes many of them. For instance the theater I used to work at we had a 700 seat auditorium matter of fact the first in Washington state that was THX Spec'd, We had a total of 16 18" subwoofers behind the screen. They were paired off in dual cabinets and each cabinet was selfpowered at roughly 2000 watts a cabinet equally a total of 16,000 watts of subwoofer power, needless to say that that system acheieved more than reference level at around 4.5 on the dial it was pure insanity. I've yet to go to another theater that shook as much as that place did I truely do miss working there[​IMG].
     
  14. Brian Florian

    Brian Florian Stunt Coordinator

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  15. Brian Florian

    Brian Florian Stunt Coordinator

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  16. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  17. JeremyFr

    JeremyFr Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the correction thought when I read the spec's on the processor before it said discrete and matrix.
     

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