THX: Is it REALLY worth it??

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott McAllister, Nov 20, 2002.

  1. Scott McAllister

    Scott McAllister Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not sure if this has been posted before, I did a search for THX and came up w/ about 80 pages of results. Plus, this is my first time posting in this forum.

    I'm looking to upgrade my HT from it's current setup, and I'm considering the idea of having THX certification on as many components as I can. My question to all you gurus is this: is it really worth the *significant* extra cash to have THX certified equipment? The sub-question to that is if the former is true, then which components are the most important to have certified?

    Thanks in advance for the help.

    Scott
     
  2. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    No its not all that important, but you could also say it depends somewhat on the dollar level being spent.

    For higher level stuff, it is just an added expense to pay for the certification. This type stuff already performs above THX standards anyhow.

    But for lower cost stuff, THX can mean piece of mind because you know it performing to at least their pre-set THX level.

    Overall THX is low on priority scale no matter what dollar level is being spent. Use your ears and buy what you like, and what offers the features you need.
     
  3. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    IMO, it's not important with Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks. At one time it might have been beneficial to have the RE-EQ circuit, but now DVD producers take the home environment into consideration when they are making DVDs.

    If you listen to alot of things encoded in Dolby surround, then perhaps the surround decorrelation could come in handy, but not to the degree that you would upgrade just to have it.

    Of course, if you buy into the "quality" aspect of THX certification then you might be able to justify the upgrade like you would by buying into any brand name, but again, IMO, it's not critical because there are many quality components that don't get certified.

    I'd say get whatever components you think are best within your budget and if they are THX then it's a bonus, but don't buy them just because of the certification or exclude others because they don't have it.

    DJ
     
  4. DanielSmi

    DanielSmi Second Unit

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    THX is not expensive it only cost about a couple dollars per unit. THX does not tell the company what price to sell them for, it doesn't add like 1000 per unit because then no company would do it. I do have THX cert stuff, my receiver and dvd player both are. I plan on getting an external amp and it just so happens that it's thx cert but I didn't plan it that way, it's sort of an added bonus. This amp doesn't cost a ton of money more than the others in it's class actually it's cheaper by about $500 bucks. How could this be possible if it isTHX cert?

    Daniel Smith
     
  5. Jay Sylvester

    Jay Sylvester Supporting Actor

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    My preamp, amp, and speakers are THX certified. I bought my preamp (Anthem AVM 20) knowing it was THX certified, but not really caring either way because of its already excellent reputation. I didn't find out until after I had purchased my amp (Rotel RMB-1075) that it was THX certified when I saw the logo on the front panel. THX certification did play a partial role in my choice of speakers (M&K), but I was blown away by the demo at my dealer, which is what really sold me.

    It worked out fine for me, but I would say that basing your purchase decision on THX certification isn't the best way to go. Go with what sounds good and what you can afford. Scott is correct that many hi-end components would pass THX certification whether they have the license or not. But being certified certainly doesn't hurt. Keep in mind that by "hi-end," I'm not referring to the stuff you can get at Best Buy either (no snobbery intended).

     
  6. Craig_Kg

    Craig_Kg Supporting Actor

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    The biggest advantage is THX certification is ease of setup if ALL your equipment is THX. A bunch of THX equipment can be bought almost at random, plugged together, switched on, set to THX mode and will perform reasonably well (given a half decent room and setup).

    NonTHX equipment may take some matching and adjusting but can produce the same final result.
     
  7. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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  8. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    I think THX-branded electronics don't seem to offer much, if any, improvement over "regular" electronics.
    But THX speakers are a whole other ball game.
    Unless the specs have changed lately, THX-certified speakers must have certain dispersion characteristics and bass output capabilities.
    Front mains and center channel: These are required to have limited vertical dispersion. This prevents too many sound-smearing reflections from the ceiling and floor. This is usually accomplished by using multiple tweeter & midbass arrays, typically in a "stacked" formation. Remember, the wider a driver is, the narrower its sound dispersion angle becomes. This is why 3" cone tweeters have that "beaming" quality compared to 1" domes, or especially those super-skinny ribbon tweeters. Anyway, being stacked one on top of each other narrows the up/down dispersion angle but side-to-side dispersion is unaffected--a good thing! And all three fronts have to be identical.
    Surrounds: have to be dipoles.
    Subwoofers: can't remember exact specifications, but I know they are very tough. When I worked at Incredible Universe (r.i.p.) for X-Mas in '95, we sold an Altec-Lansing THX system. (This was when this classic brand still made real speakers) The huge sub had two down-firing 10" drivers; this almost-coffee table size sub was truly scary to hear with "Terminator 2" playing on Laserdisc!
    Several magazines tested THX speakers and found they did improve the movie watching experience: sound in front was very precisely positioned, and side-wise movement was very smooth in front and around to the sides/rears. But with music? Most reviewers found the sound to be sterile sounding & too precise.
    But to be on the safe side, better check the THX website for the latest information.
    LJ
     
  9. Jay Sylvester

    Jay Sylvester Supporting Actor

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  10. Tom Camlioglu

    Tom Camlioglu Stunt Coordinator

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    Scott,
    Regarding :
    "For higher level stuff, it is just an added expense to pay for the certification. This type stuff already performs above THX standards anyhow. "
    How would you know what the THX standards are ?? - they are not open to anyone but licensees ...
    It would seem your post is more on assumption, you think?
    [​IMG]
     
  11. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    The reason I don't think RE-EQ needs to be engaged that often is because DVD producers are taking it into account much more often than you think. It is more the rule now, not the exception like it used to be.

    I use what many would consider revealing speakers(B&W 9NT), a fairly neutral processor(Pioneer 45 TX), and a warm amp(Sunfire Cinema Grand). You can click on the house icon to see my room and placement.

    Of course, the room and personal taste will also determine if THX processing is beneficial. Again, IMO, DVD production has evolved to the point where adding an additional layer of processing is largely unecessary, but to each his own.

     
  12. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    Beauty lies in the beholders eyes, and so does THX worthiness[​IMG]
    Seriously most of my gear (Proceed, B&K, Vienna Acoustics, silver cabling...yada yada yada) blows away THX specs and yet isn't certified[​IMG]. The only other peice is the processor that I want to upgrade in a year or two but unfortunately all the ones I like are THX certified[​IMG] so I'll be paying the associated royalties.
    IMHO, THX is nothing more than a club membership, and I am not a member of that club[​IMG]
     
  13. Scott McAllister

    Scott McAllister Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow, all these respsonses just reveal how much I really don't know. Here are a few more questions.

    1. Now I knew about THX's proprietary Re-eq, but I don't know what exactly it does, what parameters it operates under, and how it does it. Can anybody field this one?

    2. What is this X-curve used in DVD mixing?

    3. Here is my current setup, I would LOVE some suggestions regarding where to start upgrading. The DVD player is tops on my list of things to change.

    Sony STR-V555ES
    Sony 1st gen DVD player, no pro-scan, no component video
    Sony 27 inch Trinitron, not a flat screen
    Wharfedale Modus 1.6 for the front speakers
    Venturi V70's (I think) for the center and surround.
    JBL PSB-10 sub
    10 gauge Monster speaker cable all around
    Monster optical cable from the DVD to the receiver.

    Suggest away!! Thanks!
     
  14. Tom Camlioglu

    Tom Camlioglu Stunt Coordinator

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  15. Jay Sylvester

    Jay Sylvester Supporting Actor

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  16. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    Jay,

    I'm basing my statement on articles and interviews I've read in Surround Professional(Tom Holman's publication)and other magazines. As hobbyists we don't often have all the facts like someone in the business, but with professional journals and other publications available, we can at least, get a small glimpse of some of the issues the pros face(like the one we are discussing).

     
  17. Robert McClanahan

    Robert McClanahan Stunt Coordinator

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    Yogi,THX is not a club membership.The reason most high end processors have THX processing is because they know as well as myself that it truly does improve the sound when any movie material is post processed with THX circuitry.You dont have to buy it,but I believe it makes a huge difference,even over properly calibrated processors that do not have THX.
     
  18. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    Well I believe that you would only get the benefit of THX if everything in the reproduction chain was THX certified including your room. How would you know that you are hearing the soundtrack as the movie producer intended for you to listen, if your room isn't THX certified or if only some of your gear is THX certified. I have done A/B comparisons between the 3802 and the 4802 (THX certified) connected to an external amp and I couldn't for the life of me find any difference between the two during HT playback and so didn't any of my friends. Maybe it would if everything else was THX certified and if the room had the right dimensions and treatments as mandated by THX, I dont know. But I think for someone to just go out and buy a THX processor makes no sense.
    There is a discussion going on in another thread about what influences sound most and I think the consensus by far is that speakers and rooms affect the sound most. The rest of the reproduction chain i.e., amps preamps, sources, cables etc are not that much apart in sound. I believe one should concentrate on making sure his room is the right kind of dimension and has the right treatments and then get the best speakers he likes and experiment with placement etc to get the best seamless soundfield. After which he can decide if he needs THX or not. No amount of THX processing can compensate for ill-chosen speakers and ill-designed rooms.
    In a nut shell there are other more important things to worry about other than THX when setting up your HT.
    Hope that makes my position clear.
    Cheers.
     
  19. GordonL

    GordonL Supporting Actor

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  20. Tom Camlioglu

    Tom Camlioglu Stunt Coordinator

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    Yogi,
     

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