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THX: when the audience was listening

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Martin Dew, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. Martin Dew

    Martin Dew HTF News Editor

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  2. Jonathan Burk

    Jonathan Burk Second Unit

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    Good memories. I can still remember the ad spread for the original Technics home THX system, and my appreciation for the THX Laserdisc certification program.

    And my disenchantment when the certification program was expanded to VHS tapes...
     
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  3. Martin Dew

    Martin Dew HTF News Editor

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    I really wanted that first Technics controller and power amp back in the day, Jonathan. Nice looking kit with the grey textured body and red THX logo on the blue front panel display. I can't find a pic of it online unfortunately.

    I can tell you that not many of us were happy with the VHS certification program! That was pushing it a little too far...
     
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  4. Brian Husar

    Brian Husar Second Unit

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    Thank you for this. I am so nostalgic for THX that my surround system is the Logitech Z906 because it’s THX Certified. And also affordable for me. I don’t like what Razor is doing with the name, although they have that Cinemark partnership and now they have there PLF theater. Lucasfilm should have never sold it. They don’t certify blu ray or 4K UHD blu ray like they did Laserdisc. I don’t even know what they do now?
     
  5. Message #5 of 16 Jan 21, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
    Brian Husar

    Brian Husar Second Unit

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    I think the THX Certified VHS tapes is because the transfers came from the THX certified laserdiscs. I could be wrong but I’ve become obsessed with Laserdiscs and I decided to see if my theory was correct and I noticed, for example that Patton was rereleased on LD sometime in the 90s and it was THX Certified, and at the same time Fox, or now 20th Century Studios, thanks Disney, they rereleased Patton on VHS as part of their VHS “Widescreen Collection” and the VHS was THX certified. At least that’s my theory. Martin can probably explain THX VHS tapes.
     
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  6. Message #6 of 16 Jan 21, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
    Martin Dew

    Martin Dew HTF News Editor

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    THX Laser Disc was a small business unit within the THX Division in the mid-late 90s consisting of a studio relations manager, tech guru Dave Schnuelle and, for a while, yours truly overseeing quality control when I first joined. If I found visual anomalies and artefacts, or audio problems, I would catalogue the bad pressings and we could identify which plant (at Pioneer Japan or elsewhere), and which machine was responsible. So...with THX Laser Disc, we did guarantee quality through the whole workflow to the finished disc. I think I scrutinized every single pressing of the Jaws CAV collector's edition (of which I'm very proud as it's my favorite movie!).

    When VHS came along, the packaging stamp was 'THX Digitally Mastered' because the only part of the chain we could reasonably control was the master itself, as we could hardly have eyes over the many duplication facilities and millions of copies shipped. VHS was also prone to degrading quality over time through head wear, so the compromise made sense, but we got some grief for the new strategy from both the press and home theater enthusiasts.

    So, Brian, yes you're basically correct because the approved master that was used for the LD was almost certainly the one to be used on the VHS edition of the same title.
     
  7. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    One of the main things I recall was that prior to THX, the volume level of soundtracks could be all over the place, especially on LDs and DVDs. That was one of the things THX resolved, and now there seems to be almost an industry wide standard, at least a lot closer than there used to be.
     
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  8. skylark68

    skylark68 Screenwriter

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    My old Kenwood VR-8070 was THX "Select". I still have it. I suppose that was a label for lower priced receivers back then. I always enjoyed the old THX intro to some of my DVD's.
     
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  9. Brian Husar

    Brian Husar Second Unit

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    Any idea why they abandoned all of this when Creative and now Razer took over? I know the Cinemark partnership. But even blu ray discs. I can count the titles that have THX involved, and they aren’t even involved in 4K. It’s like they want the Lucasfilm legacy, but that’s it. Make that name mean something again. Maybe I’m nostalgic for the 90s too much, but when you saw the logo, and heard Deep Note, it meant something.
     
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  10. Martin Dew

    Martin Dew HTF News Editor

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    THX Select was a way to get receivers and speakers to lower price points by promoting the same performance in rooms up to 1500 cu ft, while THX Ultra branding was for equipment in rooms for 3000 cu ft.
     
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  11. Martin Dew

    Martin Dew HTF News Editor

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    I don't really know, Brian. To me it's all a bit sad. They should have led the charge on PLF auditoriums and 4K home media as you say - they had (and have) all the know-how.

    The company got obsessed with car and computer audio in the early 2000s when Creative took over which I think diluted the brand and muddied up the messaging. Their core expertise was pro and home cinema. Should have stayed that way IMO - there's still a need for such an organization.
     
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  12. PCRIDE

    PCRIDE Agent

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    We had a store called Ultimate Electronics, maybe you’ve heard of them. One of my high school buddies would always go to that store and inside their theater room configure the speaker set up and fine tune all the equipment like it was his own just to play the THX intro.
    He’d drag us down there, sit us down in the theater and play THX intro over and over LOL!!
     
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  13. Brian Husar

    Brian Husar Second Unit

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    Since Disney now owns Lucasfilm, maybe petition Disney to buy THX from Razer and get it back in the family and have the name mean something again. I believe you told me that a lot of the people who are involved with Dolby Cinema, worked for THX at the time. At least that work is still out there, just not called THX.
     
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  14. Message #14 of 16 Feb 7, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
    andySu

    andySu Cinematographer

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    I have my THX pin somewhere in a kitchen draw?

    THX pin.

    THX poster 1.
    Got the Lucasfilm Ltd THX sound system. The Audience Is Listening. ultra cheap!

    THX JBL.
    THX sound system.
    Lucasfilm Ltd THX 3417 crossover monitor in the bottom of my amplifier rack.

    THX cards.
    Lucasfilm Ltd THX crossover cards, that usually leased to THX cinemas often remain intact. You can get THX 3417 cheap on ebay.

    THX rear back.

    THX manual.

    THX cineams.
    Came across this in boxOffice magazine. Is that England on the map. Empire Leicester Square and High Wycombe. Never heard the one at the original Warner West End, sure it would have knocked my socks off.
     
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  15. Martin Dew

    Martin Dew HTF News Editor

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    UCI Wycombe #1 was an amazing-sounding THX room, but Empire Leicester Sq was a retrofit and a little underwhelming by comparison.
     
  16. andySu

    andySu Cinematographer

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    I can agree and disagree, but would agree UCI Wycombe 6, #1 THX was soundly, out of this world.
    I saw Indiana Jones 3 at local MGM screen #1, Bournemouth in 70mm at least 3 times before I saw it at Empire #1 and I can hear feel the difference was powerful at Empire #1.

    I saw Arachnophobia at odeon #2 Bournemouth December 1989, and I enjoyed it. A friend and I went up Wycombe 6, January 1990, and there playing was Arachnophobia in Dolby SR THX sound system. We arrived 15mins late show had started so we waited for next show. I stepped in and stood at the back of the auditorium, WOW oh my! It was pressing against my feet. legs waist, chest arms, face, the whole body. Awesome! And that was the softest scene in the movie the jungle scene where they find a "new kind of spider". The music bass notes was pressing against my body!

    We sat about 5 rows from the front, centre line. When THX Broadway started I could feel it pressing against my body, the instant it started, never mind about 18 sec into it when dynamics build up high. The first few seconds was impressive, with that JBL THX set-up.

    The spider attack scene in the wine cellar with Trevor Jones, score was pressing against my body and even noticing some of the bass on stage left sort of had an up/down movement when the spider was crawling along the guys leg. The notes bass was just incredible for Dolby Stereo SR in JBL THX. They seemed to growl grunt with out of space, expanding universe bass sub bass.
     

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