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Ed's AV Handbook
Batting practice for the AV Professional
and primer for the novice

Chapter 8  Page 3

Home Theater Sound by Design

The High Fidelity Design

If you do not concede to THX/IMAX assumptions, limitations or solutions, and will not acquiesce to a custom design that sacrifices sonic performance, then a High Fidelity design is your choice.  High Fidelity does not accept THX or custom solutions.  For instance:

- HiFi maintains that it is the responsibility of the video producer, broadcaster, streaming service to create a HiFi sound mix for home theater playback.  They generally do.  In contrast, THX assumes that movie soundtracks are mixed too bright and employs 'ReEq' and 'Timbre Match'.  Though many HiFi processors include these THX features, they also include an off switch.

- HiFi applies acoustical absorption at the floor, walls, and ceiling to manage acoustical reflections.  Conversely, THX alters/compromises the vertical dispersion of the front speaker system, to minimize acoustical reflections.  In-wall custom designs distort both vertical and horizontal dispersion.

- HiFi dictates speaker and listener placement at points well away from room boundaries that evade acoustical room mode peak and nulls.  This curbs room mode distortion.  If distorting room modes persist, HiFi prescribes the use of bass traps at the room boundary behind each speaker.  Therefore, HiFi does not need to impose THX room boundary compensation or limit a speaker's low-frequency response.

- HiFi employs larger full-range speakers that can reproduce the wide-dynamics of movie soundtracks and music in all but the subwoofer low-frequency effects channel.  THX and Custom designs do not.

- HiFi defines the placement of larger in-phase rear speakers that provide superior dynamics and better imaging than THX or Custom designs.

High Fidelity is at odds with the compromises of THX and Custom designs.  Therefore, High Fidelity is the choice if an un-distorted recreation of the artist's intent is your goal.

The Verdict

There are many proponents of home theater designs.  Custom, THX, IMAX, and High Fidelity are the fundamental sound options.  Choose the design that copes with your acoustical and aesthetic priorities.

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Ed's AV Handbook   
Copyright 2007 Txu1-598-288 Revised 2024

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