The pursuit of perfection in sight and sound
Much has been said of late about private cinema video. Specifically about direct view LED displays (DVLED). These displays undoubtedly offer some compelling features, including virtually unlimited brightness and contrast, vivid color, high dynamic range and many design advantages. This is not to say the projection era is over by any means and, like most innovations and choices, advantages exist for both technologies. it is a choice that every cinema connoisseur must make and for which unbiased guidance is essential. Guidance that will emphasize that an extraordinary private cinema, like the movies experienced within, are multi-sensory experiences that, when holistically engineered, are greater than merely a collection of components.
Much less is being said about these solid surface displays’ impact on the audio experience. Extraordinary private cinema that has resulted from decades of diligent research and development. When home theater emerged around 34 years ago, the video and audio could have been better. Projectors provided dim, low resolution images and home theater sound was validly disregarded by hi-fi audio enthusiasts. We knew little about small room acoustics and our options for solutions were few.
Nonetheless, home theater was wildly popular, and the nascent industry boomed. This early success provided the impetus for a core of passionate and talented professionals, engineers, acousticians, manufacturers, and integrators, to progress private cinema audio. As a result, the finest audio experiences to be had are heard in well-engineered, executed and equipped private cinemas. We had arrived!
A big part of what makes private cinema audio so good is what happens behind the screen. A fact that is easy to overlook with all the excitement around immersive audio. The cohesion between the image and the audio is vital to the phenomenon known as “the willing suspension of disbelief.” That cohesion is dependent on getting some things right. Foremost is the accuracy of the sound itself. If the system does not sound natural for any number of technical reasons, the suspension of disbelief will not be achieved. Other factors include dynamics, detail, immersive imaging, intelligibility, extension, and transient response.
In layman’s terms, the sound should be natural, clear, and intelligible at high and low levels, realistically rendered in space (as opposed to identifiable speaker locations) and play frequencies from the deepest bass to the highest highs. Sound so good the picture is almost redundant but add today’s high resolution and high dynamic range images and voila’, it is magical!
Therein lies the point. Film, the movies, the seventh art form, is an art of sight, sound, storytelling, emotion and more. Leave anyone short and the experience is incomplete. “Sound is 50 percent of the movie going experience,” says George Lucas. If we overemphasize the audio at the expense of the image, we diminish the art. The converse is equally true. The emergence of DVLED in private cinemas creates an issue every designer and engineer must disclose and resolve. DVLED displays prevent screen wall loudspeakers from being located where we would place them to ensure a magical experience. This means half of the experience has been compromised or at minimum, changed. Are private cinema connoisseurs willing to pay that price in exchange for the latest and greatest thing?
But DVLED is far more than just a flashy newcomer. Some examples and implementations offer very compelling performance and other advantages. (Watch for TCC Issue 7 Cinema Intelligence feature for deep dive into private cinema imaging). Is compromise a necessity? The answer is not necessarily! While early implementations of the technology do not benefit from the work that is being done. Much like the early home theater adopters, enthusiasm comes with a price. And the good news is that results, even with the compromises, are very good in comparison to where we began. But ask yourself, are you willing to diminish your experiences and those you share with your family and friends needlessly? If excellence is available, would not excellence be your choice?
Faced with answering these questions for enthusiastic clients, engineers with Paradise Theater teamed with The Cinema Connoisseur to find out what top loudspeaker manufacturers are doing to develop DVLED screen wall audio solutions. Inquiries were sent and the response was gratifyingly good. Many manufacturers seem motivated and committed to developing new solutions and no-compromise performance. Neither is willing to fall behind in the sibling rivalry between the acolytes of audio and video. A good thing for private cinema connoisseurs!
Interviews with engineering teams, designers and company principals were conducted by Paradise engineers and The Cinema Connoisseur to learn:
- What solutions have been developed and are under development
- What performance verification methods were employed
- What performance verification methods were employed
The nine interviews have been summarized and presented alphabetically rather than in any order of preference. All the manufacturers interviewed are some of the most exceptional in our industry. A brief conclusion will be provided after the final manufacturer’s section. All cinema connoisseurs reading these interview results must keep in mind an elevating audio experience, whether a traditional screen wall or a DVLED application, is not achieved with the right black boxes but by expertly engineered and executed solutions by a team of professionals.
Ascendo Immersive Audio
Spend a few minutes with Geoffrey Heinzel of Ascendo Immersive Audio (AIA) and his commitment to high performance backed by science becomes clear. (See The Cinema Connoisseur Issue 3, Cinema Intelligence – Pursuit of Perfection: Passion, Performance and Standards of Excellence) Heinzel affirms, “We engineer for home theater and the best solutions for a true home theater, which for us, is high performance.” When engineering a solution for DVLED applications, AIA looked at feasibility first. Could a solution be designed to uphold their reputation for remarkable clarity, the precision of timing and timbre within the constraints of DVLED configurations? In other words, would a replacement for AIA’s direct radiating true point source solution be possible with little or no screen wall space?
Heinzel collaborated with their engineering partner to do just that, recalling, “their world-class experience designing waveguides for pro, cinema and studio gave us confidence in their ability to realize a solution worthy of further exploration.” Confidence that was well-founded. A process of software simulation, design, prototyping, full CEA 2034 analysis, then listening resulted in a combination of components that their engineering partner reports “could give the perception of coming from the center of the screen although it is flush mounted in the ceiling and discreetly below the screen.” Geoffrey adds, “We made a number of iterations, waveguide designs, driver combinations and whatnot, testing and listening in the evaluation cinema.” The resulting solution is a carefully curated assembly of systems. High-quality drivers, engineered waveguides, configuration and calibration protocols that “balance” the output to replicate the performance of a single point source system from AIA. An engineering accomplishment to complement the conditions and performance of a DVLED display.
It is noteworthy that AIA is forthcoming about limitations to this initial offering. Noteworthy because these are not limitations in the typical sense. “Precise timing requires a true point source, but we cannot have a true point source [with DVLED],” Heinzel explains, “So we have tailored the system to a range where we can come very close to a perfect point source.” The initial AIA solution will support up to a three-row theater at its highest performance criteria. Asked about larger rooms, Geoffrey quickly pointed out, “We have the experience now to adapt our R&D to a larger application. That is easy compared to this solution in a smaller footprint.”
He explains further, “We [AIA] have invested nearly three years before coming to market with this solution, we have the experience.” A statement that speaks volumes. AIA speaks of a solution rather than a product. Indicating something of much greater substance and satisfaction. AIA named their solution The DIRECTOR, a play between cinema itself and their waveguide approach. Cinema connoisseurs investing upwards of $500,000 on a DVLED image will demand nothing less!
L-Acoustics was founded to serve the concert industry, creating innovative sound systems and technologies that elevate the listening experience. Technology that Michael Acevedo, Business Manager, says is relevant to DVLED applications, explaining, “Residential systems benefit from the same technology that we’re using for pro. Our proprietary 3D modeling software, Soundvision, predicts how any L-Acoustics system will perform in any room.” Asked about systems specifically designed for DVLED installations in private cinemas, Acevedo replies, “We don’t have anything specifically meant for direct views, but everything we make is extensively documented and predictable with Soundvision. Every product is a pro product with wide dispersion, even from point source. We have had good results with a single X8 point source speaker for a center beneath the screen or, if larger, above and below. Using Soundvision, we can predict when comb filtering will be a problem and find the correction for it.”
He says, “We treat all projects as if they are pro venues and 3D map the space, running acoustic simulations to design the system so that it matches our sonic signature and provides a 95dB concert level experience. We then provide a full report on our design, including “heat maps” to show you the coverage and SPL levels in all areas of the listening space.” L-Acoustics has also entered the residential market with L-Acoustics Creations, including a very personal solution. Island Prestige is a two-seat immersive experience designed to be a personalized concert “auditorium.” Michael goes on to explain how L-Acoustics, with the Island and partner C-Seed, a micro-LED manufacturer, have collaborated to develop a home theater product named Maunakea. Could this be a preview of potential collaborations where designers, engineers and integrators could create a kind of “Big Island” for the adventurous cinema connoisseur? Stay tuned!
L-Acoustics has also entered the residential market with L-Acoustics Creations, including a very personal solution. Island Prestige is a two-seat immersive experience designed to be a personalized concert “auditorium.” Michael goes on to explain how L-Acoustics, with the Island and partner C-Seed, a micro-LED manufacturer, have collaborated to develop a home theater product named Maunakea. Could this be a preview of potential collaborations where designers, engineers and integrators could create a kind of “Big Island” for the adventurous cinema connoisseur? Stay tuned!
“Meridian has a reputation for research and innovation,” A statement Barry Sheldrick, Meridian’s Director of Sales, confirms, saying, “Twenty of about seventy-five Meridian people are in research and development, which is huge.” That dedication to innovation is why Meridian is ready to navigate the DVLED solution without blinking an eye. “It’s been 12 years or so. We developed what was then called center elevation to lift the auditory image of the center speaker.” Laurence Hobden, Engineering Team Leader, recalls. Hobden explained that although our brains do compensate for compromised audio imaging with visual cues, the so-called ventriloquist effect, can be fatiguing. He adds, “Watch a whole movie, and it actually does get quite tiring, to the point where that starts breaking down.” Meridian’s research into the psychoacoustic phenomena found that by manipulating spectral cues, a listener would believe that the sound is higher, psychoacoustically lifting the auditory image of the center speaker.
Asked how effective the method is, Hobden replies, “In testing, we found it did a really good job! When watching a film with center image elevation engaged, if it were suddenly turned off, the center image would just drop to the floor.”
He adds, “that technology has evolved, It’s no longer known as Meridian’s Center Elevation. It’s now known as Meridian’s Image Elevation.” Barry adds, “We already have millions of customers globally using Meridian’s Image Elevation technology in a soundbar.”
A soundbar is one thing but what about a luxury private cinema with a large DVLED display? Barry’s confidence comes from Meridian’s continual research in psychoacoustics. “You asked how we know we’ve got it right. Our studies on how people listen, what people find pleasant, and finally, what sonic cues people use to perceive sound as higher or lower in space. And that’s crucial because if you know what makes a sound appear high or low, you can determine what is needed to make that sound be there. It isn’t because you’ve angled the speaker!” What exactly is needed, then? Hobden gives us a glimpse. “In research, there was an assumption that we cannot hear the timbral differences that create cues for image height location, but it turns out we can. Even in free space, a loudspeaker, high and low, does not sound the same. Meridian’s Image Elevation applies the timbral location changes that cause us to perceive the location higher.”
Barry adds, “Our ears tell us where the sound is coming from, it’s how we interpret those frequencies. Meridian’s Image Elevation just locks that straight in the middle. You might as well have three speakers behind an acoustically transparent screen, except it is a DVLED.” Sounds too good to be true, what’s the catch? Hobden clarifies, “Because it is necessary to boost some frequencies, headroom has to be considered.
All Meridian loudspeakers are engineered to perform well beyond those levels.” Barry adds, “We developed a new patented technology to deliver 125dB at one meter at Meridian’s high fidelity. It is our technology that makes that possible.” He adds, “A big part of our business is based on our technology, the licensing of technologies we’ve created.” He sums it up by saying, “The impact of Meridian Image Elevation technology is the minute you click it on, everything sounds so much more focused, has much greater clarity. The brain activity drops off, and you feel more immersed, you feel more relaxed, it feels more realistic, more lifelike. Add to that the sonic high fidelity and accuracy of Meridian Loudspeakers, and you know you’ve got it right!”
“Faithful audio reproduction in every environment is a core value of Meyer Sound.” affirms Katharine “Katie” Murphy, Engineering Director. So, whether it is a luxury private cinema with a projector, screen, and immersive audio or a screening room at Netflix with the latest DVLED and Meyer Ultra Reflex, the result has to be the same. “We’re not getting a separate mix for emissive display [DVLED], adds Jay Wyatt, Program Manager for Cinema and Residential. Wyatt adds, “if we’re reproducing the same art form in the same media, we need to achieve the same performance goals.” This determination led Meyer Sound to develop its unique Ultra Reflex solution for DVLED applications.
So, what are those performance goals, and how can they be measured? “All bets are on as far as coverage, SPL, and uniformity,” Wyatt replies. That means Meyer engineered Ultra Reflex to cover a designated audience area at a uniform volume level, dynamically, as the artist intended and, with even tonal balance throughout the audible range. All measurable and objectively demonstrable criteria. Not, however, easily attained, especially with the design limitations inherent with DVLED configurations. But what about other, less quantifiable criteria?
An attribute that Meyer Sound maintains as essential is sight to sound coherence. “A lot of work goes into imaging and localization cues. That needs to be preserved,” explains Wyatt, referring to the artistic efforts of sound designers. He adds, “If you’ve got dialogue coming from above [or below] the screen, it can pull you out of the story. That doesn’t serve the art form.” Referring to some solutions depend on the so-called ventriloquist effect, which contends that a visual image can convince an audience that the sound is coming from the screen. Wyatt, familiar with the argument, responds by saying, “The larger the screen, the more you stretch that theory. Who’s to say how big these screens are going to be?”
Committed to the challenge of creating a no compromise alternative to behind the screen systems, Meyer investigated how to originate sound from the center of a screen where no speaker could be located. Senior Scientist Schwenke recalls some of the experiments and investigations, saying, “We tried different ways. It would have been easier to just have one speaker above the screen or, have a center speaker above and below.” Schwenke concludes, “The only way we found to make it work for more than one listener is to have one source, not a phantom image.” Meyer used science to flip the script, as Schwenke relates, “So now the video is coming directly from the screen and the sound is reflected.”
He goes on to explain, “The LED screen is not a perfect acoustical reflector, [but] by constraining it to mid and high frequencies, it is really quite amazing.” And those lower frequencies? Roger concludes, “Those are reproduced from below the screen wall as we are not as sensitive to the location of lower frequencies.” The resulting Ultra Reflex system directs sound toward the audience from two locations: Loudspeakers fire directional high-frequency sound toward the screen, where it is reflected into the audience area. Subwoofers facing outward from below the screen project low-frequency sound toward the audience; the two sources are integrated and processed to deliver full, high-fidelity screen channel sound.
How does Meyer confirm sonic accuracy? Murphy shares the Meyer process of performance verification. “We are first modeling and then prototyping, going into our anechoic chamber, measuring it that way. Then doing listening tests on individual speakers. Then upon putting it into the environment with content that was created for that environment. Once it sounds how the creators meant it to sound, you’re experiencing it the way the artist intended.” What advice does Meyer have for the cinema connoisseur deciding if Ultra Reflex is right for them? Wyatt sums it up saying, “Ultra Reflex is called a solution for a reason. It is more than a loudspeaker or even a family of loudspeakers. It is design, engineering, support, deployment, and commissioning. Think of it as the complete offering.” Just add your favorite form of audio art!
Pro Audio Technology
Do cinema connoisseurs have to choose between stunning DVLED images and state of the art immersive sound? Pro Audio Technology Founder L. Paul Hales thinks not. When asked if DVLED means compromised audio, he states, “I don’t believe it does.” adding emphatically, “It shouldn’t!” PRO’s approach to cinema sound is to ensure every listener gets the full experience as the artists intended. For movies and music, that means realistically and viscerally. “Sound is visceral. You hear it, you feel it. And you can also be enveloped in it,” Founder L. Paul Hales exudes.
PRO has invested much effort and spared no expense in assuring their clientele never have to compromise their sonic experience. “The best results are always going to be produced by the most accurate and dynamic loudspeakers, in a meticulously designed acoustic environment, aimed at the audience,” Hales states. To ensure accurate direct sound and lineal off-axis performance, PRO employs a rigorous measurement process with their factory’s Klippel robotic measurement system as well as a program of critical listening on every loudspeaker (see TCC Issue 3, Cinema Intelligence). Hales continues, “If anything about the physical room alters that direct sound, we apply only the compensation needed to bring it back to that accurate response.” By emphasizing the quality of sound at the listening position, Hale feels the PRO process has accomplished its most important goal. “The timbre, the clarity, dynamics, the sound arriving at the listener’s ears needs to be perfect.”
What of sight-to-sound coherence? “Whether deploying a high-end projector or a video wall,” Hales re-affirms, “We start with the best loudspeakers, aimed at the listeners, and make sure that sound reaches their ears unchanged.” PRO has developed loudspeakers that adhere to this fundamental principle while adapting to video wall installations’ environmental and design challenges. One model, the SR-2408iw, designed for a mega yacht with a DVLED display and DCI system, Hales laments “had no room for speakers,” served as the inspiration. The resulting products feature wave-guide options to direct sound to the listeners while fitting in the limited space. This range of loudspeakers, engineered to produce the accurate, dynamic PRO sound, even when space and location challenges arise, also finds application in traditional screen walls and immersive systems.
PRO doesn’t leave sight to sound coherence entirely to the aforementioned ventriloquist effect. Hales describes the process PRO applies, “The best solution is to place a left and right speaker outside the video wall, and a center speaker above and below, angling the speaker or waveguide, if space is limited, to direct the sound to the primary listener. In calibration, we pull that image where we want it vertically with DSP in our Loudspeaker Controller.” PRO Audio Technology works with the designer to develop an optimum solution for every private cinema rather than creating a single product to address video walls. Focusing on their number one priority of designing accurate and dynamic loudspeakers that produce great sound and supporting their partners in implementation regardless of their imaging solution. PRO’s top priority is ensuring sound reaches the audience’s ears just like the artists envisioned. Without compromise!
Steinway Lyngdorf reports Claus Glaesner, “enjoys the emotional and subjective side of audio, but as engineers, we work to understand what that means.” So, when developing solutions for DVLED screen wall audio, they conducted subjective listening tests to narrow down viable options. Glaesner recalls, “It was very critical listening and comparing.” The test system featured a traditional center deployment and a dual center deployment above and below the screen. The test room configuration was a typical home theater, two rows plus a bar. The results were both expected and surprising. Data gathered in development indicated the expansive listening window of the IW-26H, making it an excellent candidate for the dual center. Knowledge of Steinway Lyngdorf’s proprietary bass management and boundary woofer accurately predicted the tactile and dynamic punch that would belie the speaker’s relative size. Claus reports, “Amazing! Center channel dispersion, tactile response, and imaging that was so spot on everyone thought it was the [much larger] IW-66 behind a screen in the blind tests.”
For Steinway Lyngdorf, developing a solution for the state-of-the-art video wall required a holistic view. Offering anything less would not be acceptable. “We maintain the highest standard of performance for the reproduction of all audio, not just one form,” explains Henrik Mortensen, Senior Acoustics Designer. Observing that owners of luxury private cinemas, especially those with the latest DVLED, expect to enjoy movies, music, and more. Thomas Birkelund, CEO/CTO, adds, “If we can reproduce music really well, we can absolutely reproduce cinema. It doesn’t go the other way around.” The team dismissed options that would have served audio but at the expense of film imaging, film at the expense of audio detail and clarity.
Ultimately, they could rely on their existing extensive engineering resources, flexibility, and creativity. As fate would have it, many of the innovations of Steinway Lyngdorf R & D are particularly applicable. Boundary woofer and Bass management a la Steinway Lyngdorf enable smaller, more easily integrated loudspeakers without losing dynamics and bass extension. The technology behind Room Perfect makes the final calibration of image in tandem with the aforementioned bass management singularly effective. Finally, a legacy of sonically superior loudspeakers ranging from flagship LS series to application specific customizations facilitates ideal system configurations for individual DVLED configurations.
The Steinway Lyngdorf engineering team continues to pursue perfection in DVLED audio, both in case-by-case implementation and the development of repeatable solutions. Some things are cinema design considerations. Mortensen points out an example relating to sight to sound imaging. “There’s a limit to how much you can deviate from the adjusted height in the room. Gradual transitions work very well.” A tantalizing work in progress is a collaboration between Steinway Lyngdorf and Spatial in demonstrations at CEDIA Expo as well as Steinway Lyngdorf’s Hollywood showroom. Glaesner reports, “We corrected a center channel location below the screen. Spatial designed sound objects in the left and right and two overhead channels.
The result was a center image that was pretty spot on wherever you sat!” Birkelund assures us that it is only one option: “Spatiala is a good solution, but not the only solution to this specific issue.” Does the Steinway Lyngdorf team feel there is a compelling reason to continue R&D to improve DVLED audio? Glaesner encourages it emphatically. “What is cinema sound? Is it a movie? Is it music? It needs to be an emotional experience. I can tell you; nothing compares to audio for emotion. It is why George Lucas said 50% of the movie experience is the sound. We [the audio industry] need to keep our part of the bargain!”
In even the finest, there is compromise. For Giles Smith, Founder and Chief Engineer of TPI Cinema, choosing only the compromises which do not stand in the way of the experience is one way TPI delivers “the best performance on the planet.” Regarding engineering a DVLED screen wall audio solution, TPI stayed true to that principle. “We’d developed the concept but wanted to compare our compromises with the others.” Smith reports. “Reflection, giant sound bars, DSP [Digital Signal Processing], all have compromises.” Smith applauds all industry peers who have endeavored to bring DVLED sound to cinema connoisseurs at the highest level, but TPI would approach it in their customary manner.
“What do the room and the conditions do to the sound of an accurate loudspeaker?” Poses Smith. TPI engineers set about determining just that for DVLED installations. The primary condition to consider was whether a loudspeaker capable of driving the room could even fit in the space available around a video wall. “If you can’t use our loudspeakers, that is a bad compromise,” Giles quips. But it is a real consideration that led to various loudspeakers to fit and fill luxury DVLED cinemas from small to large. The TPI Movement loudspeakers all embody the company’s DNA of high sensitivity, timbral accuracy, and phase coherency to deliver the visceral, emotionally engaging audio experiences TPI has become known for.
Attention to details like sensitivity and headroom, crossover design and implementation, and even the material science of drivers assures TPI listeners are seamlessly connected to the art. Each Movement loudspeaker is shipped in pairs. Three or five, depending on screen size, are placed above and below the screen. The TPI proprietary signal processing system blends these signals for an acoustically accurate wavefront, which appears to emanate directly from the screen. Finally, The Movement Controller enables the audio image to be “moved” to the preferred vertical position. Multiple settings allow for flexibility in cinema use.
Smith aims to reduce any compromise between the natural sound and the cinema connoisseur. Whether it be intrinsic characteristics that any speaker designer would face, design elements introduced by others, or, as in the case of DVLED, an archetype of private cinema with its own set of intrinsic compromises. TPI is confident in having no compromise in its efforts to reach that goal. Producing loudspeakers that reproduce audio accurately and dynamically, engineered aptly for rooms of any size, and developing a solution to reproduce sound as it should be experienced in this compelling paradigm for private cinema. Smith adeptly passes the mantle back to the designers and integrators, asking, “Who’s designing, who’s completing these private cinemas?” A valid point. Let there be no compromise in our efforts!
A commitment to achieving the ultimate music and film sound reproduction, regardless of the application, motivated Wisdom Audio to develop a center channel solution with the performance advantages of line source loudspeakers and planar magnetic drivers for large direct view displays. “It was 2017, and Sony had introduced their 100” LED. We could foresee the demand!” Luc Guillaume, Managing Director, recalls. Looking to maintain detail, clarity, and dynamics and create a proper sonic image was an effort that Wisdom poured engineering effort into. Guillaume adds, “Designers and Integrators should have no reservations about the trend of DVLED in the dedicated private theater.”
The effort represented some trial and error at the onset. “We tried traditional dual center and the reflection approaches,” reports Todd Packer, Product Development and Technical Services Manager. The team determined that to exploit the advantages of Wisdom’s technologies, a direct rather than oblique sound path and appropriate localization strategies would be their emphasis. The reflective path would compromise wisdom’s planar magnetic driver’s (PMD) superior detail, outstanding dynamic range, and controlled directivity. The line source technology would benefit from distinctive solutions for localizing the sound. Wisdom engineering accepted the mission.
The company’s first effort focused on a solution for most clients with a DVLED screen. Some parameters were absolutes.“We set out to design something that could keep up with the left and right speaker and match timbre.” Packer informs us, adding, “Clarity, detail, frequency range, and dynamics had to be consistent too.” A tall order when matching a 6’ line source! The resulting solution is The Sage Cinema Hybrid Line Source (HLS). Hybrid due to the HLS’ makeup of two line modules oriented horizontally around a newly developed planar magnetic module (MTM). The design combines the power over a distance of the line modules while exploiting their wide dispersion to expand the vertical image, while the MTM provides excellent horizontal dispersion. Packer views the award-winning HLA as the perfect match for most Sage Cinema / DVLED designs.
But some Wisdom buyers want more. They seek the performance of the flagship Wisdom LS or have a larger room requiring greater sound power. But matching either Wisdom LS or Sage Cinema systems would require a line source center. Not possible with a DVLED screen! Or was it? The conventional assumption was that horizontal orientation was not advisable. Wisdom decided to turn convention on its ear. The engineering team got busy solving all the reasons “it couldn’t be done” as well as fine tuning all the reasons it should. The horizontal line source and driver technology delivered, providing dynamics, clarity, and sound, matching its vertical counterparts leaving only imaging to be resolved.
A recent addition, Steven Riemersma, Senior Loudspeaker Engineer, added his insight, “My previous experience developing a sound field with correct dispersion in the far field was helpful.” The resulting proprietary wavefront curvature technique shifts the perceived image to the center. The team also applied their extensive research into the psychoacoustic cues for vertical localization. The result is not just a product but a solution. “This solution, The Sage Cinema Line Source Array Center Channel (LSACC), is unlike any other we have developed. Each project is an implementation specific to a room and its configuration. Calibration and final tuning are essential and provided exclusively by Wisdom Engineering.” Guillaume exclaims, adding, “We are proud of the solid cinematic experience this solution delivers.”
Private cinema audio has been a work in progress for over 35 years. A passion project to provide elevating audio experiences for every cinema connoisseur. It is not a trivial pursuit and one that is now entering a new era, that of DVLED screen walls. The new mission is to meet or exceed the high performance standards we have attained with traditional screen wall audio.
As an industry, we must accept this mission and renounce needless compromise. This will require institutional discipline and industry wide collaboration. The task of gathering and studying objective data and unbiased subjective data will be difficult. Still, the rewards will be standards of excellence the best can maintain, and those seeking the finest can rely on them.
The charge for those advising the cinema connoisseur, integrators, designers, et al. Resist the inclination to compromise. To choose expediency or economy over excellence. We rather must guide our clientele to make wise choices. Explore every option. Recommend the right solutions for the client and project based on real data. Follow up with engineering, design, documentation, and quality assurance. Remember, everything matters, and experience is everything. There are no second chances. Two very opposite and telling adages apply. “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” and “When one has tasted excellence, there is no going back.” With which epiphany would you leave your client?
For the cinema connoisseur, this new era represents a new level of experience but also more to consider. Employing a litmus test of sorts will prove beneficial and provide clarity in making wise choices. That test can be simply stated, does it best serve my family’s shared experiences? Put another way I will quote my friend and fellow cinema connoisseur Tim Sinnaeve of Barco Residential. Tim often says, “People don’t want to buy a projector from me, they want to acquire what happens as a result of owning that projector.” Consider first the precious time you can share with those you love in your private cinema. In light of those moments, there must be no compromise!