Loud Music

Topics: Loudspeaker, Sound, Acoustics Pages: 3 (1058 words) Published: November 13, 2008
Despite the slightly paranoid opinions of the more reclusive audiophiles I associate with, I believe that home theater has contributed significantly to the advancement of musical reproduction. For instance, THX standards mandated flat frequency response from speakers. Many "audiophile" speakers deliberately avoided a flat frequency response in order to tailor the tonality, often with a familiar smile curve, to enhance what they felt would be the most impressive aspects of reproduction. Accuracy was a nice selling term, but few agreed on how to define it. THX, whether one agreed with the definition or not, at least set a standard, from which we, the consumers, benefited.

By knowing that speakers we were listening to met certain standards for on-axis frequency response, we knew what flat really meant. It did not ensure musical satisfaction, but did provide a reference for a world of audio in which factions often eschewed references of foreign standards, and baked up their own to taste, with justifications akin to "It just sounds right," or "It sounds more like music." Those statements hold water when made in the context of personal opinion, but is tantamount to, "We think it sounds good." Many audiophiles cued into loudspeakers with flat frequency response, and some found that they could indeed be musically rewarding, in some cases perhaps even more so than those altered to pander to taste.

Similarly, even though low frequency reproduction did exist before the cinematic experience came home, the demand for bass extension and output capability surged forward with the popularity of home theater, not as a matter of standardization, but as a matter of spectacle. Sound systems reproducing high-budget special effects had to keep up with thundering explosions, quaking rumbles, and even the subsonic grunt dubbed into every smack of a fight scene. And so the consumer demanded more. More extension, more output. Television speakers would no longer do, nor would...
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