I forgot to mention this last weekend, but before going to last Friday’s somewhat disappointing 4K digital screening of Dr. Strangelove at West L.A.’s Landmark, I slipped into theatre #10 — upstairs and on the smallish side but with perfect sightlines and luxurious seating — and I noticed that Once was playing on the screen. But what got me wasn’t the digital projection (which looked fantastic) as much as the sound.
The voices and the ambient sound was unusually clean and full. It didn’t feel the least bit distorted or pushed. It’s a little hard to understand some of Once‘s dialogue because of the Irish and Slovak acccents, but every syllable and vowel was suddenly cleaner and sharper than anything I’d ever heard before, and I’ve seen John Carney‘s film four times now.
The reason for the awesome sound, I’ve been told, is Landmark’s decison to install state-of-the-art Klipsch speakers. Specifically Klipsch professional cinema speakers, Dolby Digital EX surround sound processors, and QSC amplifiers.
An info sheet supplied by Landmark marketing exec Madelyn Hammond quotes Landmark’s chief engineer Bobby Parry as saying that Klipsch builds “the most advanced, best-sounding professional speakers for the cinema industry,” said Parry. “They have the smoothest response curve of any cinema speaker I’ve ever used.”
She also quotes Klipsch exec Chuck Mulhearn and his explanation about how Klipsch uses “advanced Tractrix Horn geometry and compression driver technology that reproduces a more genuine, lifelike sound in theaters. Horn design dramatically increases efficiency, which is important, because it enables Klipsch speakers to produce more output using less energy. This improves reliability and reduces distortion, so you hear exactly what you’re supposed to, instead of speaker coloration.
“This improves reliability and reduces distortion, so you hear exactly what you’re supposed to, instead of speaker coloration,” he concludes.
I know this sounds like p.r. blather, but I’ve been to the Landmark and stood in one of those upstairs theatres and listened and it’s all real. As soon as I walked in a voice went “whoa.” I swear the sound felt just a little bit fuller and cleaner than it does at the Arclight. And that’s saying alot.