You know that “Sweet Spot” in your sound system experience that’s usually isolated to one seat? What if we could expand that sweet spot to your entire couch or even your entire room?
That’s what’s possible, and more, with THX’s latest technologies being revealed at CES 2011. THX has introduced a concept speaker system that includes a breakthrough all-analog amplifier and the THX concept speaker array technology. This amp delivers traditional audiophile quality while meeting requirements for energy efficiency. The THX concept speaker array technology can direct multiple beams of sound to any part of the room.
Traditional speakers use round drivers placed on the front of a speaker cabinet. It’s the design nearly everyone associates with a “speaker.” There are some exceptions, like electrostatic and planar magnetic speakers, but generally speaking they all function in roughly the same way: The speaker driver vibrates thanks to electrical impulses sent to it by an amplifier. It’s these vibrations that compress and rarefy the air, which your brain interprets as sound.
The soundwaves coming from the speaker radiate outwards in a cone pattern. With some speakers, this cone is very narrow, with others, it’s very wide. Sit in the area where the two “cones” mix, and you’re in the sweet spot. In this spot, the balance between the two speakers is ideal, and the frequency response is likely at its most accurate.
But who said speakers need to look like… speakers? It was with this mindset that THX engineers set out to tackle the single seat sweet spot. If a speaker could look like anything, what should it look like? What could it look like?
It took five years of R&D, but the result is unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The THX concept speaker array technology doesn’t look like any other speaker. Instead, it looks more like a narrow vent, or a long port. The low-profile design, including a highly efficient analog amplifier, uses advanced digital sound processing (DSP) to allow the sound to be aimed like a flashlight.
But a really, really adjustable flashlight.
In its most basic mode, the THX concept speaker array technology could just send sound towards your couch, and nothing would seem out of the ordinary. Perhaps you’d be surprised that such quality sound was coming from such a small slot, but otherwise nothing big, right?
Here’s where it gets really interesting. Because the DSP is so powerful, the sound coming from the array can be very focused or expanded to encompass the entire room.
Then you could move that sweet spot, pinpointing the sound at a specific area, like your favorite chair off to the side, but not the couch. Or how about a sweet spot the size of the entire couch? How about a sweet spot for you and your friend that always sits in your favorite chair? Why would you do that? Well, if your room has a lot of reflections (like lots of bare wall or windows), you can actually make the sound better by limiting it to specific areas and not flooding the whole room with sound.
Because the speaker doesn’t look like a speaker, packaging becomes only a question of where, not how. The design is so unobtrusive and the sound created so fine-tunable, the source disappears leaving only the music. Not just for you, but for your entire family.
So where can you get one? Stay tuned.