Before THX, filmmakers and audio engineers would spend countless hours poring over cinema footage and audio files, ensuring the perfection of every minute detail. Legendary filmmaker George Lucas first recognised that his films were being released in cinemas yet sounding nothing at all like he intended.
Lucas hired audio scientist, Tomlinson Holman in the early 80’s, after the release of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back, to help realise his need to better reproduce the film makers true intentions for the audio elements. This led to the use of the acronym THX, because it was named after Tomlinson Holman with the “X” standing for “crossover”.
He wanted to ensure the next installment, Return of the Jedi, would be authentically reproduced in the best cinemas. This indeed was the case with Star Was Episode VI: Return of the Jedi becoming the very first film to show THX, debuting on May 25th 1983.
THX is not a recording system, it is a high-fidelity audio/visual reproduction standard for movie theatres. It was designed as a quality assurance system to measure the colour, sound and subtleties of film; from the movie set, to the recording studios and on to the movie theatre. Both digital and analogue formats can be shown in THX.
The THX standards began in the recording studio, starting with studio design, speaker performance and the positioning of the actual recording equipment.
This is extended through to the movie cinema. THX set guidelines for speaker positioning, room acoustics, background noise and isolation. Standards are also in place to determine viewing angles, projectors and lighting levels to ensure optimal viewing.
Going one step further, home theatre devices can now be certified THX. This means that what you see at home is equal to what the director intended. You may notice the THX certification in devices such as Amplifiers/Receivers, televisions, blu-ray players and more in your own home theatre.
To help to get the most out of your system, check out our blog “How to Position Speakers for Your Home Theatre System"