Movie theatres are getting bigger again and exhibitors have learned that audiences are willing to pay for the kind of immersive entertainment that simply can’t be duplicated in the typical home theatre. This trend has only increased the demand that the audio match, or even surpass, the quality of the images on the big screen. Cinema sound has never been bigger or more important. Understanding that, Digital Cinema Report reached out to key manufacturers to learn what developments in sound technology they’ll be highlighting when the exhibition industry gathers next month at CinemaCon 2016 in Las Vegas. In part six of this ongoing series, I spoke with Chuck Mulhearn, sales manager worldwide, cinema, SLS Audio to get his perspective.
Digital Cinema Report: Briefly describe your company’s line of cinema sound products and services.
Chuck Mulhearn: SLS Audio/ A Division of Dolby Laboratories, is a U.S. Manufacturer of Patented High Output Planar Ribbon Driver based loudspeaker systems that facilitate extreme detail and intelligibility not found in conventional Cinema systems on the market today. With a special emphasis on audio systems for Premium Large Format and Dolby Atmos equipped Cinemas, SLS Audio also has a 30 year history of providing innovative and immersive audio solutions in such additional markets as; professional live-sound reinforcement, recording studios and mastering facilities, houses of worship, arenas, nightclubs and commercial buildings.
DCR: What are you highlighting at CinemaCon 2016?
CM: SLS Audio will be highlighting the new Express Series of speaker systems and rigging hardware designed to reduce the Installation time and labor of Dolby Atmos and other Immersive Audio installations. These products will include the SLS MA9090-CT (in ceiling tile) and the MA9090-WM (wall mount) Multi Axis speakers and the SLS Rapid Rigging System for the universal mounting of most all brands of overhead surround speakers. SLS Audio will also be highlighting the new CS6600 fully articulating Line Array screen channel speaker system designed to provide ultimate voice clarity and uncompromising front to back of auditorium volume balance. The new CS6600 is a fully passive crossover module allowing 4 modules to be connected to one amplifier channel thus reducing amplifier cost,
DCR: In your view, what have been the biggest changes in cinema sound in the past decade?
CM: The transition to digital which has provided additional data storage for greater dynamic range and more audio channels for the evolution of immersive audio.
DCR: Do exhibitors in general appreciate the value of sound in movie theatres? Do their patrons?
CM: Yes, I feel that the exhibitors understand the great value that sound provides to their patrons by providing a much more intelligible dialogue and effects to better understand the story line provided by the producer, the production sound engineer and the post production sound engineer. I do believe that patrons definitely appreciate the sound provided by the exhibitor. Over the years, I have been told by patrons that they return to a specific cinema because of the sound quality as well as the visual quality which they experience.
DCR: Are cinema sound standards necessary to advance the cause of better quality audio in movie theatres?
CM: Definitely. The sound engineers need to have standards so that their mix stages have a reference point.