What You'll Get
- Klipsch SW-450 Subwoofer
Surround Sound: 3D Glasses for Your Ears
Much of the cinematic experience belongs to the immersive sound, which seems to come from everywhere around you. Read on to learn more about how surround sound works.
Since the early days of talkies, audio typically projected from a single speaker at the front of the theater. The resulting sound lacked depth and wasn’t a very realistic listening experience. After all, we naturally hear from all directions, not just one. Enter surround sound, in which several audio tracks envelop an audience from virtually every direction, creating a more dynamic, immersive soundscape. First developed by Dolby Laboratories in the 1970s, modern surround sound splits audio tracks into multiple channels, feeding each one to individual speakers positioned throughout a theater or living room. Speakers at the front play the central dialogue and soundtrack, with sounds on the right side of the screen coming from the right speaker and vice versa. The speakers on the sides and in the back are mainly used for special effects—such as the TIE fighters zooming past the audience in Star Wars—and background noises—such as the faint rattle of wires hoisting the TIE fighters’ scale models. Many systems also incorporate a subwoofer, which produces low-frequency bass sounds capable of physically rattling the seats during intense scenes.
Today, surround sound comes in many forms both analog and digital, but the first film to incorporate it was Walt Disney’s Fantasia in 1941. To accomplish the feat, Disney devised a system he called Fantasound. Engineers recorded each section of the orchestra separately, mixing them into four distinct audio tracks that were then printed as optical tracks on a film reel separate from the movie itself. During Fantasia screenings, two projectors would run at once, with one entirely dedicated to the multiple-speaker setup. As the strings faded in one speaker, they swelled in another—creating a panning effect that simulated the effects of a live orchestra. Fantasound was a hit, but it required lots of additional costly equipment to implement; only two theaters in the country could afford the full set of 54 speakers.
The Fine Print
Promotional value expires 30 days after purchase. Amount paid never expires. Limit 1 per person, may buy 1 additional as gift. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Fine Print, any purchaser with an unredeemed voucher 30 days after purchase will receive a refund equal to the amount paid for the voucher. Sales tax on the amount paid is due at time of pick-up. Only available for in-store pickup and only for the option purchased at the listed location. Returns and exchanges must be initiated in-store and are subject to the merchant's standard return policy. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services. Offer is not eligible for our promo codes or other discounts.