" THX certified " how much stock do you put into this label ?

T

ThunderClap

Audioholic
I recently watched a video about thx and it's merit - history- worth etc and the rigorous process equipment is put through In order to gain this status award - it was intriguing but ...

Is it a sales pitch ?

And I mean how can onkyo with all its quality control problems be thx certified? I guess it's about the sound but still that seems to be contradictory.



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William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Ninja
I recently watched a video about thx and it's merit - history- worth etc and the rigorous process equipment is put through In order to gain this status award - it was intriguing but ...

Is it a sales pitch ?

And I mean how can onkyo with all its quality control problems be thx certified? I guess it's about the sound but still that seems to be contradictory.



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I don't know if it's fair to say "onkyo with all it's quality control problems". Onkyo got a bad batch of components which was out of their realm of QC, and they're fixing units well out of warranty and for another year at least(iirc). They also shipped more avrs during that time than probably anyone so the failures were slanted to seem worse for them. Look around, and you can find out about D&M brands having failure too. I am not a fan boi but I do own an Onkyo and it also was an hdmi board failed unit. They fixed it no problem, 4 years ago, still a great receiver. I wouldn't buy an Onkyo now, but that's due to the fact that they dropped audyssey.
Thx certification is also one reason I started looking at my avr, but what closed the deal for me was the test bench results. It's kind of a beast, but it's a chicken or the egg thing. Did it test that well because of the THX cert.? Or was that just a side effect, since many higher end avrs can test well on the bench. THX doesn't mean the same thing it used to, but I feel that's based on perception of value. Most people don't care enough about the association to pay extra whether they know the differences or not. In short, as far as amp performance goes, as long as bench tests are good, thx doesn't matter. Unless you like some of the sound modes and processing, which I don't.
 
H

Hetfield

Audioholic General
I have mixed feelings on the subject. Part of me says it's just marketing but part of me thinks there is something to it. I have a THX Ultra 2 certified amp from Parasound and it is a total beast. It really cranks and doesn't try hard to do it but would it be the same without the certification? I had a Parasound THX certified processor too and I didn't love it. I thought it sounded dull if that makes sense. I then bought a nice B&K non THX processor and it sounded fantastic. Nicest sounding piece of equipment I have bought to date. So it goes either way I guess. Good, well designed, well built equipment is just that no matter what the certification.

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William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Ninja
I have mixed feelings on the subject. Part of me says it's just marketing but part of me thinks there is something to it. I have a THX Ultra 2 certified amp from Parasound and it is a total beast. It really cranks and doesn't try hard to do it but would it be the same without the certification? I had a Parasound THX certified processor too and I didn't love it. I thought it sounded dull if that makes sense. I then bought a nice B&K non THX processor and it sounded fantastic. Nicest sounding piece of equipment I have bought to date. So it goes either way I guess. Good, well designed, well built equipment is just that no matter what the certification.

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I agree. Especially with the last sentence. Good gear is good gear no matter what.
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
U need to review the history of THX..
THX started back several years ago when there were few standards for surround sound both in the home and theaters.. They provided some incredible performance standards both electrical and for surround formats even Dolby adopted some of them. Basic idea was to deliver a complete surround system including processor, amplifiers and loudspeakers and subwoofers all matched in levels as to have a plugNplay system..

Fast forward to now..
The # of audio channels have increased and video performance/resolution has accelerated big-time.. As the products got better there was less relevance for THX certiified products, plus their high royaties were not affordable in the consumer market as price competition increased.. Today they are into multi-media producst and even OE auto systems but they don't have the financial resources of companies like Harman, Dolby or even DTS..

Just my $0.02... ;)
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
U need to review the history of THX..
THX started back several years ago when there were few standards for surround sound both in the home and theaters.. They provided some incredible performance standards both electrical and for surround formats even Dolby adopted some of them. Basic idea was to deliver a complete surround system including processor, amplifiers and loudspeakers and subwoofers all matched in levels as to have a plugNplay system..

Fast forward to now..
The # of audio channels have increased and video performance/resolution has accelerated big-time.. As the products got better there was less relevance for THX certiified products, plus their high royaties were not affordable in the consumer market as price competition increased.. Today they are into multi-media producst and even OE auto systems but they don't have the financial resources of companies like Harman, Dolby or even DTS..

Just my $0.02... ;)
I don't want to mark it as disagree, but they are a several inaccuracies in this brief post.
a) THX Founded by Tomlinson Holman and George Lucas's company - LucasFilm back in 1983 to ensure that Return of Jedi would be accurately reproduced earlier on in theaters and then to have same sound in home theaters.
Few good reads of details here:
http://www.practical-home-theater-guide.com/thx-home-cinema.html
http://hometheaterhifi.com/volume_13_1/feature-article-thx-1-2006-part-1.html

Now the downfall of THX as a brand and certification had multiple factors, but probably biggest one was "broadening" their business model (*cough* selling out *cough*) to include HTIBs and Multimedia products all the way back in 2010, not too long after Creative Tech bought them in 2002

The problem is originally it was only TXH. Either you got or not. Later one expanding it to anything that makes sound dilutes the perceived performance expectation from a THX certified product, like the logitech 2.1 I posted earlier.

Here's a decent write-up from 2010: http://www.johnsciacca.com/apps/blog/show/5702730-thx-what-won-t-you-certify-

It's a same Bullpoop IMAX pulled off with IMAX "Digital" (but refused to properly "Digital" venues to provide easier identity - IE: Really Massive screen vs much smaller screen. They both named just IMAX. https://johncanfield.me/blog/brand-confused-world-imax-liemax/

As for future of THX: A niche computer mouse and pad manufacture (recently ventured into keyboard and even laptops) bought THX last year:
https://www.theverge.com/2016/10/17/13309346/razer-buys-thx-lucasfilm
It seems like their biz plan is to license it to China
 
Y

yepimonfire

Audioholic Samurai
Of all the useless marketing labels applied to equipment, a thx certification is certainly worth something. There are rigorous tests equipment must pass in order to get that badge. A receiver or speakers with a thx badge on them are tested thoroughly to ensure they can reach full reference volume across the entire frequency range without distortion. This article is a good read http://hometheaterhifi.com/volume_13_1/feature-article-thx-1-2006-part-1.html

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BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Of all the useless marketing labels applied to equipment, a thx certification is certainly worth something. There are rigorous tests equipment must pass in order to get that badge. A receiver or speakers with a thx badge on them are tested thoroughly to ensure they can reach full reference volume across the entire frequency range without distortion. This article is a good read http://hometheaterhifi.com/volume_13_1/feature-article-thx-1-2006-part-1.html

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The article you've linked to is same as I did earlier, but you've known it if you'd bothered to read it.
The real issue is the basic definition of what is THX reference volume - it may not be 105db on every various THX cert level as you might think. I've tried hard, but could not find exact criteria for most of certification with sufficient level of detail. (Believe me I tried and I'm usually pretty good about this stuff)

Second issue is what is "entire frequency range" - This for example doesn't mean 20hz-20khz, in fact several certification, like Multimedia and Integrated ask for mere humble 35hz number

Bottom line you could see in this graph how many various THX certs levels are just for home:

From here:
https://davidsusilouncensored.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/all-you-need-to-know-about-thx/

I guarantee you - they all have different requirements in order to certify. I am asking you here two things:
a) Did you honestly had previously hear about all of these and
b) Is it entirely honest just to slap label "THX" on all/any of these audio products and expect same the level of performance?
Do open noaudiophile review I've linked to before. See the product image - Do you see how it says "THX Multimedia" on top? I don't. It is simply says THX and here lies the problem.

And then there are THX Certified doors....

https://www.technobuffalo.com/2010/01/12/does-thx-certification-matter/
 
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Y

yepimonfire

Audioholic Samurai
The article you've linked to is same as I did earlier, but you've known it if you'd bothered to read it.
The real issue is the basic definition of what is THX reference volume - it may not be 105db as you think since I tried hard, but could find exact criteria for most of certification with sufficient level of detail. (Believe me I tried and I'm usually pretty good about this stuff)

Second issue is entire frequency range - This for example doesn't mean 20hz-20khz, in fact several certification, like Multimedia and Integrated ask for mere humble 35hz number

Bottom like you could see in this graph how many various THX certs levels are just for home:

From here:
https://davidsusilouncensored.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/all-you-need-to-know-about-thx/

I guarantee you - they all have different requirements in order to certify. I am asking you here two things:
a) Did you honestly had previously heard about all of these and
b) Is it entirely honest just to slap word "THX" on it and expect same level performance?

And then there are THX Certified doors....

https://www.technobuffalo.com/2010/01/12/does-thx-certification-matter/
My apologies, should have read the thread entirely.

Either way, yes there are different levels of THX certification, but if one understands those levels they can be certain they're getting that performance. THX reference levels for cinema is 105dB peak, calibrated with -20dBfs pink noise to 85dB for all speakers (or 75dB at -30dBfs). Digitally speaking, nothing can exceed 0dBfs, therefore no single channel will exceed 105dB (115dB for the sub) at 0dB on the volume knob. If dolby digital is used, dial norm will attentuate all sound so that the average dialogue level is -27dBfs, as for how much dynamic range the engineer decides to use, that's up to them. DTS is generally mixed 4dB louder, but either way, the dialogue is still an average of -23dBfs

The point I'm trying to make is that THX is a standard. For example, Ultra 2 and Select 2 receivers must all operate at a minimum level based on the specifications of those levels. If it can't then it doesn't get the badge.

So many stickers and badges mean nothing, for example, onkyos "massive high current power supply". There is no standard or specifications on this, and I can promise you many of onkyos low end receivers with a "massive H.C.P.S." would crap out under high current demand like any other cheap power supply. Ultra 2 receivers and Select 2 receivers must be capable of swinging a specific amount of current per channel in order to get the badge. Have you ever seen an ultra 2 or select 2 receiver with a lousy power supply? I haven't. If a receiver has a THX Ultra 2 certification, you can expect it to deliver based on the ultra 2 specifications.

Lastly, the reference level can be found on THXs blog http://www.thx.com/blog/questions/what-is-the-reference-level/

Each THX specification has a reference level requirement based on a specific room size. If used within the limits of the specifications, you can expect reference level playback without distortion.

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S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
The article you've linked to is same as I did earlier, but you've known it if you'd bothered to read it.
The real issue is the basic definition of what is THX reference volume - it may not be 105db on every various THX cert level as you might think. I've tried hard, but could not find exact criteria for most of certification with sufficient level of detail. (Believe me I tried and I'm usually pretty good about this stuff)

Second issue is what is "entire frequency range" - This for example doesn't mean 20hz-20khz, in fact several certification, like Multimedia and Integrated ask for mere humble 35hz number

Bottom line you could see in this graph how many various THX certs levels are just for home:

From here:
https://davidsusilouncensored.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/all-you-need-to-know-about-thx/

I guarantee you - they all have different requirements in order to certify. I am asking you here two things:
a) Did you honestly had previously hear about all of these and
b) Is it entirely honest just to slap label "THX" on all/any of these audio products and expect same the level of performance?
Do open noaudiophile review I've linked to before. See the product image - Do you see how it says "THX Multimedia" on top? I don't. It is simply says THX and here lies the problem.

And then there are THX Certified doors....

https://www.technobuffalo.com/2010/01/12/does-thx-certification-matter/
THX has simplified their home theater performance classes at least. Go to this page, scroll down a bit. Now we just have Compact, Select, Ultra, and Dominus. For speakers, the higher tiers of THX are still meaningful and not easy performance standards to meet. But you are right on an earlier point, that by having too many certification types and levels, they destroyed their brand by diluting it.
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
As I posted previously..
In its early days, THX certification meant alot..
Having different specifications for lower and higher powered products. Note that I have all of the THX certification specs as we were a consultant for various brands submitting products to THX for certification some time back. Also we made multiple trips to the THX labs in Sunnyvale so we know THX quite well. But as I also mentioned what many consumers are unaware of is their expensive royalty schedule. Note that the royalties for a THX 7.1 AVR certified as Ultra 2 was 3X those charged by Dolby. Royalty costs have increased significantly for various technologies, and the AVR market is too price competitive this is the primary reason Audyssey was dropped as well..


Just my $0.02... ;)
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Either way, yes there are different levels of THX certification, but if one understands those levels they can be certain they're getting that performance.
Yes, but it's not always obvious what level of THX certification product has received. As I said - just looking at the product one would often see only a single word - THX. But yes, if product is certified you could expect to perform according to it's THX cert level, but what this level means exactly? Room size differences between make not enough sense in combination with exactly same "reference level" requirement.

THX reference levels for cinema is 105dB peak, calibrated with -20dBfs pink noise to 85dB for all speakers (or 75dB at -30dBfs). Digitally speaking, nothing can exceed 0dBfs, therefore no single channel will exceed 105dB (115dB for the sub) at 0dB on the volume knob. If dolby digital is used, dial norm will attentuate all sound so that the average dialogue level is -27dBfs, as for how much dynamic range the engineer decides to use, that's up to them. DTS is generally mixed 4dB louder, but either way, the dialogue is still an average of -23dBfs
Source please and can you 100% sure that this applies to all various THX levels? Any minimum required THD levels?

The point I'm trying to make is that THX is a standard. For example, Ultra 2 and Select 2 receivers must all operate at a minimum level based on the specifications of those levels. If it can't then it doesn't get the badge.
Yes, THX is standard or more specifically a big pool of standards and it's not always clear which exactly level the product is certified of.

So many stickers and badges mean nothing, for example, onkyos "massive high current power supply". There is no standard or specifications on this, and I can promise you many of onkyos low end receivers with a "massive H.C.P.S." would crap out under high current demand like any other cheap power supply. Ultra 2 receivers and Select 2 receivers must be capable of swinging a specific amount of current per channel in order to get the badge. Have you ever seen an ultra 2 or select 2 receiver with a lousy power supply? I haven't. If a receiver has a THX Ultra 2 certification, you can expect it to deliver based on the ultra 2 specifications.
Agreed in general, but Again this is where it gets confusing - for example THX Ultra2 no longer offered, instead there are 4 various levels of THX for AV receivers:
http://www.thx.com/certification/thx-certified-av-receivers/
Including "THX Compact" - I guarantee you products with this one will no out of their way to display correct cert level.

Lastly, the reference level can be found on THXs blog http://www.thx.com/blog/questions/what-is-the-reference-level/
That one is pretty vague, marketing bs and meaningless. What you said earlier actually made sense, but since I can't find it anywhere, no longer sure it's really applies, especially on various levels.

Each THX specification has a reference level requirement based on a specific room size. If used within the limits of the specifications, you can expect reference level playback without distortion.
Besides vagues suggestions of room size and viewing distance for various THX levels, nothing else says anything what are these mysterious "limits of the specifications" are.
See my previous example of IMAX.
Or another theoretical example could be - slapping Sports sticker on a budget family sedan.
 
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BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
THX has simplified their home theater performance classes at least. Go to this page, scroll down a bit. Now we just have Compact, Select, Ultra, and Dominus. For speakers, the higher tiers of THX are still meaningful and not easy performance standards to meet. But you are right on an earlier point, that by having too many certification types and levels, they destroyed their brand by diluting it.
Well, you're right, but these levels only apply for "loudspeakers"
Scroll down a bit on this page till you get to "Our Programs" list
http://www.thx.com/certification/
You'll see a separate "programs" for Speaker Bars, Integrated Systems (ie HTIB) and multimedia systems among other more usual suspects

My fav: http://www.thx.com/certification/thx-certified-interconnect-cables/
It's about as useful as barn door in the middle of amazon jungle.
 
H

Hetfield

Audioholic General
Not too many speakers were really THX though right? That particular piece of equipment never really went for the THX thing. I mean Atlantic technology was the only one that I really remember. Do they even do THX certified anymore? I'm glad speakers never really chased THX certificatio.

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BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Klipsch has/had THX Ultra2 speakers system - quite expensive, but from what I heard very competent.
M&K also has THX speakers, for example - V12 sub is THX Select certified
A sealed 12" sub with 300w rms amp and +/- 2db 20-200
Lets say sounds somewhat similar to SVS SB2000? - It does to me, except it's double the price of SB2000 !!
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Not too many speakers were really THX though right? That particular piece of equipment never really went for the THX thing. I mean Atlantic technology was the only one that I really remember. Do they even do THX certified anymore? I'm glad speakers never really chased THX certificatio.

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THX certification for speakers is actually tough to get. The speakers have to be pretty good, as do the subwoofers. They have to have a very linear response, both on and off axis, good controlled dispersion, low distortion but high dynamic range, and so on. We would all have benefited if more speaker manufacturers had chased after THX certification. A lot more speakers would be a lot more neutral instead of 'voiced'.
 

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