Linear Systems for Cinema Sound — An Idea So Simple, it's Brilliant

Linearity is a simple concept. With a linear loudspeaker system, the sound coming out is the same as the sound going in—only louder—with no other changes to the signal. If the system produces distortion or any alteration when the level increases, then it is non-linear.

To accomplish linearity in cinema sound systems, however, is anything but simple, and with the advent of new multichannel sound formats for cinema, it is important to keep in mind that linearity in the loudspeaker system is crucial to the proper function of any multichannel surround format.

Over the last 50 years, amplifiers have become highly linear, and digital signal processing is inherently linear. But that's not the case with loudspeaker drivers, where physics intervenes. These components, whether cones or domes, are mechanical devices that tend to become non-linear at the extremes of their operating ranges.

That makes designing a linear, multi-way loudspeaker system extremely difficult. Meyer Sound has been pushing to build linear systems for more than three decades. Along the way, John Meyer realized that the only way to achieve near-perfect system linearity was to design and build the amplifier, signal processing, and loudspeaker as a single, self-contained unit. EXP is currently the only complete line of self-powered cinema loudspeakers.

Only with a linear loudspeaker system can the audience hear what the soundtrack creators intended. Non-linear systems "color" the sound differently depending on playback level, and the sound may change drastically depending on where you sit. These variables make exacting system optimization nearly impossible.

The linearity of Meyer Sound EXP systems takes guesswork out of the equation, and ensures that the audience from every seat in the theatre will experience the soundtrack the way it was heard by the mixers.

It's a clear benefit, realized only with Meyer Sound EXP cinema systems.

Read John Meyer's article Linear Cinema Sound: A foundation for Emerging Sound formats in Cinema Technology magazine

Meyer Sound design services is available to review cinema system designs to ensure that they meet SMPTE standards, as well as review specific designs created for cinema sound formats such as Atmos or Auro 3D.

To submit your design for review or for any questions about EXP cinema system designs, contact
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