Sound. The less we hear, the more we like it

Go on. Make the shark sound from Jaws.

We knew you could.

That’s the thing about sound in movies, it stays with us, and we can often recall it more clearly than any single image. Sound works outside the screen’s constraint and creeps into our imaginations. It lies hidden, yet ever-present, like Spielberg’s shark.

It happened with lightsabers, King Kong’s roar, and Psycho’s score. It’s happening right now at a movie theatre somewhere in the world. Sound, certainly ambient sound, is cinema’s secret superpower — and it’s growing more powerful than we could ever imagine.

Resonates with your soul

It’s become an integral part of the immersive nature of the modern moviegoing experience. While home sound systems may be impressive, they don’t resonate with your soul the way sound in bass-rich omnidirectional systems in theatres do.

And it would be a mistake to believe this is down to decibels alone. True, at one time, the only option that allowed every audience member to hear properly was the blunt instrument of volume control. Now, with systems such as Christie® Vive Audio®, every word is perfectly audible in every seat. We no longer need to intrude to immerse; in sound’s terms, that’s much the same as going from monochrome to color or from 2K to 4K; there are new details, nuances, and landscapes to exploit.

Vive Audio’s capability is built on three pillars: the ribbon driver technology that reacts instantaneously to audio signals, providing enhanced clarity and natural, lifelike sound; line array speakers with superior coverage and directionality to cover every seat in the house; and Class D amplification that produces dynamic and detailed sound. 

Makes the screen’s rectangle irrelevant

Sound makes a night at the cinema a night out rather than an evening passed. Because sound — authentic cinema sound — makes the screen’s rectangle irrelevant, it widens our horizons and draws us into the action. Like a Cary Grant half-smile or a soft Anthony Hopkins stare, sound’s storytelling power lingers on. 

So, let’s hear it for sound in the movies, a breaker down of walls, and perhaps the most memorable part of any visit — whether we realize it or not. If you walk to the cinema on a warm summer evening, it’s perfectly possible to hear birdsong in the street yet not be aware of it. That inattention is sound’s secret weapon sneaking into our souls, bypassing our filters, and stirring our emotions. How sad would summer evenings be without that?

And it’s precisely what good sound design and modern cinema audio systems bring to film. It’s not just boomier bass and clearer dialogue; it’s an extra layer of magic sneaked into our ears and into our souls. It’s the shark beyond the screen.