While digital projection and 3D have transformed the movie-going experience over the past few years, theater-sound technology has barely budged. That’s all about to change.
Close your eyes. Wait, don’t do that. You won’t be able to read. Imagine yourself sitting in the center seat, center row, of a dark and empty theater. It’s a good theater, quiet, and you can feel the space stretching out from you in all directions. A sound rises to an audible level far in front of you. It’s a bee. Okay, maybe you don’t like bees. It’s an old plane, rotary engine struggling to turn over, the sputters emanating from a center channel speaker unseen behind the screen in the dark theater. The plane taxis left. There’s no picture on the screen: You localize it just by how the sound moves toward the left speakers.