THX announced a soundbar certification program last year, but so far there haven’t been many soundbars to earn the THX marque. This situation may change, though, thanks to a new partnership between THX and a British audio technology company called Sontia. The simple goal is to “make small speakers sound big,” as a Sontia spokesperson put it.
To improve the sound of a soundbar, Sontia measures the performance of its various components and comes up with digital signal processing algorithms that smooth over the design’s flaws and enhance the sound. The company says its technology is in the next generation of LG soundbars, (although those products use a “cut-down version of the technology” that suits the LG soundbars’ limited DSP capabilities), and that we may see prototypes of other Sontia-powered products at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in January.
THX and Sontia demoed the technology using a modified Teufel Cinebar 51 THX, a German-designed, THX-certified soundbar. First they demoed using the soundbar without its subwoofer, to show how they can get better bass from a sub-less soundbar. Then they demoed it with the soundbar to show how they can get a better blend between the soundbar and the sub.
In these kinds of demos, it can be hard to tell how good the technology is. “Could you accomplish the same thing through conventional means?” is the question I always ask myself (and I’ve heard potential licensees of third-party technologies ask too). But the THX-Sontia technology definitely delivered vastly superior sound quality, especially in the demo where the subwoofer was used.
Copyright © 2013 Bonnier Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.