Today, we announced that our award-winning 1MORE Quad Driver and Triple Driver in-ear headphones have just been named the first ever, THX® Certified headphones. In this post we'll dive into the the origins of THX® and explain why being THX® Certified is a guarantee for quality audio/visual products.
It is May 21st 1982. You are George Lucas and Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back has just debuted in theaters to great acclaim. It will go on to be considered one of the greatest movies of all time.
Instead of resting and lapping up praise after years of difficult production, you do something extraordinary. You hire audio scientist Tomlinson Holman and brief him to examine and improve film audio throughout the entire production chain from set to theater.
These first steps led to the birth of THX and is a testament to George Lucas’s obsession with quality and artistic vision. Holman was shocked at what he found. Although there had been significant improvements to how sound was recorded and played back on film, there was no control over what happened on set or in the cinema itself. It was like discovering a huge black hole in the middle of film production, sucking the artist’s vision away and leaving audiences unsatisfied. Poor viewing angles and bad light levels in cinemas made a mockery of high production values. Low-quality sound systems and terrible auditorium acoustics made it difficult for audiences to hear dialogue, let alone experience the artist’s original vision.
Holman took all this learning and set up the state-of-the-art audio mixing rooms that eventually became Skywalker Sound. Soon after completion, Hollywood started to take notice and studio executives started calling to incorporate Lucas’s performance standards into their cinema auditoriums and aging mixing rooms.
Realizing this could positively disrupt a sluggish film industry, George Lucas and team designed a certification program to help every artist realize their truest vision to their audience. Thus THX was born and made available to audiences with the release of Lucas’ next film “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” in 1983.
In the thirty years since its inception THX has progressed beyond cinema certification and now certifies consumer electronics, content, automotive systems, and live entertainment. THX also manages an active technology portfolio and prestigious audio-visual education programs that continue to build on THX’s founding mission of delivering the artist’s true vision.
Anyone who has been in a cinema, car or a live event knows the THX Deep Note. It is the deeply resonant chord that plays at the start of a THX certified performance. Along with the THX logo, truest expression of the artist’s vision.
THX Deep Note was composed by Lucasfilm sound engineer Dr. James ‘Andy’ Moorer and was screened at the start of the 1983 premiere of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.
In 2015 Dr. Moorer refreshed the THX Deep Note and made it even more spellbinding for modern cinema formats. It remains one of the most recognized sonic identities in the world.
For a headphone to obtain product certification, THX engineers complete hundreds of scientifically-formulated tests to ensure the highest audio standards possible. The rigorous certification program gives special attention to interpreting high frequency correlation, improving dialog intelligibility, and low frequency extension.
In addition, THX ensures nominal balance deviation between the left and right channels to create a well-transferred and well-balanced audio signal. The tests look for sufficient sensitivity levels to achieve a premium level of audio output, while maintaining minimal distortion at the required sound pressure level. THX engineers also look for virtually no crosstalk between channels in order to ensure the device will accurately reproduce the complexity of the spacial sound. These standards were already inherent in 1MORE’s Triple and Quad Driver headphones.
Read more about the THX certification here.
Not only did 1MORE pass THX testing, but we passed as a commercially available product, reaffirming our commitment to stringent sound quality requirements.
1MORE’s goal is to disrupt an industry by resetting the bar of what quality and value means in a headphone – this certification is another big step in that direction. The Triple Driver ($99) and Quad Driver ($199) are available globally at 1MORE.com as well as select leading retailers like Amazon, Costco, and more.
The 1MORE Team