A couple of the members of our company association have been fortunate to attend the "Arcam Master Class" which is about delivering ultimate performance from a home theatre system. This was held in Melbourne by Arcam's export manager John Buchannan who bought their pet Physicist Stephan along in case the questions got too technical....

Wilst much of the material covered has been bread and butter for Carlton Audio Visual for a very long time now I was fascinated to come across the "ITU Standard" for a theatrical mixing room that stipulates angles for 5.1 speaker system. according to this the front Left and Right main speakers should be 30 degrees off the centre axis and the rears 110 degrees. This is not to deny THX dipoles their day but does certainly match in with my own experience of setting up a surround system for optimum results.

They also point out that if you are using a single centre rear channel with dipole side speakers that the rearmost speaker should be a normal single pole, not another dipole. I have always found the best result is obtained with another centre speaker mounted up high behind and above the listening position. If you are using a pair of extra rear speakers then they should be matching dipoles to the side speakers.

They went on to emphasise the importance of speaker placement and calibration to get the best results. We have been provided with a neat placement chart for multichannel audio that if you are interested we can show you instore. it had our resident geeks (you know who you are) lying on the floor with the chart and laser measurement tools one evening this week. That will be a terific tool for setting up listening rooms with.

At the end of the session they covered video calibration and gave some fabulous examples of movies with terific scenes for evaluation. I was particularly impressed with their use of scenes from "Charlotte Gray" chapter 16 "My Name Is..." which we will now adopt as an instore and home set up demo.
Thanks very much to the Arcam men, it was an enjoyable day for those who were able to attend.