Importance of THX Certification?


I have noticed a few times in the very few negative comments on the Outlaw Audio 755 amp that it isnt THX certified. What advantage is there to having the THX certification? Can I live without it?

Of course you can live without it. Some companies don't want to pay THX Labs for certification. And some companies don't make equipment that would remotely qualify for certification even if they applied and paid for it.

It is up to you if you want to pay extra for the certification. It isn't free. But it guarantees certain standards. It is like Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval and UV Labs approval on consumer electronics.

The various levels of THX certs guarantee a certain level of performance that THX Labs consider important for surround viewing and listening.

Speaking of THX certification... There are companies out there who do build receivers etc. That can EASILY meet one THX standard or another.
Wheather its THX select, Ultra or Ultra 2 . There audio systems will meet one if not several of them ! Who am I talking about specifically ? I'm talking about the likes such as, YAMAHA !

There are always those who will readily run Yamaha in the ground. Constantly making comments like; "The Yamahas are a bit (bright)..." "Yamaha's don't pack quite enough punch..." "Yamaha receivers , amps etc are of very poor build quality..." "Yamaha's aren't quite as warm as other brands such as H/K (Harmon/Kardon), Onkyo and Denon..."

My comment to people who make statements as such is simply this :

HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW (AUDIO REPRODUCTION) ? And I mean REALLY KNOW IT !!! Not you THINK you know... But I mean on an intimate level...

If most people were to answer this honestly. Most would have to say; NO ... Including many individuals who have sold audio equipment (specifically home audio) for YEARS !!!

Most people are what I would call; a SPECKY. Whats a specky ? Well; a person thats a specky is someone who is more often than not. Razzeled and dazzeled by TECHNICAL SPECS ! Their easily wowed by mere numbers. (Typically with such types, bigger is seen as "better") The bigger CERTAIN numbers are; the better ! Often times; such individuals consider themselves to be. "Technical"...

When in truth, they haven't the slightest idea of how to diffrentiate the diffrence between technical specs (Which more often than not; are THEORETICAL potentials) As opposed to being, tried and true wholey prooveable FACTS ! Without all of the YEAST to puff things up... Why did I say this ?

Because there are more variables involved in sound reproduction, signal transfer, processing etc than what you would probably care to know. For starters; heres a few of the simpler things that can greatly influence the quality of what you here... (I won't give you a headache by going into more sophisticated areas such as sound processing, out-put transistors, capacitance, why one transformer is superior to another etc...)

But heres a few "simple" things that will infuence what you hear ...

1. Your speakers 2. The diameter of your speaker cable. 3. The lenght/run of your cable... 4. The physical size and dimensions of your listening environment. 5. Speaker placement in relationship to your listening area and nearby walls etc...
6. Speaker sensitivity (this is more important than what most have ever considered) In fact; its actually more important than MASSIVE WATTAGE !
I know there are those who will look at me like i'm crazy.

But how crazy will I be when I set the parameters (all parameters) of my equipment to perfection. Using a less "capable/powerfull" system. And run it against a supposedly "superior" system pushing 20, 30, 40 or even 50 more watts per channel RMS + HIGH CURRENT ! And acheive performance comparable to it. AND possibly exceed it with the lesser system !!! I'm nuts you think ? I'M MORE THAN WILLING TO PUT IT TO THE TEST JUST TO CRACK SOMEONES FACE !

Take this to the bank. IF YOU CANT GET THE PERFORMANCE THAT YOU WANT WITH BETWEEN AND HONEST 70 TO ABOUT 100 WATTS. Guess what ? You're probably not going to get it with 150 to 200 watts rms... Massive wattage is absolutely fine if you plan upon pushing a very difficult load of SUBWOOFERS !!! If not; to hell with EXCESSIVES watts... (Manufacturers literally charge you by the watts)

Most people (even people who know electronics) Don't seem to understand that when you drop the dB level to each out put channel of your system... As well as setting all of your speakers to "small" (regardless of their physical size)
And use speakers with a sensitivity of no less than 92 to 95 dB (If possible) . Route (ALL) LFE signals (movies or otherwise) to a powered sub. While turning your bass control for your front speakers to no higher than 12 oclock MAXIMUM .

Treble is at your discretion... Set your sub cross over to no higher than 60 hz MAXIMUM ! Why 60 hz as opposed to 70 to 75 hz and greater ? Anything above 60 hz starts to become DIRECTIONAL ! When setting a subs crossover at much higher than 60 hz; one will be able to locate frequencies which "seem" to be, omni-directional ! But are not... And that will break apart your attempt at a "seamless" sound field/stage...

I'm going to cut this short by saying that my point is: DONT GET SO HUNG UP OVER THX CERTIFICATION ! Yes; anything bearing a THX logo is basically gauranteed to meet a certain level of performance. In short; I guess you could say that THX takes all the guess work out for the consumer...

However; there are many fine products out there that will in fact, meet THX standards. But do not bear their logo... And some units blow most THX certified systems (if not all of them) CLEAR OUT OF THE WATER !!! Think i'm kidding ?

Have you ever heard of the Yamaha RX-V1 and the RX-Z1 !!! Chances are. If you purchase either of these units. Both of them are loaded with features (and I don't mean worthless features) that will allow for customizing beyond your belief ! If theres feature that you want but isnt listed for these units. Don't worry; chances are, the feature IS there !!! Both units have received rave reviews. But still do not get the recognition that they RIGHTFULLY deserve ! Everyone wants to run to the THX bandwaggon... Listen to a THX ultra or even ultra 2 unit. Max it out to perform to its full potential. Then try either of these units and max them out to their full potential... YOU'LL BE SHOCKED !!!

Its really funny how certain individuals will promote THX equipment. And CONSTANTLY give them wonderfull reviews. And ALWAYS try to down play Yamaha. Never giving Yamaha credit for what could be called, 8 or even 9.1 channle surround sound !
Nor do they give them credit for having the UNDISPUTED most realistic surround processing in the world, second to none !!! And its a damn shame too !

Which is why Yamaha now has at least two THX receivers to APPEASE the ignorant and stubborn... To help sell their product which is superior to most THX certified sh_t !!! I've personally owned systems by Sony, Pioneer, Harmon/Kardon, Nakamichi and Yamaha... The worst I had; Sony ! The warmest and strongest that I had; Nakamichi (avr 10) I loved their Harmonic Time Aligned amplifiers (They're the sh_t !)... The undisputed over-all best performing receiver that i've had...

YAMAHA !!! Hands down. For varrious reasons...

Anyone who takes the time to tweak a Yamaha to perfection. And pair it with the best speakers for the unit. WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED !!!

Right now; I own one of there babies... The HTR-5650 exactly the same as the RX-V540 I believe... I'd be more than willing to put my setup against units costing as much as 7 to $800.00 . Maybe even against units costing as much as $1000.00 ... I've been into audio for about 12 years. And my knowledge is extensive ! Theres a good reason that I can make this boast... I know how to balance the odds easily ...

Are you finished yet? What in the world did my post have to do with Yamaha receivers anyways? I never put them down nor have I seen many other people do so either. Ill try this again........How important is THX certification? Please circle, VERY IMPORTANT/OR NOT THAT IMPORTANT.

Why in the world are you so angry Nino? Lighten up, it's just a question that needs answering, not a freakin' rant from an angry, Yamaha is my world and if I could I'd sleep with my yamaha receiver and marry it kind of a guy!!! Geez! What a psycho!

g-man had a great answer...I will add a tid-bit to his response.. keep in mind it is possible that a non- thx certified amp, or other component could excede the thx standard.. :)


I have come to believe that THX certification is about the most over-hyped thing to come through the audio world in quite a while. If you read as many product reviews as I have, you will come across a number of comments that THX is some type of a guarantee of a certain minimum level of performance, but these comments are made by reviewers that don't do any electrical testing of any kind. However, testing done on some of those THX certified products has shown that such certification guarantees nothing. It is all marketing hype. The manufacturer simply pays a fee to THX Labs (owned by George Lucas, I believe) and in return they license the use of the THX logo to be used with that product. Nothing more. The receiver maker then can use the "THX Certification" in its advertising and marketing materials in conjunction with the product that has been certified.

On another thread, it wsa pointed out that the Kenwood 7080, a THX certified receiver rated at 100 wpc, was only capable of doing 35 wpc at clipping and only 20 wpc at its rated distortion according to the tests done by Sound & Vision magazine, so clearly, THX certification means nothing for the consumer.

In short, THX Certification is bogus.

Thanks for the clarifing guys, I was led to believe that without it there were parts of sound in movies that may be omitted or not sound right like it would with the certification. Basically you are saying that the qualities that a receiver may have is comparable to that of a THX componet just without having to have the sticker to prove and sell it. Anyone seen Nino B. running around anywhere with just his underware on??? And praying to the Yamaha gods.

I doubt if anyone noticed Nino--it is Halloween, after all.

I don't know whether THX actively tests and specifically certifies each receiver, dvd player, speaker, etc that they certify. But I just went to their site to see what the certification process entails. The following two paragraphs seem to indicate that to get your product certified, your engineers and the THX engineers go over and test your design prototypes to ensure it meets any of the THX specs.

"Please provide us with a description of the product you are proposing for THX Certification. If you plan to SUBMIT multiple products within a 12 month time period, please list them all. "

Product Category (check all that apply):
Speakers Receivers
DVD Players Amplifiers
Controllers Sub-Woofers
Multimedia Speakers Other:

There is no doubt that Dr. Tomlinson that headed the THX group for George Lucas is a brilliant engineer and the various types of THX certs did a lot for guaranteeing various types of performance in surround audio processing and video processing into a reliable, predicatble, and competent surround playback format that would make George Lucas, other directors, and music conductors happy.

THX did an huge amount in bass management and vastly improving the center channel dialogue speaker specs and the steering mechanisms for audio clarity in center channel usage in pre-amps and receivers.

There are differences between THX Select and THX Ultra 2. The Select is mostly for small to medium rooms--hence in a THX Select receiver the spec doesn't require the rear surround amplification to be anywhere near as powerful as the front. That can be why a Kenwood 6070 may pass a THX Select spec and not a THX Ultra spec. You have to know what you are using your receiver for and whether your room is acoustically active or rather dead.

Of course there are non-THX receivers that meet or exceed THX specs in all areas or in some areas--and there are plenty that don't in any areas. Many of the non THX receivers often fail in performance in the area of bad bass management. Unless you have full range speakers all around, this can be a rather important issue.

In sum, I am rather confident that there is a lot more to THX certification than just paying a fishing license fee. I think it is more akin to UL Laboratories--meaning they actually test the prototypes and the represenative production models to make sure they adhere to one or more of the different THX standards to which the manufacturer is applying.
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