It’s Not Home Theatre without a Subwoofer
“I’m not really into home theatre. I’m more of a 2-channel guy…” We hear this fairly often, both from customers and our more established 2-channel-centric dealers. I’ve learned to ask them, “So, when you get home at night after a long day, you don’t turn on Netflix or Prime Video and watch a favorite show with your family or your significant other? “100% of them answer, “Well, uh, yeah of course.” A couple of notes on that interaction: it’s not 1995 anymore, so everyone who still worries about having their mythical audiophile-in-good-standing card taken away for watching (and enjoying) home theatre can now stop worrying.
Because we now ALL watch, enjoy, and discuss with friends and colleagues, our new favorite streaming series or movies. According to thewrap.com 795 million minutes of Ted Lasso were watched in a single week of season 3 (May 2023). Not a Lasso fan? Bridgerton, the period piece that got many through Covid, claims 82 million households, according to deadline.com, in January 2021.
The point is this…virtually everyone watches home theatre. It’s just that it’s now called Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Disney +, Apple +, Prime…etc. Many folks simply don’t recognize these as “home theatre.” Maybe it’s the absence of being in a room that looks like Las Vegas met King Tut and snuck off and had a love child? Or, is it simply that most people define a “home theatre” as one having a minimum of five speakers and one subwoofer (Dolby Digital 5.1) with an upper limit of 32 channels? Is it that many of us enjoy all of the streaming we want with a mere 2.1 system and don’t think that qualifies as home theatre? But in fact 2.1 is home theatre — it’s that “1” after the decimal that’s the key.
Like many in the high-end audio community, I am an unabashed music lover. I own something like five different systems, two high-end turntables, and the list goes on. The point is not how many 2-channels I own, but how much, over the past three years or so, I have come to enjoy the pleasures of well-written, brilliantly acted content. Much of that content comes thanks to streaming. Like a great many in our community, I started off listening to a decent high-end 2-channel system. One which sounded great in all the usual audiophile ways, but was missing something, something big…something important.
Then I added a REL. Not just any REL, but one of our Carbon Specials which truly is special (and, er, carbon), and truly does everything we claim and more. Then, I added a new HT/1205 MKII in the rear of our room, just for some .1/LFE love and, well, you get the idea.
We always try to share tips on how to get more out of these twin art forms that we all love—music and movies. This one is the simplest, most direct insights that I can provide: If you, like 870,000 other households in the U.S., watch Ted Lasso or any of the billions of minutes spent watching one of the other fabulous, wonderfully enriching shows available because of the revolution we call streaming video, and you’re not using a REL, you’re missing it. That’s IT with all caps, btw. IT is all of the excitement, joy, intensity, mystery, explosiveness, darkness, and vastness. IT’s all missing. Because ALL of IT relies on huge, long, deep bass wavefronts to convince you of the vastness of space, or the darkness of a predator’s mind, crafted with poetic beauty by artists who are delivering the most sublime theatre offered in the past thirty years. Bass is what creates space, defines the size and shape of that space, and allows for the emotion of everything we watch.
Great bass moves us, startles us, and makes us feel more alive. And it’s happening in our own living rooms, drawing rooms, dorm rooms…wherever. It’s happening where we live, where we love, and where we experience our lives. At home. In our home theatres. Thanks for letting us, for letting REL, be a part of your lives.
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