THX Ltd. has upgraded its six-year-old THX Select performance standard for audio electronics by incorporating elements of its top-end THX Ultra2 standard, which was unveiled in 2001.
The new standard is called THX Select2, and the company expects the first THX Select2-certified receivers to be available to consumers in the spring. THX hasn’t yet revised its Select standard for speakers.
Select2 and Ultra2 set performance minimums for home theater audio reproduction and are intended to signify best-in-class performance in their price ranges. Ultra2 products are designed for listening rooms with volumes of 3,000 cubic feet or more. Select2 and Select are designed for more moderately priced systems in listening rooms with an approximate volume of 2,000 cubic feet to 3,000 cubic feet.
For receivers, Select2 requires Ultra2’s multichannel music and game modes, 7.1-channel THX EX processing, and ability to deliver 7.1-channel playback of any 5.1-channel source material.
THX EX 7.1-channel decoding adds two back-center speakers to the typical 5.1-channel speaker array. It was previously optional on Select products.
Game mode and music mode were neither required nor optional on Select. Game mode delivers 7.1-channel playback for gamers to move sound effects and dialogue around the soundfield to give players a better sense of where other competitors might be approaching from. Music mode is intended for 5.1-channel music discs, including 5.1-channel music performances on DVD-Video discs. The mode directs parts of the stereo surround signal to the left-right surrounds and to the back surrounds, with more directional information appearing in back surrounds. Music mode also switches off ReEq for the front channels and decorrelation for the side surround channels.