Finally found THE SPEAKER!!!

I have been a HiFi guy starting at 12 years old with my father passing along the love. We would spend almost every weekend auditioning speakers looking to find the perfect system. We purchased many speakers over the years and they all had their pros and cons, but the trade off always seemed to be nuanced and delicate vs. dynamic and punchy. When auditioning speakers people would always ask what kind of music do you like to listen to? Rock, female vocals, classical, etc... We had/have eclectic taste and would listen to it all. Why could't a speaker just play all of it?!?! Anyway my love for music, sound, etc... became my profession as I am now an Oscar nominated Supervising Sound Editor with well over 150 movies under my belt.

For the last 5 years I have been looking for speakers that can play films at reference levels with all the detail and punch, yet when I want to listen to music can give that nuanced and detailed imaging, space, air, articulation without being harsh and fatiguing. I have listened to SO MANY speakers and spent hundreds of hours auditioning everything I could find. I would fall in love with something for music and then try play one of my films at reference level and it just never gave me the impact I was looking for. I get it - hard to move a lot of air and still be nuanced and articulate. There are some excellent compression drivers/horns that can do the impact stuff, but for me they always have that harsh edge when it comes to music. The flip side with dome type tweeters I have found things have to be pushed to the edge to try to give that theatrical impact. Looking for the quick transient response of an electrostatic, with the punch of compression driver type of system.

Then a dealer recommend I listen to some speakers from Wisdom Audio. I have to admit I was pretty skeptical at first. I read about these and it all sounded like marketing to me, but the dealer I was talking with said he was blown away by them. So I reached out to the company and setup a demo. They use planar magnetics which is not exactly new, but is very difficult to manufacture. I asked them to have one of my films available to listen to. I chose one that I knew extremely well that has a LOT of dynamic punch as well as subtle nuance. I live in Los Angeles and the company is in Carson City, Nevada. I bought an airplane ticket and I was off. I was treated to a tour of the factory and shown how the speakers were made. USA manufactured!! Then we spent a few hours listening to all types of music on different ranges of speakers. I LOVED what I was hearing with the music part of the audition. Then I asked to hear my film in their theater. I expected to be disappointed based on what I had experienced in the past. Then it happened... I heard the film play and it sounded AMAZING! These speakers could do it all!!! No compression, no fatigue, HiFi sound and still able to play theatrical film tracks as they are meant to be heard. In fact - better! I called my wife in disbelief that my search for "The Speakers" was finally over! I even called my father to tell him what I had just heard. It was the impressive! I remind you - I do this for a living!

Since we are undergoing a major remodel at our home, my wife expected that the family room was going to be filled with big speakers as she has become accustomed to living with me. With some of these Wisdom Audio speakers, they are actually designed to be flush mounted in the wall. I thought there is no way a wall mounted speaker could ever sound as good as a traditional speaker. I was so wrong!! So not only did I find the perfect speaker, but not big boxes in the room 3 feet away from any walls! My wife was thrilled.

If you have never heard speakers by Wisdom Audio you need to find a dealer where you can audition them, or fly to the factory for a private demo!

@phusis  I whole heartily agree with your post! I have also argued for years now that BOTH tracks should be present on the Bluray / UHD disc. We should optimize a lower reference level mix for those that prefer it to the more dynamic Theatrical mix. But we should also 100% absolutely keep the original mix intact for those of us who do want that experience!

I can't say for sure what is happening with the Disney tracks, but I do know that they now require a home theater mix that is suitable for streaming due to their new platform. All of the streaming formats require a compressed track. Not nearly as compressed as broadcast standards, but still significantly compressed compared to a theatrical mix.

Something I came to find out a few years back was that MANY times someone else other than the original sound supervisor and re-recording mixers would make the compressed home near field mix.

I encountered this myself accidentally when the film editor asked me to stop by the near field mix that was happening without any of us there to supervise. I stopped by and was shocked at what was happening. People that were not involved with the original creation of the soundtrack were making creative decisions based on their own opinion!

There was an opening scene that involved a Huey helicopter and a character yelling at his platoon. I mentioned TWICE to the director that the DX was being obscured by the Music and SFX and we should raise or lower one or the other. The first time he said - "Duly noted." The second time I knew I had crossed the line when he told me. "I am ok with him being obscured here - the audience gets his intention by his attitude and energy. The actual words are not important in this case. I also hope this is the last time I have to tell you this." Not to mention names, but this director is not a feeble man and can be quite intimidating. We became friends and always joked about that little exchange.

Anyway - what I heard during the near field mix was someone from the studio complaining that they could hear the DX for this very scene. They told the mixer to lower the SFX so they could clearly hear the DX. I said "STOP! What are you doing??!" They explained and I said I nearly lost my life on this very line of DX during the final mix - do you have the director's permission to be making creative changes? If so please proceed, but this is NOT his vision. I pulled out my cell phone to call the director to make sure this was indeed ok and immediately the studio rep said. "No I don't have permission." Then he went on to say - "Well I just think movies are mixed too loud over all."

I then called the Oscar winning mixers that mixed this film and asked them how they would like to proceed with the near field mix and passed that information on to I and the mixer handling the near field and we undid a fair bit of work that had been done.

The studio rep had a lot of technical setup specifications, but when it came to setting a reference level for a mix... he would find the loudest part of the film and adjust it to where he likes to listen. Then he wanted to adjust the entire track to compensate for this. Ultimately compressing the hell out of the track by raising all of the quiet scenes so they could now be heard. I listened to one of these mixes and I guess if i was watching an action film at my grandmas house while baby sitting... it would be great! If I was watching it and wanted any of the theatrical movie going experience, well that was out the window and I might as well rewatch an episode of Murder She Wrote for something a little more dynamic!!!

After that experience I found out that there were many little shops doing home mixes for studios by people that had no knowledge of how or why something was mixed they way it was during the final mix. Besides changing levels, they would often re-pan information to surrounds even add new SFX they liked better. It was the wild west! Now days we push to make sure the same team that creates the final mix stays on to create the near field mix.

Again.... I ramble on and on and on....

Thanks again for your post!!!
Very interesting thread!

enthusiasm is contagious....

My best to OP and to all....
@drewde you probably know my neighbor, Chris Flick - he’s a sound editor / mixer as well who constantly works at Skywalker Ranch. Congrats on your system! Hope the install goes / went well! 
So pleased you are happy.  That is what this hobby is all about.

Drewde, your subs have to be configured as a linear array or they will not project power like your line source speakers. You  can position individual subwoofers against the front wall on the floor under the screen at intervals of 4 feet or so. The higher you cross over the closer the subs have to be. 4 feet is perfectly adequate for crosses up to 100 Hz. The subwoofers will be function acoustically as one big driver all the way down to 1 Hz and project power like a line source. You can do the same thing with two towers but they have to be as high as your ceiling, and they take up vertical space possibly interfering with the screen. I do not like screens in front of speakers. If you look at my system page you will get the idea. If you want to lean more about subwoofers feel free to message me. I have been using line source speakers since 1980.
As far as processors go I would go with the Trinnov over StormAudio. I think their Room control is better. I am strictly two channel so I would go with the Amethyst but they have theater processors up to 32 channels. It is interesting that both companies are French. How you use the room control is different for theater than 2 channel. Some people never actually sit in a specific spot to listen, music is for the background only. If you do sit in the listening position and listen seriously you can usually store a profile for strict two channel use and switch back and forth.