With IMAX Enhanced, home viewers get full-range, high impact sound that envelopes them in a virtual aural environment, delivering a visceral “you are there” feeling. Moreover, the sound is mixed without the dynamic range compression and bass filtering that are the bane of home theater enthusiasts.
There are certain parameters that must be met. For example, a system that offers 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response is the minimum recommendation. Moreover, IMAX Enhanced guidelines suggest using speakers with at least 89 dB rated sensitivity (1W/1 meter), and capable of over 100 dB peaks when you are seated 2 meters away (as tested to CTA loudspeaker standards). This is to ensure that the speakers properly express the dynamics found in IMAX Enhanced certified content. Similarly, in order to feel the full impact of the bass mix, you’ll want subwoofer(s) rated to play down to 20 Hz or deeper with 115 dB peaks. In other words, you’re going to need a fairly serious speaker system to get the job done right.
The minimum speaker system recommendation for IMAX Enhanced is a 5.1.4 3D immersive audio setup. However, for the best effect, DTS recommends using a 7.2.4 speaker system, one that incorporates side as well as rear surrounds for greater immersion. Note that dual subwoofers for all layouts will result in a better bass uniformity for all listeners.
A key point that emerges in discussions with DTS is that the audio presentation championed by the company is still a matter of choice. The company makes no claim that it’s “better” than alternatives, including DTS:X and Dolby Atmos mixes. The key is that IMAX Enhanced is a different take on immersive audio, with solid science underlying the approach.