Our Design Philosophy
We’re different! Unlike most speaker companies that package together five random speakers and a subwoofer and call it a matched Home Theater System, we design, engineer, and build integrated multi-channel speaker systems.
Four Things a Home Theater System Must Provide
We know that a matched Home Theater speaker system must deliver Four Things in order to be successful.
- Intelligible dialog and clear on-screen effects. “Huh? What’d he say?” is never acceptable.
- Realistic directional pans across the front stage
- Convincing, enveloping surround effects, without being able to “localize” (locate the origin of the sound by ear) the surround speakers
- Powerful, dramatic bass effects with wide dynamic range (the ability of a sound system to go from very soft to very loud, without sounding strained or distorted)
First, you need to understand what role each speaker plays in the system.
The left and right speakers’ primary responsibility is music and off-screen sound effects. Whether it’s a Home Theater system or an old-fashioned 2-channel stereo music system (Remember those? How quaint.), the left-right speakers need to be accurate, neutral-sounding, and be able to play loudly without strain. They also need to have good side-to-side sound coverage of the listening area (have “good dispersion”).
The center channel speaker actually handles as much as 80% of the movie’s soundtrack as it conveys virtually all the dialog and on-screen effects in the movie. From a speaker designer’s standpoint, the important part is getting this speaker to sound just like the left-right speakers.
That’s hard. Why, you ask?
Two Main Reasons
- The center channel speaker is often horizontally-oriented (that is, it lies down on its long side), rather than standing up tall, like the left-right speaker. Sound propagates (really fancy word for “comes out of”) differently out of a horizontal speaker than a vertical speaker, so they don’t sound the same. But we want them to sound the same, so when a train rushes across the front stage from left-to-center-to-right, it sounds like one continuous whoosh!, not three distinct sounds. It takes fancy engineering to accomplish this, but luckily, fancy engineering is our specialty.
- The center speaker lives in a different acoustic environment than the left-right speakers do. The center speaker is usually lying down on the top of the television, and the TV’s screen affects the sound of the center speaker, because the screen acts like a big acoustic mirror. The left-right speakers, in contrast, are often on stands, in “free space,” so to speak, so they are affected quite differently by their surroundings.
The way that Atlantic gets around all these complications is by paying close engineering attention to the way the drivers (the woofers and tweeters) are physically laid out on the speakers’ front baffles, and by providing sound adjustment controls to compensate for the speakers’ location. Additionally, all of our center channel speakers have a unique rotating base that lets you “aim” them right at the listening position.
We’re not aware of any other companies that address these real-world problems the way we do.
This kind of practical, clever, down-to-earth approach is the way we do things.
We’re fast on our feet here at Atlantic. We think differently. We’re not afraid to try a new approach, even if it’s unconventional. Most importantly, we look at products as if we were the end customer: Does it sound great? Is it easy to install? Can we understand the darned instruction manual?
This is our design philosophy: great-sounding stuff, easy to use and install, with an eye to handling real-world problems.
Like our stuff? Don’t like our stuff? Comments, suggestions, criticisms, compliments? Give us a call. We answer the phone and call people back. We’re just like you. Really. (Except that we know what strange terms like directivity index and intermodulation distortion mean. Other than that, we’re just like you.)