The audio mavens at THX have come up with the Steerable Line Array, a speaker system that ensures you'll hear perfect sound, no matter where you sit.
Traditional speakers and home cinema speaker arrays typically offer only one 'sweet spot' -- the position in which you seat yourself to hear the system at its very best. But the Steerable Line Array, spotted over at Popular Science, is designed to provide no fewer than eight sweet spots, ensuring your family doesn't end up scrapping for the finest seating position.
The system features no fewer than 92 speaker drivers: two rows of 30 mid and low-end drivers arranged above and below an array of 32 front-facing high-frequency tweeters. All of these are housed in a 6 foot-long cabinet, which can be built into a wall or TV stand. All that needs to be visible is a 1.4-inch tall gap that runs the length of the speaker array, so it's a lot more discreet than most high-end home cinema speaker systems.
How does it work? Well, during the set-up process, you use an app on your phone or computer to 'map out' your home cinema. After tagging up to eight sitting positions as the sweet spots, you feed the data to the speaker array's controller (THX says future versions will use infrared sensors to map the system automatically -- the sensors will detect people). It can then tell the drivers and tweeters when to fire to hit each particular sweet spot, so multiple listeners will hear 'perfect' sound quality, it's claimed.
Audio signals are decoded by a dual-core processor, while THX has conjured up a new kind of amplifier for the Steerable Line Array: each of the drivers has its own 100W amp, and each is only powered on when needed (it merely uses a tenth of a watt when 'off'). This low power use cuts down on heat, meaning large heat sinks aren't required for cooling and the size of the unit can be kept to a minimum.
There's no word on a release date or price for the Steerable Line Array yet, but we'd be willing to bet it's going to cost a darn sight more than the average one-box home cinema package. Better start saving.