Category Archives: Movies

The Best Horror Movie Soundtracks: Our Top 5 List

October is the month that ends with Halloween, which means many of our minds will turn to all things scary. For many of us there is no better way to enjoy Halloween than with horror movies, and while the most memorable aspects of most horror movies are the terrifying visuals of gruesome deaths at the hands of famous movie monsters, of course, we like to focus on the sounds.

Music creates atmosphere, which means that a great horror movie soundtrack can scare the hell out of you before a single drop of blood is ever shed on screen. Whether you’re listening to these by themselves, or pumping them through your home theater on scary movie night, here are five horror movie soundtracks you should check out this Halloween.

Psycho


While there are a couple of notes from this soundtrack that we all know, the shower scene soundtrack is only a slim part of a great sounding movie. Bernard Herrmann’s score for Psycho is chilling and brilliant from beginning to end. It’s what makes Psycho a horror movie from the start, even though the violence doesn’t start for quite some time. And the shower scene music is brilliant. Herrmann created it without direction from Alfred Hitchcock, because the director wasn’t planning on the scene having music at all. We can’t even conceive of such a thing.

The Nightmare Before Christmas


So, this one may not be a traditional “horror” movie, but there needed to be at least one scary movie the whole family could enjoy on this list, and the soundtrack to The Nightmare Before Christmas is just too good to ignore. Danny Elfman is one of the greatest modern composers and he’s in top form here. From “This is Halloween” to “Oogie Boogie’s Song” there’s plenty here to give you a legitimate fright. The music hits all the great notes of dread and tension that a true horror movie will give you, even if nobody actually dies.

It Follows


It Follows is the most modern film on this list and the man who scored the film, who goes by the name Disasterpiece, had never written music for a movie before. Some people just get it right the first time. The music feels like it’s a throwback to a 1980’s slasher movie, while being better than the music for most of those. The old school sound does its job of transporting you into the world of the film, which itself takes a lot of cues from classic horror movies. If you missed It Follows last year, you owe it to yourself to check this one out.

Halloween


If there’s a single piece of music that instantly evokes Halloween, it is likely the theme from the movie of the same name. It’s repetitive piano is one of the most iconic sounds in all of movie music. Even if you had never seen Halloween we bet hearing those notes would instantly give you a sense of underlying dread. The fact that the music was actually written by John Carpenter, the same man who wrote and directed the film, just makes it all the more perfect. We know that music makes you feel exactly how the director wanted you to feel.

Suspiria


Suspiria is a film you may not be familiar with, but you owe it to yourself to fix that immediately. From the legendary horror director Dario Argento, it’s a 1977 Italian horror film that is one of the master’s best works. The soundtrack, from an artist known only as Goblin, is an equally great creation. This soundtrack was written in and recorded in a single day which is only one of the amazing things about it. The music absolutely drips with atmosphere. There’s literally no way to listen to it, even outside of the film, without beginning to feel somewhat scared.

Top 10 Dolby Atmos Movies of 2015

In 2015, we saw a slew of new speakers that could bring Dolby Atmos sound into the home. Even better, we saw a ton of Dolby Atmos-enabled Blu-rays that you could actually enjoy on those new equipment purchases.

If you aren’t familiar with Dolby Atmos, know that it’s an “object-based” sound format that can deliver a whole new dimension to your movie-watching. Most audio formats assign sound to channels in your system, but with Dolby Atmos, content creators can actually assign it to objects on-screen. That means spaceships will sound like they are flying overhead, from one end of the room to the other. You know, like actual spaceships. Of course, it works on birds, helicopters, explosions, and so much more. Dolby Atmos movies provide the most immersive viewing experience you can have at home, with sound coming from every angle—including above.

To experience Dolby Atmos movies, you will need an AV receiver that can decode the format, as well as additional speakers. Dolby recommends several different options to set up an Atmos system, including the installation in-ceiling speakers; however, there are also Atmos-enabled models that can process the format, without having to be placed on the ceiling. For instance, the Klipsch RP-140SA elevation channel speaker can sit atop any flat speaker (or surface) and project the audio to make it sound like it’s overhead, without having speakers that are actually over your head. There are also speakers like the Klipsch RP-280FA floorstanding speaker, which features a built-in elevation channel.

While your old Blu-ray player will work fine with Dolby Atmos, not every Blu-ray comes packing that type of format. There are so many good ones, though.

It should be noted that some Dolby Atmos-enabled receivers have the capability to improve ALL of your content, not just specifically encoded materials, thanks to “upmixing.” Upmixing allows you to hear height/elevation effects, creating a much more immersive, true-to-life experience versus traditional surround sound. This isn’t gimmicky technology. You will notice the benefits immediately. It will reinvigorate your existing movie collection, television programs, video games, and music collection.  

Need a reason to upgrade? Take a peek at some of the best Dolby Atmos movies from 2015.

Gravity

If you haven’t experienced Dolby Atmos movies at home, this should be the first disc that you purchase. After all, the blockbuster took home multiple Oscars, including ones for Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Music (Original Score). In other words, you should know that it’s going to be one that will blow you away, from an audio standpoint. That’s a good thing too, since Sandra Bullock and an immersive audio track are basically the main focus of the movie. Released in 2015, the Gravity: Diamond Luxe Edition is gripping from beginning to end. That opening scene alone should be enough to hook you, but the aforementioned score, the explosions, and plenty of other atmospheric effects are pretty cool as well.

Mad Max: Fury Road

This isn’t just your average reboot. This one was helmed by George Miller, the same guy who directed Mel Gibson in the first three installments of the Mad Max saga. The faces may look a little different here, but this movie shows that the franchise hasn’t missed one maniacal beat. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron fight across a post-apocalyptic wasteland to stay alive and protect some precious cargo. All the while, the Dolby Atmos track is assaulting you (in a good way!) with crazy cars, flying motorcycles, explosions, gunfire, and flailing guitar solos. It’s not just one of the best Dolby Atmos movies out there, but it’s one of the best films of 2015—and has an Oscar nomination to prove it!

American Sniper

Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated look at the life of Chris Kyle is an emotional rollercoaster ride. Some of that is due to Bradley Cooper, who perfectly plays the late U.S. Navy SEAL. Of course, it also has to do with the suspense and action in the film, which is backed up by an awesome, demo-worthy Dolby Atmos track. Rolling tanks, gunshots, and explosions come from every angle, but that climactic sandstorm scene is the one that will get your adrenaline (and your AV system) pumping.

Enchanted Kingdom

From the people who gave us BBC Earth and Walking with Dinosaurs 3D, this BBC joint probably isn’t too well known to U.S. audiences—at least the ones without Dolby Atmos. That said, it features Idris Elba narrating an up-close peek at seven realms of Africa. The film also has some incredible AV, which includes eye-popping 3D effects. Of course, the Dolby Atmos track is the icing on the cake here, with spewing volcanoes, rumbling thunderstorms, crashing waterfalls, and immersive wildlife. It just may be closest you’ll ever get to the African jungle (and in some cases, the closest you’ll ever want to be).

Game of Thrones

Did you know that TV shows can benefit from Dolby Atmos as well? Well, not just any TV shows. To date, this is the only show that features a Dolby Atmos track—and it will completely spoil you. The action, the sights, the sounds, and the acting are all very elaborate on this show, so it makes sense that it would get the best-of-the-best when it comes to the sound. In 2015, HBO re-released the first two seasons as Steelbook Collector’s Sets, each with a new Dolby Atmos track. Whipping winds, bloody battles, blood-curdling screams, the occasional dragon swooping in, and even the show’s theme song all sound stellar, thanks to the addition of that extra dimension.

Everest

Believe it or not, a movie about the 1996 Mount Everest disaster is exactly the type of movie you want getting the Dolby Atmos treatment. It’s filled with famous faces, emotion, and action. Even better, it’s filled with tons of overhead sound effects. There are helicopters flying around, howling winds, thunder, and even falling snow that seems a bit too close for comfort. The big storm is definitely the highlight here. It’s sad, scary, and exactly the type of scene you want to have on hand for showing off just how awesome it is to have a Dolby Atmos system.

Sicario

It’s nice to see Emily Blunt in such a kick-ass role, especially when backed by a cast that includes both Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro. This critically acclaimed drama finds the three fighting in the war against drugs, but all is not what it seems to be. There are plenty of interesting twists and turns, but even better, a lot of great Dolby Atmos sound. It may not be as immersive as the last one on our list, but Sicario definitely has plenty of explosive moments and atmospheric sounds to immerse the listener. Heck, even some of the quieter, suspenseful scenes make this one a real standout for our list.

San Andreas

This may not be a great movie, but it’s a great example of how Dolby Atmos sound can elevate an entire movie. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a likable fireman, who wants to save his family from a natural disaster. It’s got helicopters, crashing glass, crunching metal, blaring sirens, and crumbling buildings aplenty. It also has the immersive rumble of earthquakes. Plus, about every two minutes, someone or something is falling, so don’t be surprised if you spend most of this movie’s 114-minute runtime ducking for cover.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

This fifth installment in the MI franchise has Tom Cruise out to protect the world and his band of merry IMF misfits. It’s a surprisingly, super-fun adrenaline rush with an excellent soundtrack. It’s not exactly a non-stop barrage like San Andreas—and that’s okay. Instead, this track uses those height effects wisely, packing a punch only when necessary. The heavily hyped scene that has Cruise hanging from the side of a plane is worth the purchase price all on its own, but there are plenty of other thunderous effects, including car crashes, gunfire, immersive opera music, and one killer scene with some immersive Halo 5 gaming action.

The Fifth Element

So technically, this isn’t a 2015 movie; it’s not even movie from this decade. However, it is one of the biggest sci-fi cult classics, and often the first movie that Blu-ray fans reach for when demo time comes around. In 2015, Sony released the “Cinema Series” version, which adds in Dolby Atmos sound—and it’s simply mind-blowing. The studio actually managed to take a demo-worthy movie and make it even better, thanks to spaceships, explosions, music, and more, all with the magic of Dolby Atmos.

Upcoming Dolby Atmos Movies

Looking for even more Dolby Atmos movies to enjoy? Dolby and major movie studios are announcing new Atmos-enabled Blu-ray titles all the time. We’re still frothing at the mouth for Game of Thrones Steelbook Collector’s Editions for seasons 3, 4, and 5. Those are expected at some point, but don’t have exact release dates just yet.

This year, several companies are planning to re-release movies in the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format, complete with Dolby Atmos audio. A few interesting selections worth the AV upgrade include Sicario (March 1, 2016), Ender’s Game (March 1), and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (date TBD). Otherwise, we can expect Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea to rock the room with Dolby Atmos sound on March 8, with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 franchise finale to follow on March 22.

Of course, while you wait for new discs, you can actually stream Dolby Atmos movies through VUDU. The streaming service currently has several 4K-enabled movies available for streaming with Dolby Atmos. That lineup includes several of the titles out on Blu-ray, as well as others like Man of Steel, Edge of Tomorrow, Pacific Rim, Entourage, and more.

Get Ready!

Before you start collecting movies, you’re going to need to upgrade your equipment. A Dolby Atmos-enabled receiver is an absolute necessity. There are several models available, from different manufacturers at various price points.

Of course, you’ll also need the speakers.  If you aren’t looking for reasons to get up on a ladder, Klipsch Reference Premiere Dolby Atmos-Enabled speakers can add this exciting technology  into almost home theater setup.

As mentioned earlier, the Klipsch RP-140SA elevation speaker can add Dolby Atmos sound capabilities to your current passive speakers. The company’s Reference Premiere RP-280FA floorstanding speaker packs that module right into the RP-280F floorstanding speaker for a complete sound solution. And rounding out the setup is the Reference Premiere RP-450CA, which matches the special finishes of the RP-280FA speakers.

While Dolby does not yet certify architectural speakers as Atmos-enabled speakers, many in-ceiling speakers match their specs. Any of the Klipsch in-ceiling speakers will do the trick, including the CDT-5650-C II and CDT-5800-C II in-ceiling speakers, two particularly great speakers for Dolby Atmos because of their Controlled Dispersion Technology.

Consult Dolby.com for a list of compatible makes and models of equipment, as well as speaker configurations and installation tips. You won’t want to miss out on the next true revolution in home theater sound since surround sound.

What were you favorite Dolby Atmos movies of 2015? Post your opinion in the comments below!

Five Best Movies for Upmixing with Dolby Atmos

As we have covered in a previous blog post, Dolby Atmos isn’t just for new movies that were edited specifically for the technology. Upmixing with Dolby Atmos brings a new dimension to your surround sound whether it be for movies, music, video games, sporting events or whatever.

Many of you asked for specific examples, so we went through our movie collection and picked out the best movies to show off upmixing with Dolby Atmos.

(Really, we just wanted an excuse to go to one of our theaters and relive these movies on Reference Premiere Dolby Atmos enabled speakers.)

WARNING: There could be some minor spoilers…that being said, if you haven’t seen these movies yet, our sympathy is limited.

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN

One of Steven Spielberg’s finest efforts is worth seeing all over again with upmixed Dolby Atmos sound. The unforgettable and gut-wrenching invasion of Normandy scene is a great showcase for the efforts from Dolby’s engineering team. Bullets and mortars zoom right over your head. The underwater scenes are that much more immersive and intense. The soundtrack was already quite dynamic in 5.1. Dolby Atmos somehow kicks it up another notch.

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

There are a bunch of scenes in this movie that Trekkies and normies alike will appreciate the impressive upmixed sound. One particular highlight is when the USS Vengeance is catching up to the Enterprise. Going warp speed has never been so exciting (and that’s saying something). The added dimension is also quite apparent during the movie’s opening scene with the animal sounds.

EDGE OF TOMORROW

It feels like not nearly enough people have seen this action movie, starring Tom Cruice and Emily Blunt. It’s a fantastic movie in addition to a stellar showcase for Dolby Atmos, particularly the reoccurring battle scenes. You can practically feel the air rushing around him as the main character falls from the sky, displaying incredible ambient effects. The distant battle sounds sound really expansive through the additional Dolby Atmos channels. Without revealing too much, the “swirling” aliens are much more intimidating and overwhelming as well thanks to the Dolby Atmos upmixing.

AVATAR

Sure, the plot kind of stinks and it goes on for far too long but…those jungle scenes! The ambience and wildlife sounds of the jungle completely envelop the listener. While the action scenes are incredibly immersive and three dimensional, the quieter, dialogue based scenes are impressive examples of Dolby Atmos technology.

PROMETHEUS

Atmosphere and tension is everything in Prometheus, making it a natural fit for Dolby Atmos. Upmixing utilizes height effects brilliantly during the storm scene when they are running back to the ship with clouds and sand swirling overhead. Any of the cave scenes also have a lot of ambience including water drops, falling stones, and lots of echo all over the place – around and above.

 

 

 

Best Home Theater Speaker Systems: 4 Things to Know

If you’re wanting better sound quality from your entertainment system, chances are you need to add a home theater system. The truth is that even the best high-def TVs are seriously lacking when it comes to speaker capability since they’ve become so slim over time. At the end of the day, they simply can’t deliver the clarity of voice in the softest whisper, or those deep, explosive lows that’ll bring your favorite action movies to life. The same goes for the full-range sound effects that only surround sound speakers can deliver.

Before deciding on which home theater speaker system is right for you, here are four things to consider:

1. The Perks of All-In-One Setups

Some of the best home theater speaker systems are considered “in the box” setups. All this means is that the manufacturer has taken the time to pre-package the essential equipment you really need. A good system will include a pair of floorstanding speakers or bookshelf speakers, a center channel speaker, two rear surround sound speakers and a subwoofer. This system set up is also known as a 5.1 system (five speakers and one subwoofer). As you’d expect, higher quality systems typically include two additional speakers for superior surround effects (making it a 7.1 system). Perhaps the biggest benefit of an all-in-one setup is convenience – simply make one purchase and you’re done. Going the pre-packaged route is also easier to install and usually more cost effective than buying pieces individually. The good news is that many of the best in the box setups are crafted with furniture aesthetics in mind, so your system won’t be an eyesore. If you need help choosing speakers, check out the Klipsch Reference Speaker Selector.

2. Building Your Own System

While a pre-packaged setup is ideal for some, others may prefer to build their own system from the ground up. (We’re looking at you, audiophiles.) It may be a bit more involved, but taking a do-it-yourself approach comes with some perks. For starters, you can tailor your system to meet your individual needs. One hardcore movie buff may be more choosy about their center channel speaker, for example. But another music lover might just be looking to customize their entertainment center with a pair of killer floorstanding speakers. Building your own system a la carte gives you the freedom to mix and match products as you see fit.

3. Understand the System Layout

Klipsch Home Theater Systems

Center speaker should be place directly under the TV screen and facing listeners. However, you can get creative with your subwoofer placement.

Before choosing your home theater speaker system, take a minute to assess your living room. In order to optimize your new system’s sound quality, it’s important to understand how to physically lay it all out. The center channel speaker should be placed right below or above your TV screen and positioned to face listeners. If you choose to position it on a stand, rest the speaker’s edge on the end of the stand. This will help prevent dialogue from sounding wonky. The floorstanding/bookshelf speakers should then be positioned on either side of the TV (at least six feet apart). Just be sure to keep them at an equal distance from the screen for the best sound delivery. As for the surround speakers, place these guys slightly above and behind the viewing position – about three feet above the listeners’ heads should do it. They should also be placed equally on each side. Things are a little more flexible when it comes to the subwoofer. While corners make for a good location, feel free to give it a try along a wall or next to a front speaker. If you haven’t already, check out our Klipsch WA-2 Kit that makes your subwoofer wireless, allowing more flexibility to find the perfect spot for your subwoofer.

4. A Killer Sound Bar Might Be All You Need

A sound bar, while not as powerful as a full-out surround sound system, still represents a step up from your TV’s default speakers. For the electronically challenged, a sound bar’s super simple installation is enough of a draw. What’s more is that they actually do produce pretty killer sound in a compact, single-speaker device (which is perfect for small spaces, by the way). For one thing, the right sound bar can deliver strong virtual sound. What’s that, you ask? It basically simulates surround sound. A benefit to this system is that it’s sleek, not bulky and comes with minimal wires. If you snag one with Bluetooth connectivity, it’ll also seamlessly play your favorite music right from your smartphone, tablet or computer. Despite it’s crowd-pleasing features, some may prefer to add a subwoofer to their soundbar to add low bass frequencies. Plus, a sound bar’s easy plug and play function does not limit the system to your living room’s home theater setup. You can easily move it to the bedroom, kitchen or covered porch. Check out our Klipsch R-10B and R-20B models.

Tell us how you plan to or have set up your home theater speaker system in the comments section below. We’d love to see some pics too!

Sound Bar vs Surround Sound

Trying to decide between using a sound bar or a home theater system for your home? We’ve listened to your requests and put together this overview to ease your mind and open your ears to the difference in set up and sound quality.

As you know, sound bars are all the rage with their sleek design, easy installation process, wireless set up, and ability to produce a form of surround sound. Does this mean you’ve found a replacement for a separate-piece surround sound system with front, rear, and center speakers? No, of course not. Nothing can replace a full-blown Klipsch home theater setup…BUT a sound bar can be the ideal solution for those seeking an upgrade to their wimpy TV speakers.

Let’s break down the pros and cons of each so you can decide what’s best for you.

Sound Bar Overview

Pros:

  • Easy installation and connectivity
  • Minimal wires
  • Modern design
  • Great for small-medium living spaces
  • Excellent virtual sound, which simulates the surround sound experience

Cons:

  • May need to buy separate subwoofer (although many Klipsch systems include a sub, such as our HD Theater SB 3, R-10B Sound Bar and R-20B Sound Bar)
  • The placement of the sound bar creates specific “sweet spots” in your listening experience
  • Does not produce complete surround sound, especially in larger living environments

Surround Sound System Overview

Pros:

  • Full range surround sound
  • Able to place speakers in multiple stations for optimal acoustics
  • Maximum bass
  • Audiophile theater system presentation

Cons:

  • Most quality systems require running wires from the receiver to each individual speaker
  • Takes up more space
  • More involved installation process
  • More expensive

Q: Does Bigger = Better?

Big speakers may provide the look of a major sound producing machine, but remember, looks can be deceiving. While it is true large speakers have the ability to produce eardrum pounding sound and are an excellent choice for a large room, sound bars and smaller speaker systems are more than capable of producing quality sound. Make an informed decision and learn how to ensure a quality set up by reviewing the following section.

How Do I Compare a Sound Bar to a Surround Sound System?

As with any audio product, there are varying levels of quality and associated performance depending on the device. The best sound bars will overpower and outperform the run-of-the-mill surround sound system. So, the question is, what performance standards do you look for? We’ll make this part easy on you. Just refer to the below list on how to understand the specs to find the quality speaker system you desire.

  • Sensitivity

The speakers’ effectiveness of converting power (watts) into volume (decibels). The higher the sensitivity, the less power the speaker needs to deliver the effective sound. To put it quite simply – a higher sensitivity rating = loud, clear, high quality sound.

Speaker

Sensitivity Rating

Power Needed To Produce High Volume

Speaker A

85 dB

100 Watts

Speaker B

89 dB

50 Watts

Speaker C

92 dB

25 Watts

*less power to produce higher volume is key for speaker longevity

  • Frequency Response

The range of frequencies that are audible to humans lies between 20 and 20,000 Hert (Hz). Some of the lowest frequencies (below 35 Hz) are more felt than heard (like an earthquake in an action movie), and are produced by the subwoofer. Review the frequency response range to understand what kind of listening experience you will gain with the associated highs and lows that the speaker produces.

  • Power Handling

How much power, in watts, a speaker can handle before it is damaged. Simply put, the higher the power handling, the more likely you are to piss off the neighbors.

  • Impedance

How much electrical resistance is presented against the current flowing from your outputs. Impedance will fluctuate since the speaker will produce sounds at varying frequencies, but all manufacturers will publish a nominal impedance figure. 8 ohms is the norm, though some speakers can handle a 4ohm load (just make sure your receiver matches this load).

SUMMARY

Hopefully this helps to answer some of your questions on how to choose the right speaker system. Remember, much of it comes down to personal preference, but be sure to do your homework when it comes to reviewing the specs and associated performance standards of each sound system. We’re sure that either choice will amplify your current set up and make PWK proud.

5 Movies With Kickass Surround Sound

Whether you’re a hardcore audiophile looking for the ultimate sound experience or a casual movie watcher out to make movie-watching at home more immersive, it’s tough to find the perfect soundtrack to show off your surround sound home theater system.

Sure, you’ll probably want to hear a few big explosions, but to truly get the best out of your home theater, you need a film with a wide and nuanced aural range, not to mention one that takes advantage of the directional effects made possible by a surround speakers.

The good news is we’ve already spent a ton of time searching for that perfect soundtrack for you. From trade shows to dealer events, customer demos to new product testing, this is what we like.

The Dark Knight

If you buy one movie for your surround sound system, let this be it. From the bank heist opener all the way to the end credits, the sounds of The Dark Knight envelop the viewer and integrate seamlessly with the films visuals to create an impeccable home theater experience.

Hans Zimmer’s almost oppressively dark score sets the perfect backdrop for Christopher Nolan’s Gotham, and the film’s dialogue is crystal clear throughout. If it’s pyrotechnics you’re looking for, well, The Dark Knight’s got that too. Particularly impressive is the film’s truck flip scene during one of the Batman’s epic battles with the Joker.

The Dark Knight – Batman vs. Joker Scene (truck flip)

This movie is the real deal. With audio engineering that never draws attention to itself, The Dark Knight is ideal to show off your home theater and have a great movie-watching experience in the process.

Wall-E

Pixar has long had a reputation for producing not only great-looking children’s films, but great sounding ones as well. Wall-E hits the mark in both regards. For those who have followed the company, it should come as no surprise that Pixar, originally part of Lucasfilm, puts a high premium on the quality of sound in its films.

The world of the lonely robot is unbelievably immersive and nuanced, and uses the directional possibilities of the surround sound system to their full potential. In addition to the sound effects in film, the soundtrack and score are top-notch both in terms of suitability for the film and recording quality. The film’s opening song creates a truly beautiful moment.

Wall-E Opening Scene

This is the perfect movie for kids and their audiophile parents to watch together. While it may be the unbelievably detailed CGI visuals many viewers notice first when viewing Wall-E–and they do look great–any true audiophile will immediately struck by the enormous attention to aural detail evidenced by the soundtrack of Wall-E.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Russell Crowe’s nautical adventure as Jack Aubrey is one of the best-sounding movies out there, truly taking advantage of the possibilities of surround sound to create an enveloping maritime atmosphere.

From the creaking of the boat’s planks to the subtle sound of the sea’s water against its hull, the level of detail represented in the soundtrack’s quieter moments is only eclipsed by the intensity of its battles, with floor-shaking cannon fire and roaring explosions.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World – Final epic battle

Master and Commander’s soundtrack is arguably one of the most enveloping you’ll find.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Regardless how you feel about Shia LaBeouf and the Transformers franchise, there’s no denying this movie sounds great. The action scenes in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen are made unbelievably intense by the impeccable sound engineering.

And, despite the power and intensity put forth by the film’s soundtrack as the giant robots smash each other to bits, the films’s soundscape is also impressively nuanced.

While your ears are being bombarded by the sounds of the on-screen destruction, you’ll still be able to pick out individual helicopters, explosions, and firearms within the cacophony.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen – Shanghai Scene

While it may not go down in history as a cinematic landmark, it’s clear that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen sounds great. If you’re in the mood to see some great-looking and great-sounding computer-generated action scenes, this movie is where it’s at.

The Hurt Locker

A departure from the rest of the films on the list, Kathryn Bigelow’s Academy Award-winning The Hurt Locker’s more serious and contemporary subject matter is enhanced immeasurably by the film’s startlingly realistic soundtrack.

While the film’s expected wartime sounds are both extremely powerful and extremely detailed–each weapon fired and specific type of explosion has its own unique sonic signature–it’s some of the film’s quieter moments which truly stand out in terms of sound design. The characters’ breathing as they deal with the extreme stresses of the Iraq War is a constant barometer of their internal state, and the chime-like sound of shell casings hitting the rocky ground provides one of the film’s most powerful moments.

"The Hurt Locker" – Official Trailer [HD]

The soundtrack of The Hurt Locker is truly enveloping, and only serves to intensify the impact of an already impactful film. If you’re looking for a surround sound experience with emotional weight, The Hurt Locker is the perfect choice.


If you’re like us, you’ve put a lot of time, sweat and money into your set up. Show it off with any of these films. Agree or disagree? Have suggestions of your own? Leave us a comment.