Procella THX-Certified Demo Room

Audio demos at trade shows are nearly impossible to conduct without noise from the show floor intruding. And hotel rooms are hardly ideal venues, either. So it was with great fanfare that Procella announced it would have the world's first THX-certified demo room at CEDIA. The free-standing room was first assembled and certified off-site, then broken down and reassembled—and re-certified—in the convention hall.

Equipment in the room included three P815 speakers in the front left, right, and center positions behind a 10-foot-wide, 2.35:1, microperfed Stewart Studiotek 130 CineCurve screen. Six P8s served as surround speakers (two on each side, two at the back), with two P18 subs in front, one P10 on each side, and one P10 in back. The surround pre/pro was a Meridian G68, and DSP and the surround amps were provided by QSC. Content was sourced from three Integra DBS-50.2 Blu-ray players, and the projector was a Runco VX-22d.

Once inside with the massive door closed, the noise from the show floor disappeared completely. In fact, the room had a noise-criteria rating (a measure of ambient noise levels over a wide frequency range) of NC-19, which is the same as the rating found in many professional recording studios.

The demo consisted of clips from Alice in Wonderland, Prince of Persia, and concert footage of Chick Corea and Return to Forever at the 2008 Montreax Jazz Festival. As I might have expected, the system was played at THX reference level, which is too loud for my taste. Other than the volume, the music clip sounded great, but the dialog in Prince of Persia was harsh and overly sibilant. The Alice clip was more moderate, and the surround soundfield was very smooth and cohesive, though I thought the dialog was still just a bit bright.