THX Certified Dominus Speaker Testing at a Glance

The new THX Certified Dominus specification is THX’s largest and most powerful performance class, sitting just above THX Ultra. It’s reserved for spaces up to 6,500 cubic feet with two or three rows of seating and a viewing distance of up to 20 feet from the screen to the primary seating position.

The spec provides an additional 6 dB of output over THX Certified Ultra systems and is optimized for use with immersive surround formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. It’s also designed to ensure “unsurpassed performance in two-channel hi-fi listening rooms.”

To achieve Dominus certification, speakers must undergo rigorous testing to ensure a high level of performance in several areas. Here’s a quick summary of the criteria THX Certified Dominus speakers must meet:

Flat Frequency Response – The speaker must produce a flat frequency response to reproduce content as it was recorded in the studio. An accurate and neutral response is best in the eyes of THX because it reproduces the soundtrack, including music within, as originally intended, without any coloration.

Low Distortion – Strict distortion requirements must be met to ensure voices, music and effects can play loudly without fatigue or damage to the loudspeaker components. The speaker is played at an extreme 120 dB sound-pressure level (SPL) and distortion is measured at a distance of 1 meter (3.2 feet) to ensure distortion remains very low.

Good Off-Axis Response – The speaker must have good off-axis response to ensure a wide listening window in a variety of room types — one in which everyone in the room enjoys an immersive experience, whether they are sitting in the middle or off to one side.

High Sensitivity – The speaker must be efficient, which translates into a high sensitivity spec of 92 dB SPL. This ensures the speaker can reach the THX Reference Level — a nominal 85 dB SPL output with 20 dB of headroom to reach a peak SPL of 105 dB — when used with THX Certified Dominus power amplifiers and certain THX Ultra amplifiers.

The overarching goal of testing? To ensure listeners hear “what was meant to be heard. The quiet whisper. That loud explosion. And everything in between.”