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Do you have a theater in your area that you enjoy experiencing a movie at as much as your own home theater?

I have 2 new theaters in my area that I want to visit--both stating they have "new and amazing" dolby surround sound or some such marketing rich description. The newer megaplexes in my area are pretty good, but still do not compare to my living room. My favorite theater before building my own humble system was one that had a very unique layout. It did not have the typical, plastic, fold-down, padded, theater seats, but had a large open area that had huge, overstuffed, very plush leather couches and love seats. They had nice heavy end tables on both sides of your couch. This gave you a nice bit of space for yourself. It added to the illusion of being alone. Plus, the screen is supposedly one of the largest in the region. I think it is 65' across or something like that. Anyway, it is big. Another thing they had going for it was they had a full bar with people waiting on you and bringing you whatever you wanted. You could still get all the usual theater snacks, but I usually got a nice glass of wine or an ice cold beer depending on my mood. Another thing that made this particlar theater so enjoyable to go is the rest of the facility. It has a nice lounge area with music, a bowling alley in the basement complete with food, arcade, pool tables, and ping-pong. Plus the building is very ornate. Just about every square inch is decorated in one way or another--lots of carvings. The main theater room has a domed ceiling with color changing LED lights in it. Also, they only charged the same as every other theater in the area. Even as cool of an experience as this particular theater is to go to, I have found that it still doesn't compare to sitting in my undershorts and laying back on my comfy furniture with my feet up and petting the dog in my own home. Plus, I kind of like to watch a movie with the volume turned up louder than even some of the best theaters can provide. Any one else feel this way?
 

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I've been to one of the theaters in Montgomery, Alabama and the one in Troy, Alabama, where I work. Not even a chance that either could come as close. The one in Montgomery is supposed to be one of those expensive setups but it sounded terrible to all of us who went. The sound was distorted and way too loud. It was ear piercing and we almost couldn't sit through the movie. We all got up and had to take a break it was so bad. The bass sounded like it cut off around 80hz or maybe higher... terrible experience to say the least.

I'm like you... nothing like lounging around in the comfort of your own home theater and when you turn it up loud it actually sounds good, not tiring your ears. Since we got our two SVS subs my wife says I listen louder than I ever have, but we both agree it sounds so good and clean, it's hard not to turn it up.
 

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A large theater certainly has a challenge to fill that huge space with quality sound. I think I've achived much better results on a small budget in my small living room. I only go to the theater if I just can't wait for a movie to come out on DVD.
 

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The last theatre I went to was in Peterborough England, it tried to cram as many cinemas into its building as possible and the result was you could hear the film playing in the screen next door. Awful experience.

Prefer my HT as I cannot hear the neighbours when it is playing:R
 

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Even my own non-dedicated HT setup that's arranged HORRIBLY is far more enjoyable than any theater that I've gone to lately.

For me, there are some movies that I'm definitely going to want to see at the movies -- LOTR, Star Wars, etc. They truly have to be epic for the hassle, inconvenience, noisy audience, etc for me to go to the movies now. I'm fortuante that the sound systems in my area are generally not too bad. Not as clear, tight, etc as my home setup, but not unlistenable either.

JCD
 

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I've only found two theaters near me that can rival or top my own modest setup.

The first is when feature movies come out in IMAX format. Everything about seeing a feature film on an IMAX screen is mind-numbing. Sound is huge, although I didn't feel as well defined, and the screen is e-********-normous. I do enjoy seeing action flicks there. The other is the Cineroma, a Paul Allen (yes, of Microsoft) pet project. A one-screen very well done theater.

Of course all the usuall downsides to these theaters exist. Noisy/rude people, paying for parking, waiting in line etc...

I only go out to see movies now if there is something I want to see really, really huge.

On a side note, we do have a couple of the beer and a movie joints around. And those can definately be fun to go to as long as you don't care about missing some of the movie experience. It is a good date-night deal because it is a little more laid back and you can talk quietly amongst yourselves without fearing you are ruining someone's experience.
 

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North Park Mall in Dallas had a wonderful theater at one time. No more...progress.
 

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My wife and I have sworn off movies at the theater for good. The sound sucks, the audience laughs at the stupidest **** and the picture's terrible.

Also, the prices are outrageous.

We'll still take the kids on occasion, but with much lowered expectations.
 
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Funny, we were just talking, as we sat in the local Amstar watching the new X-Men, how great it would be when it was out on DVD and we could watch it at home. Better picture, better sound and all in the comfort of out own home, and the furkids running around. How *******' sweet!!!!
 

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The family and I always enjoyed going to the movies together. We usually go to the day shows not to be cheap but to avoid the crowds that go at night.

I think the crowds ruin it for me (I hate crowds), whether it is just over crowded or a annoying group that disturbs you while watching the movie. Not to mention that 4 tickets and snacks come out to around $60 for a daytime movie.

I think it will be so much more comfortable to sit together as a family in the comfort of our own house and watch a movie in our own home theater that we all chipped in and helped build, I dont think any theater can top that.

All that being said, I still have never been to an IMAX theater yet (I didnt even know about them till recently, what they come out while I was deployed or something?) and im looking forward to seeing how different it is. Unfortunatly the one near me has been showing movie after movie of things I dont want to see but as soon as they get a good one, I'll be there to test it at least once.
 

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The sound quality at the top theaters is nowhere near what I have at home, but it is nice to see things on the big screen sometimes. (Note to self, get wife on board for a projector). I sometimes (rarely) like to go out with the kids to see a movie as a family.
 

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GregBe said:
(Note to self, get wife on board for a projector). I sometimes (rarely) like to go out with the kids to see a movie as a family.
When we first decided to do a large tv room downstairs it was gonna be exactly that a large plasma with some surround sound. Wifey changed her mind real quick after we went to a HT installers store for a demo and lets just say it impressed her enough to change her mind.

Might be worth a try, finding some place with a good demo and take the wife.
 

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Since I don't really have a HT, yet, I would still say no. About 5-6 years ago I noticed that recently built theaters or ones which had converted their sound systems had the bottom and upper midrange EQ'd up quite a bit. Pictures seemed to be a little fuzzer too unless you sat pretty close to the center seats. It got so bad during one movie (felt like someone was drilling a hole through our eardrums) we ended up leaving. We have only gone to see one movie since then.

I have been to a couple of my friends HT set-ups and they are better than what I remember at the local theatures.

We don't miss the unruly folks who want to be rude. :rant: However, the thing I miss most is the social audience encounter and reaction during certain movies (horror movies). It just isn't the same when there is only a handful of people all screaming or going oooooooh! verses a theater almost full of people.


I have been to a couple of IMAX shows and they are marvelous for their picture and sound quality.
 

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A large theater certainly has a challenge to fill that huge space with quality sound. I think I've achived much better results on a small budget in my small living room. I only go to the theater if I just can't wait for a movie to come out on DVD.
My wife and I have sworn off movies at the theater for good. The sound sucks, the audience laughs at the stupidest **** and the picture's terrible.

Also, the prices are outrageous.

We'll still take the kids on occasion, but with much lowered expectations.
This is exactly the position my wife and I take, except that even those films I really want to see sometimes end up on my "blind buy" list ("Pirates of the Caribbean: DMC" – December 5 can't come soon enough). IMO, even my modest 65" RPTV screen gives a better, brighter, focused picture than most every commercial theater I have ever been in. And the sound goes without saying. I worked as head projectionist for a major chain about 20 years ago, back when they actually had dedicated projectionists. Now, they take either the manager or some clueless concession employee who happens to be free at the moment, show them how to thread a film, and where the start button is. God help them if the film breaks (for us in Colorado Springs, they have to call to Denver to get a Union projectionist to come down and splice the film – a 30 sec. job), or something even worse happens. And in my 5+ years there, I only had one customer come up to me and comment that the surrounds were not on, or seriously mis-balanced (it was the latter, but I had no control over that). Add to that the fact that they routinely ran the projector bulb at 1/3 brightness to extend it's life (they figured that J6P would not know the difference - guess they were right). Now that Blu-ray/HD-DVD is knocking on our door, the situation is only gonna get worse. There have been "polls" that say a vast majority still prefer to go to the theater over home video, but I say they are little more than a desperate PR act by the studios to keep people mortgaging their house two times a month to buy tickets, popcorn, and watch ½ hour of commercials before the poor presentation of the main feature. There was a time when going to the movie was an event unmatched by anything in the home, but no more…

To be fair, I only have experience with the theaters here in Colorado Springs, and Denver. As for the high profile theaters on the coasts (I have yet to experience it my self).…


http://www.audioholics.com/news/editorials/yearlymovieexcursion.php
 

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None in my area come even close to my home theater... it's tough to beat the best seat in the house every time and no screaming kids or rude people. :)

Basically I haven't heard a theater yet that was properly set up. Either the voices were too low, bass was too low, or the sound was just plain terrible. I don't think they really take the time to calibrate the theateres correctly.
 

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Vader said:
IMO, even my modest 65" RPTV screen gives a better, brighter, focused picture than most every commercial theater I have ever been in... I worked as head projectionist for a major chain about 20 years ago, back when they actually had dedicated projectionists.
Vader, I'm curious, when you were the projectionist, did the projected picture look better than the TV you have now? Isn't film currently the ideal for motion picture?
 

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Ayreonaut,
There were some things we had control over, such as focus and volume (we checked the focus and sound from inside the auditorium every 20 min or so), but there were also things over which we had no control (surround balance, projector lamp power, stuff like that). I concur that film resolution is the ideal (read: I have no problem with "filming" all digital, unlike Spielberg), and hi-def is edging us ever closer to that. I would say that my picture now is superior to what we had back then, but that would be due to several reasons (not the least of which is my memory, or lack thereof), like the afore mentioned running the lamps at 1/3 brightness to prolong life, giving the picture a washed-out look (that I do remember quite well). At the time, My HT consisted of a 27" Mitsubishi, a Pioneer 3030 LD player, and a NEC PLA-710 Pro-Logic amp, and I still preferred it - IMO the only advantages the theater I worked at had over my setup was the physical size of the screen, and the recentness of the film. Remember, I'm only talking about the theaters I have experience with, which is a pitifully small sampling. The editorial at the link in my earlier post shows me that I have led a very sheltered theater life, and I need to get out more....
 

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Ever since I bought a PJ for HT use, a movie theater hasn't seen me for years. I don't care what blockbuster movie is out there, I'll wait for DVD.:D
 
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Well the worse cinema technically is in my home town it is so dreadfully awful when it comes to starting the film, presentation of the atmosphere is a real let down!

Having worked for UCI and Warner Bros cinemas in the past as a junior projectionist and having an ear and eye knowing when something is out of place it often comes down to the reproduction of the playback of the sound!





ODEON Westover Road based here in Bournemouth screen #1 is the worse sounding cinema on the south coast! With outdated loudspeakers like the Altec A-4 pictured here, well there grand hay days of the 1950’s and 60’s are over there history! I have read the specifications on the Lansing heritage JBL forums site, where they might have a high sensitivity at generating high peaks mostly in the upper mid bass range and middle frequency band, its way too bright!



The last film I saw at this cinema was Batman Begins in dts distortion! I was 99.999% close to walk out on that film within the first 2 minutes of the opening, while monitoring the SPL db level in the cinema as I usually do when I visit a cinema, and with peaks close to 100dbA not 100dbC where you can feel it pressing on you just like in Lucasfilm THX sound system cinema. No this was far worse!

I really hate it when some younger projectionist tells me you should hear Batman begins in dts! Wow big deal is all I can say, and when I ask him what dts decoder are you running and the amplification? It’s like err I don’t know.

Well I must say I was very ticked off with that show and costing nearly £7.00 UK I want my money back! One for deceiving the public saying they have brand new cinema equipment that they are digital ready! This is what fangs me to the teeth!

I might take my ticket down there tomorrow see a film if I dare check the SPL db level while watching the film and if it falls below even the sub standard specifications, or if it even sounds like there have been no alterations to the specification since last year, than I will demand my money back for the film that I have seen there on the day, plus my money back for embarrassing me with that turkey Batman in dts!:teeth:
 

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We only have a couple of local chains near us, Cinemark and AMC. Even our modest set up blows them away. Every time we visit the Cinemark, it seems the theater we end up in has some kind of problem. One show we saw, the center speaker had a dead high freq driver. Another show there was no left front speaker. Another time it appeared that there were no surround speakers working.

Even when all the speakers are working, the EQ us usually bad - like a peak in the upper midrange making the dialog sound “honky.”

Then there is the picture – half the time it looks soft and unfocused. Bottom line, I’ll take our home system with the little 31” TV anyday.

Regards,
Wayne
 
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