Stockton Holiday Park Home Theatre System

Stockton Beach Holiday Park AV system

We were commissioned by Newcastle City Council to install a theatre system for the new Stockton Beach Holiday Park Camp Kitchen. Specification from council was the projector had to be bright and the sound had to fill the room. We also completed this project under budget.

When we were contacted it was at a late stage of the build which made our job even harder for installing all the cabling. The brackets which support the projector screen was all built in-house by us as they were not commercially available, the boards which the speakers are mounted to were also made in-house by us, as the studs in the walls did not line up with both side walls (and front), we had to come up with a solution that not only looked attractive but had to position all the speaker in the correct and uniform position.

Click on a picture to enlarge.

unpacking speakersmain system locationempty side viewsurround speaker left locationsurround speaker right locationfront view of cablingfront view of cabling workfront viewprojector screen testingprojector screenprojector bracketsepson projectoradjusting projectorFront sideviewcontrol systemfront speaker without grillright side speaker viewMarantz amplifier and Samsung PVRspeaker and control system view


THX logo

Just like Dolby Digital, The THX experence

What is THX in a nutshell?

THX is a set of specifications, it’s comes fromStar Wars DVD cover George Lucas, the producer of “Star Wars” and was developed after “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” to enhance the experience of movie watching, George hired an audio scientist by the name of Tomlinson Holman to look into ways of improving audio capabilities from the movie set to the theatre and from there THX was born.

THX stands for Tomlinson Holman’s eXperiment.

THX also includes a sets guidelines for room acoustics, reverberation time, background noise, and noise isolation to ensure that every detail of the sonic presentation is accurately delivered the way the filmmaker intended. But it’s not just about sound. THX sets standards for viewing angles, projectors and onscreen lighting levels, to make sure that the best possible image is THX diagramalways displayed.  It is designed to be played at a reference level, these are just the basics and can get very involved.

What is Reference Level?

Reference Level is a specific loudness (when turning the volume up, the volume will reach “0” and keep going +1, +2 ect, “0” is reference level for all THX Certified Receivers) where no detail in the audio is lost and no artefacts like audio clipping or distortion is introduced, the system can be driven at this level without any effect at all. This level of loudness could annoy your neighbours and some family members so at times it is you may necessary to turn the volume down below reference level.

Listening to below Reference Level.

It maybe necessary to listen to a movie below reference level so as not to annoy other people around you in other rooms, doing so at times is a must but you as the viewer experiencing the movie will suffer, when lowering the volume you also lower the bass, the surround effects, and then the experience. To combat this problem THX has come up with THX Loudness Plus. How loudness plus works is when you adjust the volume below reference level, the surround speakers are changed automatically so detail in the audio is preserved and you still can experience the all the effects at any volume setting.

What types of THX certifications are there?

THX have a number of certification and there based on room size;Marantz Receiver

THX Select2 – this requires a room size of 56 cubic meters with a viewing distance of three to three and a half meters.

THX Ultra2 – this requires a room size of 85 cubic meters with a viewing distance of three and a half meters, THX Ultra2 is a 7.1 extension of the original THX Ultra specification.

THX I/S Plus Systems – Certified Systems (AV Receiver + Speaker Bundle) have the power to fill a small home theatre or room where the viewing distance from the screen is 1.8 to 2.5 meters.

Why use THX certified speakers?

There are many categories of THX certification when it comes to speakers, but reasons to choose any certified speaker over a stock stand speaker system is;

  • Crisp, clear sound fills your room: THX Ultra2, MK Sound SpeakersSelect2 and Multimedia speaker certification categories deliver amazing performances based on your room size.
  • Intelligible dialogue and ambient sounds: THX Certified Front Speakers feature Controlled Directivity, both vertically and horizontally for the best audio experience wherever you sit.
  • Smooth panning from your TV: THX Certified Surround Speakers feature THX Technologies to ensure the best possible playback experience.
  • Powerful studio volume: THX Reference Level delivers studio volume and fidelity with low distortion and noise.
  • Easily mix and match brands: With a single standardized bass configuration, you can easily and confidently use any THX Certified product together.

THX Video games

Some video games are produced in THX, the results will speak for itself when playing an action game with effects from the sides and behind, it’ll make your head turn.


There are many sound systems on the market and they are NOT all created evenly, so serious considerations need to take place of your requirements of your new home theatre system, is the room dedicated for the home theatre or are you using your lounge room? Are you willing to spend a minimum of twenty thousand dollars and of course much more if required to product the correct environment? Do you want to create an experience or just make some noise? Lots of thought needs to go into a system before even thinking of starting, and consulting an expert that will come out to your home is an absolute must.


dolby 7.1

Basic speaker layouts and how it is done


A basic 5.1 home theatre system (in 2014) is very straightforward. With the surround (rear) speakers, 99.9% of salespeople and so-called home theatre experts would say the speakers need to be installed up high, in the corners of the room. That’s just doing it all wrong in a home theatre environment, that is just incompetents and/or laziness on their part. The reason it is wrong is that there are standards with speaker placements, and in post-recording of a movie, the sound director will have their speakers placed in this specification. When sitting on the lounge our heads are not at ceiling height, what it means is that the speakers should be at about 300mm – 600mm above the seats, so ideally speakers should be installed at around halfway down the wall and not high up near the ceiling. Only then will the sound immerse you when placed at the correct locations, but we understand that this won’t always work especially if the home theatre system is to be installed in a lounge room and another oddly shaped room. So after you find a place halfway down the wall, the next rule you need to look at is that the rear speaker will need to be more or less 90 to 110 degrees on either side from the optimal setting position.

For the front speakers, and not to confuse you too much, the general rule here is to work in 1/3 (depending on how far back you are sitting from the screen). The appropriate angle to work from with the front speakers is 22 to 30 degrees from the main seat.

So to sum up, depending on what home theatre system equipment is purchased, either a 5.1 or 7.1, right up to an 11.2 surround sound speaker system, speaker placement will differ and is unique for each custom setup.


FACT, there are different sound formats used, the two most important ones are DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD (at the time if writing this blog in 2014), there are others but not to confuse you anymore then needed, we’ll stick with the current ones. The sound formats listed above has a particular specification on where to place speakers, and this is what we follow when installing a home theatre system.

At the other end of the market, there is a format called THX, some movies are designed for THX, and some movie theatre are THX certified, so what does that mean for you? The higher end of the market (but still affordable to most people) are speakers and receivers that are THX certified, so to get the full experience, further work needs to happen to the room to get the full proper effect. Basically, THX is not just another sound format but a set of guideline to meet certain criteria of standards. The extra work to the room would be things like eliminating external sound as well as internal sound from equipment like air conditioner ducts and a projector fans, echoes, audio distortion, unequalised or poor audio as well as picture quality, so calibrating a TV or projector from factory standard will make a big difference. THX is an experience all on its own.

More information on THX, please visit