Sunday, September 12, 2010

The best film and how to pick a home theatre system

So you've been tied down and forced to choose the best film in the world. What would you pick?

If asked to pick the best film I would pick twenty. I'd include (in no particular order, and what comes to mind immediately), Inception, Star Wars, Alien, The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover, Empire Strikes Back, Sixth Sense, Shawshank Redemption, Godfather, and...

Pink Floyd The Wall

Being a musician and a photographer this film and album has special moments for me. Being a vulnerable and swayable high school kid I asked my best mate (Greg Watson) what his best album was, and he said Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon". I'd, of course, heard my parents playing it but hadn't appreciated it for what it was.

So, taking Greg's advice I listened to it again.

And again, and again...

It was the final year of high school (1979 - age 15) and I was heading to college. In 1980 The Wall came out. I bought it, purely on Greg's advice.

I fell in love.

So in 1982, when Pink Floyd The Wall, the movie, arrived it was with great anticipation.

And I was not disappointed.

But having watched many films both before and since, and having recently just sat down and watched it LOUD, it would be the film I would take to a desert island.

Of all the films out there, this is what I would take. As a musician, as a photographer, you get it all.

(And the fact that a grumpy neighbour,with no taste, has just knocked on the door says it all...)

You may need to watch it a number of times, if you don't know the story. If you do not know it, just realise it's the story of a rock star, who's going through some problems and he's recalling his childhood. Just let the flicking back and forward of time-lines , ages and people happen. It's just great.

So, we've picked the best film, (and the neighbours have complained) so how do we buy a sound system?

After YEARS of experience, this is my advice:

Take your budget, half it, and spend that on the subwoofer.

I'm not joking,

This is the workhorse of your home theatre. Make sure it is powered, expensive and American. The yanks give me the shits with their religisosity and inability to convert to metric, but they know how to build things big and tough. And that includes subwoofers. M&K are a *fine* brand and with my statistically significant sample of one, I can recommend them.

After that, spend the rest on whatever you like and it will sound bloody decent. But, here's some guidance:

The Japanese make GOOD amplifiers.
The British make GOOD speakers.
The Americans make GOOD subwoofers. (Oh yeah - I said that.)

So, If you're seriouis...spend it on the subwoofer. That's what makes home theatre sound good. Go for the centres, the surrounds and the rear if you like, but it's the subwoofer that counts.

I'd rather a good sub, left and right than a crappy all round "surround system".

And since my neighbours (dis)agree, it's a good sign!

For the record I have a Yamaha RXV-800 (for the last 15 years), Mordaunt Short MS30's (for the last 30 years), and an M&K V75 Mark II (for the last 10 years).

And I am happy.


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