BackstageBlog

The Sound of Batman

Posted on July 18, 2012

A true full range, high performance speaker is suitable for both two channel listening as well as within a surround system. 

In fact, the demands on speakers to reproduce high quality music and the “movie theater experience” are the same- a clean, highly dynamic, quick and full frequency response that brings both the music and sound effects to life. Take for example, Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, a wildly successful reimagining of Batman. In addition to being presented in high resolution IMAX, the music and sound effects were approached with a matching level of quality. Let's examine Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard’s score for “The Dark Knight.

Score Analysis

Exemplary use of the Legacy Focus SE’s low end capabilities can be found on The Dark Knight soundtrack, track 1- “Why So Serious?” At 3:25, we are treated to light percussion, as a swelling cello rises in pitch, until a string section gives way to ground shaking low end with a fundamental of 34 Hz, and extensive sub harmonics down to 20 Hz!  

Frequency Response Graph of "Why So Serious?" sub-bass content.


Focus SE is easily able to reproduce this with its extension down to 18 Hz in the room. Low frequency oscillations such as these notes are heard as powerful and distinct musical pitches emanating from the four 12” woofers. This combined 450 square inches of piston area, for bass alone, delivers effortless and precise bass- both for musical impact and sound effect punch. Indeed, the Focus SE is capable of full-frequency reproduction- no subwoofer required.


The first track also contains the signature sound of the Joker, whom Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for portraying.  Hans Zimmer’s composition for cello provides a haunting theme alerting the audience to the Joker’s presence.  Here, The Focus SE midrange drivers really shine- the dual rohacell drivers feature a front facing phase plug, creating a reversion field. The result is quick and responsive midrange detail- one can actually hear the bite of the cellist’s bow being worked across the string. The ribbon tweeters fill in the top end with all of the airy detail in the recording. The rhythmic tick of the joker’s pocket watch is blended into the score, and accompanied by dynamic orchestral hits, which are quickly revealed by the Focus SE’s detailed performance.

The Motion Picture Experience

For a full range speaker like the Focus SE, the demands for sound effects in a movie are very much the same as a musical score. When timpani are played, the speaker must reproduce the initial attack (transient) of the mallet hitting the skin, as well as the body (decay) of the instrument. A sound effect is much the same- every impact must have a fast transient (attack) as well as a decay and weight to it. Christopher Nolan trades in the classic “pow” and “bam” sound effects of yesteryear for a more earthly and realistic sound. This plays nicely to the strengths of the Focus SE, and all Legacy speakers. By providing clean and quick, full frequency response, the speakers accurately present the dynamic score, and punctuating sound effects, that have become the new soundtrack for Gotham City.


As the percussion hits, the speakers are quick to deliver deep bass impact, while simultaneously presenting all of the delicate details in the score. Matching Legacy center channels deliver the same quality of performance to the dialogue, while Legacy subwoofers are available (but not required in most cases) for the ultimate motion picture experience. As filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of storytelling, as in Nolan’s riveting Batman trilogy, Legacy continues to push the performance envelope, to deliver the definitive audio experience for both movies and music.

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