While I feel that musicals are going downhill, regular movies are doing it right!
For today's post, I will be using my DX7s out to a Sp200 THX amp to my Sendy Aivas. They will be used with DTS headphone - X filtering. I will not have video on for this review.
Starting off with a must watch movie for Audiophiles, Baby Driver. Sound design in movies can be incredible. This movie is the pinnacle of perfect sound design. All sounds are in sync with what the main character is listening to, its incredible. Everything, including the police siren, wipers, and bank alarm! This is one of my favorite movies for the sound design built to music. Edgar write takes a bustling world and a song and marries it. This is a movie built around the soundtrack, a partnership built on the music. Not all movies do this, in fact I can't speak of any others beyond Kingsmen or documentaries of musicians.
Second, I am going to talk about Knife's Out. This is a recent movie that is not geared or made around a soundtrack, rather the music is built to the movie. It creates a sense of the scene. We open with strings, in a dark tone. Slowly getting faster, more articulate, staccato, and slowing to build the reveal. The strings are singing all around you, building suspense and come to a conclusion right on queue. Next you hear a city and a small tv. The sound is coming all around you, building a scene you can imagine without the need to watch it. The arrival to the home has quiet strings again, light and soft in the background to add feeling. A feeling of wonder and suspense. You can hear sounds in the background, dishes and footsteps, fading to the interviews and voices speaking. One sound I keep hearing during the interviews, a clock. Every time we go back to the interview, a clock is ticking in the background almost inaudible. The party flashbacks are full of lounge music, brushed guitar on cymbals. Tense moments accompanied by odd instruments, organs poked out in a quiet argument.
These are the two different styles of movie music done right. I can't express how much sound engineers for these movies do so well, but keep doing it!
Now I drop Knife's Out to two channel audio. While the spacial audio isn't has "surrounding" it still sounds incredible. The clock is still present in what sounds like just behind my head. Voices outside, sound muffled; Voices in screen, have a direction but sound centered left or right. The ambient noise is still around the ears more than in the ears. Birds sound around you rather than next to you, even in 2.0 sound. Every move of clothing, staircase creaking, all sound impeccable and believable.
Sound design is as much an art as it is science. I love sound engineers and their work, its so satisfying to listen to. Dramatic moments moved by cellos and violins crying rather than singing to match the mood of the moments. The clock ticking, building unease and tension without you realizing it. I urge you to watch movies with the same headphones and listen for the small details. You may come out of the experience like I do, wonderfully happy. I know that I don't do a great job at explaining, and this is why you should do it yourself.