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The Origin of the THX "Deep Note"

Posted on Tuesday, April 25th, 2006. Last Updated on Tuesday, April 25th, 2006 4:29 PM by Scott Jentsch

If you've been to a THX theater or watched a THX-certified DVD, you're probably familiar with the THX "Deep Note" which is the audio background for the THX trailer. THX has a story about the trailer and gives credit to the same person, Andy Moorer, on its web site, but Music Thing has more information about how the sound was actually made.
"I was working in what was then called the "Lucasfilm Computer Division" that existed from roughly 1980 to 1987 or so. It spawned several companies, including Pixar and Sonic Solutions. I was head of the audio group. In about 1982, we built a large-scale audio processor. This was in the days before DSP chips, so it was quite a massive thing. We called it the ASP (Audio Signal Processor). "At the same time Tom Holman was also working at Lucasfilm. He had developed what is now called the THX sound system. It was to premiere with Lucasfilm's "Return of the Jedi." They were making a logo to go before the film. I was asked by the producer of the logo piece to do the sound. He said he wanted "something that comes out of nowhere and gets really, really big!" I allowed as to how I figured I could do something like that.
In this day and age, it's difficult to imagine how complex a task it was, but his story gives the reader a new appreciation for what is one of the most distinctive and, for some, recognizable audio clips around.


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