Empire Cinema

Crest Road, Cressex,
High Wycombe, HP11 1UA

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LARGE_screen_format on December 23, 2017 at 3:51 am

Multi-chain cinemas (Cineworld, Vue, Odeon, Empire etc) don’t seem to supply very much if any information about the sound systems installed in their various auditoriums. Which is a shame as second only to wanting to watch a movie on their largest screen, I’d like the best quality sound to accompany it.

And why has the UK not got an DolbyVision equipped auditoriums? Movies have been presented in this format for a couple of years now in the U.S.

The majority of the IMAX screens in the UK are also significantly smaller (especially the height) of ones elsewhere across the globe. Had a look at the IMAX screen in Cineworld, Stevenage recently and was very disappointed. I’ve seen larger non-IMAX screens, screen 12 of Cineworld, High Wycombe for example.

CF100 on December 3, 2017 at 6:03 pm

LARGE_screen_format: Interesting.

Albeit the loss of the THX certification wouldn’t exactly result in the “removal” of the THX “sound system” (or more specifically the “B-chain,”) the only equipment THX supplied was the THX active crossover for the screen speakers. AFAIK the active crossover circuits were on cards (installed in the THX rack mounted unit) leased from THX.

They’re just Linkwitz-Riley 24dB/oct 2-way crossovers with time-alignment, not too hard to replace with other gear… and obsolete now… (e.g. Empire 1’s (/Empire LSQ IMPACT/Cineworld LSQ Superscreen) JBL ScreenArray system uses dbx digital loudspeaker management units…)

LARGE_screen_format on May 9, 2017 at 3:38 pm

As far as I know the refurbishment had nothing to do with the removal of the THX equipped sound system in screen 1 (which later was re-numbered as screen 3). The cinema had already lost it’s THX certification prior to this. THX would send one of their engineers over from America once per year to test that the system met all of its very strict criteria. They advised that this was not the case and outlined all the works that needed to be done by a certain date and as this was not they lost their certification and could no longer advertise themselves as having a THX certified auditorium.

Such as shame as it was one of only a few cinemas that had a THX equipped auditorium in the whole of the UK. The THX engineer said, with the exception of the purpose built private auditorium at Planet Hollywood, Leicester Swuare in London, it was the best THX sound system in the UK.

Screen 1 was also one of the first auditoriums in the UK to be equipped with DTS and Dolby Digital sound systems (1993) and also had a 70mm projector.

The side and rear surround speakers were installed inside what looked like black wall pillars.

theatreofvarieties on May 15, 2013 at 4:02 am

the refurbishemnt that removed the THX screen was done in 2002 by UCI.

andysummers on August 15, 2010 at 6:57 pm


Wow what a sheer waste and shame and shame on Empire cinemas UK.

Yeah that’s pretty much how I vaguely recall see it. It had fabric for the amazing sonic acoustics of stillness it was like no other, propose made THX certified screen.

I’m pretty sure the surrounds was placed behind the fabric as they’re no sign of them when I saw Arachnophobia.

I can picture the crappy wall paint on the concrete I guess Empire cinemas are now into crappy cheap fast digital waste of time cinema with fake 3D.

Cheesebrush on May 2, 2010 at 2:13 am

I used to visit this cinema on a fairly regular basis specifically for the amazing THX screen back in the days when it was owned by UCI. I think the first film I saw there was Star Trek: Generations and I stopped going once a new cinema much closer to me opened with a THX screen (although that only lasted 6 months).
I went back there a few years ago when I heard they’d converted to all digital projection, in the hope that the former THX screen would still be pretty good. Unfortunately I was in for a bit of a shock.
The auditorium has been totally gutted and filled with low quality, rickety stadium seating, the plush red draped walls are now pretty much just painted breeze blocks, all the subdued lighting has gone as has the pleated screen curtain. The only thing this screen now shares with it’s predecessor is the same geographical location; there is quite literally NOTHING left from its days as one the best (if not the best) cinema screens in the country.
I really can’t understand the logic of it. Odeon (or whoever it was who refitted it) must have spent a reasonable amount of money just to make it a shadow of its former self. It’s like taking a Ferrari to a garage, asking them to spend £20k on it and they give you back Ford Mondeo.
My advice to AndySummers… don’t visit there; what they’ve done to the place will make you cry! Even just typing this now is making me angry!

andysummers on August 7, 2009 at 6:18 pm

This cinema site hasn’t or won’t even grab my attention not if they don’t have the original JBL THX specification set-up which was 10/10. I mean I thought alien Earth encounters installed it from another world because it was out of this world.

I don’t care what you think about THX we’ve all been to the site we’ve all read the white papers on the whole capper and as far as I’m concerned it’s the only thing that would get my on coach to travel from Bournemouth to High Wycombe. But! Not if they don’t have THX that is on par with the original because that was untouchable.

ron1009 on June 12, 2009 at 5:24 am

Sorry should have stated Empire purchased this cinema off Odeon which Cineworld is in the same group of companies, on a recent vist I saw “The Boat That Rocks” projected on film! in Screen 4 it looks if it had the digital equipment had been removed! Has the cinema stopped stating “Digital Presentation?” I also went into screen 8 very small theatre was built in the old bar area looked ok as a mini cinema

theatreofvarieties on February 17, 2009 at 6:06 am

two new digital screens have just opened here taking total to 8 screens

theatreofvarieties on June 13, 2008 at 2:45 pm

The THX screen was screen number 1 but during the refurbishment in 2002 the screens were re-numbered and it is now screen 3.
Cineworld do not own this cinema and contrary to a previous posting, is not ‘part of the same holding company’ It is owed wholly by Empire cinemas and is not being shut or bulldozed and is holding it’s own very well against the 12 screen Cineworld that has opened in the town centre.

andysummers on May 11, 2008 at 8:56 am

I think they should install THX back into its main screen, what was the number of that screen as I’ve only been there one?

ron1009 on March 27, 2008 at 7:34 am

Went to this cinema on its opening day way back in 1987 it was one of the first multiplexes built in the UK and one of the first to have THX installed & 70mm was a great showpiece,on a recent visit (have not lived in the area for over 15 years or so)it now has stadium seating installed together with DIGITAL projection installed in all screens!Cineworld have never operated this site but has the same holding company

Cinefan on February 20, 2008 at 4:55 am

Well, at least the EMPIER cinemas @ the Limelight in Sunderland isn’t as bad as this one, as the only evidence of Cineworld is the Cineworld star on the Tickets, Pick and mix and Games sign. If only I saw an example of UCI/thefilmworks branding left.

andysummers on January 9, 2007 at 7:33 am

Wow didn’t see this screen here! Well I remember seeing “Arachnophobia” at the THX screen back in 1990 WOW what a sound presentation it had “it literally pressed” on your body without any colourisation of the sub bass and bass frequencies.

Midrange sounds where easy to pin point across the screen along with excellent surround coverage made me look around to my sides and rear during the “THX Broadway” trailer fantastic.

The opening credits of “Arachnophobia” was very deep but before I get there I do however remember just popping into see what it sound like as a friend and I drove up to High Wycombe during the weekend. After buying our tickets we had to wait nearly two hours before the next showing. But that didn’t stop me for just standing at the back of the auditorium.

The scene that was playing was a low level scene with quite music dialogue and sound effects level. Having already seen the film once at the poorly, Odeon Westover Road! The sound at the back of the cinema was all over my body, it was pressing with such tightness, where it just wowed me.

Stepping out quietly we waited until the next showing.

The opening credits of “Arachnophobia.”

I have heard a few films at the Empire Leicester square that delighted me such pleasurable surprise, but this one was in my face from the moment “Trevor Jones” score started it just grew louder and louder not too loud but right on the money of THX specifications standards. Each octave just hit me in the stomach and chest!

The opening score must have lasted 8 or 10 minutes until it faded down in the mix. Anyway one of the best THX sound system presentations I’ve seen there. Sadly the site no longer has THX sound thou I’m sure it still sounds fairly good but without the delights of THX I guess it would be lacking power and performance.