Ben Burtt, the industry's first "sound designer" (a term he invented), brought an artist's ingenuity to Star Wars' sound effects. Instead of using electronic noises or the loopy whirr off the theremin, Burtt went into nature for a more organic soundscape, or simply taped himself (for R2D2's beeps). He gave Star Wars its startling aural originality. But how would people hear it in theaters? Stereophonic sound had been around since the 50s, but most movie houses were mainly monaural, far below home audio quality. Lucas again to the rescue. His THX loudspeakers, paired with the Dolby system in the projection booth, brought clear, multitrack sound to theaters. Now, in a thriller movie, you'll hear the monster creeping up behind you.
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