Okay, here's the low-down comparing the ADV and Animeigo versions:
Contrary to popular belief, ADV Films did NOT simply obtain and use Animeigo's telecine transfer. While it's quite possible that ADV obtained the same FILM masters that Animeigo used, it's apparent that ADV created another (and inferior) telecine transfer for this release. The issue here is with 3:2 pull-down cadence - you know, where a set of interlaced fields are supposed to be weaved together to form one clean frame. The Animeigo version had excellent cadence, but ADV's version appears to have foregone proper cadence altogether. This is most easily detected with a software DVD player, such as WinDVD. The Animeigo version plays back flawlessly, with straight, smooth lines. The ADV version exhibits aliasing throughout (ie. jagged lines) and other artifacts involved with incorrectly mixing interlaced fields into a single progressive frame. Fortunately, my Faroudja-based Denon DVD player is able to sucessfully reconstruct the frames, but most other DVD players out there will be in for a struggle.
I was quite impressed with the 5.1 English mix. I was worried that the re-mix would sound a lot like the horrible Transformers box sets that Rhino released. However, I was quite impressed with the fact that they didn't overblow anything or add blatant sound effects. I can't confirm if this sound mix the same as the Robotech version released last year.
The Japenese track is very grainy compared to the Animeigo version. Along with the video issues mentioned above, this further leads me to believe that ADV did not receive anything from Animeigo's archives, and had to obtain everything themselves from different sources.
Most voices are performed at average to very well levels, with the exception of two characters: Misa Hayase (Monica Rial) and Captain Global (John Swasey). I think the other reviews on this site already go into the problems with Monica's rendition of Misa. I will admit that I did start to sympathize with Monica after I listened to her on the audio commentary for episode 4, and how supportive she was for Mari Iijima (Lynn Minmay). You can hear a sample of Misa's voice in a trailer at the ADV site: [...]
As for Cpt. Global, well, I think it's partly to do with the fact that I was so used to hearing him previously with a Russian accent, and that this almost-no-accent Italian version is quite the change. Also, he tends to yell and overact too much on the bridge.
I have to say that ADV should've spent more time planning this entire set. Volume 1 is a set of 2 DVDs. The first disc is dual-layered, includes the first 4 episodes, the commentaries, and the interview with Mari Iijima. The second disc is single-layered, includes 2 more episodes, a restoration comparison, "liner notes", and an interview with translator Javier Lopez.
This leaves me scratching my head. Why not have both discs dual-layered, and release more episodes per volume? Also, why is the upcoming Vol. 2 set only releasing 5 more epsiodes, forcing the set to have to run over 7 volumes?
In comparison, Animeigo only released 4 episodes per disc, but that was because the discs were SINGLE-layered. A dual-layer disc can easily fit 8 episodes. My dream set would feature 9 episodes per disc, allowing the entire 36-episode series to nicely fit on 4 dual-layered DVDs. Considering the strives in MPEG-2 encoding since the birth of DVD 9 years ago, I see this as a very viable option. Most of the special feautres could be placed on a 5th disc, and the entire set could be released in one relatively inexpensive box.
The way ADV is currently releasing the series, I'm looking at spending a lot of money if I want to collect this entire series. I wonder if ADV plans to continue releasing the other volumes in 2-disc sets. Considering Vol. 2 will only include 5 more episodes, this seems like an extreme waste of space.
So you do you need this set? Well, I would recommend renting it first if possible. If you can't find it at the local Blockbuster, check out Netflix. I rented it through Zip.ca, which is the Canadian equivalent of Netflix. If you can endure the English dub, then go ahead and start shelling out your cash for what will eventually be a 7 disc collection. I sat on the fence about this for a few weeks but finally decided to pick up Vol. 1. Will I pick up the other sets? Who knows...