Customer Review

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars buy this 2009 Edition even if you own the 1999 or 2001 versions, 20 Aug. 2010
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This review is from: Quadrophenia (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1979] (DVD)
You should buy this 2009 2 disc Special Edition DVD version of Quadrophenia even if you own the 1999 version, or the RHINO USA 2001 version, and here's why:

Lots of people point to the many flaws in the 1999 version from Universal - too many flaws to list, but the horrible audio is my main gripe. It sold in Australia for $40 (maximum premium price), which was just rubbing salt in the wounds, still it was better than nothing and for all I knew at the time could have been as good as it would get in DVD form (a transfer from tape, as a fullscreen 4:3 Dual Layer single sided Dolby 2.0 disc with no commentary, and just one dodgy montage as an extra).

In 2001 when a remastered "widescreen" version was released by RHINO in the USA I was happy to buy it, and was happy enough at the time with the product - even though it was in letterboxed 4:3 format (on a Dual Layer disc). It was mastered from a good condition 35mm negative and the colour and contrast were adjusted well, but there was no true digital restoration and so the picture is good, immensely better than the 1999 version, but far from pristine. The audio was a significant improvement - offered in 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo BUT with very annoying distortion from clipping at the loudest points. There's an optional commentary track by director Franc Roddam but the other extras crammed onto the single disc were quite lightweight and forgettable.

Then just recently, as my young nephew is getting enthused about The Who, I went looking on Amazon and found the 2006 Special Edition 2 disc version from Universal on sale for 4 pound and immediately bought it. I am amazed at the huge improvement to pristine video which is pin point sharp. Fantastic colours and contrast. Powerful and clean Dolby stereo surround (use Dolby Pro Logic to decode for true surround). This version is true 16:9 anamorphic widescreen. On the main feature disc the only extra is an optional commentary track by Franc Roddam and the film's star Phil Daniels, which is good because they're employing maximum data space on that Dual Layer disc to giving the best quality possible from the DVD format. The 2nd disc only needs to be single layer (still 16:9 anamorphic), but the material is excellent - interviews and comments by director and cast, and all very carefully filmed and edited.

The 2009 2 disc DVD edition from Universal is only trumped by the Universal 2011 Blu-Ray (a format capable of granting us 4 times better video quality and over 10 times better audio - which is especially valuable for Quadrophenia). The Blu-ray is a genuine 1920x1080 24p fully restored transfer and offers a choice of either DTS HD Master 5.1 surround or DTS Master HD original stereo. The Blu-ray must have been made at the same time as the 2009 DVD (it has exactly the same commentary and extras), however it presents us with vast improvements in both video and audio definition. I've carefully compared frame grabs from both the Blu-ray and the DVD, and I have also compared audio samples (comparing the DVD's Dolby 2.0 stereo to the Blu-ray's DTS HD Master stereo). In both cases the Blu-Ray is demonstrably superior.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Aug 2011 13:53:18 BDT
D. T. Looser says:
How do you work out that Blu-ray has "over 10 times better audio" than DVD? Whilst its certainly true that Blu-ray can accomodate significantly higher bit-rates than DVDs, this is an area where the law of diminishing returns operates with a vengance. Listening tests have shown that even experienced audio professionals cannot reliably distinguish between medium bit-rate compressed audio and uncompressed audio at around ten times the bit-rate. In the case of Quadrophenia the soundtrack source is a 40 year-old analogue recording and its highly unlikely that the higher bit-rate available from Blu-ray would make any difference to the perceived sound quality.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Aug 2011 05:57:36 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 Aug 2011 06:00:07 BDT
John Frame says:
Rubbish - all you need is a good brain and good ears to hear the dramatic difference that high resolution audio makes even to the enjoyment of 40 year old analogue master tape sources. I own the SHM-SACD discs of Steely Dan's "AJA", Rolling Stones "Beggars Banquet" and 10CC's "Original Soundtrack". The difference between them and the normal CD versions is startling - for those with ears to appreciate it. I accept that there are lots of poor saps in the world who can't tell the difference between mp3 and CD quality. Our community FM radio station was broadcasting in mono for six months at one stage, and I was the only announcer who noticed it wasn't stereo. Every Blu-ray disc I own sounds staggeringly superior to the DVDs I own of these same films. People will indifferent or inadequate hearing may not care or notice that Blu-ray, SACD and DVD-Audio offer vastly superior audio quality, but I do.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Aug 2011 22:37:06 BDT
D. T. Looser says:
So, you can tell the difference between mono and stereo can you? Well well!

If a curious fact that many people who claim that audio sounds "staggeringly superior" when heard through their chosen snake-oil product (mega-expensive turntables, over-priced cables, 'high-def' audio, whatever) mysteriously lose the ability to tell the difference when asked to do so under blind listening test conditions. Belief is a powerful thing and if you actually believe that one thing sounds better than another then it will to you - as long as you know what you are listening to of course.

But there is a logical absurdity in your belief that a Blu-ray of a classic film will sound "staggeringly superior" than the equivalent DVD. If you were right then the DVD would sound staggeringly inferior to the analogue original. Is that what you are saying?
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