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Customer Review

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Made for DVD Audio - perfect for Sunday Afternoons, 23 Oct. 2002
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This review is from: Queen: A Night At The Opera [DVD] (DVD)
I already have four copies of this album in various formats but I just had to experience it in 5.1 Surround Sound DTS. I was not dissapointed, and neither will you be when you hear the new mix presented here. This album was recorded over 25 years ago but it's almost as though they knew that technology would one day be available to allow the listener to experience the music as they had originally intended. While this album sounds great in normal stereo the new multi channel mix makes an old album sound like new, and listening to it again is almost like hearing it for the first time.
Queen fans will know how meticulous Queen were with their studio recordings, with layer after layer of sound being added to create a depth and sound like no other band at the time. Two channel stereo can disguise some of this hard work as the speakers struggle to seperate out all that is going on at any one time. This new mix solves this problem by splitting the sound and sending each vocal or instrument through a seperate speaker where appropriate, giving unbelievable clarity particularly to such an old recording.
There are parts of this album, which many like me will know note for note, word for word, from beginning to end, which suddenly show you something new, something you haven't heard before. But of course you have - it's just that sometimes the sound has been buried so deep that it doesn't stand out until it is seperated and sent to you via a particular speaker.
Every song sounds great and has something new to offer to new and old listeners alike, although some tracks are particularly noteworthy. The Prophets Song is the standout track for me, with the multi-layered vocal completely immersing you in surround sound. I'm in Love With My Car and '39 also offer a completely new experience with the clarity offering new sounds previously buried.
In addition to the sound quality the whole DVD Audio experience has a lot to offer. The lyrics to the tracks appear on screen as you listen, even changing page at exactly the right time, offering those with Kareoke tendancies a barrel of fun. Also included is the video to Bohemian Rhapsody, the forefather to all pop videos.
My only criticism is on two points. The first may be the limitations of my DVD Video player, which is the Sony DAVS500. The whole album sounded great, but the odd track was very heavy on the 'bass', and my system does not allow me to adjust the bass or treble. Perhaps this would not be a problem on a DVD Audio player. Secondly, the scope for additional features to be included on a DVD Audio disc are immense, with a normal album only taking up half (if not less) of the space available. This album offers little additional content other than the video. I guess this expectation of extra features comes from being fed a diet of massive extras on DVD movies these days. (How about an audio commentary from Brian May (he likes to talk a lot), explaining the recording processes used and some anecdotes about studio sessions and radio reactions at the time).
On balance though the small niggles are that - small, and the benefits offered by the new mix make this an essential item for any music fan who has a DVD Audio player or home cinema system.
I have been wondering where music will go from the standard CD format. The jump from Vinly and Tape to CD was a big one that offered huge benefits in quality and durability, so the next jump must also offer something big, not just a tweak of an existing format, such as minidisc. I wondered if the future was MP3, but while this has many benefits, I can't see the industry as a whole supporting it due to copyright issues. I now believe that I have found the next 'format jump' - DVD Audio. Old albums can be remixed to sound like new, and new albums could be recorded with the six channels of sound in mind.
I look forward to owning more albums on this format and hope that the powers that be will soon add to the current limited list of available titles.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Apr 2008 11:44:09 BDT
C says:
I would concurr with much of what is said - although I would almost say that the (let's call it) Quadraphonic experience might also be viewed as 'impure' in that the composers agreed the final Stereo mix which was (and remains) a joy to behold. I have just replaced a Sony DAVZ830W with a Bose Lifestyle 38. I'm pleased to say that the Bose does'nt attempt to produce a 'virtual 5.1' mix for original recordings - which rather like this DVD-Audio, can be somewhat 'over-the-top' in extremis with warbling effects and noises that weren't intended to be so 'in your face' suddenly slapping you from the rear-left etc... I like DVD-Audio as a representative alternative to CD - but I am pleased it is not likely to become the standard - because like film - concentration is likely to slip towards 'cool' effects and away from the core content of the product - the music. 5.1 works for Cinema definitely - but truly - for music.... we have only two ears? Maverick Mitchell

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Jun 2010 11:20:19 BDT
MrJohn says:
I think you have both misunderstood the point of the DVD-Audio format.

Now, I'm sorry if this sounds like I'm teaching either of you to suck eggs but 5.1 isn't the real end goal of the format; rather a higher resolution audio experience over CD.

I've noticed the trend with a lot of recent DVD-A releases to add a 5.1 track where only an original stereo exists, (notable exceptions are things that had Q8 releases or more recent albums).

I've not been able to find spec sheets on either of your players, (since they are quite old), so I'm not sure if they are 'true' DVD-A players or just DVD-Video players. If they are the latter you'll be missing out on a huge difference over the standard version, as you'll not have access to the higher resolution stereo tracks this album has to offer, (although standard DVD-Video players still have a nice quality, it;s not that much over the CD versions).

If you have the chance see if you can listen to the album, in stereo on a DVD-A player and your jaw will drop.
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