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Disappointing DD/ DTS 5.1 mix
on 12 August 2012
This review is concerned solely with the DD/ DTS 5.1 mixes.
I've been a Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds fan for a few years now and also enjoy listening to multi-channel audio (MCA), so was overjoyed when I discovered Abattoir/ Orpheus would be released in 5.1. Sadly though, the 5.1 mix is a bit of a let down.
The DD mix was almost unbearable; I even had to turn the volume down because it sounded so bad. Although the DTS version sounded better (it didn't grate my ears like the DD version did), it lacked cohesion; music from the front speakers sounded like it was coming from way over there while music from the rear speakers sounded like it was coming from way back there - only occasionally did they meet to make an integrated sound that could be described as good or enjoyable. When I listen to other MCA albums, my system usually makes a very cohesive sound that perfectly integrates the front and rear speakers to make one complete unit of sound, but the MCA mix of Abattoir/ Orpheus had only the faintest whiff of cohesion. I asked myself why this album doesn't sound great in 5.1 and came up with two possible explanations.
The first possibility is that DD and DTS are poor formats for MCA. I own about 100 DVD-A and SACD discs and most of them sound somewhere between good and great in MCA. I've even got a few DTS discs including Joe Cocker's Night Calls and that album sounds great in 5.1. The other possibility is that the 5.1 mix was done by a novice. I don't know who did the mix, but I'm sure if it had been left in the prodigious hands of Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), the 5.1 mix would have sounded superb.
There might also be a fault at the start of The Lyre of Orpheus. About 3 seconds elapse before any music is heard (Nick Cave's vocals in this instance), but he had already started singing a second or two before! I suppose there's a chance it could be my player, but I don't think it is.
I never thought I'd ever give Abattoir/ Orpheus 2/5 stars, but I'm afraid the 5.1 mix is that disappointing. There are brief moments when it does sound good but alas, those moments are all too few and far between. I love the music, but sadly, can't say the same for the 5.1 mix.