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Customer Review

on 28 November 2012
I am very happy with the reissued version of the 40th Anniversary Thick As A Brick CD+DVD which I ordered from Amazon.uk on 17th January 2013 and arrived here in Brisbane, Australia just 8 days later. This was my second order for this item - they had very kindly refunded the cost of my November 2012 purchase when I advised them that I had the initial release version which had faults on the DVD disc (in the DTS 5.1 surround track there were 3 annoying and easily noticeable glitches of missing data between 2:32 and 3:02 of part one). The fault-free version of the DVD is distinguished from the first one by a 6mm wide .2mm thin black underline on the right side of the disc label, 1cm below where its says "DVD SIDE".

On a separate forum surround engineer, mixer and producer Steven Wilson says that he decided to make this new version of the DTS 5.1 surround mix "flat" - meaning that there is none of the added equalisation which had most likely over-accentuated the phasing cymbals in the early part of the first version. That was a wise decision. The new DTS 5.1 track is also about 25% higher in volume and to my ears sounds noticeably superior - with an accent on power rather than dynamics.

People can now order this product with full confidence that they are getting the fault free version - and now that it's in my possession, my review below is entirely true:

Jethro Tull's 1972 two track epic album "Thick As A Brick" has just been released as a luxury 40th anniversary 2 disc CD/DVD edition, and it is a real treat. The DVD case sized package, presented as an inch thick hard cover book, includes extensive artwork, photos, notes and texts. The CD is of the 2012 remix by surround sound professional Steven Wilson (famed for his band Porcupine Tree and as the remixer of all the King Crimson 40th anniversary series). The regular DVD-Video (i.e. not "DVD-Audio") offers a tasteful and very impressive 96k 24bit DTS 5.1 surround remix by Steven Wilson (from the original multitrack tapes) and also the choice of two 96k 24bit PCM stereo versions: the 2012 Steven Wilson remix or a "flat" transfer of the original 1972 mix. Both are very good - with the 1972 mix sounding just a tad muddy while still being as powerful as I remembered. In the informed and passionately respectful Steven Wilson remix he has retained all of the punch, while making every instrument sound distinctly clearer. He also he gives the vocals a much more dynamic and panoramic presence. 40 years ago I was privileged to see Jethro Tull's "Thick As A Brick" tour at Brisbane Festival Hall. Ian Anderson introduced this non-stop 45 minute number, while rocking his hips back and forth (a crucifix swinging between his legs) "And now for a rather lengthy piece..." (that's how my memory records it).

Regarding the format of the DVD-Video in this edition: I believe that this format of delivering high definition surround sound and stereo on one disc will work best for most people. The 96k 24bit DTS 5.1 surround track will play on the vast majority of DVD players and Blu-ray players. A production note states that some players may not have decoding devices which are able to take advantage of the full 96k sample rate - and they will instead play the file as if the sampling rate was 48k - but I'm sure I would struggle to tell the difference anyway. The trouble inherent in "DVD-Audio" discs is that the high definition "MLP lossless" PCM tracks can only be decoded by a player which is specifically designed for playing "DVD-Audio" discs (and very very few are). The annoying negative about listening to an "MLP Lossless" album on my Yamaha "DVD-S1800" model DVD-Audio/SACD/DVD player is that you hear a very noticeable blip at every transition from one track into the next - and with all of the Talking Heads DVD-Audio discs the start of every track is marred by this aberration. DTS 96k 24bit is technically compressed in comparison to MLP Lossless - but I doubt that I could hear the difference. The high definition DTS files play flawlessly and for that reason alone they are indeed superior (and the compatible players are not only very common but also very cheap.
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