Sneak Peak: Chicago on Blu-ray, PHENOMENAL... the reference disc of the year

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by DaViD Boulet, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I had a marvelously entertaining time with CHICAGO this evening. The color intensity on many of the musical numbers (particularly "When You're Good to Mama," "Cell Block Tango," and "Razzle Dazzle") was intensely saturated without a hint of noise on my display. Yes, I saw the grain mentioned in some previous posts, but I also remember its being there in the theater. In contrast to those mind-blowing musical numbers, the non-musical scenes seemed drabber than ever in comparison.

    I didn't have time to check out any of the bonuses on the disc. I did switch audio back a forth during the "Hot Honey Rag" (which I watched about four times) and found both English sound designs awesome. I think the lossless really astounded me the most in Zellweger's solo section of "Nowadays" as the orchestra swelled around me as her vocal built in emotion. Amazing sound.
     
  2. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Matt,

    I can't wait to read your full review.

    Tell me, is your impression with the lossless audio with the full 5.1 mix or with the 2.0 mix-down? Also, what type of display do you have? I'm only 720P here but took my PS3 to my friend's house to watch this in full 1080!

    dave [​IMG]
     
  3. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    PS3 being delivered today, with Chicago coming via amazon in a few more days - I CANNOT WAIT based on this thread.

    Certainly, I have my issues with the film itself (mainly having to do with the loss of the Fosse influence, I think the material loses alot without his choreography), but the visual design and the music are ported over perfectly (I love the film version and design of the "Cell Block Tango.")

    In any case, going to try both the regular 5.1 mix and try the 2.0 downmix of lossless, until reading up more I'd completely forgotten about the sound benefits of these new formats, so I'm glad to get something that will show those off in spades.

    Now, just to save up for a new receiver so I can get lossless multichannel too! [​IMG]

    Thanks for the great impressions David.
     
  4. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Sean,

    let us know what you think! And everyone else reading this thread, please share your impressions of the 2.0 lossless mix-down in comparison to the 5.1 lossy Dolby track.


    The irony is that we used to have 2.0 lossless all the time... the 2.0 LPCM track on laserdisc! Our HD media has finally caught up with, and surpassed it with 24-bit and 5.1! I wish WB would use lossless on all of their BD/HD DVD titles. IMO, there's never a reason to *not* use lossless, as long as there is bandwidth available.

    dave [​IMG]
     
  5. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    I remember thinking 'my JAWS LD had more PUNCH than this DVD' back when that movie first hit DVD. What comes around goes around...
     
  6. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    It's the 2.0 mix-down currently from the PS3. I, too, am only at 720p at the moment. I do plan to go 1080p this summer.

    When I make the video and audio upgrades within the year, I'm going to have SO much fun revisiting all these discs and experiencing the ultimate home theater experience.
     
  7. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Matt. We're in exactly the same boat. How exciting that our software now has a whole new layer of quality yet to be experienced on our future gear!

    Looks and sounds better than anything on our current gear... and will look and sound *even* better on our future gear.

    Win-win!

    dave [​IMG]
     
  8. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    David, I'm aware of the whole Laserdisc-to-DVD audio debacle concerning PCM (though I know very little of why the DVD spec apparently doesn't require it and the studios chose not to support it - maybe I should read up on it just out of historical interest), but unfortunately I was too young (or too uninterested, or both) at the time to be into the whole laserdisc scene. I was happily purchasing my VHS (though I did make sure I got the letterbox version if it was available!)

    Have the PS3 hooked up, now just waiting on the Chicago disc! I'm guessing the whole 2.0PCM downmix thing only works on tracks that are labeled as "uncompressed" and not "lossless" audio tracks (though from my knowledge of compression terminology decoding a "lossless" codec should result in an essentially "uncompressed" playback I'd think - could be wrong though).
     
  9. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Sean,

    I know the PS3 will do a PCM 2.0 lossless downmix from a muti-channel PCM uncompressed mix.

    I'm not sure if it will decompress a Dolby TrueHD stream to LPCM and then downfold. You might just be able to get 5.1 Dolby core off of that. Though setting the PS3 to "PCM output" only might trick it... but it may actually take the Dolby Core and convert to PCM in that case rather than create a 2.0 PCM from the full-resolution decompressed original.

    But yeah, it definitely works as I've described for uncompressed PCM mixes!

    dave [​IMG]

    p.s. the reason 2.0 PCM wasn't required on DVD was because of space limitations. Many titles just wouldn't have had room. But sadly, many titles WOULD have had room yet the studios went 2.0 Dolby at 192 rather than PCM. GRRRR!!!!
     
  10. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Or add a second, less compressed, track (DTS) next to a DD track, just to appease the fanboys of both codecs. [​IMG]


    Cees
     
  11. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Yeah.

    Also frustrating is that 2.0 Dolby *could* be run at 448 kbps like normally gets used for 5.1.

    That could actually sound pretty good. Yet most engineers just leave it at the default rate of 192 which is basically bad-MP3 quality.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    Ummm, wow. Was able to watch this last night, and I was really amazed. I went back and forth (so much as could be done since you have to stop the disc and change the audio settings on the PS3 - obviously not an A-B test) between the compressed and uncompressed track and even on my relatively cheap system I could hear the difference. I'm sure it would be even more pronounced on someone with even better speakers (using a set of the old JBL NSP1 speaker set and a sony SA-WM40 - hardly top of the line, particularly in the subwoofer department).

    I thought the image itself was really good too, though I can see how some people may complain about "grain" issues on the image, but grain has never offended me so the fact that I can actually see it is fine.

    One question David. If i'm feeding my Onkyo TX-DS939 (somewhat older receiver, one of the first with PLII from Onkyo I think) the PCM downmix from the uncompressed track am I compromising the sound quality by sending it through the Pro-Logic II processing? Would it be better to just play it in normal stereo?

    "Cell Bock Tango" was transcendental by the way - that's always been my favorite number from the movie.
     
  13. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Sean,

    awesome to hear your impressions. I think that even many "average" listeners on "average" systems would be able to hear the improvement with lossless. Amazing, isn't it? (BTW, I'm not suggesting you're an average listener! Just that the differences are obvious enough that most people could hear the difference without a problem [​IMG] )


    Actually you *can* do this on the fly during movie-play with the PS3! On the right-hand side I think it's the button on the top (above the play/pause). I think. (talking the game-controller here). Whatever it is, it pulls up a funky menu that has lots of symbols/numbers etc. As you use the cursor to move around you'll see that a title comes up describing each item you highlight. Look for the item that looks like a note of music. I think that's it... and it... hover over it. Now, press your X button to select. each time you press it you'll change audio selection... just like the "audio" button on your DVD remote control.

    BTW, regarding prologic II:

    Ideally, if you're seated centered in the sweet spot you'll get the best sound *quality* by leaving it in stereo so you don't add additional signal processing to the LPCM signal prior to d/a conversion.

    However, most PLII algorithms are pretty good these days and don't degrade the sound too much. For the benefit of surround activity and off-axis listening center dialogue for any other guests not in the middle of the sofa, it can be helpful and sound "better" in regards of surround-playback.

    Try it both ways. But if it's just you, you'll likely find that true stereo playback sounds best. A good system and set of speakers can even throw surround-effects with the out-of-phase info without engaging the rear speakers directly. My previous 2.0 system did that all the time... often with 2.0 PCM laserdisc I'd hear sounds off to the right and left of my seated position... sometimes a little behind me... all from two speakers.
     
  14. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    I was aware of that, I just meant the main PS3 menu selection where you have to choose either "Bitstream" or "Linear PCM," but what you suggest works fine just for sound quality comparisons, you just won't get the 5.1 through when you switch back to the compressed track since you'll have the optical set to PCM output.
     
  15. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    You can leave the optical output set to "bitstream" the whole time. The "bitstream" setting will pass the 5.1 DD lossy signal natively, but also pass the lossless multi-channel PCM in 2.0 mode in PCM form (ie, you never need to configure the PS3 for "PCM"... it will pass a PCM signal as PCM anyway).
     
  16. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Just another reason I love my PS3. WHy some people cynically say they could never imagine using a "game system" as a working component in a home theater have not seen this baby in action. It amazes me every time I use it.
     
  17. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    Really, then what is even the point of ever setting it to PCM? Would you need to set it to PCM to use the lossless 5.1 on an HDMI receiver?
     
  18. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Hey Sean,

    the "PCM" setting is if you had a receiver that couldn't process native Dolby Digital or DTS decoding... which would cause the player to decode and send these as 2.0 PCM over the optical output.

    The 2.0 PCM over optical happens automaticlaly when a 5.1 PCM audio track is selected. and 5.1 PCM would always be transmitted as PCM over HDMI as well. The PS3 never "un-does" PCM... if the signal is already PCM then it stays PCM even with the "bitstream" setting. The bitstream setting just tells the player that if it gets ahold of a compressed bitstream, it can leave it compressed for the recevier to handle natively rather than having the PS3 "extract" the compressed signal to LPCM first.

    PCM-output also would instruct the player to decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD master to LCPM over HDMI, though I think the PS3 lets you configure the "PCM" setting discretely for the optical and HDMI outputs.
     
  19. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    Ah, thanks David, I didn't realize that's how it all worked - though I guess it's somewhat analogous to how the resolution settings work on the PS3 (at least in the current firmware, hehe!).

    Just to clarify though (and I apologize for taking the topic into this tangent), when I get an HDMI-capable receiver I would want to set it to PCM rather than bitstream so that the PS3 internally decoded TrueHD and DTS-HD master, correct? If it were set to bitstream the receiver would have to able to decode those formats, correct? Wasn't there one sound format that currently no player can decode? I can't remember which that is.
     
  20. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Sean,

    it's all totally confusing so your questions are probably the same ones in everyone else's mind too!

    If your future HDMI-receiver cannot decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD by itself, then yes, you'd set your PS3 to "PCM" mode for HDMI output so it would extract those codecs to PCM prior to transmission to the recevier.

    If your next receiver was HDMI 1.3 and could decode those new codecs itself, you could leave the PS3's HDMI output setting to "bitstream".
     

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