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LaserDisc fans: let's talk about killer PCM tracks

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Aaron Reynolds, Aug 20, 2002.

  1. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Well-Known Member

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    I had a productive three days of LaserDisc collecting, thanks once again to the death of the format. On the weekend, I picked up the Tron Archive Collection boxed set, Criterion's CLV From Russia With Love and the original CLV disc of Fantasia at Harmony Music in Toronto (they have tons of good stuff right now), and then on Monday a giant package from LaserExchange's $5 LD blowout showed up, containing (among other things) 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould and the Japanese LD of The Sixth Sense (which was more than $5).
    A quick sampling of these titles has once again got me all jazzed up about PCM tracks and just how phenomenal they can sound. Tron and The Sixth Sense are both easily among the best tracks I've ever heard, with superbly clean, rich and detailed sound.
    So, I was wondering, since I know there are at least a few other LDphiles hanging out on HTF, what are the best, highly-recommended, not-to-be-missed PCM tracks out there?
    Some of my faves, in no particular order, are:
    Apocalypse Now widescreen remaster -- apparently the subsequent THX DD 5.1 LD also had the same PCM track on it. The warning on the back cover of the disc is true: the sound is so dynamic and at times so rich that one time I was listening to it a little too loud and I blew a speaker when they dropped the napalm! Of course, I was younger and dumber then. [​IMG] The non-DD disc has a less-dynamic mix on the analog tracks, which is the same as the mix on the widescreen VHS tape.
    Jaws Signature Collection -- probably the best sounding mono mix I've ever heard. The John Williams score sounds spectacular, especially those low notes at the beginning of the opening credits.
    Out of Sight Signature Collection -- the music really shakes the floor, but I think this disc really shines in the quietest moments of the mix, like all of the ambient sound when Clooney is waiting at the bank and flicking his lighter, or Don Cheadle's "vertically integrated" monologue in the stolen car. I really don't know how to describe it...the whole movie sounds "smooth".
    Se7en Criterion Collection -- my two favourite-sounding scenes are Morgan Freeman in the library (the way those echoes just wash over you) and Freeman and Pitt in the room under the club, with the music blaring away. That second scene is loud and heavy, but also incredibly clear without being harsh or grating.
    Brazil Criterion Collection -- after the original MCA disc, I'd never have expected Brazil to sound as good as it does, particularly the score. The old MCA disc is muffled in comparison.
    Mission: Impossible with Tom Cruise -- I usually use the opening credit sequence as a demo of why I like PCM soundtracks.
    The English Patient Criterion Collection -- really, really, really good. Frighteningly dynamic, though not as extreme as Apocalypse Now or Pink Floyd: The Wall.
    Beauty and the Beast: Work in Progress from Disney -- top notch. Deep, thundering bass, clean, clear highs, and not harsh at all. This was my audio demo for years.
    If I think of more, I'll add 'em.
    Tracks I thought were disappointing:
    Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace Japanese THX -- well, it doesn't sound bad or anything, just after all the hype (I finally received a copy this year) it was a bit of a letdown. I found it almost harsh at times.
    Sleeping Beauty Disney THX -- I'm guessing that the PCM track is a mixdown from the DD 5.1 remix, because it has a boomy, hollow sound that reminded me of listening to things through a vacuum cleaner hose. Almost all the Disney LDs I have sound great. Sadly, this fantastic-looking disc is an exception.
    The Godfather and The Godfather, part II widescreen THX -- again, a boomy, hollow, fake-sounding disc. Bleah. It's a shame they look so much better than the full frame discs that have the original mono mix.
    Okay, who else wants to share? Or to dispute my opinions! [​IMG]
     
  2. Gui A

    Gui A Well-Known Member

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    Aaron, where is Harmony Music? Is it any one of these?
    I've been meaning to pop in The Lion King for the last few days... I think I'll do that today. I haven't listened to my LDs ever since I got my new speaker system. Hopefully it will rock the house down.
    Question: Do you lose anything by choosing ProLogic or DPL2 over regular stereo?
     
  3. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Well-Known Member

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  4. Lyle_JP

    Lyle_JP Well-Known Member

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    I always felt that the True Lies laserdisc had reference PCM and AC-3 tracks. Neither dissapoints. A couple of films where I felt the PCM trounced the AC-3 track were Austin Powers:IMOM and Scream (Director's Cut). In both cases the PCM Dolby Surround track was way more engaging than its DD 5.1 counterpart.

    -Lyle J.P.
     
  5. Geoff_D

    Geoff_D Well-Known Member

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    The PCM track on my PAL Apocalypse Now LD is AWESOME, even in Pro-Logic. Bass goes frighteningly deep, and the sound steerage is phenomenal. Walter Murch's oscar-winning work has never sounded better. It's one of my favourite soundtracks, and has continued to impress for years. It sounds so frickin' good that I won't even touch a DVD version of Apocalypse until the super-smashing-great DVD finally arrives - although that R4 package of Redux looks quite tasty.
     
  6. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Well-Known Member

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  7. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, The Piano! What a great sounding disc.

    I never picked up Dead Man Walking. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for a copy. Thanks!
     
  8. Grant B

    Grant B Well-Known Member

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    Broken Arrow- when the plane goes over the range, you understand what shw felt
     
  9. DeanWalsh

    DeanWalsh Well-Known Member

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    The Matrix. The DVD sounds like a VHS tape by comparison.
     
  10. Joel Fontenot

    Joel Fontenot Well-Known Member

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    Some of my favorite sounding PCM track LD's (considering my player is a 92 model and can't do AC-3 anyway, and I don't have any DTS discs):
    • Jurassic Park - CAV boxed set (well, that's what I have)
    • Speed
    • Independence Day
    • The Living Daylights (love the opening sequence)
    • IJ and the Last Crusade
    • The Lion King (just to second that motion)
    • The Empire Strikes Back from the Definitive Collection - just more open sounding than the other 2 which do sound good too.
    That's all that come to mind right now - I'm about to head home in a rain storm, so I might add more later.
    Joel
     
  11. Daniel J

    Daniel J Well-Known Member

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  12. GregK

    GregK Well-Known Member

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    Forrest Gump
     
  13. Grant B

    Grant B Well-Known Member

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    Just walked down to Amoeba Records and they had the LD of Rock & Roll Circus (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
    Just listened to Yer Blues (Lennon, Clapton and Keith Richards)
    in AC3 and PCM; and PCM wins again!
    (Bought "get shorty" DTS for $5, you should hear me giggle to myself)
    Anyone else in SF get over to Haight St; they have another 10 discs I would have bought in a instance
     
  14. Grant B

    Grant B Well-Known Member

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    they still have a Blade DTS for $7 and Apocalypse Now widescreen remaster for under $10 in case anyone wants one
     
  15. Peter O

    Peter O Well-Known Member

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  16. AL KUENSTER

    AL KUENSTER Well-Known Member

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    I agree with all those mentioned plus T2, Total Recall, Escape From New York, Clear & Present Danger, the Die Hard Trilogy. There are so many it's hard to remember all. I often prefer the PCM track over the AC3.
    Keep spinning those big discs!
     
  17. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Well-Known Member

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    Somewhat ignorant of the PCM tracks but the LD of Saving Private Ryan DD 5.1 simply is the most dynamic, well-balanced mix I've ever heard. I own the dts dvd as well.

    Mission Impossible and Phantom Menace are a close second on laser. Those 2 ld mixes are phenomenal compared to the dvd.

    Another great mix is the 5.1 of Speed, Batman Forever, and Ghost in the Darkness.
     
  18. Aaron Garman

    Aaron Garman Well-Known Member

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    Hello all. Nothing beats a nice PCM track. As for reference quality ones, I choose:

    -Mission: Impossible
    -Jurassic Park (CAV)
    -The Lion King

    As for AC-3, I whole-heartedly reccomend:

    -Mission: Impossible (Blows the pants off of the DVD)
    -Star Wars Episode I (Again, destroys the DVD)
    -Saving Private Ryan (Amazing and possibly as good as the DTS DVD)

    AJ Garman
     
  19. Brendon

    Brendon Well-Known Member

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    I'll have to second the Lion King, the PCM track is simply gorgeous (hands up who's ever got tired of rewatching the Circle Of Life opening sequence!).

    I'd like to add Aladdin and Beauty & The Beast to this list too.

    And as far as Pro Logic steering goes, Raiders Of The Lost Ark: the scene when the Nazi's attack Marion's bar is still a reference example of what the PCM Stereo/Pro Logic is capable of.

    Cheers,

    Brendon
     

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