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The DualDisc format and the Talking Heads


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#1 of 29 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted January 09 2006 - 04:17 AM

I hope this is in the correct part of the forum. I did a search, but did not find anything.

I am curious if anyone is familiar with the DualDisc format. Specifically, I am a Talking Heads fan and they are about to release all of their studio albums remastered in this format. They are releasing them individually as well as in a box set called Brick which can be seen here .

I am thinking about purchasing the box set, or at least a couple of the individual albums, but I'd like to know more about the format. I've read a few complaints about compatibility issues with these Talking Heads discs, but they've also won some awards for the quality of mix, etc.

If anyone has information about this format or these discs I would love to hear about it.

Thanks.

#2 of 29 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted January 09 2006 - 04:19 AM

Sorry, wrong area. Feel free to close this thread:b

#3 of 29 OFFLINE   Arnie G

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Posted January 10 2006 - 07:15 AM

Those look cool. What is on the DVD side?
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#4 of 29 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted January 10 2006 - 07:29 AM

Quote:
I am curious if anyone is familiar with the DualDisc format. Specifically, I am a Talking Heads fan and they are about to release all of their studio albums remastered in this format. They are releasing them individually as well as in a box set called Brick which can be seen here .
Dualdisc is like a DVD-A and a CD glued together. In fact, it's not really "like" that... it basically is that!

However, many of us see it as a seriously flawed format, and our aversion is increase by the fact that it is replacing DVD-A (at least in the US) and also supplanting potential SACDs. One problem that has manifested with this format is that the CD side fails to play in many players (seems to fail in all Denons, for example). A worse issue is that the increased thickness may cause damage to your player, and may jam in "slot-loading" players. You'll notice that a dualdisc does not have the "Compact Disc" logo on it, as dualdiscs fail to meet so-called "redbook specs" required of a disc to qualify as a true CD. Most manufacturers have issued warnings that their hardware is not designed for dualdisc playback and their warranties will not cover damage incurred from playing them. But that's not even the full extent of the controversy or problems with this format. Here's some more info:

Stereophile on dualdiscs: http://www.stereophi...eseeit/105awsi/
Quote:
[T]here may be real trouble already festering in DualDisc paradise. First, the obvious: The slightly thicker discs will get stuck in some slot-loading CD players. Any customer who has to have his car dealer extract a DualDisc from his car system is a customer lost forever.

Let's also reflect on why the playing time of a DualDisc's CD layer is limited to 60 minutes. To enable the disc to have two readable sides and still remain slim enough to play in most machines (except as noted above), the substrate layer of the CD side must be half the thickness (0.6mm) of the "Red Book" specification (1.2mm). The trouble with a thinner CD layer, though, is that it will generate a higher error rate for a significant number of players, which will not be able to precisely focus their lasers on the now closer pits. The workaround for this is to stretch out the data pits, which forces the player to spin the disc faster, hence the shorter playing time. "Red Book" CDs can cram up to 80 minutes of music onto a disc—a full 20 minutes more content than the CD side of a DualDisc. Beethoven's Ninth will now have to be sliced and diced.

Here's the interesting part: Industry insiders admit that, even with the pit fix, a DualDisc CD layer causes the error correction of your player to work overtime while deciphering the slightly fuzzy pits and lands on the disc. The CD layer of a new DualDisc is basically equivalent to an unwashed and somewhat slightly dazed regular CD that's five years old.

You read right: A new DualDisc begins life as a scuzzy pre-aged CD and goes downhill from there. Two major equipment manufacturers have already sent out service bulletins warning about their players' potential compatibility problems with the thicknesses of DualDiscs and CDs. [Since the time of this article, most of the rest of the major hardware manufacturers have followed suit.]

The (possible) good news is that the Talking Heads discs are being released in Europe as double-disc editions with both (true) DVD-As and (true) CDs. I believe these are scheduled for release in waves, beginning this month. I'm waiting to hear whether the video content will have any effect on playback given that Europe is PAL format. I do have a PAL-capable DVD-A player... but just waiting to see other's experience before buying.
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#5 of 29 OFFLINE   Stan

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Posted January 10 2006 - 07:39 AM

They're a pain in the ...

I bought the Barbra Streisand/Barry Gibb dualdisc a month or two ago from Amazon. Thought everything would be fine until I actually received it and this little two inch by two inch piece of red paper falls out of it, warning that it may not play in all CD players. Don't recall any warning on the Amazon site or anything on the outside packaging, so thought that was pretty sneaky. Next time I'll do some research before trying a new format.

I figured older CD players might have problems, but it failed in my car CD (98 Monte Carlo with factory CD, not that ancient) and on my PC, only three years old (not sure what brand of CD). Finally took it to work where I've got a brand new Dell with a TSST TSH492B drive that could read it. Luckily it wasn't copy protected so I was able to copy it and get a playable disc.

Apparently the CD side doesn't match the specs that CDs are supposed to use. The disc was noticeably thicker than a regular CD or DVD, not sure if that's related to the problems. I doubt I'll buy another

DVD side played fine on an ancient Toshiba player I bought in 1998.
Stan

#6 of 29 OFFLINE   Will_B

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Posted January 10 2006 - 07:58 AM

Reminds me of when CD-R was introduced, a few players couldn't play them properly.

DualDiscs were a great invention, but the roll out was a bit late. Now with BluRay coming soon, what is to become of DualDiscs?
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#7 of 29 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted January 10 2006 - 08:28 AM

To the graveyard of dead formats if there's any justice.

I should add that to my knowledge there have been no problems playing the DVD side of dual-discs, only the CD side. I may be wrong, but that's my understanding.

Would love to get some feedback from anyone who imports the Talking Heads DVD-A + CD double-disc sets from Europe (the first wave is due on 1/17, as I recall, and available from amazon.uk and other international retailers). I love the Heads, but not as much as I hate dualdiscs!
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#8 of 29 OFFLINE   Felix Martinez

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Posted January 10 2006 - 09:08 AM

I'm not a fan of the DualDisc package (I actually don't consider it a "format," as it sandwiches two existing audio formats), but I must say - this Talking Heads "Brick" is one of the best releases I've ever had the pleasure of listening to.

Jerry Harrison knocked the 5.1 mixes out of the park on every album in the "Brick." Even the earlier albums work shockingly well in surround, and I've completely rediscovered and fallen in love with the Talking Heads all over again. Highly, highly recommended!

#9 of 29 OFFLINE   Bleddyn Williams

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Posted January 10 2006 - 09:21 AM

I received the "Brick" for Xmas. Like the other 4-5 Dualdiscs I have, its presented no problems with any of the players I've tried, including the slot-loading drive of a current iMac G5.

#10 of 29 OFFLINE   Eddie W.

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Posted January 10 2006 - 09:57 AM

I bought the Brick about a month ago and it wouldn't play DVD-A in my Pioneer 563. So I've been eyeing the Oppo anyway & knew it supported DVD-A. No dice there either. And the discs are so thick I'm scared to play them in my cars CD player.

That said, even the Dolby Digital 5.1 track is a revelation. Not only is the 5.1 mix really well done, but the songs have much more depth and punch than the tinny old original CD's. Maybe one day I'll luck into a player than can actually play the high resolution tracks.

Also, if you got the cash I'd highly recommend getting the entire Brick over a couple of individual releases. Not only is the box really cool, but there are some albums I wouldn't have bought individually. But now I have a whole new appreciation of them after hearing them like this.

#11 of 29 OFFLINE   CraigF

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Posted January 10 2006 - 11:11 AM

Thanks for the info. I sort of gave up on DD/DVD-A and haven't been paying attention...this is the first release I've ever seen that I actually want to hear (instead of buying to check the "wow" factor).

I checked around, and many people have had problems playing all the DVD-A sides. I would be happy to know if anyone has a Panny RP-82 and has generally had good luck with DD's with the DVD-A side. I only have 2 DD's, and they played, but they are "audiophile" demo discs and may have been very carefully manufactured (??). Thanks.

Also, how does the CD side sound? Are the mixes good? How does it compare to Sand in the Vaseline, which sounded nicer than the tracks on the original CD's, though somewhat processed?

Is putting these discs in a DVD changer (or a CD changer for that matter) out of the question?

What has been your experience if you CAN'T play one of the disc sides and you try to return the disc? Any luck?

I may have to do the smart thing and buy a single disc issue before splurging on the set...

#12 of 29 OFFLINE   Felix Martinez

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Posted January 10 2006 - 11:51 AM

The Pioneer 563 has that firmware issue, which I think is still upgraded for free. Not sure about that Oppo. My Panny RP-91 (DVD-A) and Onkyo DV-SP800 (DVD-A/SACD universal player) have had no probs with any DVD-A discs (single, dual-layered, or DualDisc). I cannot play the "CD" side of DualDiscs in either of my two cars (single slot players), but they play on all my set-top CD and DVD players (including my Apple G4 computer with the Pioneer Superdrive).

I have the Sand In The Vaseline two-disc set, and while I've yet to do an intense A-B of the new stereo 16-bit remastering vs. the early '90s Vaseline release, I can definitely say that the surround mixes completely eclipse any previous Talking Heads experience on disc. I've always found their older albums charming - in a quirky way - but not too engaging, sonically. That's all changed with this release.

Two other recent releases that have blown my mind are the Jackson Browne "Running On Empty" DVD-A +CD set and the monumental Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings DVD-A +3 CD box set. The LOTR release is particularly stunning.

This thread should probably be in Music, but what the hey...

#13 of 29 OFFLINE   Steve Meskell

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Posted January 10 2006 - 11:56 AM

Quote:
I bought the Brick about a month ago and it wouldn't play DVD-A in my Pioneer 563

You need the firmware upgrade from Pioneer...It is worth the trip since you own Brick.
Take a look at this thread from QuadraphonicQuad Forums.
563a firmware upgrade

#14 of 29 OFFLINE   CraigF

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Posted January 10 2006 - 12:20 PM

Thanks Felix. Think I'll try "More Songs About..." first to see how things work out. WB seems to be officially releasing stuff a week or two later in Canada than in the U.S. lately...so next week. A local purchase JIC of failure.

Anyway, thanks all for the info, I would have completely missed this. You REALLY have to look hard to find hi-res audio in most stores here, never know where they have put it.

I asked about the CD sides because my audio chain is much cleaner for that...quality CD player, external DACs, preamp...as opposed to having to use the stuff built-in to the DVD-A player etc. Good enough that a good CD recording sounds 3-dimensional without the surround mode. Anyway, I'm quite interested in the surround sound on *this* material.

#15 of 29 OFFLINE   Craig S

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Posted January 10 2006 - 05:33 PM

I've had the "Brick" for several weeks now and I agree with others here, it's a great release.

As far as the DualDisc format goes, I am having no problems. The CD sides read fine in my iMac - they were in there getting ripped to my iPod. That's quite possibly the last time the CD sides will ever get played. Whenever I play these discs at home, I'll be playing the high-res surround mixes on the DVD sides, which are spectacular.

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* It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it.

* No good movie is too long, and no bad movie is short enough.

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#16 of 29 OFFLINE   Arnie G

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Posted January 11 2006 - 12:00 AM

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings DVD-A +3 CD box set


Where do you get this? I can't find it anywhere.
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#17 of 29 OFFLINE   Arnie G

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Posted January 11 2006 - 12:19 AM

Nevermind I found it!
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#18 of 29 OFFLINE   Nathan Phillips

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Posted January 11 2006 - 04:17 PM

I am REALLY on the fence about this thing. The Heads are one of my all-time top five bands, I'm an obsessive fan and for years I was a completist; I bought the "Once in a Lifetime" set the day it came out and the last couple of reissues (the live album and the best-of) as well. But I had/have serious questions about the Brick, because of my lack of experience with DualDisc and because of the pricetag. I know the fidelity is an improvement over previous issues, but I'm no audiophile and I don't know that I can really justify spending $100+ when there is so little of the once-promised unreleased material on the discs.

But it's certainly tempting whenever I see it at Best Buy, so I don't know. Anyway, this thread has made me mull over it a little more...

#19 of 29 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted January 12 2006 - 03:39 AM

Quote:
I am REALLY on the fence about this thing. The Heads are one of my all-time top five bands, I'm an obsessive fan and for years I was a completist; I bought the "Once in a Lifetime" set the day it came out and the last couple of reissues (the live album and the best-of) as well. But I had/have serious questions about the Brick, because of my lack of experience with DualDisc and because of the pricetag.
Nathan, I feel much the same as you, though I'd probably eat the large price-tag for the Brick if these weren't (ugh) dualdiscs.

As I noted above, these are all being released separately in Europe in two waves: the first on 1/16/06 and the second on 2/13/06. More than that, these are double-disc sets with one DVD-A and one CD... no dualdiscs!

The price is listed at £9.99 each, but I suspect it will ring up lower for North American purchasers because VAT charges are taken out when you go through checkout.

The only question I think we have is whether the video PAL format will have any effect on playability of the DVD-A disc. Early speculation is that it won't, and that by using the "Group" button one need not even have a monitor hooked up. But I think there will be questions until someone gets one and confirms.

And I'll volunteer to be the guinea pig. I'm a big fan of the Heads (love 'em almost as much as I hate the dualdisc format!), and I have both NTSC-only and PAL-capable DVD-A players. I'll be able to test whether the DVD-A disc performs differently on either player and whether anyone should expect problems. I'll report back here.
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#20 of 29 OFFLINE   TimJS

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Posted January 12 2006 - 06:02 AM

I picked up the 1st four single releases yesterday. No problems ripping to my pc. Will play my CDR's in the car & home audio. I may pick up Little Creatures in 2nd wave(?).
I did not pick up the box cos I don't have to have them all & I've heard bad things about the packaging (like no original artwork/difficult to ID which discs are which & no track list...?). I won't be too pleased with my purchase if regular CDs or SACD discs become available in near future.

Interesting/weird buying experience:

BB had FOM & 77, but not MSAB&F or RIL, so I asked & was told that BB will not be carrying MSAB&F (!) also weird, one of the two I bought from BB was approx.$14.97, the other was approx. $12.97 (!).

Tim


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