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"Red" Blu-ray Audio Comparisons


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#1 of 50 OFFLINE   MarkA

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Posted January 25 2011 - 08:21 AM

The standard Blu-ray verison of "Red" has a Dolby-Digital 5-1 soundtrack, whereas the Special Edition has a DTS-HD Master Audio 5-1 soundtrack.  The difference at most stores and online is about $10 in price.  Are there any comparisons online of the two soundtracks?  I bought the standard version and I'm not sure how big a difference the Special Edition soundtrack would make.

Thanks



#2 of 50 OFFLINE   Southpaw

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Posted January 25 2011 - 09:35 AM

I'm just now getting caught up with this idiotic decision by Summit to release "Red" in a bare bones blu-ray BD25 with DD 5.1 audio. Meanwhile, a special edition was also released with the proper lossless track DTS-HD MA but it costs some $10 more and apparently isn't available through rental channels. (I think BB has their own combo version which does have a lossless track so good for them)

I can guarantee you that you will lose detail in a DD track and probably notice major compression issues with some of the louder scenes.

I refuse to purchase or rent blu-rays with DD tracks so a "Red" purchase for me will have to wait for the SE to come down around the $15 mark.



#3 of 50 OFFLINE   Robert George

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Posted January 25 2011 - 10:21 AM



Originally Posted by Southpaw 
...I can guarantee you that you will lose detail in a DD track and probably notice major compression issues with some of the louder scenes.


I understand the DD 5.1 track on the standard edition is 640 kb/s.  Assuming that is the case, then I would guarantee that whatever differences there may be between that and the DTS-MA track on the special edition will be so subtle as to be inaudible on most systems and to most people's ears.


While I do want to have this movie on Blu-ray, the supplements are of little or no interest to me so I intend to save the $10 bucks.  DD at 640 is very fine audio.



#4 of 50 OFFLINE   Southpaw

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Posted January 25 2011 - 11:20 AM



Originally Posted by Robert George 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Southpaw 
...I can guarantee you that you will lose detail in a DD track and probably notice major compression issues with some of the louder scenes.


I understand the DD 5.1 track on the standard edition is 640 kb/s.  Assuming that is the case, then I would guarantee that whatever differences there may be between that and the DTS-MA track on the special edition will be so subtle as to be inaudible on most systems and to most people's ears.


While I do want to have this movie on Blu-ray, the supplements are of little or no interest to me so I intend to save the $10 bucks.  DD at 640 is very fine audio.


It is very fine audio. But this isn't 2007. There is absolutely zero reason to downgrade the audio track on this release. If Summit responds with reasoning along the lines of a BD25 isn't enough space to put a proper lossless track on it, that's complete nonsense. There's plenty of room.

And I disagree 100% that there would be no audible difference. Heck, I can spot differences between an HD DVD DD+ and Blu-ray master audio track. (Children of Men is a perfect example)



#5 of 50 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted January 25 2011 - 11:28 AM

If they made one BD master with the lossless track, there's no logical reason not to include it in both, unless you're purposely trying to create an inferior product for the cheaper SKU. Once that lossless master was made for BD, the production cost was already incurred, and there isn't another logical reason for it's omission other than to create that inferior product version as a punishment for those wanting to save a little money.


One could argue it cost them more to include the lossy track. If they had made the lossy exclusive to DVD and the lossless to BD, you'd only have to support two manufacturing streams. Now they have a lossy and a lossless BD stream to wrestle with, and Manufacturing 101 shows that 3 streams costs more than 2.


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#6 of 50 OFFLINE   Robert George

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Posted January 25 2011 - 11:43 AM

Or....


I may be as simple and non-sinister as someone actually trying to make a premium product more accessible to more people.


By utilizing a lossy audio track only they are able to maintain video quality, arguably the primary reason most people buy Blu-ray in the first place, still provide excellent audio quality, and keep the file size small enough for a BD25, which offers the studio enough savings to be able to sell a new movie on a Blu-ray disc for $12.99.  AND they still offer other versions with more features for those that want to spend a little more to get a little more.


By all means, let's bitch about that.


Sheesh.



#7 of 50 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted January 25 2011 - 12:07 PM

Wow, did it get hot in here all of the sudden? I thought my points were pretty fact- or logic-driven.


As an aside, I just looked at the IMDb specs for Red. It's 111 minutes at the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. At under two hours, and with two big black bars that don't need to be taking up major bits, there isn't a technical reason that the film couldn't fit on a BD-25, still contain the lossless soundtrack, and still have very good PQ (to the point where another 1 MBps wouldn't have made a visual difference). If this had been a 2 1/2 hour movie at 1.85, I could understand the bit-saving. Those who are trying to save a few bucks on the single-disc blu most likely don't have the systems needed to discern the difference between a 24MBps AVC/VC-1 and a 22MBps AVC/VC-1 track.


In today's market it's not strange to see a multi-disc and a single-disc release. To date, the single-disc'ers I've encountered were simply the first disc or movie-only versions of the multi-disc release, but tended to have the same A/V quality. This is really the first I've seen of this phenomenon and I think that's why it's garnering a little attention/discussion. This is a trend I'd personally like to see not become the norm (and I'm one who usually buys the multi-disc versions). The whole point of Blu was to get the best possible picture and sound (they tout that on all their trailers) and clearly a lossy track doesn't fill that mission statement.


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#8 of 50 OFFLINE   Southpaw

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Posted January 25 2011 - 12:22 PM



Originally Posted by Carlo Medina 

If they made one BD master with the lossless track, there's no logical reason not to include it in both, unless you're purposely trying to create an inferior product for the cheaper SKU. Once that lossless master was made for BD, the production cost was already incurred, and there isn't another logical reason for it's omission other than to create that inferior product version as a punishment for those wanting to save a little money.


One could argue it cost them more to include the lossy track. If they had made the lossy exclusive to DVD and the lossless to BD, you'd only have to support two manufacturing streams. Now they have a lossy and a lossless BD stream to wrestle with, and Manufacturing 101 shows that 3 streams costs more than 2.



This is the point I was trying to make but I don't think I did it very well. They obviously went through the trouble and expense of mastering a lossless track and that's good. I have no qualms with them offering two different releases - a bare bones movie only as well as a special edition with all the goodies. Like Carlo mentioned, this is commonplace and it's nice that the masses have a choice.

But both releases should have equal A/V quality. There's just no legitimate reason why they shouldn't. Back when WB released a few films in DD, (ie Speed Racer) that was the only audio option. They didn't have a separate release with better audio like we're seeing here.



#9 of 50 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted January 25 2011 - 05:33 PM

You can pick your poison. Best Buy has an exclusive version of this title with the DTS-HD 5.1 track for $19.99. The caveat is that it's a BD/DVD hybrid flipper disc, which I know is a deal breaker for some people. It wasn't for me.


As for why lossy on the bare-bones release: Summit is still a pretty small player. BD-50s are more expensive to manufacture than BD-25s. On a BD-25 with a two hour movie, a lossless audio track is going to have an impact on the video bitrate. The question is whether the lower bitrate has a noticeable effect on the picture quality. Summit must have decided it did, and instead chose to provide a lossy track that is never-the-less better quality audio than any audience experienced in theaters. For those who really care about the audio quality, Summit is providing an option. By charging a premium price, they are able to offset the higher cost of the BD-50s.



#10 of 50 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted January 25 2011 - 06:04 PM

Adam-

Does the Best Buy version appear to have the same special features as the "special edition" BD?



#11 of 50 OFFLINE   Mark Booth

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Posted January 25 2011 - 06:39 PM

Turns out that Summit used a different video encode for the two versions of 'Red'!


Video bit rate for the movie-only version (BD25): 25779 kbps

Video bit rate for the SE version (BD50): 28024 kbps


So, not only do you NOT get a DTS-HD MA audio track with the movie-only version, you also get a lower video bit rate.


This information was posted in another forum when two forum members took a look at the two different versions of the movie using the BDInfo program.


Mark



#12 of 50 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted January 25 2011 - 06:45 PM

Adam, I see you already answered by question in the Weekly Roundup thread:


Quote:

Originally Posted by Adam Lenhardt 

When I was at Best Buy to pick up Red, the only two options were the 1-disc lossy or the Best Buy exclusive hybrid version with the comic wedged inside. Personally, that's the version I wanted. But because of the extra disc and the exclusive, Best Buy probably is going to price match the $13 price from the Target ad.


For those who can't stand flippers, be warned that the Best Buy exclusive has the Blu-Ray version on one side and the DVD version on the other, all on one disc. The Blu-Ray side has DTS-HD 5.1 audio and all of the special features from the "regular" SE.





#13 of 50 OFFLINE   Mark Booth

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Posted January 26 2011 - 10:45 AM

Before you lay down your money for 'Red' on Blu, you might want to head over to Blu-ray.com and/or highdefdigest.com and read the reviews that went live today.  Both critics reviewed the Special Edition version and both of them gave the DTS-HD Master Audio very high marks.  Calling it "reference-grade" in one case and "Here's where 'Red' really shines." in the other.


I am very glad I didn't get suckered into buying the movie-only version with its bandwidth-starved audio and lower bit rate video.


Mark



#14 of 50 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted January 26 2011 - 11:55 AM

Doh!  Guess I'll just wait for the next BF shopping season to get the SE version for $7.99.  At my current rate, I probably won't have caught up on my backlog by then anyway... Posted Image


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#15 of 50 OFFLINE   Robert George

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Posted January 26 2011 - 12:44 PM



Originally Posted by Mark Booth 

Before you lay down your money for 'Red' on Blu, you might want to head over to Blu-ray.com and/or highdefdigest.com and read the reviews that went live today.  Both critics reviewed the Special Edition version and both of them gave the DTS-HD Master Audio very high marks.  Calling it "reference-grade" in one case and "Here's where 'Red' really shines." in the other.


I am very glad I didn't get suckered into buying the movie-only version with its bandwidth-starved audio and lower bit rate video.


Mark


So, what's your point?  Nevermind, I'll make your point.


You are using a review of one thing to make a negative point about another thing what is not reviewed, is not compared, and that you have neither seen nor heard.


Very helpful.  Thank you for that contribution.


BTW, if anyone reading is interested in what the "movie only" disc actually looks and sounds like, I can tell you from first hand experience that the transfer/encode on the movie only edition is exactly what one would expect from a Blu-ray disc.  Sharp, clean, detail... solid, accurate color balance...excellent contrast and black level.  The soundtrack is equally satisfying with clear, well balanced dialog that anchors a lively, though certainly not bombastic, mix.  Although this is an action film, it is very much a character driven action film with the requisite dialog passages.  You know, people talking to each other.  I suppose this is what may have given some to call this soundtrack "flat" as an initial impression, but I assure you the dynamics are there when called for.  The Dolby Digital track, despite the unfounded reputation lossy encoding has developed in the wake of lossless codecs, is more than capable of delivering the goods.


This film is available on Blu-ray in at least three different versions, and no matter which you choose, you will be treated to what is for my money one of the most entertaining and well-crafted action comedies in years.



#16 of 50 OFFLINE   Mark Booth

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Posted January 26 2011 - 02:23 PM

My point is that far too many people have been bamboozled into accepting a substandard release because a studio wanted to save 80 cents by using a BD25 instead of a BD50.  I am confident the Dolby Digital track isn't crap.  But I'm equally confident it isn't the equal to the DTS-HD Master Audio track. I have compared lossy and lossless tracks on other titles and it is easy for me to hear the difference. Blu-ray is supposed to be about "Ultimate Picture and Ultimate Sound", not "Ultimate Picture and Mediocre Sound".  If I wanted mediocrity, I'd stream stuff from Netflix and watch it on a 26" display using the TV speakers instead of $5,000 worth of audio gear.


Further, the very presence of a $13 option with even slightly inferior video and audio is a roadblock to seeing the full-featured versions fall below $20.  If this experiment by Summit Entertainment pays off, we could see other studios adopt this approach.  Eventually, the inferior $13 BD25 versions might be all we could get for certain titles.  This is 2011, not 2007.


Lastly, it is disingenuous for a studio to release two versions and bill the lesser of the two as simply "movie only" when, in fact, it is also missing the HD soundtrack.  Yes, yes, buyer beware and all of that.  But Summit needs to be upfront about what they are doing.  A responsible company owes that to its customers.


And, BTW, there are now three reviewers that have given the Red DTS-HD MA track GLOWING reviews.  Some excerpts:


Martin Liebman at Blu-ray.com:

Red's lossless soundtrack manages to outclass even its superb 1080p transfer. This is a reference-grade track from beginning to end and from top to bottom. Listeners will be thrilled with the way the track handles the slightest and most subtle sound effects and nuances -- such as the thud thud thud of Moses's punches landing on a hanging bag or even the constant tick tick tick of a clock that sets a mood and sounds startlingly real in chapter 10. Dialogue is perfectly centered and crisp, never having to compete with any of the film's many sound effects. Music is robust and smooth as it pours from the front with a fair bit of surround support, every note enjoying top-notch clarity whether crisp highs or deep lows.


David Krauss at highdefdigest.com:

Here's where 'Red' really shines. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track rattles the room with an array of ricocheting bullets, bass-heavy explosions, and thudding punches. This isn't a subtle track by any means, but it's full of range, directionality, and power. Highs are well-pitched and bright, while lows possess plenty of weight and resonance.


Brian Orndorf at DVDTalk.com:

The DTS-HD 5.1 Dolby Digital sound mix skillfully details the world of "Red," from one-liners to explosive mayhem. Directionals are striking here, placing the listener in the middle of a few startling bullet exchanges. The same can be said of the fisticuffs, with men tossed around the frame, boosted by a lively track that keeps aural matters crisp and purposeful. Dialogue exchanges are direct and frontal, blended well with scoring cues and the occasional rock song. The disc provides a wonderful jolt when charged up, with an active low-end supplying the perfect amount of rumble to the rampage. It's an immersive mix.


They all seem to be more impressed with the audio than you are, Robert.


Mark



#17 of 50 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted January 26 2011 - 02:46 PM



Originally Posted by Robert George 

Or....


I may be as simple and non-sinister as someone actually trying to make a premium product more accessible to more people.


By utilizing a lossy audio track only they are able to maintain video quality, arguably the primary reason most people buy Blu-ray in the first place, still provide excellent audio quality, and keep the file size small enough for a BD25, which offers the studio enough savings to be able to sell a new movie on a Blu-ray disc for $12.99.  AND they still offer other versions with more features for those that want to spend a little more to get a little more.


By all means, let's bitch about that.


Sheesh.






Originally Posted by Robert George 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Booth 

Before you lay down your money for 'Red' on Blu, you might want to head over to Blu-ray.com and/or highdefdigest.com and read the reviews that went live today.  Both critics reviewed the Special Edition version and both of them gave the DTS-HD Master Audio very high marks.  Calling it "reference-grade" in one case and "Here's where 'Red' really shines." in the other.


I am very glad I didn't get suckered into buying the movie-only version with its bandwidth-starved audio and lower bit rate video.


Mark


So, what's your point?  Nevermind, I'll make your point.


You are using a review of one thing to make a negative point about another thing what is not reviewed, is not compared, and that you have neither seen nor heard.


Very helpful.  Thank you for that contribution.


BTW, if anyone reading is interested in what the "movie only" disc actually looks and sounds like, I can tell you from first hand experience that the transfer/encode on the movie only edition is exactly what one would expect from a Blu-ray disc.  Sharp, clean, detail... solid, accurate color balance...excellent contrast and black level.  The soundtrack is equally satisfying with clear, well balanced dialog that anchors a lively, though certainly not bombastic, mix.  Although this is an action film, it is very much a character driven action film with the requisite dialog passages.  You know, people talking to each other.  I suppose this is what may have given some to call this soundtrack "flat" as an initial impression, but I assure you the dynamics are there when called for.  The Dolby Digital track, despite the unfounded reputation lossy encoding has developed in the wake of lossless codecs, is more than capable of delivering the goods.


This film is available on Blu-ray in at least three different versions, and no matter which you choose, you will be treated to what is for my money one of the most entertaining and well-crafted action comedies in years.


Robert I'm not sure why you are coming on as so defensive on this issue.


I watched the dd version last week and while I was watching and listening
something just seemed wrong with the sound of the movie.

It just didn't have that extra oomph that I usually notice from a soundtrack on blu ray.


I didn't even know it was missing the dts-hd master track, I just knew it sounded "off". I don't think anyone

started or posted in this topic to "By all means, let's bitch about that. Sheesh." as you said but just to make

anyone who wants to know aware of the situation with the sound on this disc.


Going by what you posted we shouldn't even be discussing this.

Can this be a discussion without "sheesh?


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#18 of 50 OFFLINE   Robert George

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Posted January 27 2011 - 02:36 AM



Originally Posted by TonyD 
Robert I'm not sure why you are coming on as so defensive on this issue.


I watched the dd version last week and while I was watching and listening
something just seemed wrong with the sound of the movie.

It just didn't have that extra oomph that I usually notice from a soundtrack on blu ray.


I didn't even know it was missing the dts-hd master track, I just knew it sounded "off". I don't think anyone

started or posted in this topic to "By all means, let's bitch about that. Sheesh." as you said but just to make

anyone who wants to know aware of the situation with the sound on this disc.


Going by what you posted we shouldn't even be discussing this.

Can this be a discussion without "sheesh?



Responding to disinformation is not being defensive.  I am expressing my opinion on a topic while pointing out the fallacy of the implications made by others.  This is not singling out Mark, by the way.  Many others on others forums are doing the same thing.  This is not productive and is not helpful to others when people make assumptions based on a particular spec without any real firsthand knowledge.  It has been going on for years now, and it has poisoned more than one forum.


I also consider it grossly unfair to the company producing this disc when they, unlike most other studios, have gone to the trouble and expense to provide their customers with options to own this movie.  If one does not prefer lossy Dolby Digital, a slightly reduced video bitrate, and the lack of supplemental features, there are at least two other options to own this movie.  However, for those that might care only about enjoying the movie and would like to save a little money, it is simply wrong to imply this disc is technically inferior without actually seeing and hearing it.


As for my use of the word, "sheesh", that is obviously an expression of exasperation, which you can clearly see this sort of discussion causes.


[/rant]



#19 of 50 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted January 27 2011 - 04:24 AM

Without discussion like this many wouldn't have known about this so now they do and can choose the right disc for purchase.


If it has lower bit rate and lower sound quality it is inferior, not opinion.


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#20 of 50 OFFLINE   Mark Booth

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Posted January 27 2011 - 04:32 AM

I've written to Gary at dvdbeaver to ask him to please do a comparison of the two versions (movie-only and SE) to see how they stack up with regard to image quality and sound.  If he received a screener from Summit, it is almost certainly the SE version.  In that case, he'd only need to acquire the movie-only version.  I'm hopeful he'll do the comparison.


In the meantime, I offer the following hypothetical:


If Lucas was to release TWO versions of the Star Wars Saga as follows...


1) The currently announced version with all six movies and lots of extras, featuring lossless DTS-HD MA or DD TrueHD tracks for each movie, and selling for $89.99.


2) A movie-only set with all six movies, no extras, and just lossy DD 5.1 tracks for each movie, selling for $48.99.


Which would you buy?


Those price points are at the same percentage difference as the current releases of Red ($23.99 vs. $12.99).


Would you save $41 knowing that you wouldn't get lossless audio?


Mark




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