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David Tolsky Reviews: SONGS FOR SURVIVORS (DVD Audio) (1 Viewer)

Ronald Epstein

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DVD-AUDIO REVIEW

Graham Nash
SONGS FOR SURVIVORS
By David Tolsky



Equipment used for review: Yamaha DVD S1200 DVD-A/Video player, Yamaha DSP-A1 integrated Amp, Atlantic Technology System 450 Surround Sound speakers (w 325 watt 15” subwoofer).


L to R, Rory Kaplan, Executive Producer, Nathaniel Kunkel, Recording Engineer, Graham Nash, David DelGrosso, VP Of Marketing-DTS Entertainment.

“I’ll be sixty years old next month and I’m still expressing myself.”
So began a very interesting press conference in the DTS DVD audio booth at Alexis Park during the annual Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. The words belonged to Graham Nash, one third of the legendary band Crosby, Stills and Nash, and accomplished solo performer. Nash was in Vegas to promote his upcoming solo release from DTS Entertainment, Songs for Survivors.
If DVD-audio has any advantage over SACD, it is in the fact that it is a true multimedia experience. Songs For Survivors truly takes advantage of what the format has to offer. Taking a look at the main menu page, if you don’t want to read along with the lyrics, you have the option of viewing a slideshow of several black and white photographs taken by Nash himself. Glancing at Nash’s bio, you will learn that he is quite an accomplished photographer, exhibiting at many galleries throughout his long and industrious career.
But let’s get back to the music and soundtrack options. For DVD-A players, there are two options, DTS 5.1 and MLP. For DVD video-only players, our choices are DTS 5.1 and PCM stereo. This DVD-A disc is also the first to feature DVD-ROM content, with yet another soundtrack option, MPEG.
As MLP uncompressed music is a new experience for me, I was amazed at the “in-the-studio” listening experience I received. At the press conference, Nash said he believed his voice had never been recorded better than this, and I can understand why. The center channel revealed crisp, clear lead vocals and the background harmonizing choruses sounded terrific. David Crosby and Sydney Forest contributed vocals to this recording and you can’t help but think of the patented CSN sound when you hear them. That’s a good thing!
Tracks include Dirty Little Secret, a catchy tune where Nash said he wanted to put himself in the “middle of the band.” A surround sound enthusiast, he has built a new 5.1 studio for his new-found love. “Millions of home theater systems have been bought last year--someone has to like it.”
Probably my favorite song on the disc is track 3: Lost Another One, in which the writer turns on the radio and hears of the death of a friend and fellow performer. During the press conference, Nash said that he first writes songs for himself so I think it’s safe to assume that this song is based on a personal account. He is saying a farewell to his friend(s) as only he knows how to do it best:

There was a time we thought we were invincible,
That we’d go on and on and on and
All along we thought we’d do another show
And write another song, but I guess we’ve lost another one.
 

Gary Kellerman

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I think I was reading about this disc in the local Barnes and Noble. I thought that the PCM stereo was a 96/24 track. I also think they also have a DTS multi-channel 96/24 as well as well as a standard 5.1 multi-chanel DTS track. There may be advertisments on this disc as to what it is supposed to contain, but it was sort of confusing.
 

David Tolsky

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Are you sure you're not confusing this one with the Queen Night At The Opera DVD-A? There are no 96/24 tracks on the Nash disc to my knowledge, or they would be labeled as such.
 

Jeff Keene

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David -

This is a good description of the disc, but can you comment a little more on the music itself? Is it Fresh? Relevant? Challenging? Catchy? That sort of thing.
 

David Tolsky

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Jeff-Good question. Relevant, not necessarily unless the same things are going on with you that are going on with Graham. He made it pretty clear that he writes for himself first and leaves it up to us to "connect" or not. There are two or three songs that I personally would consider "catchy"; Dirty Little Secret, Lost Another One, Pavanne, which BTW I've heard is a cover of someone elses tune. Honestly, this album appears to be more on the personal side than anything else. Here is a legend who just turned 60 and is reflecting back and observing his life so far. This recording is a representation of the man himself, complete with his own photographs. It's certainly worth a listen if you've been following his work throughout his career.

PS: Also worth noting is that this DVD-A was released before the CD release, which will hopefully help boost the format. DT
 

L. W. Cobb

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Thanks for the great review David; way to go! I remember David DelGrosso mentioning this work by Mr. Nash when the SoCals visited DTS last May. One can only hope that other artists will take the baton, and take full advantage of the format (and the superior sound quality of DTS!). :)
 

Jeff Bamberger

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To the average ear, on good, but not "top the line no cost is any concern" kind of equipment, what do you really lose by listening to the 5.1 DTS on a DVD-Video player versus the DTS/MLP tracks on DVD-Audio players???

Borders seems to be carrying a lot of the DVD Audio discs and was considering getting some of them to play the DTS 5.1 track on my DVD Video player.....
 

David Tolsky

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Jeff, buy them! The DTS 5.1 tracks are an excellent alternative to DVD-A MLP and are reason enough to buy the discs for your dvd video player. You will not be disappointed.
 

Jeff Bamberger

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Thanks David.

I have the Police: GH that I bought a while back and love it. I just may buy some now as there are some really good classics in the selections.

Thanks again!
 

David_D

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Great review, David! Regarding the equipment used for your review, did you use any bass management? If not, in what ways do you think the lack of bass management affected the sound?
 

David Tolsky

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Sep 3, 1999
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Honestly David, bass management is a term that I'm just starting to get familiar with. I can tell you that lack of it does not affect the quality of the sound. Bass for the most part is in .1 LFE and sounds terrific, especially in the MLP tracks. More on this to come.
 

Lewis Besze

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Dave,
DTS in the past used the 48khz sampling rate on their multi channel DVD-A[MLP],with a possible exception of the recent Queen DVD-A.I belive your Yamaha player is essentialy a Pana RP-91, if so when you play the MLP tracks hit "display"[you may need to connect it to a TV and turn it on to see the display],and check out what sampling rate they used on this?
I'm simply curiuos.
Thanks for the review!
 

John Geelan

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DTS in the past used the 48khz sampling rate on their multi channel DVD-A[MLP],with a possible exception of the recent Queen DVD-A.I belive your Yamaha player is essentialy a Pana RP-91, if so when you play the MLP tracks hit "display"[you may need to connect it to a TV and turn it on to see the display],and check out what sampling rate they used on this?
Yep, this disc has a 48khz sampling rate. The disc sounds great but too bad its not at 96.

JohnG
 

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