Donald Fagen' "The Nightfly" on DVD-Audio

Discussion in 'Music' started by John Kotches, Dec 11, 2002.

  1. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    After mucho delay due to remixing, the consensus king of 5.1 mixing, Elliot Scheiner does his handiwork on the first solo album from Steely Dan front man Donald Fagen.

    Included in this release are:

    24/48K 5.1 Mix
    24/48K Stereo Mix from original masters
    DD (don't know mix)
    DTS 5.1

    Also includes the video from New Frontier

    For those that are wondering, why isn't this a 24/96K title, the answer is that this was a very early all digital title, recorded on 3M 32track and 4 track machines. I think these were 48K sampling frequency, but I am not certain.

    The word length was raised from 16 to 24bits, but the sampling rate remains at 48K.

    I have not had opportunity to play this one yet, but will be doing so soon.

    Release will be Tuesday Dec. 17th.

    Regards,
     
  2. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    John,

    This is one of my favorite albums so I will buy it anyway. I am concerned about the 3M machines which are not known for good sonics. Still, the album was a fairly clean sounding CD for its time.

    The increase in word length probably helps. I need to get an upsampler and see what effect that has.
     
  3. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Lee,
    If memory serves me correctly, this was one of the earliest examples of an all digital recording. For its era it was very well regarded. Of course drastic improvements have been made in digital recording since then. This was a digital recording that actually sounded good.... not many titles could say that in the early 1980s.
    I remember doing a digital recording in January 1982 in college for the Crest label with the college's wind orchestra. I don't recall what system was used, but it involved a VCR for mass storage.
    I do remember a clarinetist/saxophonist whose squeaking reed ruined the coda of a beautiful take on the The Marching Song of Democracy. Thankfully he will forever go nameless :b
    Regards,
     
  4. Neil Weinstock

    Neil Weinstock Stunt Coordinator

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    God, I was *so* hoping this was going to be an early review of the disk. I'm eager to know if they do something intelligent with the surround mix. Oh well, I'm probably buying it either way.

    It'll be interesting to hear how much the limitations of the master constrain how good the sound of new disk. I guess if it even sounds a little better than the CD, and the surround mix is at least decent, then this becomes a must buy.

    Definitely on my top 10 list (maybe top 5) of all-time favorite albums.
     
  5. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    John, thanks for the info. I'm glad it has a stereo mix. I ordered it anyway.
     
  6. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I can't wait. My used vinyl of this sounds great but is a little scratchy. The previous owner was not as careful with his vinyl as I am. [​IMG] This is high on my list.
    Some of the very early DMP Flim & The BBs stuff sounds darn good, recorded direct to Mitsubishi X-80 two track. I got the remastered "Tricycle" and it sounds nice. I wonder how the SACD sounds but not enough to buy it yet again..
     
  7. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Neil,

    Relax. I had to finish the work day before I could go down and listen to it.

    First off, the sonics are very good when considering how early in the digital era this recording was made. It is competitive with REMs Automatic for the People which was recorded ten (or so) years later.

    I spent Tuesday evening listening to the CD version, with and without Trifield on the 598/568.2 combination.

    Last night, as soon as I finished testing some code, I hastily ran downstairs and put this title into my kit.

    The stereo sonics are improved over the CD version -- while it is an appreciable difference, it isn't huge. If the original FS used was 48K on the masters, which was sample rate converted to 44.1K -- all of the gains could have been made here.

    The surround sonics are what is going to sell the heck out of this disc. My favorite track "Maxine" has DF doing all the vocals, in a very tight harmonization. The way the vocals are mixed you get discrete placement of the individual parts, smoothly panned across the front soundstage. I wonder if this meets the Phil Spector "Wall of Sound" criteria.

    Elliot Scheiner, already the consensus king of Surround mixing, continues to hone his skills. I will offer more thoughts as time goes on. I only had a chance for 1 listen through the stereo and surround tracks.

    Regards,
     
  8. Neil Weinstock

    Neil Weinstock Stunt Coordinator

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    Fabulous, thanks for the info. This is gonna be my first DVD-A disc, the one that motivates me to actually go hook up the analog outs from my CP-72. I can't wait for next Tuesday...
     
  9. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  10. charles white

    charles white Second Unit

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    The Nightfly remains one of the few all digital recordings that had top notch sound and clarity. This may push me into getting a DVD-A/SACD player next year. I have heard Elliot Schneiner's work on the DTS 5.1 version of Steely Dan's GAUCHO
    and I want the 2-channel stereo edition.
     
  11. Al B. C

    Al B. C Supporting Actor

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    "The Nightfly" has shipped!!!
    I just got my confirmation e-mail from Circuitcity.com. [​IMG]
     
  12. John Geelan

    John Geelan Screenwriter

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    Me too!

    Nightfly is on the way.
     
  13. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Excellent guys, I hope you enjoy the title.

    Regards,
     
  14. Steve Meskell

    Steve Meskell Second Unit

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    In 1983 I saw U2 at The Pier(on the Hudson river in NYC)and before the show started a guy came out and said he was from Technics and he told us about the new world of Compact Discs. The first song he played was IGY and of course it blew me away......I hope I have the same reaction when I play the new DVDA.
     
  15. John Geelan

    John Geelan Screenwriter

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    Just got the dvda today in the mail and it does sound great!

    Right off the bat it begins playing IGY in 6 channel surround and the bass is nice and tight, sounds like a modern recording, not one made in 1982!.

    It even has the lyrics.

    The menu is pretty cool, shows Fagen as he is on the album cover but his cigarette's smoke is billowing.

    The video for "New Frontier" is a 80's classic.

    A very nice dvda!
     
  16. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    John,

    You didn't catch all of it then......

    When the menu changes between Top Menu and the Songs, the backdrop images change, and the smoke is kind of like a "fade" effect.

    Yes, this is a very good recording for ca. 1982. Not quite as good as the best new 24/96K material, nor is it to be expected.

    Frankly, I think much of this has to do with DFs obsession with the sonics of the recording. He and WB are both famous for wanting superb quality.

    I agree with the synopsis of the bass.

    How do you like the harmonization of "Maxine", with each part getting a seperate speaker?

    Just curious.

    Regards,
     
  17. Al B. C

    Al B. C Supporting Actor

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    Awwwww man! Use the spoiler tags will ya! [​IMG]
     
  18. John Geelan

    John Geelan Screenwriter

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    Yes, Maxine sounds gorgeous. The sax on that cut is particularly good.

    After listening to this title and REM's Automatic For The People last night, I can't believe some people resist DVDA.
    To me DVDA does the job, which is it exceeds cd. It's a new way to listen to old favorites.
    I think the engineer's are starting to get the hang of this format now.

    The fact that anyone with a DVD player can enjoy these discs is a nice bonus but the Hi-Rez tracks do sound gorgeous.

    For instance when I put on "Everybody Hurts" last night, my wife came running into the HT and sat down to listen (she had been in the Kitchen with my son). She was stunned how good that song sounds in surround and she is not an audiophile.
     
  19. Joe Solek

    Joe Solek Agent

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    I just picked up the disc at Borders. I am listening to it in DTS, I do not have a DVDA player. All I can say is that it sounds fantastic. Vocals are very distinct and "transparent". As John K stated it reminds me of Phil Spector's wall of sound mixes. Even if you do not own a dvda player, the DTS and DD are wonderful.
     
  20. Steve Meskell

    Steve Meskell Second Unit

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    Has anyone noticed that on the dts/DD surround track (Ruby Baby) that womans sigh at 25 seconds is missing [​IMG]
    It is on the stereo track. For those with DVDA capabilities is it on the high/rez tracks?? I just find it weird...I'm so used to hearing it.....but no other complaints...I love this disc [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

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