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KHARTOUM is Dolby Surround not DD 5.1 (1 Viewer)

Stephen Pickard

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I am really disappointed. I picked up this title at Best Buy today, and noticed just before I paid for it that there was no mention of 5.1 just stereo surround, I prayed that it was just an oversight, but no. This is a title that I own on laserdisc and eagerly awaited it's release on DVD assuming that the audio would be a discrete remaster from the original 4-Track stereo mix. The DVD does have the Overture, Intermission and Exit music. The picture is a 16x9 / 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer.
 

Douglas R

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I have this on order. Although a 5.1 remix would be nice to have, the surround track is at least duplicating the original theatrical presentation and I'm particularly pleased that this DVD is the roadshow version.
 

Michael Coate

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While a matrix-encoded 2.0 track is probably fine, a discrete DVD soundtrack would be a closer rendition of the original mix.

"Khartoum" originally had 70mm prints with six-track audio (though many six-track mixes were actually derived from four-track masters). At the very least, the DVD presentation should be 4.0.

The aspect ratio should be 2.76:1 rather than 2.35:1. This is somewhat subjective, however, since the majority of the handful of 2.76:1 productions were actually not projected in that ratio.
 

Damin J Toell

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Don't discrete 3.0 tracks consist only of LEFT, CENTER, and RIGHT screen channels?
except when it's Left, Right, and Surround, which may be the situation. the DVDReview.com review states: "This is a nicely immersive soundtrack that makes full use of the surrounds for the score and sound effects while leaving the dialogue firmly anchored to the center speaker." Since it has a surround channel and a center speaker channel, I wonder what the third discrete channel could be. Perhaps they meant to state that it's a 4.0 mix, which would make sense both in regard to DVDReview's review, as well as the situation with regard to what was probably the original 70mm mix. Hopefully Stephen will update us once he plays the disc.

DJ
 

Michael Warner

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The comments about the disc at DVDReview are mine so maybe I can elaborate. It's a Dolby Digital 3.0 mix consisting of left, right, and surround channels. The surround channel is mono so both rear speakers are outputting the same audio. The left and right front channels are discrete but any audio meant to be heard from the center is collapsed to the center speaker the same way that a DD 2.0 Mono mix is typically heard only from the center speaker even though it's ostensibly a two-channel mix.
 

Damin J Toell

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The left and right front channels are discrete but any audio meant to be heard from the center is collapsed to the center speaker the same way that a DD 2.0 Mono mix is typically heard only from the center speaker even though it's ostensibly a two-channel mix.
Is that supposed to happen? Shouldn't discrete information remain discrete unless I've got some manner of decoder running (e.g., DPL)? I certainly don't want discrete audio involuntarily collapsing into the center channel in situations where I'm not decoding it as such.

DJ
 

Stephen Pickard

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The only english audio track on the DVD that I bought last Saturday is a decoded Lt/Rt, which shows up on my decoder as four channels, not 'discrete' channels mind you but four channels derived from a two-channel matrixed track. My decoder makes it very clear by identifying, in this case, as 'Dolby Surround' as opposed to four discrete channels which is described as 'Dolby Digital'. I own the Pioneer Elite SP22 Decoder.

The original mix was done at Pinewood Studios in Theater 2 by Gordon K. McCallum - who I knew personally - in 4-track discrete stereo. Two extra front channels of information - inside left and right - were added to create a six-track 'spread' for the 70mm roadshow release. I worked at Pinewood Studios in the late sixties and if we wanted a discrete six-track mix, for example "CHITTY CHITTY, BANG BANG", we hand to ship the audio pre-mixes to Hollywood!

This DVD audio track was probably created for the letterbox laserdisc several years ago in the form of an undecoded (matrix not noise reduction) two-track Lt/Rt, and was created from the discrete four-track mix. (Left, Center, Right & mono Surround) If you understand what the matrix does, what it does not do is decode into four 'discrete' channels again. It just gives an illusion (a very good one) of four discrete channels when played together. Even with perfectly aligned frequency response and head azimuth, channel separation is sacrificed. If you solo any of the channels you hear the evidence in the form of crosstalk between channels. With the advantage of the Dolby Digital Bitsteam technology, discrete audio is a reality. Dolby Surround was a stepping stone from magnetically striped 35mm and 70mm prints prominent in the fifties, sixties and early seventies, to the digital technology introduced to theaters in the early nineties.

I believe a lot of people still don't understand or appreciate the benefits of discrete audio over matrixed audio, and this was the point I tried to make in my original post.
 

Damin J Toell

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The only english audio track on the DVD that I bought last Saturday is a decoded Lt/Rt, which shows up on my decoder as four channels, not 'discrete' channels mind you but four channels derived from a two-channel matrixed track.
So far we've got one vote for a matrixed 2.0 track and another vote for a 3.0 track with a mysterious matrixed center channel. I say we need a tie-breaker here. ;) Anyone else out there have the disc?
DJ
 

Michael Coate

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I have the R2 disc of The Alamo (another MGM Home Video title) which is also encoded in 3.0 Left Right and Surround. I assume the R1 is the same.
The Region 1 copy is not the same! The copy of "The Alamo" that MGM sent us for review (catalog # 1001270) includes (1) English 5.1, (2) French 2.0, (3) Spanish 2.0.

We have not yet received a copy of "Khartoum." As as soon as we do, I'll check the audio and let you know what audio format is included. Hopefully we can all reach a satisfactory conclusion as to the audio format of this title! Why is there so much confusion over this "3.0" business, anyway?

Michael Coate

Widescreen Review Magazine/Webzine
 

Michael Warner

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It's somehow reassuring that a thread about a typically overlooked film is getting this much attention and debate. All I can add is that my Onkyo 595 recognizes the audio mix as 3.0 and the LCD panel identifies it as "2/1" the 2 being the left and right and the 1 the surround channel.
 

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