Need advice for two 5.1 classical dvd-audio titles

Discussion in 'Music' started by LanceJ, Mar 18, 2006.

  1. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    I know little about classical but know a few people who do & need a disc that can play on the typical 5.1 system i.e. one with a dvd-video player. Because I don't know anyone with an sacd player, or a dvd-audio player for that matter!

    Even in higher end shops it is difficult to find a 5.1 system with a 5.1 sacd player attached (stereo is much more common). For example, that time last year I was checking out a pair of Nautilus 800D Diamond series speakers, the Denon 2900 the dealer used was configured for dvd-video playback only AND *CD-only* playback (plus only the digital output was connected). So I never did get to hear the DSD layer of the Zombies hybrid sacd* I had just bought or the MLP tracks of the Beck & Donald Fagen dvd-audios I also brought.

    Tweeter usually hooks up the 5.1 analog outputs but their speaker systems are almost always set up for 7.1 movie playback, so the back surrounds are directly behind me/very close to each other.

    Anyway..........

    I was hoping to find a classical dvd-audio with a fully immersive mix & another with an ambient mix but where the ambience was REAL i.e. it was recorded in the actual performance venue itself. I know Dolby Digital and DTS aren't truly hi-fi but I think they will be enough to basically show these people what surround is about.

    And what type of classical would make the best impression? I own one of those Living Stereo CDs, Pictures At An Exhibition and a Telarc CD of The Firebird Suite. Both are pretty active I guess you could say, but do most classical people like this variety?

    BTW: don't worry, I do tell people about the sacd format. Whining about subtle technical differences at this point won't help either format.

    I've heard a couple classical CDs played through surround processors that used software based on data gathered from real venues, and they gave the music an eerily real sound, very "grand" sounding, but not filled with bunches of irritating fake reverb like a cheap receiver usually does. So I figured real ambience should sound awesome.

    I did find this classical review site, but they don't always mention the mix style and many of these discs aren't cheap and/or are imports.

    Lastly, I'll admit this request is partly motivated by pure curiosity on my part. I've only been to two live classical performances and was quite impressed but when playing the recorded (stereo) version, except on very powerful systems it wasn't nearly the same feeling.

    Thanks.

    * I have heard the CD layer many times now, and I gotta say, Steve Hoffman's remastering method results in a super velvety - but still detailed - sound quality. Very nice! And the lack of overcompression is very evident - I can turn this up LOUD & still enjoy it. Even on some revealing KRK and JBL studio monitors at Guitar Center the recording retained its smooth quality. This disc cost only $14 at Best Buy.
     
  2. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Screenwriter

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    I can't help much with your classical request, I only have one classical DVD-A currently:

    Nikolaus Harnoncourt / Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra - Dvorak: Symphony No. 9; The Water Goblin

    http://www.amusicdirect.com/products...ku=CTDDVD25254

    I like it really well but with a sample of one to base my recommendations, I better pass on giving recommendations. I am trying to figure out what other classical SACD/DVD-A discs I want.

    What I am really doing in your thread is asking about The Zombies "Greatest Hits" SACD since I keep on putting that in my basket at Circuitcity.com but never check out. I have had a previous Zombies CD compilation and love that old music. Do you think this stereo SACD is a significant improvement over previous CDs?

    Chris
     
  3. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    You might look at classics today

    Also, the David Juritz Four Seasons DVD-A Naxos 5.110001 features both an ambient mix for the four seasons, and an immersive mix for the Assumption of the Virgin Mary
     
  4. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    I have some of the Zombies on CD and much prefer the SACD. Classics Today is a really good site. AIX has some good DVD-A titles. I have Zubin Mehta conducting on Mahler's 2nd on (Teldec label) DVD-A which I like. I have a couple of the SF Symphony's Mahler symphonies on SACD and those are good, I have a bunch of Telarc Records classical things, older Living Stereo ones, David Chesky's "Area 31" on Chesky Records (chesky.com) is an excellent modern recording. I also have a Channel Classics (channelclassics.com) sampler that has 17 tracks that is excellent that I need to re-listen to and probably buy some of the regular SACDs.
     
  5. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Christopher: sorry, this is the only Zombies album I've ever owned in any format. But compared in an overall manner to most of my other CDs, the sound itself of this SH-mastered disc is excellent. I have only heard the sacd layer once, on a $2,000 Sony ES/Polk Audio system. But couldn't properly compare the two layers (no Sony remote control in demo room) so would rather not comment on that issue. BTW: that site's "category top sellers" has some thought-provoking listings. I really wish Arista would let Alan Parsons remix his albums to surround!!

    Jeremy: thanks for the Naxos recommendation.

    Phil: appreciate the advice too, but can't really use the sacds (and I don't own a player for them yet). Concerning the dvd-as, which one has the most aggressive mix?
     
  6. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    BTW: I forgot to mention DTS-CDs would also be O.K. I'm sure the people at Absolute Sound magazine would break out in a sweat if they read that, but oh well. [​IMG] But since Dolby and DTS can utilize a typical system's bass management system, this also makes it much easier to demo this music. Lance can't afford to be replacing B&W and Athena midwoofers right now. [​IMG]
     
  7. Hartwig Hanser

    Hartwig Hanser Second Unit

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    I recommend Tacet DVD-Audios for aggressive mixing (www.tacet.de). For exemple you get String quartets with one player sitting in each corner of the room. Or Bach concertos with the soloists in front and the orchestra in the rear. Or octets by Schubert, Beethoven or Mendelsohn where the players sit in a circle around you. Once you get used to it, it is a great experience like being one of the players. Of course, it helps that the Tacet DVDs have superb sound and the players mostly are excellent.

    Especially recommended: Schubert Quintett, Schubert octet, Beethoven String quartetts, Peter and the Wolf plus Carnival of the animals (3 versions on 1 disc: With german narration, with english narration, without narration; here even the instruments move according to the story!)
     
  8. Matt Fisher

    Matt Fisher Second Unit

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    Sorry to butt in, but while on the topic of classical hi-res audio, does anyone recommend anything in particular from Bela Bartok? I know there's a ballet on DVD-A, and at least 4 different SACDs.
     
  9. Hartwig Hanser

    Hartwig Hanser Second Unit

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    Bluebarts Castle by Ivan Fischer/Budapest Festival orchestra on SACD is spectacular! Also recommended is Concerto for Orchestra on Hungaroton SACD.
     
  10. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Lance, I have about 30 hi-rez classical recordinsg on hi-rez, while most are on SACD, even the DVD-As I have really don't do aggressive mixes on the extra channels. I'd describe all of them as ambient (which are to my tastes anyway).
     
  11. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Thanks Hartwig for the link and information. The people at Tacet seem like they share my interest in "pushing the surround envelope". [​IMG]

    Yes Phil, I wasn't all that sure many classical discs would have aggressive mixes, since the music is so traditonal. But hopefully the ambient ones will sound good too.
     
  12. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

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    You can kill two mixes with one release by picking up one of the many fine AIX Records titles. Their classical releases also include separate "audience" and "stage" mixes of the same performance. One highly recommended title is their Stravinsky/Ravel: Firebird/Boléro release (my archived review).
     
  13. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Thanks Felix. I'll have to put that on my list, since I am quite familiar with the Firebird (that Telarc CD has a huge dynamic range & I've accidently bottomed out several woofers/subs with it).

    from your review on that page
    This is about the 57th [​IMG] time I've read something like this concerning a DTS track, which is why I am encouraged by the increasing number of CD+dvd-video package releases of all kinds of music in surround (I really do think that proper bass management is an issue that keeps many people from buying 5.1 sacd and dvd-audio titles).

    I forgot all about dvdangle.com! They have very good reviews but I do rememeber the owner(?) getting quite irritated at the lack of releases - I guess he finally called it quits? Just reading that page brought back fun memories when we thought surround had a promising future as a semi-niche format....then the royalty thing reared its ugly head, the iPod/MP3 revolution was kicking into gear then suddenly new releases pretty much stopped.
     
  14. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

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    I believe Dennis Burger (not the owner, but he was heading the whole DVD-A section of DVDAngle) is still writing for Robb Report - Home Theater & Audio magazine and we still keep in touch once in a while. He's a great guy. I was sad to see the site disappear as there were quite a few good reviews from some great writers on there.

    Some of my other DVDangle reviews (including DVD-Audio titles) are compiled at my site, with links to Archive.org - bless 'em!
     
  15. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    And here is number 58! DTS cd's by Mobile Fidelity, like Steve Miller Bands "Fly Like An Eagle" and BTO's "Not Fragile", are really impressive. Also very agressive. Make sure your surrounds are up to the task! Don't know if they have released any classical stuff. Too lazy to check :b .
     
  16. Hartwig Hanser

    Hartwig Hanser Second Unit

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    Telarc has some really nice DTS-CDs. I recommend Holst the Planets (ambient surrounds) and for aggressive surrounds the DTS sampler with some crazy sound effects in all channels and some aggressive music mixing (classical and jazz)
     
  17. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

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    As a matter of fact, last year, DTS Entertainment re-released their DTS Classical Series in "doubledisc" DVD-A + CD packages. In addition to hi-res 48/24 5.1 surround on the DVD disc, there are also DTS 5.1 and PCM 48/24 stereo options for DVD-V players. IIRC, all the mixes are very immersive, with instruments all around the listening position.

    I think there are 6 discs in the series: Bach Classics, Handel's Water Garden, Mozart Classics, The Nutcracker, Beethoven Classics, and Schubert Classics.

    A nice gift for someone just getting into surround music and likes classical titles.
     
  18. Hartwig Hanser

    Hartwig Hanser Second Unit

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    I have the DTS Classical Nutcracker on DTS CD. Sound quality is OK, a bit dry and very immediate, not very enveloping. There are not many instruments coming from behind, if I remember correctly. The crucial point is that the interpretation is lousy: stiff, boring, unmusical. So be warned...

    Same problem with 2 classical titels from AIX by the way(Beethoven 6th Sympony, Brahms Piano quintett): The playing is not the best.

    On the other hand, The AIX title "Zephyr" with 12 singers all around you is spectacular and very recommended.

    The best classical DVDAudio Titel I know for ambient surround is Bach Matthäus Passion by Harnoncourt (Warner)
     
  19. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Wow, didn't know Telarc had some DTS-CDs, but knowing that some of their CDs are encoded with Dolby Surround I shouldn't be surprised.
     
  20. Hartwig Hanser

    Hartwig Hanser Second Unit

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    If you want to test your subwoofer really hard, try "The Big Picture" by Telarc, a collection of film music with ridiculus overblown bass (but very impressive...)
     

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