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Roy Orbison Black & White Night Redux (1 Viewer)

bigshot

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Oh man! I just sat down to listen to a couple of songs and got sucked in. This has got to be one of the most carefully crafted 5.1 mixes I've ever heard. The old mix had lots of "wow factor"... ping pong stuff going on, keyboards and backing vocals thrown to the rear, super sharp EQ on the vocals on Orbison, but that isn't what Orbison's sound was all about. I am a huge fan of his records, and they had a warm sound that enveloped you like a blanket. This new mix has that in spades.

First of all, the vocals... at first I was confused, because Orbison's vocals sound totally different than they did on the old mix. His voice now weaves in and out without a specific "sound". Before it appeared to have been "sharpened up" by pushing the consonants and thinning out the baritone. But that tended to give his vocals a monochromatic feel and emphasized the age in his voice. This time around, they seem to have left his vocals the way he sang them with just a little bit of high end roll off. Orbison was never about enunciation, it was about the tone of his vocal production, and the new mix really shows that off. His vocals are like a Technicolor movie, with contrasts in tone and volume. He didn't sound old at all. The voice sounds exactly like it did on the old records. Plenty of power.

Next the backing vocals... Here is where this new mix REALLY shines. You can pick out each voice individually and they are mixed so they are pushed out into the room a bit. Orbison is up front and the backing vocals seem to wrap around you a bit. This gives them that choral feel and makes them seem to be coming from the sides and above- much nicer than isolated in the rear.

They did the right thing with Tom Waits. They buried his keyboard deep in the mix and let just the ten or twelve idiomatic chords he played that evening peep through a bit. You can see Orbison throw him a solo and then after it's over, he laughs and shakes his head and Springsteen asks him what they hell just happened. Waits obviously didn't get the memo that they were supposed to be a backing band. Oobie Doobie plays just fine this time. It doesn't make me make a something stinks face when I listen to it like the old mix.

But here is the most amazing part of this mix... when the camera is on a player (other than Waits), you can almost always hear what that person is playing in the mix. None of that stuff where you see a guy strumming like mad and you can't hear it in the mix. T Bone Burnett comes off much better in this mix for his rhythm guitar playing, and when Springsteen and James Burton play, it's as clear as if they were speaking. And the violin section is clearly defined, you can hear them dig in and slide out smoothly as you see them doing it. Best of all, Orbison's own guitar playing is clear in the mix. I've supervised a few music mixes for TV myself, and I know how hard it is to get the balance correct at every moment like that. You're balancing the visual element with the sound. It's easy to let one or the other dominate. It takes a lot of detailed finessing of the mix to get it to follow perfectly all the way through.

The image quality is even better than the original blu-ray, and I am pretty sure the editing is quite different. The concert has a different feel- more spontaneous and less packaged. And I think the cutting has been altered to follow the spotlighting of the solos better.

I'm totally satisfied with this. I won't be going back to the old disc again. This solved all of the problems I had with it originally. I haven't watched the secret home movies at the end yet, but I'm looking forward to it.
 

Scott Merryfield

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Stephen, is this a new BD release? I only have the original SD-DVD and CD recordings, and never upgraded to the BD when it was released. It appears to be out of print now, as Amazon only has it available through 3rd party sellers starting at $40. I love this concert, but that's too steep a price for me.
 

bigshot

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This is a new blu-ray / CD set. It's $20 and it includes material not on the older DVD and blu-ray. Much better mix, editing and image quality Link: http://****/2lmmP4t
 

Scott Merryfield

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Thanks, Stephen! I missed that version when I searched at Amazon. I remember seeing this on cable (Cinemax, I think) when it first came out, and loved it immediately.
 

bigshot

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For some reason the new blu-ray comes up as a CD in searches
 

Johnny Angell

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When I look at the Amazon listing it shows a disc 2 which repeats disc one, but adds the secret concert and rehearsal cuts. Is disc 2 a blu ray with video. Elsewhere I see mention that the secret concert must be downloaded.

I have the first blu ray and it's one of my favorite music blu rays. I never thought he sounded old in it. When you say his voice weaves in and out, I'm not sure what you mean.
 

bigshot

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Absolutely. It is significantly different and quite a bit better.

When I look at the Amazon listing it shows a disc 2 which repeats disc one, but adds the secret concert and rehearsal cuts. Is disc 2 a blu ray with video. Elsewhere I see mention that the secret concert must be downloaded.

I have the first blu ray and it's one of my favorite music blu rays. I never thought he sounded old in it. When you say his voice weaves in and out, I'm not sure what you mean.

The second disc is a blu-ray video disc.

When I said that he sounded old, I meant that in the sense of the voice sounding thinner than on the old records. Orbison had both a clear tenor and a full sounding baritone. The EQ of the voice on the original release emphasized the high end to try to pull out the enunciation, and it tended to make is voice less full sounding and gave the vocals one overall sound to the vocals. This new disc does a better job of showing off all the different colors his vocals were capable of. His voice is mixed in with the music like a singer with an orchestra now too. It slides in and out around the instruments. Before, it was mixed more like a rock vocal where it sat in a different tonal range and rode over the top. It's a difference in mixing philosophy. Orbison's voice was totally unique. Using techniques that work with most singers won't necessarily work best with him. Is that clearer?
 
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titch

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Thanks for the heads-up Stephen! The original Blu-ray was one of the first I purchased, way back in 2008, when I set up my first HD rig. I've played it several times since and enjoy it immensely. I thought it sounded really good when I last upgraded my home theatre in 2015. However, I'm well aware that just about any blu ray disc mastered at the dawn of hi-def has the potential for re-mastering and I've ordered the disc on your recommendation. I very much look forward to comparing it with the old one!
 

Johnny Angell

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Absolutely. It is significantly different and quite a bit better.



The second disc is a blu-ray video disc.

When I said that he sounded old, I meant that in the sense of the voice sounding thinner than on the old records. Orbison had both a clear tenor and a full sounding baritone. The EQ of the voice on the original release emphasized the high end to try to pull out the enunciation, and it tended to make is voice less full sounding and gave the vocals one overall sound to the vocals. This new disc does a better job of showing off all the different colors his vocals were capable of. His voice is mixed in with the music like a singer with an orchestra now too. It slides in and out around the instruments. Before, it was mixed more like a rock vocal where it sat in a different tonal range and rode over the top. It's a difference in mixing philosophy. Orbison's voice was totally unique. Using techniques that work with most singers won't necessarily work best with him. Is that clearer?
Yes, that's much clearer and I get. Is the first disc just a CD?
 

LouA

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My copy arrived today, so I haven't watched it yet, but it looks like they did a great job on it . But why are we getting so many of these releases in slotted cardboard packaging? Something like this, I'd like to keep in my collection for as long as I live , so I don't want it to get scratched up sliding it in and out of the cardboard .
I'm going to carefully remove the discs from the slots and place them in a double jewel case , but I wish that for the money (which I gladly spent) we could at least get trays that protect the discs .
 
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AnthonyClarke

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Thanks for that info, Stephen.
I'm ordering immediately! This is one of my all-time favourite concert Blu rays, by one of the greatest of 20th Century singers.
I was for many years classical music reviewer for the Bulletin, a famous but now-defunct Australian weekly magazine. One year towards the end of the century I was asked to nominate the two greatest singers -- using vocal skills as the key -- of that century. I nominated Maria Callas ....and Roy Orbison!
 

bigshot

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They're actually very similar. They were both able to tell stories with just the tone of their voice.
 

Ruz-El

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The image quality is even better than the original blu-ray, and I am pretty sure the editing is quite different. The concert has a different feel- more spontaneous and less packaged. And I think the cutting has been altered to follow the spotlighting of the solos better.

It's my understanding that this one is a new edit and follows the actual concert sequence as performed instead of the re sequence that was created for the special. I don't have the old disc to A&B, I just got the new one but not had a chance to watch it.
 

Peter Neski

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The thing that made this unwatchable was the MTV like editing ,this is what has to be redone We don't need to see shots of every band member for every beat ,
 

bigshot

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It is most definitely not the same audio track. The mix is quite different. The editing is different too. That review is incorrect.
 
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titch

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It is most definitely not the same audio track. The mix is quite different. The editing is different too. That review is incorrect.
I completely agree. Just try watching and listening to a short song, such as "Claudette". Totally different editing - and you can actually hear Tom Waits pounding away on the keyboard.
 

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