SCREAM laserdisc commentary weirdness

cafink

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Carl Fink
Hi all!

I recently picked up the SCREAM laserdisc as I've been pining for the director's cut that's not available on DVD (in Region 1). I haven't sat down and watched it yet, but I've sampled some scenes and it seems like a really nice disc. I have only one concern regarding the commentary.

When I switch to analog audio, I can hear the commentary but there is a lot (LOT!) of static/hiss/noise/whatever present. It's simply unlistenable. I sampled each audio channel (is that the correct term?) individually, and it seems that the commentary is intact on the left channel, while the right channel contains nothing but noise.

I don't imagine that this sort of error could be caused by a faulty disc. Was it produced this way on purpose? What exactly is the reason?

Thank you for your time.
 

Doug Schiller

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IIRC, the analog tracks on the Scream LD include the commentary on one channel and the DD bitstream on the other.
You need to set your balance to the left or right.

This was the only way to transport a DD bitstream back in the day.

DTS actually took up both analog channels.

Doug
 

Michael Reuben

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Doug is correct. Every DD-encoded laserdisc will have the same hiss on the right analog channel.

DTS actually took up both analog channels.
Both digital channels, actually. So if you didn't have a DTS decoder (and few did at that time), you were stuck with analog audio.

The reason why Pioneer and Dolby decided to use an analog track for DD on laserdisc was to preserve the ability of most of the listening population to continue enjoying high-quality PCM digital audio. This allowed them to "seed" the market with software before the decoding hardware was available, and for several years thereafter when it was still so expensive as to be out of reach for most users.

M.
 

Damin J Toell

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I sampled each audio channel (is that the correct term?) individually, and it seems that the commentary is intact on the left channel, while the right channel contains nothing but noise.
It is generally the case with LDs that the commentary will only be on one analog track. As others have stated, that loud noise you hear is just the DD track encoded on the right analog channel. Even when there is no DD track, when a LD has a commentary, the other analog track will usually just be a mono movie soundtrack (or, sometimes, a mono isolated score). I've only seen a handful of LDs that had a commentary that was meant to be listened to in stereo. Just set you player to only output the left analog track when you want to listen to the commentary.

DJ
 

Steven_M Grimes

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Both digital channels, actually. So if you didn't have a DTS decoder (and few did at that time), you were stuck with analog audio.
This is a little misleading. How many DTS LD's were released that didn't also have a Dolby Digital or Regular Surround release? None, as far as I know, so this is an irrelevant point. If you were buying DTS laserdiscs it was because you had a DTS decoder, so you'd never be "stuck" with analog audio.
 

Michael Reuben

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If you were buying DTS laserdiscs it was because you had a DTS decoder, so you'd never be "stuck" with analog audio.
That's exactly my point. The Pioneer/Dolby approach allowed them to market the software to people who didn't yet have the hardware to decode 5.1 audio. The DTS solution lacked that advantage, especially when discs included audio commentary, so that the only non-DTS soundtrack was mono analog.

For those of us who were collecting laserdiscs at the time, it was pretty damn relevant.

M.
 

Jesse Skeen

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I always thought the AC3 system was rather silly, as it shut out all the players that only had analog sound (pre-1984). Analog sound quality was usually pretty good; before I got my new sound system there were a few LD titles I was going to buy the DTS versions of anyway because I could live with the analog sound for the time being and hear the DTS track when I upgraded. With the equipment I've got now, the absence of a PCM track isn't a big deal.
 

Doug Schiller

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Michael, you're right. How quickly I forgot about DTS being on the digital tracks.

Jesse, I think a mono version was supplied on the other channel with AC3 discs.
If the person didn't care about quality PCM tracks enough to upgrade their player, than I'm sure mono sounded fine to them.


Doug
 

Geoff_D

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Thankfully I've never heard the noise of an AC3 track whenever I listen to a commentary, as once I switch to analogue my player will only output the left analogue channel (on an AC3 disc). Always kinda neat, I thought.
 

Rob Gillespie

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The Pioneer/Dolby approach allowed them to market the software to people who didn't yet have the hardware to decode 5.1 audio. The DTS solution lacked that advantage, especially when discs included audio commentary, so that the only non-DTS soundtrack was mono analog.
Ahh the good old days


DTS on LD was a niche in an already niche market and the DTS version was always released in addition to the standard PCM/AC-3 disc. You didn't buy them unless you had a DTS decoder so compatability was never an issue.
 

Jesse Skeen

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"If the person didn't care about quality PCM tracks enough to upgrade their player, than I'm sure mono sounded fine to them."

Analog LD sound was already pretty good for its time. I have an old analog-only player from 1984 that sounds fine on non-rotted discs.
 

Gabe Oppenheim

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On a slightly related note:

I have a CLD-D605 hooked up via optical and analog cables to my receiver. When I try to listen to the commentary on the "Trainspotting" Criterion LD, I find that I cannot. The player lets me toggle through the digital tracks and (what appear to be onscreen) the analog tracks, but I cannot hear either the commentary (bad) or the AC-3 noise (good). The front display shows AC-3 RF, if that makes a difference. Is there any way to force my player to ignore the AC-3 track and play either of the analog tracks (so that I could then listen to the commentary)?

If not, would a potential solution be to purchase an RF demodulator? That would certainly allow me to listen to the AC-3 track, but not, necessarily, the other analog track, and I am primarily interested in the commentary.

Thanks!
 

Matt Stone

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Do you have the analog input selected on your reciever? I had this problem the other day when I was checking out the TCM commentary...forgot to switch the damn input.
 

Rob Gillespie

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The analogue tracks (i.e. the commentary) are output only through the analogue RCA jacks so make sure the receiver is set to input from those rather than the digital-in.
 

Dan Hitchman

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And when you select the analog track from the player's remote, be sure to toggle until only the director's commentary is coming through (the left analog channel only). Don't play the analog tracks in stereo, or you'll get exactly what you've been getting previously.

And it looks like you have the AC3 Dolby Digital version. Lucky for me I snagged the DTS laserdisc versions of Scream (also the DC w/commentary) and Scream 2 when Ken Crane's had their sidewalk blowout sale oh those many years ago! Nine bucks each!
The DTS audio is fantastic. If you can find the DTS version DO NOT pass it up!

Dan
 

Jesse Skeen

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AC3-capable players won't let you listen to the noise on AC3 discs- they'll display "ANALOG STEREO 1/L ONLY".
 

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