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The Band "Music From Big Pink" DVD-A

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Phil A, Feb 12, 2003.

  1. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    I just had a chance to listen to the disc and thought I would share some brief notes. The disc is not written to the v1.1 spec and Group 1 is the Advanced Resolution Surround Mix, Group 3 is the Advanced Resolution Stereo Mix and Groups 4 and 5 are the DD and DTS 5.1 mixes. I did not get a chance to listen to the DD or DTS mixes. For those like me with a player (Pioneer Elite DV-47A) without a group button either a video monitor is required to switch between the groups (or extreme luck or psychic ability). The bonus materials include lyrics, photo gallery, Capital Records discography (including brief audio snippets of a portion of a cut from each album), other EMI DVD-A title listings, web links and credits.

    Many moons ago, I owned a vinyl set-up with the album. That was when I had pigment in my hair and did not tell people it got this color since I just painted my kitchen ceiling. I have the CD of The Band "Anthology Vol. 1" which includes "The Weight," "Chest Fever," and "I Shall Be Released." In addition to the above-noted DVD-A player, the equipment set-up consists of a Bryston SP1.7 pre/pro, a Proceed HPA3 amp for the front channels, a Proceed BPA amp for the rears, Thiel 7.2s for the left and right along with 2 Rel Storm IIIs via their high level connection, a Thiel MCS1 center along with a Rel Q150 also via the high level connection, Thiel Power Point rears along with a Rel Strata III also via a high level connection. For comparison of the CD tracks I used a Sony XA-777ES which has just had Dan Wright's Absolute Truth Mod. All interconnects, speaker wires and power cords I made using my own design and the room includes 3 ASC tube traps and other acoustical treatments and isolation treatments. Also the multi-channel input of the DV-47A is going into a Sony TA-P9000ES preamp (to apply analog volume level controls) before going into the Bryston pre-amp.

    I first listened to the disc in its entirety and then compared the 3 tracks I have on CD. On "The Weight," the guitar in the beginning as well as the piano and percussion sounded slow and recessed on the CD vs. the DVD-A. The vocals were also slightly more spread out accross the front soundstage with the DVD-A, with the lead vocal appearing a bit more to the right side of the soundstage. The midrange was smoother and the percussion and bass were more alive on the DVD-A. Similar differences were noted on "Chest Fever" and "I Shall Be Released." I could clearly hear the individual bass notes much clearer on "Chest Fever" and the percussion and bass were much cleaner as well on "I Shall Be Released."

    I then listened the Advanced Resolution Surround mix. Everyone should know up front that I probably don't like 75% of the multi-channel mixes on DVD-As or SACDs I have. Even mixes a majority of people probably like. I feel many mixes include distracting info in the rears vs. enchancing the music. I must say that EMI did a great job on the MC mix. One could clearly hear greater width and depth in each song. One could tell at some points that the rears were barely on and for my personal preference I would have toned them down perhaps a single dB. I probably won't listen to the stereo mix on this disc again (unless someone is over that wants to hear it). This is a winner from EMI.
     
  2. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    Thanks for the review Phil. My copy is supposed to be shipping from DVD Planet hopefully tomorrow (kind of defeats the purpose of preordering when a title is shipped after release date [​IMG]). I will post my feelings as well at that time though it looks like a winner.

     
  3. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Great review, Phil! [​IMG]

    I'm SACD-only at present, but titles like this one have me itchin' to go bi-hi-rez!

    I don't understand this "group" thing (or what a v1.1 spec is), but I guess it has to do with "grouping" the various soundtracks. Very disappointing that they haven't quite worked out the elimination of a video monitor, at least with all hardware, but very exciting to hear how nice the music sounds.

    I'm very tempted to pick this one up for the DTS-track alone (at least for now), but I'm not sure whether that would be an improvement over the Red Book edition.
     
  4. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Rich, players like my Pioneer Elite (the Marantz 8300 based on it and others) don't allow the switching between groups via a remote button. The mixes require a video display and an on screen menu (or if one wants to take notes on where the on-screen selections are to move the cursor via the remote for each disc). The spec noted allows me to hit the 'audio' button twice in rapid succession and that spec switches between 2 bitstreams (rather than groups). The front of my Pioneer has a diagram with what speakers are being played so one can see the stereo mix vs. the multi-channel mix. Some of the more recent discs such as "The Nightly" use that spec. It certainly makes the DVD-A selection experience much more like switching between a stereo and multi-channel SACD on a Sony player.
     
  5. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Rich, I'll try to sample some of the DTS mix this weekend. I've got 2 SACDs I have not opened, 5 Classic Records DAD due to arrive anyday, a dangerous Best Buy 10% off coupon for this weekend and of course with the modded XA-777ES back (probably gone 2 mos. from initial shipment to receipt back), I am playing the discs I bought during its absence and also other SACDs. I also want to compare the modded player vs. my PMDT/MicroMega DuoPro DAC combo for CDs once it is broken in. If better, I may wish to sell the PMDT (I love its picture though) and buy a DVD-V/DVD-A player.
     
  6. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Thanks, Phil!

    A modded XA777ES? Wow. I've planned to keep my C555ES unmodded until the warranty expires, but I don't know if I can wait 4-1/2 years! I haven't researched the best mods, but Oades Bros. suggested they could upgrade it to nearly the same level as an (unmodded) XA777ES.
     
  7. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

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  8. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    John, I don't recall exactly, but I think it was around $200 at Oade, but they aren't the only game in town, and I'd certainly do a lot of research before submitting my player for modifications. Still, Oade Bros. are an established, well-known entity, and I trust them almost implicitly... though that doesn't necessarily mean they're the best modders in the business.

    But they're certainly on my short-list!
     
  9. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    There are a variety of levels of modifications to various players. If you go to www.referenceaudiomods.com, there is a list of some cos. that do mods on the right hand side a little down the page. I bought my XA-777ES (very lightly) used locally and after living with it for about 6 mos. and the no. of SACDs accumulated I decided the player is something I could live with for quite a while, warranty or no warranty. The mod I had was very extensive, $2.6k plus shipping both ways. Many people recommend the 'Superclock' mod which is probably a small fraction of that. I have a Proceed PMDT/MicroMega DAC combo as noted in the original post, which for regular CDs is just about better than anything I've heard with rare exception for the super expensive. I will compare the units for CD playback in a couple of weeks and I'm hoping the modded player is better on regular CD, which from I have heard to date, if it is not, it is certainly close. If in fact better and I have what I can live with for SACD and CD playback, when I accumulate enough DVD-As (assuming they start getting released by Warner and EMI), I can think about a DVD-V/DVD-A player that I will feel the same way about. The performance of the modded player is amazing. After listening to The Band I threw on Oscar Peterson's "Very Tall Band Live" on SACD (stereo only) and I could not believe how good it was.
     
  10. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Sounds great. Can't wait for The Band in a hi-res format, my pick for their best album and one of the greatest rock albums of all time.
     
  11. Daniel Baseman

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    I bought the disc at Tower Records - Tuesday midnight...Agree completely with Phil's review. Compared the DVD-A version with the year 2000 remaster on CD and was thrilled at the results. Richard Manuel's vocals sound very full - esp. on I Shall Be Released, Lonesome Suzie, and In a Station. This Wheel and Kingdome Come are great mixes too. Only complaint - vocal tracks on We Can Talk are a little different than what I am used to. Overall...very happy!
    Now - on to Pet Sounds.......
     
  12. Larry Geller

    Larry Geller Supporting Actor

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    They should be shot for not including the bonus tracks, even if just stereo only (like the bonus tracks on ELV1S). Now I have to keep the CD AND the DVD-A. EMI put a stereo-only track on the Al Green DVD-A (Belle--multitracks were lost), so why not here? [​IMG]
     
  13. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Larry, you are absolutely right, at $25 list, EMI is certainly not priced for the mass market yet (neither is Sony for that matter) and if they hope to sell hi-rez to the mass market they need to jump thru more hoops.
     
  14. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

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    I picked it up and listened to the 5.1 last night. Great stuff with a nice sound & mix. The $25 is high these days for a good hi-rez. I got some revenge by plucking a Lucinda Williams 'Sweet Old World' from the $9 bin [​IMG].
     
  15. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    John, that Lucinda Williams is a great disc. If you like that genre, you will aslo like Kasey Chambers "Baricades and Brickwalls" (Lucinda appears in the credit of it) and Patti Griffin's "1000 Kisses," which is a little more folky but is extremely well recorded and is one of the ones I use to evaluate imaging and soundstaging.
     
  16. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Phil, the past year has been musically active for me and along the way picked both of those great disks up.

    Lucinda is great though... I picked up Car Wheels several months ago and have spun it many times. Definitely want more of her music on my shelf.
     

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