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The State Of Multi-Channel Audio Column (1 Viewer)

Felix Martinez

Screenwriter
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Hi Folks -

The April 2003 issue marks the debut of my regular DVD, ETC. column, "The State of Multi-Channel Audio." I plan to keep my column informal, fun, and irreverent, while at the same time taking peeks and prods into this beautiful world of hi-res multi-channel audio. While I will try to avoid the whole DVD-A vs. SACD political landscape, I will discuss the differences and benefits of each format to the end user. I'm also working on some talent interviews, which should keep things lively.

I'm pleased and honored to join the DVD, ETC. family and look forward to everyone's feedback here at the forum.

Cheers!
 

Tim Tepas

Auditioning
Joined
Feb 21, 2003
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Welcome aboard, Felix. I'm looking forward to your insightful column. Is there any way you can influence the powers that be to bring more media to market? My DVD-A and SACD collection is limited by a very poor selection of music.:confused:
 

Felix Martinez

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Welcome aboard, Felix. I'm looking forward to your insightful column. Is there any way you can influence the powers that be to bring more media to market? My DVD-A and SACD collection is limited by a very poor selection of music.
I will certainly try! I will tell you that 5.1 re-mixing and hi-res remastering has not stopped, even though it looks like releases have slowed a bit.

Couple of things causing delay:

1) There is work underway for a CD compatible layer for DVD-A. At this point, it looks like a dual sided disc is the only 100% compatible solution, but we shall see...

2) Marketing paralysis - there seems to be confusion (hopefully short-term) as to how to market hi-res, multi-channel music. Used to be that DVD-As were stocked in the DVD-V music section of certain home electronics stores, while SACDs were mixed in with the CD section. Now they're both being placed in a new DVD-A/SACD section. I'm not sure this is a good idea. It took me nearly 10 minutes to find this new section after asking several employees and walking around on my own. Traffic in that new area is lighter than the CD or DVD sections, so that's not a good sign.

I remember the few false starts before DVD-V exploded (DIVX anyone?), so I'm an optimist. Multi-channel hi-res music is one of the most exciting home entertainment experiences around. The word just needs to get out in a clear and consistent way. That DVD, ETC. has committed to have my ongoing column is a great sign and hopefully the labels will take note.

But to answer your Q - any new titles? Yes, there are some high profile releases a-comin', but it's still too early to formally announce. My buddy, Dennis Burger, over at DVDAngle has a comprehensive list of DVD-A titles in the stores and in the works (TBA)...

Link Removed

Enjoy!
 

Felix Martinez

Screenwriter
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Felix E. Martinez
Welcome to HTF, Felix. And looking forward to reading your column.
Thanks Jack - been here at HTF for a while, but I guess I've now crossed over from the virtual universe to the world of hard copy ;)

Looking forward to comments and suggestions for future columns.

Cheers!
 

Tim Tepas

Auditioning
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Feb 21, 2003
Messages
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Felix,
Your monthly multi-channel "coming soon" list will provide a great ongoing update just as Marshal's DVD-V titles. As far as separating multi-channel audio from DVDs and CDs in the stores, I'm all for it. Sure, I spent 5 mintues searching for the section at Fry's a couple months ago, but when I want the superior audio medium, I'd rather go to a dedicated section to search for a new disc than search the vast CD section for a 5.1 disc. Now if I knew what artist I was searching for every time, grouping everything together would work. Then again, young and old alike that don't yet know the difference between a CD or DVD-A and SACD would probably pick up the wrong disc and try to play it in their standard CD player.
 

ManojM

Stunt Coordinator
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Feb 13, 2002
Messages
242
Best Buy has a separate SACD section. It is annoying, though, that some of the new SACDs such as the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd discs were placed in the normal CD racks, but not in the SACD rack. Furthermore, the Rolling Stones discs aren't even marked as to which is SACD.
BB also has a separate DVD-A section, and that is usually next to their music DVD section, but I think that gets new discs even less often then the SACD section (or is that just the slow release of DVD-A titles, hmmmm....).
Tower Records has separate DVD-A, SACD, and DTS sections. The last one I was in had the DTS DVD-Audio releases filed in the DTS section because of the DTS brand name. Fortunately when I told the front desk lady she actually acted as if she knew what I was talking about. Most stores I just get pointed to the concert DVD section when I ask for DVD-Audio...

Hopefully stores can find a way to make sense of how they display them, not to mention a little training on what the heck they are...
 

Ronn.W

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 16, 2002
Messages
333
The Best Buy I was at last week actually had a DVD Audio section right next to the SACD section. Oddly enough they still had some DVD Audio in their DVD Music/Musicals section that weren't put out in the DVD Audio section. At least they're trying though.

I would really like to get into DVD Audio, but so far there aren't many compelling discs available and there aren't that many places that actually sell them (it seems, I know I'm wrong and lots of places sell them, but it seems like out of the few that are actually out there, each store has maybe 5-10 titles.) It just seems like a very barren landscape for the consumer right now.
 

Felix Martinez

Screenwriter
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Location
South Florida
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Felix E. Martinez
I would really like to get into DVD Audio, but so far there aren't many compelling discs available and there aren't that many places that actually sell them (it seems, I know I'm wrong and lots of places sell them, but it seems like out of the few that are actually out there, each store has maybe 5-10 titles.) It just seems like a very barren landscape for the consumer right now.
I feel your frustration on lack of titles at brick & mortar stores; however, there are quite a few DVD-A titles worth picking up. The best selection is still online - prices are pretty darn good too!

I can only tell you that hearing hi-res, multi-channel music is something else! As I tried to convey in my first column in April, it was just a revelatory experience. Every single person I've had sit down to sample hi-res, multi-channel music has been knocked off their feet (they're sitting, anyway!).

Just off the top of my head, here are some DVD-As that have duly impressed me, in content and sonics...

Classical & Orchestral
Stravinsky/Ravel (Firebird & Bolero) - AIX Records
Review Here

Big Band
Les Brown & His Band of Renown: Session #55 - DTS Entertainment
Review Here

Flamenco Guitar/Rock Instrumental
Steve Stevens: Flamenco A Go Go - DTS Entertainment
Review Here

Acoustic Guitar
Peppino D'Agostino: Acoustic Guitar - DTS Entertainment
Review Here

Classic Rock
America: Homecoming - Rhino
Review Here

Eagles: Hotel California
Review Here

Of course, there's Fleetwood Mac, Yes, Queen, and many others on DVD-A.

You mentioned DVD-As, but of course there are also the multi-channel SACDs - Dark Side of the Moon is probably the highest profile title at the moment, although by the packaging, you would never know it contained a hi-res, multi-channel mix. You have to read waaaay in the bottom right corner of the back of the disc that it is in fact an SACD with the 5.1 trimmings. It's also packaged in a regular CD jewel box, which just confuses things even more.

This just in re: DSOTM...

...I'm not mentioning the stores, but more than one retail outlet led me to the older DSOTM CD remaster on the CD shelves when I asked about the "new SACD of DSOTM."

I'm convinced - I'm discussing this marketing/display issue in an upcoming column...

Cheers,
 

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