Best DVD-A 5.1 Demo Disc/Track

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by fast'n'bulbous, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. fast'n'bulbous

    fast'n'bulbous Forum Resident Thread Starter

    New York, NY
    I have spent the entire weekend immersed in 5.1 after buying a modest sound card and playing the King Crimson and Jethro Tull discs I own but have never heard. I'm blown away -- why didn't I do this years ago??

    I know there are lists of good 5.1 mixes, but what's the single best disc or track to put on to impress visitors? It should be immediately impressive, not subtle -- even though I like subtle myself, this is for a quick demo. So far I think it's something from King Crimson's Discipline, probably the title track or Frame by Frame.

    Suggestions? Thanks in advance.
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  2. jl151080

    jl151080 Forum Resident

    Bristol, UK
    Queen - A Night At The Opera (particularly Bohemian Rhapsody)
    Scotian, Dennis Metz, Bossfan and 4 others like this.
  3. kd4das

    kd4das Forum Resident

    "Babylon Sisters" from Steely Dan's "Gaucho." Jaw-dropping, yet tasteful.
  4. SirMarc

    SirMarc Forum Resident

    Paper Tiger or Lonesome Tears from Beck Sea Change
  5. DonnyMe

    DonnyMe Forum Resident

    NW Indiana
    Beatles Love DVD-A has a few stand out tracks.
  6. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    Best sounding track I've ever heard on DVD-Audio was kind of a shocker - Billy Idol's "Eyes Without A Face" off of this CD:

    They mixed his vocal almost exclusively to the center channel and stripped it of most reverb and other effects. Since it appears to have been exceptionally well-recorded to begin with, expertly close-mic'd, the result is hyper-realistic - it sounds like Idol has materialized in your living room. The first time I listened to this disc I was tired and had plopped down in the sofa in front of the stereo and was dozing off - I awoke with a fright because I thought some nut had broken into my home and was imitating Billy Idol!

    Other well-executed remixes on this one include Blondie's "One Way Or Another", with far more visceral but still realistic bass, The Knack's "My Sharona" which also sports improved bass and more depth to the soundfield, a delightfully layered and punchy mix of "She's A Beauty" from The Tubes, and a smooth-as-glass rendition of Blondie's "Call Me". Some of the more extreme remixes though aren't nearly as successful, including a truly disappointing reworking of Missing Persons's "Destination Unknown", and mixes of The Motels "So L.A.", General Public's "Tenderness" and Wall Of Voodoo's "Mexican Radio" that don't add all that much to the existing CD versions (although they do all still sound punchier with superior, more natural bass and somewhat more soundstage).

    Steely Dan's Gaucho would be my other pick as a multichannel demo disk - the whole thing is stunning. Although I have it on SACD, my understanding is the DVD-Audio is essentially identical.
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  7. Tristero

    Tristero Forum Resident

    Only if you can find the rare original DVD-A. Sadly, the later, more common DVD has lossy sound and it's compressed all to hell. :mad:

    You can't go wrong with most of the Steven Wilson packages, including Yes, Gentle Giant and XTC in addition to the bands already mentioned. Additionally, some of the better Pink Floyd Quad/5.1 mixes are excellent, including Atom Heart Mother and Dark Side. Though it's not my favorite Steely Dan album, Gaucho does indeed sound excellent, audiophile grade, as does Roxy Music's Avalon. Also, Zappa's Quaudiophiliac is a treat if you can find it.
    Bossfan likes this.
  8. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    Forgot to mention, there are other discs in that Inside The Music series. The Women On Top disc also has quite a few demo-quality tracks. Blondie appears again with "Heart Of Glass" which sounds amazing when you consider how awful the original LPs and CDs all sounded (the early 2000 remasters were similarly improved - I wonder if whoever did that project was involved here, or if one emulated the others' re-equalization efforts, because both sound amazing in comparison to earlier editions).

    There are also great renditions of "Walking On Sunshine" by Katrina & The Waves, Pat Benatar's "We Belong", Kim Carnes with "Bette Davis Eyes" and although I'm not a huge fan, Wilson Phillips sound stunning with "Hold On". Maybe the biggest surprise is Juice Newton's "Queen Of Hearts", which always sounded a bit muddled to me in the past, even if it had a nice tonality. Here it's layered and transparent and punchy, with great natural bass and astounding clarity. Missing Persons again get an odd remix with "Words", which is unfortunate because the LP and CD versions of this track already sounded great and a similar mix true to the original could have been stunning. The Motels "Only The Lonely" doesn't really best the available versions on CD, Vixen's "Cryin'" wasn't worth the effort, and while I love "Nutbush City Limits", it still sounds a bit thin here in its multichannel incarnation, although the harshness of the original versions I've had is muted and Turner does leap from the mix nicely. I'd actually like to see more older material treated to the same kind of multichannel remixes, but that doesn't seem likely to happen given the generally muted response to multichannel audio (although perhaps broader adoption of Dolby Atmos could change all that - I noticed REM's Automatic For The People has been released on Atmos so maybe Dolby will finally start pushing multichannel music).
    impalaboy likes this.
  9. yasujiro

    yasujiro Forum Resident

    John williams A.I. soundtrack
  10. jl151080

    jl151080 Forum Resident

    Bristol, UK
    My understanding is that it is the steep mix that is compressed rather than the 5.1 mix (which is now also on Blu Ray).
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
  11. lv70smusic

    lv70smusic Senior Member

    San Francisco, CA
    I am not sure why this series got so much trashing online. I'm not sure that I've ever read anyone post positive comments about these discs before and wondered why I seemed to be the only one who thought some of the tracks on these discs sounded great. Even though a good chunk of the tracks aren't of interest to me, this series had enough highlights that I gladly bought all of them. As you wrote in your first post, that Billy Idol mix really accentuates his voice and sounds great.

    For fans of soul/r&b, I'd also recommend the Al Green's Greatest Hits dvd-audio disc.
    sunspot42 likes this.
  12. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    Yeah, I'm not sure why the Inside The Music series gets trashed, either. It's hit-and-miss, but generally all of the tracks at least sound really good - as good as any existing version if not dramatically better. And when it works - like on that Billy Idol mix of all things - it really, really works.

    I have the Al Green Greatest Hits DVD-Audio - they must have pressed a lot of those. It's alright. If you don't expect miracles you'll be pleasantly surprised. I think it sounds better than the CD, that's for sure.
    Juggsnelson likes this.
  13. Scooter59

    Scooter59 Forum Resident

    North Shore, MA
    I've got quite a few 5.1 mixes, but it's the DVD for Super Furry Animals' Rings Around the World that always sticks out as being "surround wow".

    Flaming Lips have a couple great 5.1 mixes as well.
    Bossfan likes this.
  14. marcb

    marcb Senior Member

    DC area
    I have hundreds of 5.1 discs and IMO the Bohemian Rhapsody 5.1 mix is okay but I wouldn’t remotely call it “the best DVD-A demo track”. The same with some of those mentioned so far in this thread.

    Also when one refers to the “rare original” DVD-A, be aware that not only was there a later DVD with lossy sound, but there were TWO DVD-A’s - one with the original Elliott Scheiner 5.1 mix and the other with Brian Mays’ fixed version of the Scheiner 5.1 mix because May apparently wasn’t entirely pleased with the Scheiner mix. They can be differentiated by different copyright dates listed on the covers - as well as some other differing characteristics.

    I agree that the Steven Wilson 5.1 mixes are a great place to start - particularly the XTC discs. Those 5.1 mixes are just superb. Also not mentioned so far, but in the same league as Wilson’s mixes IMO, are Jerry Harrison’s Talking Heads 5.1 mixes. Again, superb.

    As someone else mentioned, The Beatles’ Love DVD-A 5.1 is very good - if the whole mash-up thing works for you. Much better than the Pepper 5.1 mix. Fortunately there are extended moments on Love that are just the song without the flown-in elements from other songs.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
  15. The Hud

    The Hud Tougher Than Leather

    Queen "The Game" DVD-A, especially Dragon Attack and Another One Bites the Dust
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  16. Paul Saldana

    Paul Saldana jazz vinyl addict

    SE USA
    Aren't discs on this label simply extracted from the original stereo, and not dedicated remixes?
  17. lv70smusic

    lv70smusic Senior Member

    San Francisco, CA
    Some of Silverline's discs were, in fact, fake surround. This series was not.
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  18. cdash99

    cdash99 Forum Resident

    Two DVD-A’s: ELP’s Brain Salad Surgery; Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots.
    Bossfan likes this.
  19. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek Please label the photos you post

    Austin, TX
    I'll second The Flaming Lips if you want something that's straight up bonkers. I think Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots has a track where the entire drum set is placed in one speaker at a time and revolves around the room moving from speaker to speaker.
    Stencil likes this.
  20. raimiz1991inc

    raimiz1991inc Forum Resident

    La Paz, Bolivia
    Talking Heads - 77 or Remain in Light
  21. omnisonic

    omnisonic Forum Resident

    Portland, Oregon
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  22. gd0

    gd0 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies

    Golden Gate
    I love the King Crimson DVD-As, but they might scare your guests. :laugh:


    Flaming Lips - any
    Talking Heads - any
    Todd Rundgren - Liars
    Björk - Vespertine

    If SACD is an option:

    Beck - Sea Change
    Al Di Meola - Flesh On Flesh
    Tomita - any
    Billy Cobham - Spectrum (AF)
    Jeff Beck - any of the AFs or Japan imports, except Wired*

    *Wired has an inexplicably weird surround mix, but the stereo layer is spectacular.
    TeleCaster and jlf like this.
  23. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    Nope, they're pretty clearly dedicated multichannel mixes, and a few of them are radically different from the stereo mixes.
  24. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    Ya know, somebody should start a thread called, "post the same surround records you already have in the last 200 threads we've done like these".
  25. MichaelCPE

    MichaelCPE Forum Resident

    It's easy to find lists of surround recordings that are very good, but the best way to impress a visitor is always to play some music that they enjoy.

    A 7/10 surround mix with music they like will impress them much more than a 10/10 disc of music that isn't their favourite.

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