View Poll Results: Rate the DVD-A of Graham Nash - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS

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  • 10: Great Sound, Great Surround Mix, Great Content

    9 29.03%
  • 9:

    10 32.26%
  • 8:

    10 32.26%
  • 7:

    2 6.45%
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    0 0%
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    0 0%
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  • 1: Poor Sound, Poor Surround Mix, Poor Content

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Thread: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

  1. #1
    Board Operator JonUrban's Avatar
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    5.1 icon Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    Graham Nash's first solo effort has finally been released in 5.1.

    Please post your thoughts and comments on this disc from Rhino/WB. :thumbsdow


    <picture>
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Board Operator JonUrban's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    All I can say is......WOW! This is NOT your fathers "Songs for Beginners". I just gave this a listen on the way home in the car, and unless I'm losing my mind, this is a new approach to this material. Similar, but different. The surround mix is very discrete and diverse. I have to digest it a bit and listen to it in the house, but this is an amazing disc on the first listen.

    It was a tough find (None at 3 Best Buys, 2 Borders, 1 CC), but worth it. More later..............
    :-jon

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    formerly known as "Eugenius"
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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    Is this the first DVD-Audio where the menus/pictures have been anamorphically sqeezed for 16:9 widescreen sets?

    Anyway... Too early for me to vote, but I like it. The mix aside, it has a very nice sound... nice mastering, I suppose it is?
    5.1 Surround Music: "Makes me ."

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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    OK... I really like this, but I can't go with a perfect 10. This is a Nathaniel Kunkel surround mix, and although I thoroughly believe he hit a home run as far as the rear channels go, I find myself disagreeing with his tendency to emphasize vocals into the center channel. It's not horrible sounding, though, since he also let's the vocals somewhat bleed over into the left/right channels. And, admittedly, the speaker placement in my setup (and the center speaker, itself) aren't exactly ideally suited for such mixes. I don't know if I can blame my negative feelings (about vocals in center channels) entirely on my speaker setup or if I just come across a dislike for it naturally. I don't think my setup is horrible, but I've never heard a real kickass system with an ideally chosen and placed center speaker for comparison. So I guess what I'm saying is that, going with my system I give it an 8. However, since I know other peoples mileage might vary, so to speak, it wouldn't surprise me if we end up seeing a lot of 10s.

    btw...

    I really really REALLY enjoyed looking at all of Nash's photographs. This DVD-Audio probably has the best selection of photographs to view out of any that I've ever seen.
    5.1 Surround Music: "Makes me ."

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    Board Operator JonUrban's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    Quote Originally Posted by Kazaam View Post
    OK... I really like this, but I can't go with a perfect 10. This is a Nathaniel Kunkel surround mix, and although I thoroughly believe he hit a home run as far as the rear channels go, I find myself disagreeing with his tendency to emphasize vocals into the center channel. It's not horrible sounding, though, since he also let's the vocals somewhat bleed over into the left/right channels. And, admittedly, the speaker placement in my setup (and the center speaker, itself) aren't exactly ideally suited for such mixes. I don't know if I can blame my negative feelings (about vocals in center channels) entirely on my speaker setup or if I just come across a dislike for it naturally. I don't think my setup is horrible, but I've never heard a real kickass system with an ideally chosen and placed center speaker for comparison. So I guess what I'm saying is that, going with my system I give it an 8. However, since I know other peoples mileage might vary, so to speak, it wouldn't surprise me if we end up seeing a lot of 10s.

    btw...

    I really really REALLY enjoyed looking at all of Nash's photographs. This DVD-Audio probably has the best selection of photographs to view out of any that I've ever seen.
    I'm not ready to do a write up yet, or vote, but the vocals in the center channel are varied throughout the disc. One some songs, the vocal is only in the center. For others, it shares the 3 fronts, others it's everywhere. Also, there is one song where the vocal is NOT in the center at all (except for a faint echo). The mix is quite diverse.

    I've also decided that the "remix" is not as much a remix as an opening up of the mix. I have put the files from the DVD-A as well as the files of the first issue CD on my HD and will do a comparison, then write up a detailed evaluation when I get a chance this weekend. Until then, I'm withholding my vote, but I can tell you that it will probably be high, although a 10 is not a sure thing. I still haven't checked out the menus or pictures.
    :-jon

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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    Quote Originally Posted by JonUrban View Post
    One some songs, the vocal is only in the center. For others, it shares the 3 fronts, others it's everywhere. Also, there is one song where the vocal is NOT in the center at all (except for a faint echo).
    I hadn't checked up close every single track, but on all the ones that I did check it was vocal mostly in the center channel with a little bit in the left/right. In the past, with similar mixes, I've tried to lower the center channel levels to help reduce the emphasis on the center, but this adjustment never could quite help enough for my satisfaction.

    Didn't realize there was one song that didn't use the center at all. Must've just been a real nice "phantom" center image, and so I didn't notice?
    5.1 Surround Music: "Makes me ."

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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    Hey, Jon... I'm giving this thing a 3rd listen and you're right. It is more diverse than I thought. Maybe my ears just need to cleaned out.

    Still not entirely loving something about the front, but it's not nearly as annoying as I was making it out to sound. Probably still an 8.
    5.1 Surround Music: "Makes me ."

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    Senior Member quadgdiaz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    hi Jon, i have a problem with the disk, it will not play on my Pioneer 563 player , and on my Toshiba will only play the 1st song, then nothing, the player gets hung up???? can't play this disk at all too bad, does someone else have any problems with this disk????? thanks Gerardo

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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    Quote Originally Posted by quadgdiaz View Post
    hi Jon, i have a problem with the disk, it will not play on my Pioneer 563 player , and on my Toshiba will only play the 1st song, then nothing, the player gets hung up???? can't play this disk at all too bad, does someone else have any problems with this disk????? thanks Gerardo
    I have the Pioneer 563 as well, but haven't bought this disk yet. I know a couple years ago I obtained a new firmware for the Pioneer and it cured all the problematic disks which now all play. If you need the firmware send me a PM with your email and I'll send it to you.

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  11. #10
    Board Operator JonUrban's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    Let me start off by saying that I am a fan of this artist and this album. I bought the LP 35 years ago when it came out and know the songs by heart. Although I have not listened to this material probably since the original CD issue came out 20 or so years ago, the songs are in my brain and it’s just that I hadn’t thought about the album in years. I was excited to hear that it was finally getting the long promised DVD- Audio treatment.

    When I finally found the thing in a store, I threw it right into the DVD-A player in the Acura and listened to the entire thing on my way home. I immediately noticed that it sounded better than ever, but different. After reading that it was indeed a new “mix” from the artist, that explained the different feel that was evident other than the obvious difference of 2 channel to 5.1 channel.

    After listening a few times, I queued up the original release CD from the dawn of the CD era and compared the tracks and mixes, and found that there really was not that much difference, other than a heavier presence of the drums and base on some of the heavier tunes. To me, that works, even if it gives those tunes a more modern feel. I like it!

    The audio on this disc is startling, especially on the quieter tunes like “Simple Man” and “Sleep Song”. You can hear detail in Graham Nash’s voice that grabs your ear and makes you go “wow”! Here’s a run down on each track, with notes about the surround mix. There is quite a diverse style of mixing between the songs.

    1) MILITARY MADNESS
    For those that know this material, you will notice with the first few bars of this song that something has changed. This is a different mix than you might have remembered, with the bass and drums given more presence. The guitars sound clearer and more defined than you may have recalled, and there is a bit more punch to the mix. Now the purists may immediately go berserk and that’s fine. They can still play their LPs! The 5.1 mix of Military Madness is not spectacular, but it does give you the ability to hear details that just cannot be heard in the stereo version on the original issue Atlantic CD. The surround mix for this album was done by Nathaniel Kunkle and fits the material perfectly (IMHO). The lead vocal, while based in the center channel, is also heard in the 4 corners at a reduced level, which makes it easier to hear by a listener who may not be centered in the listening area. Even though the vocal is “everywhere”, it still sounds like it’s coming from the center speaker. Only when you listen to each track can you tell it’s everywhere. On this particular track, the background vocals are also heard in all 4 corners, giving it almost a “super-stereo” treatment as opposed to just having them in the rears (which is done to other tracks on the disc).

    2) BETTER DAYS
    This is the first song that really knocks you out with the HiRez presentation. The song begins with Graham’s solo vocal over Neil Young’s piano and the listener gets to really hear the quality and distinctiveness of Graham Nash’s voice. Using the old cliché, “He’s in the room with you!” Looking at the wav files, the vocal is in the fronts, not the center for the intro. It’s an interesting choice that works great. When the meat of the song begins, the full punch of the 5.1 mix pounds the listener as the bass and drums are brought to the forefront when compared to the original stereo CD. During the next section of the tune, the lead vocal originates in the center speaker, but is also clear and strong in the 4 corners. After the piano break the song returns with a vocal background chorus of Rita Coolidge and Graham Nash, which is sent to all four corners – however at this point the lead vocal is totally removed from the rears. Again, a very cool decision!

    3) WOUNDED BIRD
    For all practical purposes this song, written for Steven Stills regarding his break up with Judy Collins, is mono!! Well, not quite, it’s just a man and a guitar, but the sound is so full and immersive that you get a “big room” feel. There is no LFE whatsoever as the vocal and guitar are audible in all 5 channels – presented in an ambient type mix. When the harmonies come in, they appear in all of the 4 corners which adds to the cathedral effect. A perfect mix for this type of tune.

    4) I USED TO BE A KING
    This is one of the signature songs of this album and it does not disappoint. The 5.1 mix begins with a bit of studio chatter not on the original CD, and unlike the original CD, when the music starts it really hits you over the head with a bang. This one has a very unconventional surround mix (to me anyway). The center channel contains primarily the slap bass guitar! There is some vocal and percussion bleed into it, but the main attraction is Phil Lesh’s bass playing. It’s very cool to listen to the center solo to hear the action on the bass! Jerry Garcia’s Steel Guitar is in the rears and can be heard clearly and distinctly while Neil Young on piano is in the left channels. As with many of these songs, this new mix brings the drums forward in the presentation. When you hear this on a really good system, you almost get the “in the room with the musicians” effect, as the surround mix literally bombards you from all around the room, but in a total non-gimmicky way. If you know the tune, you’ll probably smile the first time you hear it in 5.1

    5) BE YOURSELF
    If there is a folk-anthem on this album this is it – including the requisite “sing along” chorus. The 5.1 mix starts out pretty much as the original CD does with guitar and vocals in all of the channels. Once the LFE kicks in for the second verse, the two part ways just a bit. The song does not lend itself to a spectacular mix because of its folksy feel, but the chorus that builds up to a crescendo at the end fills the room from the four corner speakers while Graham’s solo lead still dominates in the center instead of it getting lost in the old stereo mix. Sounds like it could have been recorded in a pub!

    6) SIMPLE MAN
    Written just after his breakup with Joni Mitchell this song starts out “simply” with piano and voice. On this track, the center is solo lead vocal for the first minute of the song until David Lindley’s fiddle joins him there. The vocal also bleeds to the other channels, but not very much. It appears there is no LFE on this track, probably because there is no bass! Background harmonies are in the rears, and in the 5.1 mix you can clearly hear that it’s Rita Coolidge singing with him whereas on the original stereo CD you can hear a voice but it’s very difficult to tell who it might be. This song is another delight to hear on a high quality system, as the audio is pristine.

    7) MAN IN THE MIRROR
    The first thing I noticed in comparing this new 5.1 track with that of the original CD issue is that the false start on the CD is not on the DVD-A track! Oh well, I guess you can’t have everything! This tune has an old fashioned country sound to it, exemplified by Jerry Garcia’s pedal steel guitar planted mostly in the rear right. The piano on this one is again played by Neil Young (credited as Joe Yankee)! The surround mix follows pattern, with the lead vocal all around but solo’d in the center with the drums. Harmony vocals in the rear fill out the tune. This is probably the weakest tune on the album.

    8) THERE’S ONLY ONE
    This song starts with the “feel” of a classic Neil Young tune. A driving descending piano, base and drum riff brings the listener into the song with that “turn it up” sound. On the original stereo CD they seem all massed together, almost like a “wall of sound” deal, but when the 5.1 HiRez tracks begin the vibe is totally different, much more powerful and Neil-like! You can’t help but feeling the beat as the intro cascades into the first vocal verse. The 5.1 mix on this one is VERY discrete (See jpg at the end of this post). The lead vocal is spread across the front speakers, again almost solo in the center, but totally absent from the rears. The piano is in both rights, the base in the lefts, and the drums again spread across the fronts. These are not exclusive assignments, just their primary positions. The sax solo patterns the lead vocal assignments, in all 5 channels but focused in the center. When comparing this track in 5.1 with the original stereo CD, once again the listener gets to hear the lead vocal removed from the masses, as the background vocals have been sent to the rears. Unlike some of the “quieter” tunes on the album, this one has a heavy tone to it, and was Graham’s message to his peers that everyone is the same, be they a rock star with a heated pool or the man on the street. Good tune!

    9) SLEEP SONG

    On the original CD, the solo acoustic guitar starts the tune in the right channel. For the 5.1 mix, it’s now solo in the left front channel, with a bit of an ambience in the rear left. Graham’s vocal is once again in all 5 channels, with the center having the most presence. The guitar ambience can be heard there as well as in the other 3 channels where it helps to give the sound space. A nice effect is when the choral vocal tracks come in, they are not just in the rears, but discretely spread around the 4 supporting channels, while Graham stays solo in the center. The cello is clear as a bell in the rears. It sounds to me like it’s double tracked, on part in the left rear, another part in the right rear. This song, written about Graham’s first wife Rose, is a simple beautiful song with very visual lyrics and the surround mix compliments it’s style and feeling.

    10/11) CHICAGO – WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD
    I’ll start off by saying that this is a quality demo track for surround sound. You can crank it up and it will “impress your friends”. Most will know the tune, and the 5.1 mix really rocks. Right from the start, where the “new” drums march across the sound field and you can actually hear the acoustic guitar being strummed to the beat of the intro (which you cannot even hear in the original CD mix) this track starts off with quite a punch. The lead vocal is spread around all 5 main channels, although it’s almost isolated if you solo the center (You can also hear the drum track in there with him). The organ is primarily in the front left, the acoustic guitar is in the lefts, potted more towards the rear left. The background singers including Rita Coolidge, Valerie Fields and others are spread across the “stereo back” and fill the room with a nice cathedral feel on the chorus and in the trailing “We Can Change the World”. In between the songs, the studio talk that you could barely hear among these background vocalists on the original CD is clear and sharp and in the rears where it sounds totally natural. Graham again appears front-centric when he comes in for the final few lines. When going back to the CD, it’s clear that the background singers almost drown out Graham’s lead during the chorus, while in the 5.1 mix because they are separated, Graham is clear and distinct, almost giving the impression that you’re listening to a newer recording. This is a terrific example of how a 5.1 mix of a classic tune can give the listener more of what the artist had in mind, but due to the original limitation of only having two channels to work with might not have been able to achieve. Since the original artist had control over this project, the so called “purists” have nothing to bitch about and can bask with their 35 year old vinyl copies as long as they like.

    The DVD-A itself has beautiful, fluid and animated 16x9 menus that can be accessed while the songs are playing. Lyrics are provided for each song, as well as photos from the Graham Nash collection that can be viewed while the song plays, or in a gallery section in the ‘extras’. There is also an interview of Graham that appears to have been done when he released his book of photography, as he only talks of photography, not the album or the songs.

    I have to rate this a 10, because the surround mix is perfect, the audio quality, even at 24/48, is perfect as well, and the material I happen to like a lot. The sad part about this release is that there are not more coming. With the great job done on this title along with David Crosby’s IICORMN, it’s a shame we were deprived of the announced DVD-A’s of “Crosby Stills & Nash” and “Déjà vu”. Sad indeed.

    At least we have this disc to enjoy. Thanks to the artist for insuring that it got into our hands.


    GRAPHIC BELOW is of the track "There's Only One". Top wav file is the stereo track on the ORIGINAL CD (not the reissue)
    The lower 5.1 wav file is from the 24/48 5.1 track.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    :-jon

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  13. #11
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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    Quote Originally Posted by quadgdiaz View Post
    hi Jon, i have a problem with the disk, it will not play on my Pioneer 563 player , and on my Toshiba will only play the 1st song, then nothing, the player gets hung up???? can't play this disk at all too bad, does someone else have any problems with this disk????? thanks Gerardo
    Gerado,

    I'll check it out on my 563. It plays fine in the car and in the 3910.
    :-jon

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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    Quote Originally Posted by JonUrban View Post
    Gerado,

    I'll check it out on my 563. It plays fine in the car and in the 3910.
    My Pioneer 563 plays it just fine

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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    Quote Originally Posted by Kazaam View Post
    Is this the first DVD-Audio where the menus/pictures have been anamorphically sqeezed for 16:9 widescreen sets?
    I think so. It looks great on my Plasma Pioneer. Very clear, almost HD-Like.
    :-jon

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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    I think Jon’s review in Post #10 really nails it (Nice detail!) This album’s always been special for me, having been among my first box of 8-tracks my brother gave me when he left for college. As such, I’d been waiting patiently as rumors of this one circulated for quite some time. What a pleasure to finally have it, and have it done so well.
    Barry from San Diego

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    Thumbs up Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    i received this on saturday, from Amazon.co.uk so its now available in the UK. pretty impressed with teh Music on teh first run through. i dont know much of Graham Nashs music baring whats available on DVDA (Songs for Survivors and Another Stoney Evening) already, but like what i hear and hope there are more releases like it.

    Ill give my score after a couple more listens.
    Cheers Fletch

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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    I voted a solid 8, very, very good and a pleasure to see another WB release in DVD-A. If this trend continues will we see Steven Stills first solo album next? Good previous comment on the 8 track.....I installed my own cheesey player in my first car back in '75 and one of the first tapes I had was Crosby & Nash's Wind On The Water...that one got a lot of play but I don't think I've heard it since! I was unfamiliar with this LP but know just about all his other recordings...(check out the mid-late 60's Hollies for good & some interesting stuff-fine vocals and underrated guitar from Tony Hicks)
    Wrong thread, but "Blows Against The Empire" (same era), that could be spactacular in 5.1 John S. Aahh, the wish list keeps growing......

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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    This one is tough for me..I prefer the original mix...yes the dvda remix has made it very clear....but it's sort of like what happened when they did "dark side of the moon" on 5.1 sacd.... the mix annoys me...I personally don't like the acoustic guitar on chicago, it wasn't mixed in at all on the original...I'm used to the original version of just organ , drums and bass..
    the remix makes me feel like he's re-recorded new parts.
    ..there seems to be new added reverb on the drums that wasn't there to start with..it makes them sound modern...his vocal takes are different in spots too (but that's not the first 5.1 release to do that...not to mention the many quad release that did that)...

    the count in for "military madness" is missing...as is some of the talk (believe it or not) between the end of "chicago" and we can save the world..even though he doen't completely fade out "chicago" this time around(which was only a little bit ,split second quick fade, then up again on the original anyway)

    when Elton John's sacd's came out , yes they were clearer too, but the sacd 5.1 still sounded like the performance was the same as the early 1970's lp's ....The sacd of "tumbleweed connection" sounded like the original, but with superior audio quality and a great surround mix as well.

    This one doesn't do that, you get a completely different version of the lp remixed in 5.1dvda and in the stereo cd..and I have a feeling that there is some compression here , especially on the cd only disc....
    The Elton John sacd's made me quite comfortable to play in preference to playing some of the old Elton John cd's and lp's again...this dvda makes me glad I kept the original lp and cd.
    Yes I will play the dvda in surround again but only because the original wasn't a quad release....but for 2 channel it's the original cd or lp for me.

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    formerly known as "Eugenius"
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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    Quote Originally Posted by ChristopherLees View Post
    ...I personally don't like the acoustic guitar on chicago, it wasn't mixed in at all on the original...I'm used to the original version of just organ , drums and bass.................
    Yes I will play the dvda in surround again but only because the original wasn't a quad release....but for 2 channel it's the original cd or lp for me.
    So the original didn't have the guitar? Very interesting. I've listened to the CD that came with the DVD-A and the strumming sounds very naturally placed to me, like it would be naked without it. But if that's not the way it was originally, I guess I can understand some disappointment.

    Anyway... I'm really digging this album. Despite my earlier reservations, I'd probably make this my favorite surround DVD-A of 2008. OK, that's not saying much given the small number of new releases this past year, and yeah PT stuff is awesome, as always, but I'm really just more into the Nash DVD-A right now.
    5.1 Surround Music: "Makes me ."

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    300 Club - QQ All Star Felix E. Martinez's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    Really liked this one. The only nit I have to pick, which is confirmed by the pic of the audio tracks posted above, is that it has been smashed a bit too much with limiting/compression - especially for such a gentle, low-key album. A wee bit more headroom, and it would have been perfect!

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    Masters of Fine Listening rtbluray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    This is a great disc, but I don't like the drum sound on this one. Too "modern" for such a classic 70s album.

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    Member CPR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    I'm giving it a (7)
    Upon reflection, the 5.1 mix is fine; songs, ditto
    Problem is, the music is somewhat forgettable
    Good for a listen, every six-twelve months, for nostalgia
    If I gave it a higher number, it would be a "keeper"; (repeat plays, etc.)
    Not exactly, Gaucho, GBYBR, Brothers in Arms, Love, etc.
    Thoughts?

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    Senior Member watsontr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    In my opinion, probably my favourite surround release ever. This one I play even more than Lilium. Beautifully clear and clean. It sounds like a very modern recording to me. I am totally biased of course as it is an all time favourite. I did have the single of Military Madness before the LP and still love it. If only some of my other favourite albums could have new life breathed into them such as this surround version, I'd be content for at least a little while

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    Default Re: Nash, Graham - SONGS FOR BEGINNERS [DVD-A]

    Unlike most people posting here, I didn’t know this album until I got this DVD-A, but I love it.

    Great mix, great sound. It’s fairly simple instrumentation at times, and the music is generally very mellow - this is a good ‘late night’ disc. So there’s nothing showy in the mix, but the rears are still well used.

    I also like the extras – there are dozens of Nash’s photos and a documentary about his photography. Overall, not flashy, but a tastefully made disc which will delight fans of the music, and maybe convert others.

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