DVD/DTS Poll Bowie, David - The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust (DTS/Dolby)

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Rate the Audio-DVD of David Bowie - THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST


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rtbluray

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how is the DVD packaged within the vinyl?
Is it part of the vinyl slipcase like the Aqualung packaging?
 

fredblue

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how is the DVD packaged within the vinyl?
Is it part of the vinyl slipcase like the Aqualung packaging?
I'm not entirely sure because i've not been able to buy a copy in-store anywhere yet (GRR..!!) but from the images i've found of this set online, the DVD comes in a little cardboard wallet (with the top image in Bob Romano's post of the Ziggy album logotype on a black background as the front cover) which slips inside the gatefold LP sleeve itself.
 

neil wilkes

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Here we go, then.

First up - presentation.
The DVD (as we know) is only available with the 200g vinyl, and is in a slipcase inserted into a slot in the right inner part of the gatefold sleeve so quite well protected.
The authoring is also (to my mind) sloppy. There is no way to actually pick a specific track off the main album, be it the 2012 remaster or the 2003 surround/stereo mixes. You get options to play album or revert to main menu so if you want to dive in & start on Side 2, you have to go from "Five Years" and skip through manually. Poor.
There is, however, a song list for the 4 bonus tracks - but when these finish playing the menu reverts to the playlist with the final track highlighted - that is plain lazy.
The whole visual look of the DVD is also lazy & unimaginative using the same stills for everything.

Content.
Surround mixes.
Frankly, what was the point? If it was Ken Scott who mixed this then he simply failed to understand surround. The centre channel (where used) is so low in level it is swamped & obscured by the slammed left/right channels, and I will not even bother to discuss the main surround mix at all - it is identical to the terrible SACD - except to say that it's a shame we get a pitiful half-bitrate DTS stream and, er, Dolby Digital. Should have dumped the Dobly & used full bitrate instead.
The Bonus tracks are likewise oly half bitrate with slammed 24/48 stereo versions - virtually no transients have survived unclipped/limited and it sounds like it too, as there is simply no headroom at all for the thing to breathe. "The Supermen" is essentially Quad, with almost no action in Centre channel at all Rear channels are panned lead vocal (mirroring the fronts) with some guitars & a lot of reverb. The instrumental of "Moonage Daydream" also has panned guitars - sounds like a reverb return in most places, but certainly nothing is fed exclusively to the rears at all. Velvet Goldmine hascentre channel content (shock horror) with extremely quiet vocal (dry) and an almost inaudible bass guitar - even soloed. The final track, Sweet Head, also has just vocal in centre with a tiny bit of acoustic & (again) almost inaudible bass & a kick drum that sounds like an 808.
The barf-making part to it all is that almost despite Scott's awful attempt at surround you can hear the quality fighting to get out - this album was well recorded.
Just badly mixed for surround, so you have to question the policy of using the original stereo mixers to do the 5.1, when they obviously just do not get it. If this had been done by Steven Wilson we would be looking at something special, but as it is we have a very mediocre mix. It's better than Harry Malin's (again the original mixer) dreadful 5.1 of Station to Station - but having said that most things are better than that turkey.

Stereo mixes.
The 2003 stereos are the same as the SACD again i 24/48 LPCM, and slammed. Nuff Said.
The much-touted 2012 analogue remaster (claiming to have no digital processing on it at all) seems also very heavily compressed and the levels have been booted right up to leave no headroom whatsoever. See attached screenshot which compares this version to the original flat analogue transfer without any processing.....the peak amplitude is up to -0.14dB, so either Ray Staff has found a way to compress things so hard they do not actually clip (I shudder to think of the ratios used) or else there was a limiter in line, and I had not previously heard of analogue limiters before. However, analysis tools will not tell you what it actually sounds like so let's move on to that.
It says on the sleeve "to be played at maximum volume" but if you did, you would be sorry as it is nowhere near as good as it should be. It's definitely thin sounding to me, and I suspect this is because of the pathetic attempt to makethe High Resolution digital sound like the vinyl. Madness. It's harsher, and not nearly as pleasant to listen to & if you do crank the volume it does start to get painful - I have a far, far superior version to this that goes to show what this release could have (and should have) been like.

Total?
A very generous 7/10 from me.
Ziggy Stereo 2012-1972.jpg
Ziggy Surround-stereo 2003.jpg
 

DKA

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I'll bet we have about 10 members who can do a better job at production in MC! That sucks I really wanted some DB in MC!
This was actually one of my favorite jobs ever from stereo. It absolutely can be done. Complete and utter idiotic failure from the supposed pros. It's a wonder people trust them to produce anything of note in 5.1 after listening to drivel like this and "Station to Station."
 

fredblue

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I finally grabbed a copy of this yesterday in a tiny independent record store while having a day out in Brighton.

£19.99 so not too steep but I should have got it on Amazon at the pre-order price after all (which I stupidly cancelled when I found out it was DTS!).

I asked the guy in the store if they'd done brisk business on this LP/DVD and he said they'd sold 6 copies since Monday.
He said he was surprised it had sold that well, as it was an album he felt everybody owned at least one copy of already and that it really had hardly anything new on it!

Sad that such crap sells. I literally only got it just to have it. Which is a bit sad in itself.. but when you're an anally-retentive completist... Sigh! :D
 

neil wilkes

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I finally grabbed a copy of this yesterday in a tiny independent record store while having a day out in Brighton.

£19.99 so not too steep but I should have got it on Amazon at the pre-order price after all (which I stupidly cancelled when I found out it was DTS!).

I asked the guy in the store if they'd done brisk business on this LP/DVD and he said they'd sold 6 copies since Monday.
He said he was surprised it had sold that well, as it was an album he felt everybody owned at least one copy of already and that it really had hardly anything new on it!

Sad that such crap sells. I literally only got it just to have it. Which is a bit sad in itself.. but when you're an anally-retentive completist... Sigh! :D
It's not surprising to me they are shifting vinyl as it is the only way you can get the DVD, and the DVD is the only way to get those extra tracks & the 2012 version in 24/96 resolution.
The stereo remaster is not too bad - it's really hard to explain why I don't much like it except to say I think it should have been a lot better than it is, and that they should never have made it sound like the original vinyl version except for the vinyl included - this modern fad of using one master for all formats is one of the main reasons sales are down to my mind, as there should be different masters depending on the media chosen. After all, thedefinition of mastering always USED to be "the art & science of preparing a mix for it's intended release format" and not trying to mimic a 40 year old pressing. Sure, mimic this for the record but for the love of all the gods let's have a better digital version with some freaking HEADROOM.

However, it is the surround mixes that bother me most of all. They're not as bad as STS but it is plain to me that Ken Scott cannot mix in 5.1 as he does not understand it. Leevitalone1 pointed out above there are members here who could do a much better job (Steven Wilson comes immediately to mind as an ideal choice) and the main reason this is the case is because they understand surround. With most of it, the phrase "big stereo" again comes to mind - although again nowhere near as bad as STS - as I am hearing things that are simply expanded from L-R into L/LS-R/Rs with a mere hint of discreteness in the centre channel. Without wishing to bang on about this too much and get boring, my Partner said that she can clearly hear whoever mixed this does not get what surround is all about and she is not a fan of DB (probably hears far too much of it here). It's just plain bland for one thing and the lack of proper centre channel use lets the imaging drift at times. Scott has tried to compensate for the unstable imaging by panning L-R content to the rears in places so that you get the same stuff in rears as in the fronts, minus rhythm instruments, but that is not surround mixing really.
I think this is getting to the point where it needs a thread in one of the more tecchy sections as there are things I want to say that do not belong in the reviews page.
 

fredblue

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first impressions on one listen through yesterday.. and the way I'm feeling thats about all I'm going to give this. one listen.

the new stereo remastering is brighter than i'd imagine yet still a bit dull. its lacking that magical "energy" of the original, somehow.

all the time i was listening to it, i kept longing for the same sound as on my old LP. even my old 8 track of it has a more engaging sound despite all that formats' shortcomings! where's the bass energy!? where's the treble energy!? where's the f***ing ENERGY full stop!?!? its like all the spirit has been sucked out of the performances listening to the new stereo of this.

i have no idea what so many other people are hearing that I'm missing but i bet this sounds NOTHING like the tapes, which a bona fide remaster should!

this doesn't even have the warmth and power of the old LP for goodness' sake, let alone the original recordings which i imagine sound great!! unless they're now in poor shape and this is the best that can be got out of them?!?

also, despite all the hoopla about this new remaster being created in an all-analogue chain, the end result still has a slightly cold digital edge to it, which i find even more disappointing.

most of all though, what i can't forgive about this new stereo, is that even when i whacked it up (maximum volume! oh yeah..) it still sounded whimpy
and lifeless. huh??

now i realise this is QQ and its the surround thats most important, so I apologise for ranting on about the new stereo.. but for me once i discovered the 5.1 was to be unchanged, the stereo and extras took priority, so they will have to influence my score here.

as for the 5.1 its just the same old stuff as the old SACD, only now in inferior sound quality. this should have been 24/96 DTS at the very least, better still a DVDA in Adv.res, though a bit fruitless wasting it on this mix.

oh and the extras in 5.1 are a joke mix wise, plus the instrumental of moonage daydream is so brittle and harsh-sounding, lacking any warmth. the only extra with any decent sonics in 5.1 was the last one, Sweet Head, where the studio chatter and mix suited the track and the fidelity was the best of any of the tracks on this set.

the packaging is ok but the quality of the artwork and especially the photos in the inner gatefold are of such atrociously low quality. authentic to the UK vinyl perhaps where the pics were never up to much but the US LP is by all accounts much nicer. the front cover artwork also looks too pale and washed out compared to the original. these of course are minor quibbles but on such an important albums' re-release.. unforgivable.

why not replicate the finest-looking version, in fact, why not improve on the best version out there by making the definitive version?

rather than, just like the sound on the new stereo remaster (and just like them lazily re-hashing the old 5.1 SACD in worse quality) replicate the bloody old vinyl!? make it better-sounding than any other Ziggy or don't bother.

this set is an inauthentic replica at best.. a half-arsed effort and a cash-in at worst. for one of the most important rock albums of all-time, it should have been a 40th anniversary triumph.

this is one of the many things i've always loved about the DVDAs and SACDs with multichannel remixes of old stereo classics. new spins on old stuff you'd heard loads of times, where you felt more often than not the people working on them weren't afraid to stick their necks out and do something daring, exciting and inventive that really works in surround sound, whilst trying to stay faithful to the original stereo we all know so well.

if only this set had been like that.. to date, the only Bowie classic album that has anywhere near approached this was the Young Americans DTS DVDV. it wasn't perfect by any means but the 5.1 mix was effective and at times ambitious, the sound was ballsy and not lacking in bass oomph and high-res detail like an old LP.. and yet it was still sympathetic to the original stereo. it worked.

I've never heard Harry Maslin's STS 5.1 but i hear it on good authority its awful, while the stereo in the box set is possibly the best it has ever sounded, outside of the studio and the original tapes, i'd imagine... whereas this Ziggy 5.1 and set itself is just a bit of a waste of everyones' time and effort all-round.

such incredible classic material as this deserves much, much better treatment.

therefore i can only give this an equally half-hearted 5.
 

Bleedink

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first impressions on one listen through yesterday.. and the way I'm feeling thats about all I'm going to give this. one listen.

the new stereo remastering is brighter than i'd imagine yet still a bit dull. its lacking that magical "energy" of the original, somehow.

all the time i was listening to it, i kept longing for the same sound as on my old LP. even my old 8 track of it has a more engaging sound despite all that formats' shortcomings! where's the bass energy!? where's the treble energy!? where's the f***ing ENERGY full stop!?!? its like all the spirit has been sucked out of the performances listening to the new stereo of this.

i have no idea what so many other people are hearing that I'm missing but i bet this sounds NOTHING like the tapes, which a bona fide remaster should!

this doesn't even have the warmth and power of the old LP for goodness' sake, let alone the original recordings which i imagine sound great!! unless they're now in poor shape and this is the best that can be got out of them?!?

also, despite all the hoopla about this new remaster being created in an all-analogue chain, the end result still has a slightly cold digital edge to it, which i find even more disappointing.

most of all though, what i can't forgive about this new stereo, is that even when i whacked it up (maximum volume! oh yeah..) it still sounded whimpy
and lifeless. huh??

now i realise this is QQ and its the surround thats most important, so I apologise for ranting on about the new stereo.. but for me once i discovered the 5.1 was to be unchanged, the stereo and extras took priority, so they will have to influence my score here.

as for the 5.1 its just the same old stuff as the old SACD, only now in inferior sound quality. this should have been 24/96 DTS at the very least, better still a DVDA in Adv.res, though a bit fruitless wasting it on this mix.

oh and the extras in 5.1 are a joke mix wise, plus the instrumental of moonage daydream is so brittle and harsh-sounding, lacking any warmth. the only extra with any decent sonics in 5.1 was the last one, Sweet Head, where the studio chatter and mix suited the track and the fidelity was the best of any of the tracks on this set.

the packaging is ok but the quality of the artwork and especially the photos in the inner gatefold are of such atrociously low quality. authentic to the UK vinyl perhaps where the pics were never up to much but the US LP is by all accounts much nicer. the front cover artwork also looks too pale and washed out compared to the original. these of course are minor quibbles but on such an important albums' re-release.. unforgivable.

why not replicate the finest-looking version, in fact, why not improve on the best version out there by making the definitive version?

rather than, just like the sound on the new stereo remaster (and just like them lazily re-hashing the old 5.1 SACD in worse quality) replicate the bloody old vinyl!? make it better-sounding than any other Ziggy or don't bother.

this set is an inauthentic replica at best.. a half-arsed effort and a cash-in at worst. for one of the most important rock albums of all-time, it should have been a 40th anniversary triumph.

this is one of the many things i've always loved about the DVDAs and SACDs with multichannel remixes of old stereo classics. new spins on old stuff you'd heard loads of times, where you felt more often than not the people working on them weren't afraid to stick their necks out and do something daring, exciting and inventive that really works in surround sound, whilst trying to stay faithful to the original stereo we all know so well.

if only this set had been like that.. to date, the only Bowie classic album that has anywhere near approached this was the Young Americans DTS DVDV. it wasn't perfect by any means but the 5.1 mix was effective and at times ambitious, the sound was ballsy and not lacking in bass oomph and high-res detail like an old LP.. and yet it was still sympathetic to the original stereo. it worked.

I've never heard Harry Maslin's STS 5.1 but i hear it on good authority its awful, while the stereo in the box set is possibly the best it has ever sounded, outside of the studio and the original tapes, i'd imagine... whereas this Ziggy 5.1 and set itself is just a bit of a waste of everyones' time and effort all-round.

such incredible classic material as this deserves much, much better treatment.

therefore i can only give this an equally half-hearted 5.
It is clear that this is a major disappointment, but it wasn't as if we were not warned--the advertisement made it clear they were reusing the 2003 SACD master for this. I wouldn't think it takes a genius to figure out that a subpar DSD release, when transcoded to a lossy DTS codec (and not even a high bitrate one), won't sound all that great. I believe this release bears this out. Even the 'art' work is horrendous. Literally looks like someone tossed an old promo on an older scanner from the 90's and called it a day. I thought the SACD was bad, but in this case it might be a step up!
 

DKA

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Fred,

Don't apologize for commenting on the stereo. The 24/96 would have been the only real selling point of this set. You're right in that the 24/96 stereo of STS was excellent. Having that here would have been wonderful. I've heard nothing good thus far, though.

Don't try to replicate the vinyl. Replicate the damn analog master.
 

leevitalone1

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such a shame that more consideration wasn't given to a really good album. It seems all the DB stuff is sucky in one way or another. Got to get a TT and end this once and for all. No respect for a very talented artist
 

fredblue

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such a shame that more consideration wasn't given to a really good album. It seems all the DB stuff is sucky in one way or another. Got to get a TT and end this once and for all. No respect for a very talented artist
Too right, I totally agree with you! Every single time with the Bowie boxes & 5.1 releases, EMI has screwed up in some shape or form :(

Although on the respect thing, I do wonder how bothered Bowie himself is about these re-releases.. and if he doesn't care, maybe that comes through in the finished (lacking) product..?!?
 

neil wilkes

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Like the PAL DVD "Best Of", with "Life On Mars?" at the wrong speed & pitch.
DOn't know if anyone saw the documentary on BBC4 recently, but that had the same track, same film & same speed issue.
 

fredblue

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Like the PAL DVD "Best Of", with "Life On Mars?" at the wrong speed & pitch.
DOn't know if anyone saw the documentary on BBC4 recently, but that had the same track, same film & same speed issue.
I saw the documentary too, Neil.

So they lifted the Life on Mars clip from that lame-o Best Of DVD!? The Doc was pretty good though i thought.
I also really enjoyed the Guitar Heroes at the Beeb compilation afterwards, so nice to see vintage BBC clips of Robin Trower, Budgie, etc..

It seems a shame this Documentary was broadcast after the 40th set came out, as it could have been included on the DVD to make the recent LP/DVD package more interesting and better value for money. ah, well..
 
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