DVD/DTS Poll Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos (Special Edition) [DD DVD]

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Rate the Audio-DVD of Dream Theater - SYSTEMATIC CHAOS


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Bob Romano

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Please post your comments, thoughts and observations on Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos (DVD 5.1)...(y) (n)
 

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Ge Someone

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This is the 2007 Dream Theater album. If you know them, no big surprises, they continue in their same style. The slow song repentance however has a hint of Porcupine Tree over it. (and not because Steven Wilson is doing one of the spoken voices).
The 5.1 is really discrete and agressive, it makes the album a lot more intresting. If you like complex, heavy rock in surround, here you have it.
Too bad it is only DD 5.1. This kind of busy, metalish, over the top music begs for higher bit rates. I guess the 90 minute "making of" video by Mister Portnoy was taking up most of the space (and they couldn't go double layer).
 

Coren

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I cannot comment on the surround mix (yet) but I've listened to the stereo version of the album a few times. It's not bad, it definitely has its cool moments, but the days of the brilliant Images and Words and Scenes from a Memory appear to be over for good.

In the Presence of Enemies part I is a promising start. The the vocal melodies are a bit lame, but the song is very enjoyable and leaves you wanting more.
Forsaken. The lame melody problem intensifies. Not an atrocious song, but t doesn't manage to keep you interested very long, mostly due to LaBrie's inability to convey nuances or emotions in his vocals (at least on this song). We've heard all of this before and this copy has nothing to elevate it above the hundreds of others.
Constant Motion. This is where it goes really wrong. This song is obviously made to showcase the band's technical proficiency and progginess, but IMHO that's not enough to make it good.
The Dark Eternal Night picks up on Constant Motion and takes it one step further. First, the shouted vocals just don't work. They sound horrible and amateurish. Then, while some technical parts are really cool, others are just plain wankery that goes on for way too long. The worst part is that the song doesn't seem to have a "drive" you can hang on to, which means that if you're not into pointless technical showoff you'll be bored to tears real quick.
Repentance gives you time to breathe. I agree, there's definitely a Porcupine Tree-influence to parts of this song, which is probably why I like it better than the others. I approve. It's not as good as PT, obviously, but it's quite decent.
Prophets of War. Oh hey it's MUSE again! Oh hey they must have heard Pain of Salvation's Disco Queen! (excellent song by the way, everyone should hear it. Go on, download it. Or buy the album. And be sure to listen to the lyrics or you'll be missing the point completely.) It's not quite as blatant as the MUSE ripoff on Octavarium, though, as they did a much better job integrating the MUSE-sound into their own style this time. In the end, this song is probably the best on the album. Thumbs up.
The Ministry of Lost Souls starts off with your standard bombastic synth line and quickly softens down to a single guitar. This sets the tone for the song: epic and modest. Yes, both. There's some more pointless soloing around the eight-minute mark, but it's over quick. Decent song, though maybe a bit too long for its own good.
In the Presence of Enemies part II. Is it just me or does the beginning sound a lot like Pink Floyd's Goodbye Cruel World? I wonder if it's intentional. Anyway, as expected, this song is the bombastic epic that concludes the album. The whole Dark Master theme is a bit silly (I'm referring to the musical theme, not the conceptual theme) and they do the whole shouting business again at some point, though it's less horrible than in TDEN. Another unbearable and way too long part of wankery starting from the 10-minute mark... This song could have been much, much better.

Systematic Chaos is a definitive step forward in terms of quality when compared to Octavarium, but it's still inconsistent. Cut out Forsaken, Constant Motion, The Dark Eternal Night and In the Presence of Enemies part II (that's, like, half of the album) and you have an album worth an 8, if not a 9. With said songs, though, the album plummets to a 6 or a 7. I won't vote since I haven't heard the surround mix and since I want to give it a second chance. I can't give it my recommendation, though. :(
 

lolbroek

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I gave it 6. While the music would get an 8 from me I don't like the entire mix: not consistent enough and some weird decisions that have been made.
- Vocals too loud, overpowering the music at times
- Bass is waaaaaay too loud in The Dark Eternal Night
- Not enough use of the rear speakers, at least not on a constant basis

Also: hot mastering! Not nearly as bad as some others out there who're really wrecks, but still. For example: Petrucci's acoustic/clean electric part in the beginning of The Ministry of Lost Souls: no dynamics man! It sounds as loud as everything that comes before and after it.

It is their first record in 5.1 so maybe they'll get it right next time...
 

daved64

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I gave it 6. While the music would get an 8 from me I don't like the entire mix: not consistent enough and some weird decisions that have been made.
- Vocals too loud, overpowering the music at times
- Bass is waaaaaay too loud in The Dark Eternal Night
- Not enough use of the rear speakers, at least not on a constant basis

Also: hot mastering! Not nearly as bad as some others out there who're really wrecks, but still. For example: Petrucci's acoustic/clean electric part in the beginning of The Ministry of Lost Souls: no dynamics man! It sounds as loud as everything that comes before and after it.

It is their first record in 5.1 so maybe they'll get it right next time...
Vlado Meller did the mastering. He's the guy that ruined the last few Johnny Cash and Chili Peppers CD's.
 

Ge Someone

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Like Coren I think, all in all, this is a step up in quality, at least sound wise. And a further step away from pure metal.
Also I'm not so annoyed by the singing this time, which used to put me off. The Dark Eternal Night even has a catchy chorus :p. Yes of course these guys must show their virtuosity at times, but that's what many of their fans expect from them.

I would not recommend it everywhere, but on this forum, where some people (like me) discover music they wouldn't have tried if it didn't came in 5.1. , I'd like to say it was a pleasant surprise to hear this in surround.
 

Philip Spinner

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I give it a 7. Favorite song is The Dark Eternal Night. BTW, on my copy from Japan the continuity is broken between a couple of songs on the 5.1 version. I suspect it was just the way it was mastered. Has anyone else had this problem. Thanks. Phil Spinner
 

daved64

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I give it a 7. Favorite song is The Dark Eternal Night. BTW, on my copy from Japan the continuity is broken between a couple of songs on the 5.1 version. I suspect it was just the way it was mastered. Has anyone else had this problem. Thanks. Phil Spinner
Sometimes it's your player that does this, not the disc.
 

Guy Robinson

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Have to try to even out the scores. If I give Rush a 7 for surround sound quality then this one is a 9. Much better. Unfortunate as the new Rush is fantastic musically.
 

Frantic

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The sound / mix gets an 8.
The music itself is a pure 10.

Overall I give it a 9.

Could it be better? Absolutely.
I do appreciate that they included a 5.1 version and one would hope that a multitude of artists would follow the lead.:smokin
 

neil wilkes

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WHY OH WHY are this & the new Rush disc Dolby Bloody Digital only!
Imagine the uproar if the stereoheads over at SHF were told they could only ever have MP3.
 

Chris Gerhard

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This CD/DVD-V set is available for $6.99 from yourmusic.com. I am trying to decide whether or not to buy at that price, I still can't decide after reading this thread.

Chris
 

daved64

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This CD/DVD-V set is available for $6.99 from yourmusic.com. I am trying to decide whether or not to buy at that price, I still can't decide after reading this thread.

Chris
Buy it. It's worth it. Great album, great mix. The documentary is awesome too.
 

elmer

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Buy it. It's worth it. Great album, great mix. The documentary is awesome too.
I second that - although this is not something that you'll play repeatedly - of course unless you're a big epic prog/metal fan. Musicianship is top notch - surround mix is good not great, and biggest drawback is DD 5.1 - but at $6.99 you can't go wrong.
 

PossumPete

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I agree. At $6.99, it's a no-brainer! My kids turned me on to DT a few years back and I really like them. The musicianship is excellent. It's made me go out and visit a few of their friends and relatives like Spock's Beard (and Neal Morse solo stuff). Step out of the box sometime, you might be surprised!
 

Baker

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This bonus DVD is a call to piracy !!! There must be somewhere a high-rez version of Systematic Chaos in surround, and I'd really love to put my hands upon it, because the 5.1 mix was surprisingly good, big basses, breathing instruments, huge use of rear speakers, clean voices... but the Dolby-only track completely ruined it, and the overloud mastering was the last nail in the coffin.

A real DVD-A version of it would sell, I think. Not that much but it would sell.
 

neil wilkes

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This bonus DVD is a call to piracy !!! There must be somewhere a high-rez version of Systematic Chaos in surround, and I'd really love to put my hands upon it, because the 5.1 mix was surprisingly good, big basses, breathing instruments, huge use of rear speakers, clean voices... but the Dolby-only track completely ruined it, and the overloud mastering was the last nail in the coffin.

A real DVD-A version of it would sell, I think. Not that much but it would sell.
This is my biggest gripe with the DD only releases.
The blasted thing isn't mixed like that - it has to be at least 24/48.
A DTS stream would definitely be a superior approach. DD is for films only, not for music. Ah Well. I suppose we ought to consider ourselves fortunate....or so I am told.:rolleyes:
 

The Bright Side

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Is it just me or did anybody else notice the constant drops and rises in volume? It goes up and down all the time. Destroys the whole thing for me.
 

Neil Palfreyman

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Considering that this is only DD it's surprisingly good! Possibly the best DD mix I have. There's plenty of power (as you would expect) and clarity to the mix. I would prefer a little more spatial separation to the parts and more use of the rear channels for discrete parts, but it's not over-compressed which is seems to be a common failing of DD only releases. Huge shame that this is Dream Theater's only dabble into 5.1. The Count of Tuscany on Black Clouds and Silver Linings could make the best surround mix of all time if they ever did it.
 
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