Life in Surround - Surround Music Review and Discussion YouTube Channel

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J. PUPSTER

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Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
DVD vs. SACD
Deluxe set unboxing
Another nice job Sir Baggins!

I have this old live LP; and always felt it was a great performance, especially “ Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad”; so we’ll need to see if that’s the same show as in the box set.

 

edisonbaggins

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Another nice job Sir Baggins!

I have this old live LP; and always felt it was a great performance, especially “ Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad”; so we’ll need to see if that’s the same show as in the box set.

Appears to mostly the same songs. Though the deluxe version has several bonus songs.
 

AYanguas

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It catches my attention the beginning of track 6 "Strapped To The Wheel". The main vocals come just from the Top Fronts.

Also in the next track "Remember To Forget", but this time the vocals also blend to the Surround Backs and the Top direction is more diffuse.

I really like when the vocals does not come from the traditional boring front, or worse, only from the central speaker.
 

srbjab

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Great review and I agree that the 5.1 Clearmountain mix works better than the atmos. I think the music on Lifelike is a notch below The Savior, but in reality they are very close - if you liked The Savior then you should definitely check Lifelike out. I purchased the digital album as I thought the price for the blu-ray was a bit too high and was intrigued about the atmos files the digital format came with. Unfortunately, while the 5.1 flac files sound typically great, the atmos files appear to only contain a lossy, compressed Dolby Digital format which has terrible fidelity in comparison. Not sure why higher quality files were not provided. I listened to the atmos mix enough to compare it to the 5.1, but in general I don't feel that the atmos mixing choices work better than the 5.1. However, the lack of fidelity in the atmos files means that I will not be listening to that version very often. I expect the blu-ray atmos track has much better fidelity than the digital files, but I would be interested if others had a similar experience. From my perspective, if your interest is primarily in the atmos mix I would avoid the digital album.
 

edisonbaggins

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When I tested the Atmos files, there were 4 different kinds. Did you try each kind?
IAA confirmed for me that at least one type is lossless. Can't remember which. Also not sure I'm convinced. The files seem too small to me?
But I'm far from understanding this topic well.
 
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AYanguas

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When I tested the Atmos files, there were 4 different kinds. Did you try each kind?
IAA confirmed for me that at least one type is lossless. Can't remember which.
I confirm the FLAC 5.1 is clearer and sharper than both Atmos mix (see below). BUT it is important to consider that they are 'different' mixes.

In the FLAC 5.1 the voice is also more impacting, sharper and mixed at higher volume than in Atmos. FLAC 5.1 has a global higher volume than Atmos. When trying to level match, the difference lessens, but I can still hear the FLAC cleaner.

The mixes are different. You don’t hear the sounds and voice at the same locations (apart from 'downlocate' tops to floors). I like more the spatiality of Atmos, but really the FLAC sound quality is superior.

My downloaded files from IAA are five kinds. (All MP4 containers except FLAC):

ac-4 (Unable to play this codec neither in PC nor Dune or Oppo 203). I assume this is the Stereo version, but as AC-4 may contain objects, who knows...)
2.0 16/48 kHz

dmix (Dolby Digital Plus) (Seems to be the same Atmos mix downmixed to 5.1, i.e. the same core mix without the Atmos objects). It is different mix than the FLAC 5.1
E-AC-3 5.1 16/48kHz

FLAC 5.1
5.1 24/96kHz

joc_448
(Dolby Digital Plus with Dolby Atmos)
E-AC-3 JOC 5.1 16/48kHz bitrate=448 kb/s

joc_768 (Dolby Digital Plus with Dolby Atmos)
E-AC-3 JOC 5.1 16/48kHz bitrate=768 kb/s


So, the only lossless is FLAC 5.1 and in Hi-Res. Both Atmos sound almost the same to me. No too much difference because of the the bitrate.

I wonder if the Blu-ray, presumably in TrueHD Atmos, will sound some better than this DD+ Atmos. If the mix/master is the same perhaps there would not be much difference.

Anyone with both copies to compare?
 
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srbjab

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I concur with the above. I tried all the files on 2 Oppo's (103, 203) and a Sony blu-ray player and none of the playable atmos files were lossless. On my system, there was a profound reduction fidelity in these files - severe compression, muddy sounding and very low volume. Direct comparison with the 5.1 flac file sound is not subtle, believe me, and just increasing the volume didn't help. I'm mystified why so many different 'format' atmos files were included when they basically are all just lossy DD+, differing only in bitrates. Recently, I downloaded some sample atmos files from Matt Darey and he provided both lossless and lossy DD+ formats. There was the same huge reduction in fidelity in those DD+ files - I got the impression Darey provided the DD+ versions mostly for folks not able to play the lossless video files. Lossless atmos video files are very, very large in comparison to the DD+ container files, maybe that was one reason for not providing them. However, I do think it's a bit of a cheat not to offer the same audio quality as the blu-ray on the digital only album.
 

AYanguas

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... Recently, I downloaded some sample atmos files from Matt Darey and he provided both lossless and lossy DD+ formats. There was the same huge reduction in fidelity in those DD+ files - I got the impression Darey provided the DD+ versions mostly for folks not able to play the lossless video files.
...
I've bought all download Matt Darey Atmos that I know.
His main albums "Wolf Atmos" and "Retrospective Atmos" are available as MKV files with TrueHD Atmos.
Only his MattDarey-Producer-DJ-Mix-DolbyAtmos.mp4, a long suite session that he released later, is DD+ Atmos but with a bitrate of 1024 kb/s which is higher than the highest of "Lifelike".

Could it be a market segmentation for the selling of the Blu-ray? BTW, the "A Bad Think" Blu-ray's are only available for the USA market?
 

sjcorne

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The quad on the Blu-Ray is definitely not a flat transfer. It looks to me like they simply re-used Peter Mew's 2012 mastering, minus the synthesized LFE channel.
 

edisonbaggins

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The quad on the Blu-Ray is definitely not a flat transfer. It looks to me like they simply re-used Peter Mew's 2012 mastering, minus the synthesized LFE channel.
Gotcha. I think it's being referred to as such, like in commercial blurbs. A flat transfer would be better!!!
 

esimms86

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Gentle Giant - Freehand (with giveaway)
Thanks for the review Baggy and welcome back from your nightmare. I hope that you’re enjoying the long weekend. I have to confess, I tend not to mix audio and video when listening to music so I will have to make an exception and revisit “The Power and the Glory.” Thanks for the heads up!
 
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