It'll shock all of you to know that I'm giving this a ten. This is arguably the best movie soundtrack of the last decade and the fact that we get a hi-rez surround treatment is a real gift. As with the other two in the CR series, the music from the extended editions is included. The RoTK:CR also includes several snippets of music not in either version of the film (most notably an alternative take on Gandalf's arrival at Minas Tirith in the Osgiliath Invaded sequence). The surround usage is fairly conservative although there is a bit of discrete content from time to time. It does seem to me that this was mastered at a few dbs higher level than the previous two although I have yet to do a real comparison. The packaging is intricate (although the DVD-A holder is still annoying) and the DVD-A is dual-sided with the A/B side markings hard to see. My only real complaint here is that there is no DTS (only DD) and the low-res tracks are not accessible without switching the defaults on your player.
Finally got it. Didn't give it a ten, b/c I think perfection is pretty rare (trying to think what I've rated 10), but this is certainly right up there. So much music - the DVD-A is two-sided!
I think the LOTR: Complete Recordings cycle is the closest thing to Wagner's Ring for the 21st Century. Simply amazing. I know some have critiqued the conservative nature of the series' surround mix, but I find it perfect: a big inverted "U" around the listening space.
So now I have all three releases, PLUS an advance test pressing for Two Towers: Complete Score that I'll keep for posterity.
It's interesting to note that Amazon.co.uk doesn't seem to want to import this set into the UK leaving a void that is being filled by Amazon Sellers. Earlier in the week there were a couple of sellers at around the £80 ($150) mark but these have now disappeared and there is a single (used) copy available at £120 ($225). Luckily Amazon.com are still selling their sets at $70 so mine should arrive at around £40 unless UK Customs decide to add a further £20 in import charges.
Looks like some people are trying to make a killing on this set.
Gave it an 8. I love the music, and the sonics are wonderful. Like with the others, though, there's not enough variation in the themes for these ears - often sounds like they are just being restated, with little variation (as in the first two sets). Minor quibble, though.
Docked it one point for the label. Putting the side numbers in such a light type face was silly. I felt like I was supposed to throw it in the fireplace to be able to read it.