DVD/DTS Poll Stewart, Al - YEAR OF THE CAT [DTS DVD]

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Rate the DTS DVD of Al Stewart - YEAR OF THE CAT

  • 6

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 5

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 4

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 3

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 2

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 1: Terrible Content, Surround Mix, and Fidelity

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    43

rtbluray

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Please post your thoughts and comments on this 2021 reissue of the classic album "Year of the Cat" by Al Stewart.
This new box set from Esoteric Recordings features a brand new 5.1 surround mix from the original producer of the album, MR. ALAN PARSONS!

(y) :) (n)


 
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madship

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I was not overly familiar with this album, I knew the hits, Year of the Cat and On the Border but nothing else. After the hangover of 2020 excess of excellent surround releases and noting in my cart, but Steven Wilson's long delayed "2020" release, I had to imbibe of some hair of the dog for 2020. This just happened to be a cat.

The set arrived during lunch, so the home office moved to my listening area. What a great afternoon. I've listened to the album three times today, with each liter better than the previous. As mentioned, I was not familiar with most of the album, but I am growing to love these songs and Stewart's style. The stories and the music are great. I also love the light touch, This is not an album that wears you down. The playing is great and not overbearing. I am refreshed after listening and ready for another trip though Mr. Stewart's universe.

Sonically the the DTS sounds great to me. The instruments are crisp and sound like they should. The mix is amazing. For a 45yo album it is great to have the original producer produce the 5.1 mix. Parsons' mix is amazing. Immersive and discrete without being showy.

The materials that come with the package are good too. I haven't read through the book yet, but look forward to the essay. the only gripe would be the disc holder. another 1/2" - 3/4" of depth to sink the discs into and the set would be perfect.

Going with a 10.
 
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dbmay75

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I am reading elsewhere for the first time that Esoteric is notorious for mislabeling their discs as DVD Audio when they’re actually topping out at lossy DTS. That appears to be the case with this new release as well. I am, of course, glad to read madship’s very positive review, but shame on Esoteric for the misleading graphic.
 

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beerking

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I was not overly familiar with this album, I knew the hits, Year of the Cat and On the Border but nothing else. After the hangover of 2020 excess of excellent surround releases and noting in my cart, but Steven Wilson's long delayed "2020" release, I had to imbibe of some hair of the dog for 2020. This just happened to be a cat.

The set arrived during lunch, so the home office moved to my listening area. What a great afternoon. I've listened to the album three times today, with each liter better than the previous. As mentioned, I was not familiar with most of the album, but I am growing to love these songs and Stewart's style. The stories and the music are great. I also love the light touch, This is not an album that wears you down. The playing is great and not overbearing. I am refreshed after listening and ready for another trip though Mr. Stewart's universe.

Sonically the the DTS sounds great to me. The instruments are crisp and sound like they should. The mix is amazing. For a 45yo album it is great to have the original producer produce the 5.1 mix. Parsons' mix is amazing. Immersive and discrete without being showy.

The materials that come with the package are good too. I haven't read through the book yet, but look forward to the essay. the only gripe would be the disc holder. another 1/2" - 3/4" of depth to sink the discs into and the set would be perfect.

Going with a 10.
Follow that, as they say. :D
Well I can't, as I fully agree with every word!! Apart from not being over familiar with the album!!!
It is bloomin' marvellous.
An album that never ages from when I first heard 'Year of The Cat' back in '76.

Is 10 ever enough?
 

Goona

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On my third listen , it just keeps getting better. The sonics are wonderful, crisp drums, guitars etc. Bass is tight and great. Never thought this beautiful album from the seventies could sound this good.
Well done Mr Parsons another superb surround album to your Arsenal (Yes im a Goona). Thank you Mr Stewart for this Masterpiece. This is an automatic 10
 

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marpow

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I voted 10. Highly enjoyable release. My only wish is that I was a little more into this music, but I can tell my experience is growing.
Packaging: Very good and well documented about the 4 discs falling out, really not that big of a deal. Outside of that packaging is nicely done with a minimum of stuff, has cards, poster and book.
Book: This really sealed the deal for me. I learned a lot about Al Stewart, his life as a British folk signer, writing style, meeting with Alan Parsons, very good read and just the right amount.
CD 1: I did not listen, I felt best left for the car.
CD 2 & 3: Live in Seattle. I loved these two discs, they really got me to understand and know who Al Stewart was at that time. He talks in-between each track which is really good to listen and understand. The sound is fairly good. A knock on the sound would be whatever is the main thing going on it kind of buries the rest, for instance if the vocals are forward, kind of buries the rest and vice versa if there is a band solo it kind of buries the rest. Still very listenable and enjoyable. I highly recommend listening to these two live CD's.
DVD-A: I listened both straight from the disc and from a ripped version. I listened to both straight DTS 24/96, no upmixing.
Really good, smooth and easy. listed as 5.1, but the center channel is barely active, I am sure others will make a case to turn off the center, not my style. Very nice how the fronts and rears work together and sonic quality is impeccable.
I have a shared digital file ( have had for about a year) of Year Of The Cat, they sound a little different, but best for the more experienced to explain.
I also listened to the stereo 24/96 and that sounded good also.
The Music: This is why I purchased this as although not an expert with Al Stewart, the combination of his song writing talents and Alan Parsons made it a must purchase for me. The best news is I like it better than I thought I would. A stand alone surround disc would not have made this as enjoyable as the box set, as usual for me box sets always outshine stand alone's as it allows be to go deeper into the music.
I purchased from Cherry Red Records, shipment was fast and easy.
EDIT: It was pointed out to me this is actually a DVD Video disc due to the DTS encoding and not a DVD-Audio disc which is printed on the label.
I hope you are able to enjoy this recording as much as I have.
Keep Polls Pure, no shipping and off topic chatter.
 
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perzon57

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I voted 10. Highly enjoyable release. My only wish is that I was a little more into this music, but I can tell my experience is growing.
Packaging: Very good and well documented about the 4 discs falling out, really not that big of a deal. Outside of that packaging is nicely done with a minimum of stuff, has cards, poster and book.
Book: This really sealed the deal for me. I learned a lot about Al Stewart, his life as a British folk signer, writing style, meeting with Alan Parsons, very good read and just the right amount.
CD 1: I did not listen, I felt best left for the car.
CD 2 & 3: Live in Seattle. I loved these two discs, they really got me to understand and know who Al Stewart was at that time. He talks in-between each track which is really good to listen and understand. The sound is fairly good. A knock on the sound would be whatever is the main thing going on it kind of buries the rest, for instance if the vocals are forward, kind of buries the rest and vice versa if there is a band solo it kind of buries the rest. Still very listenable and enjoyable. I highly recommend listening to these two live CD's.
DVD-A: I listened both straight from the disc and from a ripped version. I listened to both straight DTS 24/96, no upmixing.
Really good, smooth and easy. listed as 5.1, but the center channel is barely active, I am sure others will make a case to turn off the center, not my style. Very nice how the fronts and rears work together and sonic quality is impeccable.
I have a shared digital file ( have had for about a year) of Year Of The Cat, they sound a little different, but best for the more experienced to explain.
I also listened to the stereo 24/96 and that sounded good also.
The Music: This is why I purchased this as although not an expert with Al Stewart, the combination of his song writing talents and Alan Parsons made it a must purchase for me. The best news is I like it better than I thought I would. A stand alone surround disc would not have made this as enjoyable as the box set, as usual for me box sets always outshine stand alone's as it allows be to go deeper into the music.
I purchased from Cherry Red Records, shipment was fast and easy.

I hope you are able to enjoy this recording as much as I have.
Keep Polls Pure, no shipping and off topic chatter.
Nice review,but it's not a DVD-A,I wish it was as I love DVD-A as a medium. :cool:
 

ar surround

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This is a terrific album from the mid-70's. I didn't own it back then, once again because albums were expensive and money was tight. It's always a pleasure to get an album this enjoyable later in one's life. Excellent songs, production and mix.
By the way just listened to the stereo on the DVD, it is phenomenal
I agree with you Goona in that the hi-res stereo is great. The thing that "aggravates" me about Parson's stereo mixes is that they are just as satisfying as the true multi-channel versions when faked into surround using something like the Surround Master or Logic7. AP is a genius. My only quibble is that we didn't get the bonus track on the CD in hi-res stereo.

Gotta love this Year Of The Cat box (set.) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Bart 2015-06 in box.jpg
 
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Received my set from Deep Discount last night. My first transaction with DD and it was flawless. My set arrived in good condition. Only one disc was dislodged from it's holder in the book. No damage.

After giving it a couple of listens, overall, I like the 5.1 mix. My only gripe is that the vocals are a bit too "wet" for my taste on some songs.

I found the bonus live set from Seattle a welcome addition.

Overall I vote a nine.

I hope they come through with a Time Passages box. I think I enjoy that album a bit more than YOTC.
 

sjcorne

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I love this album and I’m thrilled it finally got the surround treatment, after years of just having that leaked mix of the title song. That being said, it’s not quite the slam-dunk that I was hoping for.

I never thought I’d say this about an Alan Parsons mix, but I found the 5.1 (really quad - the center channel is just a low-level downmix of all four corners) to be rather conservative at times. “Lord Grenville” and “On The Border” are pretty sparse in the rears and left me wanting more. I'm in agreement with @rtbluray that "Midas Shadow" is an upmix, but it blends in pretty well with the rest of the album.

Fortunately, things really pick up on side 2: “Broadway Hotel” in particular sounds amazing with the violin and harpsichord(?) hard-panned in the back corners. There’s some fun back-and-forth interplay in the rears with the harmonica parts in “Flying Sorcery”. Stewart’s echo-drenched voice pops up in the rears at key moments in “On The Stage Before”. The iconic piano intro to the title track is completely isolated in the rear speakers. I also really liked how the drum fills extend out into the room.

My biggest gripe with this is the sound quality. To my ears, there’s a significant high-end boost on the 5.1 that didn’t exist on previous versions of the album. The acoustic guitars and cymbals come off as too sharp, while the piano seems to lose some acoustic depth. It's hard to describe, but I feel like something is missing in the piano tone at the beginning of the title track--it doesn't sound 'bad' per se, but it's just not as rich-sounding as the original stereo.

The high-resolution remastered stereo track on the DVD doesn’t seem to be affected, which makes me think someone else is mastering these 5.1’s for AP (last year’s Ammonia Avenue Blu-Ray had a similar EQ treatment). I hope a gentler touch is used on the upcoming 5.1 of Time Passages.

My vote of “8” breaks down as follows:

Music - 9/10
5.1 Mix - 8/10
Fidelity - 6/10
 

Perpendicular

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This is the only Al Stewart album that I owned on Vinyl back when it was first released. For me, his voice, while not bad, has always been an acquired taste. I did get used to it and played the hell out of the record because the songs were so darn good. But, what is interesting, I never did purchase it on compact disc. So, after dumping all my vinyl records in the mid 1980’s, I don’t think I ever did hear it again. At least, not that I can remember.

I was so excited when this album was announced that it was coming out in 5.1. I just couldn’t wait to hear it. Overall, I find it to be a decent mix with a couple of exceptions. While listening to it for the first time, I found it to be overly bright, with the first track being the worst on the entire album. Also, the mix is lacking on the low end. Because I listen with Audyssey XT32 room correction, my remedy while using Dynamic EQ is to use the Reference Level Offset set at zero, as opposed to the -10 that I use the majority of the time with music tracks. That raised the low end back up and helped take care of the majority of the brightness, which makes sense. The exception was Broadway Hotel. That track is still lacking bass.

I heard a couple people mentioned that Midas Shadow is most likely an Upmix. I wouldn’t doubt it. It sounds very much like the Moody Blues 5.1 surround mix of In Search Of The Lost Chord. It’s like the front speakers were folded into the rear speakers sans vocals and it has this out-of-phase sound.

It was great listening to this album again and bringing back all those memories from years ago. I’ve had several of the songs playing in my head for the past week. This one, while not perfect, will be on heavy rotation in my disc spinner for some time. I’m giving it a ’8’.
 

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This is my introduction to Mr. Stewart, as I literally never heard anything of his before a couple of months ago. I really enjoyed this album in both stereo and surround. The surround mix is a tad conservative but I never found it uninteresting. My main gripe is the packaging. All the discs arrived dislodged because of the flimsy cardboard folder they were housed in (I had the same issue with the Ultravox set). Thankfully nothing was scratched. $50 was a lot for what was essentially a "blind buy" for me, but I'm very happy I took the plunge. I hope there's more of Mr. Stewart's material coming in this format. All things considered, I give the DVD a 9, the overall package an 8.5.
 

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Very nice album, I only really knew two of the songs On the Border and the title track. Always nice to pick up some new music, and when it comes with a surround mix as tastefull as this from someone who is not Steven Wilson it really makes my day.
Great package dispute the DVD V v DVD A debate a really nice sounding disc
 

ghalteman

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Love the new mix (it gets a 10) but it pretty much sounds like a great quad mix with a low volume center channel. I heard from a recording engineer in London once that Alan Parson's had made a quad mix and kept it to himself. Anyway, HUGE memories of this album and that time of my life, 12th grade in high school.
 
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