HiRez Poll Tears for Fears - SONGS FROM THE BIG CHAIR [DVD-A/BluRay Audio]

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Rate the DVD-A/BDA of Tears for Fears - SONGS FROM THE BIG CHAIR


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JonUrban

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Please post your thoughts and comments on this November 2014 HiRez 5.1 release by Tears for Fears - SONGS FROM THE BIG CHAIR, remixed for 5.1 by Steven Wilson. Available as a DVD-Audio disc included in the Deluxe Box Set, or as a stand alone BluRay Audio release.
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Failed Muso

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10/10

This album is very dear to me as it formed part of the soundtrack to a formative couple of years in my life, along with a few others. But not only was it ever present in my ears 30 years ago, the lyrical sentiment was incredibly poignant and stuck a chord with me. So, when I saw the announcement for this title, and the inclusion of a new Steven Wilson 5.1 mix, I was somewhat excited.

I will come to the 5.1 mix in a moment, but I feel I have to mention all the other stuff in this box, as there is a lot here! Spread across six discs (4x CD's, 1x DVD-A/V and 1x DVD-V), this is pretty much as close to a definitive collection of all output from the SFTBC era. Disc 1 is much like the first disc of the previous 2 disc deluxe edition released a few years back, albeit that some of the tracks have been re-ordered. Disc 2 contains all of the single releases that would have been found on 7" vinyl, plus an audio interview with Roland & Curt.

Disc 3 is the 12" remix disc, gathering together the extended versions and remixes of all the singles. Disc 4 assembles mostly live output including 3 BBC radio session tracks and 6 concert recordings, rounded off with 5 early mixes of the singles.

Disc 6 contains the previously available "Scenes From The Big Chair" along with the Chris Hughes interview that was also on that DVD. This is completed by all the promo videos and a handful of BBC TV appearances.

All of these discs are presented in stiff card gatefold sleeves with various images of the era. Very nicely done. The content is, as I said, pretty exhaustive and is compartmentalised in a logical fashion. There are also two booklets, as there were with The Hurting box set, one of which is a tour programme replica, the other a superb collection of liner notes, interviews and credits.

And so to Disc 5!

Normally, I'd have been nervous about the quality of the mix of such a deeply personal album, but as soon as Mr Wilson's name was attached, all those nerves disappeared. And, after numerous listens, justifiably so. The DVD-A is presented in a simple yet completely effective manner, with simple menus that resemble recent HFPA Blu Ray releases. I'm guessing there's no point reinventing the wheel ;) There are multiple choices of audio across the two mixes and these depend on whether you're accessing the DVD-A Layer or the DVD-V Layer. They are as follows:

DVD-A

2014 Mix

MLP 5.1 96/24
DTS 5.1 96/24 (1536kbps)
MLP 2.0 96/24

1985 Mix

MLP 2.0 96/24

DVD-V

2014 Mix

DTS 5.1 96/24 (1536kbps)
Dolby Digital 48/24 (448kbps)
PCM 2.0 96/24

1985 Mix

PCM 2.0 96/24

So, all bases covered and the MLP quality is impeccable.

As for the mix, well all I can say is that it is a revelation! I have listened to this album more than any other in my collection, probably, and I thought I knew it inside out. However, the obvious clarity and channel separation that the 5.1 format provides really allows everything to breathe and occupy a wider soundstage than before. Steven's judicious use of the extra channels allows for breathtaking detail to be exposed but retains the fullness of the original production. Roland's vocal (and Curt's where applicable) reside in the centre without being too heavily focused there, and the various synths, drums and guitars are wisely placed in each of the songs. In Orzabal's homage to Robert Wyatt, the delicate yet quirky "I Believe", the detail is stunning, especially when the bass kicks in on the second verse. In the opener, "Shout", the Fairlight supplied SARARR patch (the breathy tone that permeates most parts of the track) is revealed to be far more intricate than I had ever imagined. "Everybody Wants To Rule The World", a song that suffered from horrendous overkill back in the day, now sounds triumphant and epic in a way I had never really known. And "The Working Hour", a song that could well have been the title track of the album if Curt had gotten his way, and which is, for many, the standout epic on this long player, does not disappoint in any way, shape or form. The detailed recording of Will Gregory's sax, and the sonic detail of the keys "clacking" is presented in pristine detail and the placement of all parts of this song is, quite simply, perfect. "Mother's Talk" actually feels quite different in as much as it was a real sonic collage that got unintentionally muddied in the original mix but now delivers such deep variety in its construction that it almost feels new!

But, if I had any anxiety about this release, it was around the classic "Broken/Head Over Heels/Broken (Live)" section. It had been revealed that the original multis for both versions of "Broken" had gone missing and that a 5.1 up-mix had been performed, using the Penteo software, to complete a full 5.1 mix of the album. This is, along with "The Working Hour" the highlight of the album for me and I was desperately concerned that it wouldn't work out well. But, whilst my ear can hear that it isn't *quite* the same in terms of channel separation as the rest of the album, it has been done so well that if you didn't know the history, you probably wouldn't question it. Suffice to say, my worries and fears have been allayed and the whole section works brilliantly.

And one has to commend both Steven and the band for sanctioning this as well as being honest and upfront about it, as many would've possibly given up on the whole project if parts were missing or had to be "fudged" in some way. But, in the hands of the master of this art, it has all worked out well.

Finally, some words around the words. Paul Sinclair has done a sterling job on the booklet, containing the interviews, track by track history and credits. And of course we must mention Neil Wilkes for his impeccable work on the authoring of a disc that works seamlessly and effortlessly, delivering all the content in a simple, yet effective, way.

So, it gets a 10/10 for the 5.1 mix and a 10/10 for the overall package.

I've yet to decide on whether I get the Blu Ray. All the content is replicated on the DVD-A and the resolution of the visuals would be the only (minor) difference. I have also been considering the two vinyl releases, one of the '85 mix and the other of the '14 mix, but, as much as I love vinyl and this album, and as much as I love to collect stuff, I think my money could be spent better elsewhere (such as "The Endless River" Blu Ray) and so will probably give them a swerve. I do think that a trick was missed in as much as they could've put ALL the audio from the box onto the Blu Ray quite easily, I'm sure, and heck, even the video content too, but I am very happy that Paul Sinclair pushed for the DVD-A in the box, if only to encourage adoption of 5.1 as a concept. A Blu Ray in the box would've been nicer, but I'm not complaining at all.

Box sets come in various shapes and sizes and this is a proper little powerhouse of a release, and at an excellent price point too. This is how to do it. A benchmark release :)
 

rtbluray

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I will post a longer, more detailed review when I get a chance, but for now...
Seeing as how "War Child" is the only other Steven Wilson remix being released this year, I'm fairly confident this release (along with "The Yes Album" and "Drums & Wires") make up my top 3 surround remixes of his from this year!
If you don't want to spend money on the big box, go out and get the Blu-Ray instead. Just find some way to listen to this mix! :)
 

JonUrban

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If you have a real good surround system, with full range rears and center, get a non-surround-believer into the listening area, anywhere, not even the sweet spot, turn the lights down so there are no distractions, then play "I Believe" at a greater volume than you normally listen. Just walk around the listening area while it's playing. Close your eyes if you like. Then ask them what they think of surround music.

IT'S A TEN. Hands down. No argument. Probably the most remarkable SW mix yet, and those Yes and XTC discs are nothing to sneeze at.
 

IMachine

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A big big 10.
If you have a good mix to start from it is easier to get a perfect surround mix.
I love it. Everything is at the highest possible quality you can get.
The mix, the songs (a real classic album), the content of the deluxe set (at a great price!).

This is my new NR.1 5.1 mix!

Together with XTC's Drums & Wires the highlight of this year!
 

Franklin

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At the risk of upsetting someone, I'm having issues with the authoring of the DVD A/V, particularly the DTS section. Aside from common issues like the beginning of tracks being clipped off, the DTS section on both the A and V segments is doing odd stuff. At first I couldn't get any audio from the digital connection, but lots of flashing of the speaker and DTS symbols on the AV amp. Nothing on the analogue out. I played around with settings on the player, and when I changed LPCM (which surely has nothing to do with the DTS layer and I don't convert to PCM to output) to 44.1/48 kHz then I did get the digital signal, but when I played the analogue output it was playing at what sounded like double pitch. I tried another DTS 24/96 DVD and that seemed to be fine. DD seemed fine on the TFF disc, and I've not tried the hi-res 5.1 yet due to LFE bug on the amp.

Any thoughts? Apologies if this is in the wrong thread.
 

Failed Muso

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At the risk of upsetting someone, I'm having issues with the authoring of the DVD A/V, particularly the DTS section. Aside from common issues like the beginning of tracks being clipped off, the DTS section on both the A and V segments is doing odd stuff. At first I couldn't get any audio from the digital connection, but lots of flashing of the speaker and DTS symbols on the AV amp. Nothing on the analogue out. I played around with settings on the player, and when I changed LPCM (which surely has nothing to do with the DTS layer and I don't convert to PCM to output) to 44.1/48 kHz then I did get the digital signal, but when I played the analogue output it was playing at what sounded like double pitch. I tried another DTS 24/96 DVD and that seemed to be fine. DD seemed fine on the TFF disc, and I've not tried the hi-res 5.1 yet due to LFE bug on the amp.

Any thoughts? Apologies if this is in the wrong thread.
Sorry to hear you're having issues. Personally, I checked the entire disc (every layer, every audio track, every format) before posting my review and didn't experience any of the issues you highlighted. If other discs perform as expected, I'd wager you have a faulty TFF disc and I'd suggest getting in touch with the retailer for a replacement. If the replacement does it, then it might point to your hardware either being unable to handle this particular disc authoring, or maybe there is a fault in the hardware.

Neil Wilkes, who authored this disc, is a frequent contributor here. Maybe he can help?

Hope you get it sorted soon as it is a fantastic release :)
 

fredblue

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At the risk of upsetting someone, I'm having issues with the authoring of the DVD A/V, particularly the DTS section. Aside from common issues like the beginning of tracks being clipped off, the DTS section on both the A and V segments is doing odd stuff. At first I couldn't get any audio from the digital connection, but lots of flashing of the speaker and DTS symbols on the AV amp. Nothing on the analogue out. I played around with settings on the player, and when I changed LPCM (which surely has nothing to do with the DTS layer and I don't convert to PCM to output) to 44.1/48 kHz then I did get the digital signal, but when I played the analogue output it was playing at what sounded like double pitch. I tried another DTS 24/96 DVD and that seemed to be fine. DD seemed fine on the TFF disc, and I've not tried the hi-res 5.1 yet due to LFE bug on the amp.

Any thoughts? Apologies if this is in the wrong thread.
How odd, I've tried the DTS on both my DVD and BD players and all plays flawlessly.
 

jkoolpe

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Sounds like this is a winner!

But...I pre-ordered my copy about a month ago from Deepdiscount.com, but when I just called them now to check on the status for the order, they said it was backordered, and they don't know when they will get more :( :( .

I see Amazon has it for $30, but it also says it won't be released until 12/9?

Can someone maybe list some other sources? :)

Thanks,

Jon
 

LizardKing

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Sounds like this is a winner!

But...I pre-ordered my copy about a month ago from Deepdiscount.com, but when I just called them now to check on the status for the order, they said it was backordered, and they don't know when they will get more :( :( .

I see Amazon has it for $30, but it also says it won't be released until 12/9?

Can someone maybe list some other sources? :)

Thanks,

Jon
http://www.wowhd.us/blu-ray/tears-for-fears-tears-for-fears-songs-from-the-big-chair/dp/40233215#bc=921a
 

jefe1

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Thanks for the link!
Just ordered this, also Bryan Adams reckless bluray was the same price.
 

rtbluray

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Now for the big review:

I love how the surround mix begins pretty simply with "Shout", a little bit of percussion before the mix slowly begins to build at the first verse with the entrance of the synths. Then once the drums come thundering in, the backing vocals also expand to the surrounds, and man is it effective! This might be a new demo track for me when showing 5.1 surround off to guests!
Then on to "The Working Hour", which has always been my favorite track on the album. It starts off with lovely atmospherics in the surrounds with the main keyboard and sax parts remaining anchored in the fronts. The real big impact like "Shout" occurs when the tom rolls enter, as the drums just sound so huge and effective being spread out like that! This is a mix where Steven actually gets loud drums in the surrounds correct, whereas on other mixes ("Drums & Wires" and "The Power and the Glory" in particular), at times it is just too much. This is a mix I could play over and over again, and this has become my new go-to mix of the song over the stereo.
On "Everybody Wants to Rule the World", the synths in the surrounds sound great with the vocal anchored in the center. I'm missing a little bit of detail on that lead synth part though around 2:18 in, but other than that, it's hard to find fault with this mix.
"Mothers Talk" delivers some more big drum sounds, but this time, we also get those driving bass synth rhythms in the surrounds. I also love the mixing of the brass hits going from the front to back. The ending instrumental section of this track is particularly playful.
Before hearing this mix, I always felt unsure about how they would make "I Believe" work in surround seeing as how it is so sparse in arrangement, but there's a few special things about Steven' surround mix of this track. The solo sax and percussion work really well in the surrounds, but then once Verse 2 begins, there's a synth pad that enters and takes up the surround space too, adding to the depth.
"Broken" is an up mix, so there's not too much to say about this track except that the surround still works pretty well, but you can tell there's definitely some clarity missing.
Thankfully, "Head Over Heels" is not an upmix. Like a few of the opening tracks, this one also has a powerful mix of drums all around you. You can also hear Curt's fantastic bass lines more clearly as well, and I'm also loving the synth string plucks enveloping you. Steven's mix of the vocals in the chorus though is off, as they sound a lot more out of tune to me than they did before. Maybe a little more careful balancing of the vocal doubles would have prevented this. Also like other tracks in the beginning of the album, the mix keeps building with more and more elements jumping into the surrounds. You can also hear the vocal interplay in the second verse more clearly too. The backing vocals on the ending vamp also provide a wonderful enveloping experience.
And finally, "Listen". To me this is one of the tracks that always had the most potential for surround on the album, and it doesn't disappoint with layers and layers of synths all around you. Some of the percussion hits all around also sound great as does the high soprano vocal at the end.

After all that, what else can I say besides the fact that overall this mix is a clear winner, right up there with "The Yes Album" and "Drums & Wires". Get it as soon as you can, and if you don't want to spend a lot of money on the box, go for the Blu-Ray. Either way, just get it, then sit back and "listen"! :)
 

boxhead

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FYI - Got my shipping notice for Songs from the Big Chair last night[/QUOTE]

As did I - let's hope it doesn't take a month to get here!
 

jkoolpe

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Great!

I just cancelled my order with deepdiscount, and re-ordered using your link :D .

Can't wait to hear this baby!

Jon
UPDATE:

I just checked on this order, and it, too, is now listed as backordered from WOW (although they did charge my credit card immediately) :( .

This stinks...when will the industry realize that there is more demand for this sort of stuff they they realize?

I don't suppose anyone knows of a B&M store that might be carrying it that I could check?

On the other hand, I'm seeing more of the 12/9 release date at some other sites...is this perhaps the actual release date for my neck of the woods (the U.S.)?

Jon
 

Clint Eastwood

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UPDATE:

I just checked on this order, and it, too, is now listed as backordered from WOW (although they did charge my credit card immediately) :( .

This stinks...when will the industry realize that there is more demand for this sort of stuff they they realize?

I don't suppose anyone knows of a B&M store that might be carrying it that I could check?

Jon
When I saw your first post I thought this might happen...it appears that any US based site is going to be getting that disc later than the European based sources...I was lucky to get one of the last copies from Burning Shed...it shipped yesterday...you could order it from amazon uk here..but keep in mind you probably won't get it delivered until Dec...my orders from the UK usually take from 14 to 20 days...depending on holidays...so the question is do you want to get it a little earlier or do you want to save money...I doubt if any US sources will have it prior to Dec 9th..
 
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