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DVD/DTS Poll Ultravox - VIENNA [DTS DVD]

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Rate the DTS DVD of Ultravox - VIENNA

  • 7

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  • 5

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  • 4

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  • 3

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  • 2

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  • 1: Terrible Content, Surround Mix, and Fidelity

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  • Total voters
    22

rtbluray

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Please post your thoughts and comments on this 2020 reissue of the classic album "Vienna" by Ultravox.
This 40th anniversary box set features a brand new 5.1 surround mix from Steven Wilson.

(y) :) (n)


 

Juggsnelson

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I love this album and feel I judge pretty fairly and I gave it a 10. I had pretty high expectations and they were met. Plenty of fancy effects zipping all around the room on several tunes. This album is pretty sparse, which makes Wilson's mix even more impressive. It is a wonder to hear each synth part distinctly. Midge's voice sounds fantastic. The bonus material is great as well. I guess the only complaint would be lack of video material but I have that elsewhere. A great release!
 

oxenholme

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I was playing my 1983 PolyGram Hanover CD of this only a week or two ago. I had no idea that this set was on the way until earlier this week. What a wonderful surprise!

I love it. Steve Wilson has done an excellent job. It's a strong album all the way through, culminating with my two favourite tracks. The mix is great, well balanced with loads going on in the rear speakers.

One is pleased. An easy 10.
 

blue.monk

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I was a big fan of Ultravox during my college days in Boston in the early 80’s. I saw the Quartet tour at the Orpheum Theatre there in ‘83. The stage set and instruments were all painted grey and it was bloody loud as I recall but a very entertaining show. In the years since I had fallen out of love with the band and listened to their music less and less. As a result I was on the fence about getting this set (I probably hadn’t even listened to the Vienna LP in 25 years!) but I’m very happy I did. Beyond the warm glow of nostalgia I find I still (for the majority of it) enjoy it musically. Of course the main incentive for buying the set was the promise of another SW surround mix and he does not disappoint. The mix and fidelity are terrific. The extras are a very nice bonus as well. All in all I can’t quite gush about the content as I would have in 1981 but there are plenty of fine, and decidedly original, moments that remind me why I first “fell” for them all those years ago. A very contented 9 from me.
 

splinter7

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My vote is 10

There is nothing that revelatory in the 5.1 mix (no new sounds pop out to me) but Wilson does a fantastic job of spreading out the layers of the synths, string, percussion, bass, & guitars around the room with discrete flourishes.

The center speaker is used for more than just main vocals as there is a notable presence of synths & piano, especially in the two instrumental tracks, Astradyne & the Bside Alles klar.

Chorus & callback vocals are mostly assigned to the rears with the slightly weird exception of Sleepwalk & Mr. X, the two songs that I thought would have vocal lines bouncing from speaker to speaker. Those two are not as adventurous as I thought they were going to be.

The mix is a little jarring at times with loud discrete instrument placements but I think it supports the coldish, industrial feel the album was giving off in 1980. The feedback guitar sound in New Europeans is even starker now isolated by itself.

Fidelity is on par with the original stereo mixes and is very good.
Bonus points for mixing three of the album’s Bsides into surround.

There are a few instances that Wilson’s mix does mess with your muscle memory of the 20 year old stereo mix.

In the title song for instance, the double - thudding percussive beats that introduce the song pan slowly from left to right in about 8 beats. Each time moving slightly farther right in the mix.
In Wilson’s 5.1, the same beats move more dramatically left to right across the front speakers in half the time and then continue to pan into the right rear and finally over to the left rear.
That kinda threw me off the first time I listened to it.

In another instance, the metal ticking sound that had a static position just left of center in the opener Astradyne now pans left to right moving half way up and down both sides of the room.

If you’re a fan of the album or the genre, I think you’ll be pleased with the mix.
 

fthesoundguy

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I’ll start off by saying that I have zero familiarity with this band. I’ve heard the name Ultravox mentioned as well as Midge Ure’s but have never listened to anything from either of them until this box set was announced. I do have to say that I am pleasantly surprised how good the material is.

Astradyne: What a great starting track! I was reading in the booklet that the original US pressing had a different tracklist and I couldn’t imagine anything else starting this off. The sequenced metallic ticking starts us off with some movement from halfway up on the left, across the front and up a bit on the right side. The first digital piano comes in the rears, then the whole band comes in the front! Violins later come and pan back and forth in the surrounds. Really great balance during that part. The rest of the song continues with a cool synth solo in the center and the same placement as above.

New Europeans: That synth swirls all around the field throughout the song. After the second chorus, the snare sample hits move around the field on every hit! A great build up of synths in the rears during the bridge. They start out faint and then continue to get louder as the third verse is sung. Just a wonderful song.

Private Lives: Piano starts out in the surrounds, then gives way to the band up front while the lead synth is still in the surrounds. A lot of little notes that hit all the speakers. A wonderful vocal moment happens with the slapback delay in the rears during the “And it grabbed so bright” line. Really great ear catching moment. Then at the fake ending the guitar gets sucked from the RL to FL with a nice vocal scream in the center! I kind of wish it just ended abruptly instead of going to the outro. There are some nice synths flying around the field though.

Passing Strangers: Main piano and backing vocals in the surrounds (mostly) for most of the song. Great moment during the breakdown with a synth in the SR and other ticking along in the SL, with a third different one in the fronts!

Sleepwalk: The first drum hit goes swirling from the FR clockwise to the surrounds! Band is mostly up front with a synth in the surrounds. During the synth solo, a sequencer is moving through all the speakers. During the next verse there is the sequencer going back and forth in the fronts with a snare sample in the phantom rear. During the “Dream, Dream” line, it bounces off the 4 corners! The final “Sleepwalk”s come out of the phantom surround.

Mr. X: There’s a great moment when the synth note is hit in the SR, each time it gets hit, it starts to fade the note into the SL more and more! That note then stays back there doing the same thing throughout the song. Violin solo mostly stays up front with the verb in the rears. The spoken word gets great delays happening and fades away in various speakers. The “Mr. X’s” all have different effects happening every time they are spoken and there’s one “X” that goes around the room near the end. A good mix from a pretty minimal song.

Western Promise: Sequencer gets panned across the front while a synth starts to build up in the center and surrounds before the band comes in. A lot of great surround action happens while the verses are sung. During the outro, the sequencer is panned counterclockwise, then a synth appears in the phantom rear and moves between the surrounds. A really cool moment going into the next track.

Vienna: The guitar strums at the start are panned in a clockwise movement around the room before it locks in with the vocal in the center. While it’s on its way there, the verb for it is in the rears. When the second chorus happens, the piano is in the rears while an organ is up front and then the piano goes back up there. While some other synth notes go on in the surrounds, the doubled vocal happens in the phantom rear to give off a really cool effect of being stuck between them! Reversed cymbal samples are in the rears as well. When the beat speeds up, its cool to hear all the different strings and piano build up to the vocal climax. A real powerhouse in surround! This was a song I didn’t really care for before, this mix changes that.

All Stood Still: What an fantastic tune! Cool push and pull with the lead in the center and backing in the surrounds to start it off. GREAT placement with a synth in the phantom surround center while the backing vocals are happening hard panned in the surrounds too. I haven’t heard that before and it is fucking cool! There is so much movement happening with all the synths and guitars at the end of this, you’ll just have to listen to it. A great finale for this album! Definitely demo worthy and makes me want to play this over again immediately. I’d have to say this is my favorite mix of a song i’ve ever heard in surround. I have had a wonderful grin on my face the 8 times I have listened to it.

B - Sides:
Waiting: Cool placement of the snare in the SL with a backing vocal in the SR and a swirling synth back there as well! It has another moment of the vocal in the center and double in the phantom surround. The “Waiting” backing vocals have a couple of different filters on them during the rest of the song. Synths continues to swirl around during that time as well. During the guitar solo, so many different synths are firing off and building up. They just fill up the room so well. There’s a nice synth swirling during the fade out as well.

Passionate Reply: Synth notes start in the SR and fade to the FR while a guitar starts in the FL and fades to the SL. That’s a really cool balancing moment I haven’t heard before that caught my ear. It works really well with when the vocal comes in. Later on, there is a synth solo in the center and vocals now come in the phantom surround! God this song is mixed SO WELL. Bravo SW.

Alles Klar: Swirling synth to start off the song with. Just a nice instrumental piece with a lot of moving parts like this whole album has. Synths…. synths everywhere! It ends nicely with a fading out synth swirling the room.

The only bad thing I can say for this is I actually think the center channel is a bit too loud for my tastes. But seeing other people talk about SW mixes having a low/buried vocal, they should be happy with this mix.

One little cool menu authoring thing I noticed is that there is a vertical bar just to the right of the song titles that fills down as the album plays.

Packaging / Value: For the price of this, (I got it for $46 USD, but seeing it as high as $65 from Burning Shed) I am impressed. Pressing 5 CDs, 1 DVD, 4 glossy prints and a 18 pg 10x10 booklet for this price is pretty damn great if I say so myself. The shell is good quality too.

Other audio content: The live CD is great! This one will be in my car rotation for sure. You get the whole Vienna album and some others from previous albums. There is one disc that is exclusive to this set (Not on streaming or HDtracks) and that would be the cassette demos. Those have a disclaimer in the box that the quality is not to great and they are there for historical purposes and I would agree with that. Still cool to hear how some songs got their start. They could have probably left those out and still had the same price point, so I’ll give them credit for adding them.

I’m also really glad that SW decided to give us a new stereo mix as well. There are pretty big differences, especially in the high end. Some synths and guitars are more mellow and their mids are brought up on the new mix, which I think suits this album better than the original. People that are very familiar with this album might be caught off guard though. But there is just something about that original mix that just works. Glad to have them both.

This is a bona fide 10 in my book. THE mix of 2020 for me (so far) and honestly one of the best surround mixes that I have ever heard. I would have never given this band a chance if it wasn’t for this and it is so nice to experience new music rather than just going back to bands I know and already love. This is a box set that I am extremely happy to have. Buy this if you do not loathe the material. It is an absolute triumph.

Mix Highlights: Astradyne, New Europeans, Private Lives, Sleepwalk, Mr. X, Vienna, All Stood Still, Waiting, Passionate Reply
 
Last edited:

rusinurbe

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On from King crimson to Ultravox binge listening today.

Finally had a chance to listen to this and its 9 from me. Just missing the bit extra from a blu ray med strength.

A fun album which I had and sold back in the day but have very much enjoyed the 5.1 is the icing on the cake.
 

sjcorne

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I started listening to this album back when the box set was first announced (never heard of the band) and it didn’t do much for me musically at the time--especially the more avant-garde songs like “Mr. X” and “Western Promise”. The infectious melodies in tracks like “New Europeans” and “Passing Strangers” kept me coming back to the point where I now love the whole thing from start-to-finish.

For me, this might be Steven Wilson’s best 5.1 remix to date. It's almost certainly the most adventurous/aggressive one he’s ever done: every track has instruments bouncing from speaker-to-speaker and loud isolated elements in the rear channels. @fthesoundguy's excellent post upthread is spot-on regarding what’s happening in each song (nice detail!). It really does feel like a fun ‘70s quad mix at times. Overall, it’s engaging, clever, full of interesting surprises, and the instrument balances are spot-on: nothing sounded buried or overexposed to my ears.

In terms of fidelity, this album sounded pretty good to begin with and the remix doesn't change that. The biggest change that I could identify in the remix is that the lead vocals are louder, especially on the 5.1 where they're locked to the center with very little support in the other speakers. You can play this disc at incredibly high levels and it still holds together nicely. The 'punch' in the kick drum on the title track has to be heard to be believed.

A few other observations:
  • “New Europeans” - the original stereo mix had the electric guitar hard-panned to the left channel, the new stereo mix has it maybe 75% left-of-center, but the 5.1 mix centers it...in the rears! That took me by surprise the first time. I also noticed that the snare (sample?) is mixed to the center speaker along with the lead vocal, which makes for an interesting effect when soloing that channel (I attached a short clip below).
  • “Passing Strangers” - I never realized how many different layers made up the repeating backing vocal refrain in the chorus (“we were talking…”). In the 5.1 mix, you can hear the higher harmonies in the front channels and the lower harmonies in the rears.
  • The title track is still my least favorite song on the album, but it really comes alive in 5.1: the section where the beat speeds up and the ‘orchestra’ builds up all around you is demo-worthy.
Needless to say, I voted a 10.
 

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The56Kid

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I started listening to this album back when the box set was first announced (never heard of the band) and it didn’t do much for me musically at the time--especially the more avant-garde songs like “Mr. X” and “Western Promise”. The infectious melodies in tracks like “New Europeans” and “Passing Strangers” kept me coming back to the point where I now love the whole thing from start-to-finish.

For me, this might be Steven Wilson’s best 5.1 remix to date. It's almost certainly the most adventurous/aggressive one he’s ever done: every track has instruments bouncing from speaker-to-speaker and loud isolated elements in the rear channels. @fthesoundguy's excellent post upthread is spot-on regarding what’s happening in each song (nice detail!). It really does feel like a fun ‘70s quad mix at times. Overall, it’s engaging, clever, full of interesting surprises, and the instrument balances are spot-on: nothing sounded buried or overexposed to my ears.

In terms of fidelity, this album sounded pretty good to begin with and the remix doesn't change that. The biggest change that I could identify in the remix is that the lead vocals are louder, especially on the 5.1 where they're locked to the center with very little support in the other speakers. You can play this disc at incredibly high levels and it still holds together nicely. The 'punch' in the kick drum on the title track has to be heard to be believed.

A few other observations:
  • “New Europeans” - the original stereo mix had the electric guitar hard-panned to the left channel, the new stereo mix has it maybe 75% left-of-center, but the 5.1 mix centers it...in the rears! That took me by surprise the first time. I also noticed that the snare (sample?) is mixed to the center speaker along with the lead vocal, which makes for an interesting effect when soloing that channel (I attached a short clip below).
  • “Passing Strangers” - I never realized how many different layers made up the repeating backing vocal refrain in the chorus (“we were talking…”). In the 5.1 mix, you can hear the higher harmonies in the front channels and the lower harmonies in the rears.
  • The title track is still my least favorite song on the album, but it really comes alive in 5.1: the section where the beat speeds up and the ‘orchestra’ builds up all around you is demo-worthy.
Needless to say, I voted a 10.
Great review, Jonathan and I totally agree. Although I’m still awaiting my official copy from ImportCDs (back ordered), I was fortunate to hear this release in all its 5.1 glory and I was blown away. I too had never heard the album or much by Ultravox before. I was impressed with what Steven Wilson achieved having never heard ‘new wave’ music done this well in surround. Can’t wait for my copy to arrive!
 

srbjab

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Finally received my copy from amazon.fr after apparently getting lost for awhile. The big package arrived horribly battered but thankfully the box set inside was completely intact. This is another case of having to buy a big box set just to get a 5.1 mix which is why I initially hesitated to order, but the price I got from amazon wasn't horrible and it has one big plus - no unnecessary vinyl!! I found the Steven Wilson surround mix (which includes b-sides) to be every bit as good as others have already detailed: great fidelity with a very discrete, aggressively playful mix that allows you to more clearly hear elements that are simply not as obvious in stereo. I admit to being startled a few times at the sounds coming from the back channels - a definite 10 and one of Steven Wilson's best mixes to date. In addition you get the original stereo master and a new stereo mix on cd (and dvd hi-res), a cd of singles and b-sides, a cd of rehearsal recordings and a very well recorded live 1980 concert which is worth hearing.
The 12" x 12" package, which contains 2 gatefold sleeves, really highlights the minimalist design and B&W photography beautifully. The 6 discs come in their own cardboard mini sleeves and insert into one of the gatefolds, matching the band photo when inserted. The enclosed full size booklet has notes on every song by the band, more photos, and lyrics. As a deluxe set, I think this actually offers better value than the Seeds Of Love box which I recently received as well, even though there is no blu-ray, just dvd. If you like Ultravox/Vienna, or simply want to own another great Steven Wilson surround mix, you won't be disappointed by this release (especially if you can get a good price).
 

jaybird100

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I just looked on Amazon to see if they give a breakdown of what's on this set, and they give no information at all. Can anyone help?
 

splinter7

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From Superdeluxe Website:

CD One - Album

01. Astradyne
02. New Europeans
03. Private Lives
04. Passing Strangers
05. Sleepwalk
06. Mr. X
07. Western Promise
08. Vienna
09. All Stood Still

CD Two: Vienna [Steven Wilson Stereo Mix]

01. Astradyne
02. New Europeans
03. Private Lives
04. Passing Strangers
05. Sleepwalk
06. Mr. X
07. Western Promise
08. Vienna
09. All Stood Still
10. Waiting
11. Passionate Reply
12. Alles Klar
13. Herr X

CD Three: Rarities: Singles/B-Sides/Live

01. Sleepwalk [Early Version]
02. Waiting
03. Face To Face [Live in St Albans 16/8/1980]
04. King’s Lead Hat [Live at The Lyceum 17/8/1980]
05. Vienna [Single Version]
06. Passionate Reply
07. Herr X
08. All Stood Still [Single Version]
09. Alles Klar
10. Keep Talking [Cassette Recording During Rehearsals]
11. All Stood Still [12” Mix]
12. Sleepwalk [Soundcheck, The Lyceum 17/8/1980]
13. All Stood Still [Soundcheck, The Lyceum 17/8/1980]
14. Vienna [Live Video Version, St Albans City Hall 16/8/80] *
15. Sleepwalk [Live Video Version, St Albans City Hall 16/8/80] *

CD Four: Cassette Recordings During Rehearsals 1979/80

01. Astradyne
02. New Europeans (Instrumental)
03. Private Lives (Instrumental)
04. Passing Strangers (Instrumental 1)
05. Sleepwalk (Version 1)
06. Mr. X
07. Western Promise
08. Vienna
09. All Stood Still (Instrumental 1)
10. Sound On Sound
11. Animal
12. Sleepwalk (Version 2)
13. Sound On Sound (Instrumental)
14. Passing Strangers (Instrumental 2)
15. All Stood Still (Instrumental 2)

CD Five: Live in St. Albans 1980 (2020 Mix)

01. Astradyne
02. New Europeans
03. Passing Strangers
04. Quiet Men
05. Face To Face
06. Mr. X
07. Western Promise
08. Vienna
09. Slow Motion
10. Hiroshima Mon Amour
11. All Stood Still
12. Sleepwalk
13. Private Lives
14. King’s Lead Hat

DVD: Vienna
Vienna album – Steven Wilson Surround Mix
 

jaybird100

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From Superdeluxe Website:

CD One - Album

01. Astradyne
02. New Europeans
03. Private Lives
04. Passing Strangers
05. Sleepwalk
06. Mr. X
07. Western Promise
08. Vienna
09. All Stood Still

CD Two: Vienna [Steven Wilson Stereo Mix]

01. Astradyne
02. New Europeans
03. Private Lives
04. Passing Strangers
05. Sleepwalk
06. Mr. X
07. Western Promise
08. Vienna
09. All Stood Still
10. Waiting
11. Passionate Reply
12. Alles Klar
13. Herr X

CD Three: Rarities: Singles/B-Sides/Live

01. Sleepwalk [Early Version]
02. Waiting
03. Face To Face [Live in St Albans 16/8/1980]
04. King’s Lead Hat [Live at The Lyceum 17/8/1980]
05. Vienna [Single Version]
06. Passionate Reply
07. Herr X
08. All Stood Still [Single Version]
09. Alles Klar
10. Keep Talking [Cassette Recording During Rehearsals]
11. All Stood Still [12” Mix]
12. Sleepwalk [Soundcheck, The Lyceum 17/8/1980]
13. All Stood Still [Soundcheck, The Lyceum 17/8/1980]
14. Vienna [Live Video Version, St Albans City Hall 16/8/80] *
15. Sleepwalk [Live Video Version, St Albans City Hall 16/8/80] *

CD Four: Cassette Recordings During Rehearsals 1979/80

01. Astradyne
02. New Europeans (Instrumental)
03. Private Lives (Instrumental)
04. Passing Strangers (Instrumental 1)
05. Sleepwalk (Version 1)
06. Mr. X
07. Western Promise
08. Vienna
09. All Stood Still (Instrumental 1)
10. Sound On Sound
11. Animal
12. Sleepwalk (Version 2)
13. Sound On Sound (Instrumental)
14. Passing Strangers (Instrumental 2)
15. All Stood Still (Instrumental 2)

CD Five: Live in St. Albans 1980 (2020 Mix)

01. Astradyne
02. New Europeans
03. Passing Strangers
04. Quiet Men
05. Face To Face
06. Mr. X
07. Western Promise
08. Vienna
09. Slow Motion
10. Hiroshima Mon Amour
11. All Stood Still
12. Sleepwalk
13. Private Lives
14. King’s Lead Hat

DVD: Vienna
Vienna album – Steven Wilson Surround Mix
Thank you!
 

Sixtyten

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Yeah, his stereo remix isn't great though. It sounds muddy or something to my ears. I suppose it shows just how good the Conny Plank (unsurprisingly really) version is.
 
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