DVD/DTS Poll Withers, Bill - Just As I Am [DD DualDisc]

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Rate the DualDisc of Bill Withers - JUST AS I AM


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Bob Romano

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Please post your comments, thoughts and observations on this Sony DD 5.1 DualDisc from 2005.......(y) (n)


Bill Withers Front.jpg
Bill Withers Back.jpg
 

Bob Romano

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Ok... I am not complaining here because it's a 5.1 mix but....

This has to be the oddest choice imaginable for a 2005 release of a title that never had a surround version originally. I finally found a copy at the FRY Electronics and I am really glad I did. I vaguely remember this album from 1971 (I was only 10) but Ain't No Sunshine is one of my all time faves. The mix is just as Zabble says. Not really a lot going on in the rears but what is there is really effective. Listening between the cd side, which also sounds excellent, and the DVD side you can really hear how the mix benfits from the use of the rears. Everything is much more open and full. Plus... Bill Withers' voice is just so incredible and warm. I don't know how this would sound if it were SACD or DVD-A but even as a DD 5.1 track this is one disc I will be playing over and over. The interview with BW is really great. I really got a sense of someone who just sings to sing without being "all-knowing" or a philosopher. Today's R&B "stars" could certainly take a lesson from BW.

I would say this is an excellent choice to search out and purchase. I give a 9
 

zabble

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The mix is a bit conservative. It seems that every rear element (such as strings and percussion) is already present in the fronts. That is not to say that it's fake surround--it's definitely remixed from the multi-tracks. I would just characterize it as a discrete three channel mix with select elements of the front channels brought into the rears.

It doesn't jump out at you like the best discrete mixes, but it's still quite enjoyable.

Great liner notes.
 

ChristopherLees

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I really like the surround mix on this disc.
It really makes the non-classic songs on the album (also sometimes known as filler tracks) alot more enjoyable....to the extent that you want to listen to every track on this lp and not just the obvious 2 or 3 songs.
I thought the mix on "Ain't no sunshine" is excellent...I like the way the orchestra arrives in the rears in stereo...
For me the 5.1 sound makes a huge improvement over the stereo..
in a similar way as the Elton John sacd's do.
and the video clip extras are great.
I can't imagine this disc sounding any better in 5.1 than what is done here.

This is a surround disc that I will play often....but probably not in my car...I have a feeling that car stereos and dual discs are a quick way to scratch the playing surfaces of both sides.
 

bugdaddy

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I was really pleasantly surprised this got on the release docket at all - - as bob romano mentioned, it seems to have come out of nowhere. This is an oft-overlooked classic in my book, from one of the real hip singer/songwriters of the early 70's. Produced by Booker T. and backed by most of the MG's, with Stephen Stills in lieu of Steve Cropper.

While I would’ve liked a more aggressive mix, it does take you places where the stereo version can’t, giving an overall richer listening experience. And much to my family’s chagrin, I find the louder I play it the more I like the mix. The final gunshot crossing the room behind our heads at high volume really made my kids jump ;) But overall, I think there are songs where a more discreet mix could have been employed to better advantage.

Special mention for the exceptional documentary: It combines old and new interview clips, along with a few vintage performances. The old performance footage is pretty darn good quality and as far as the interview material goes, Bill still has plenty left to say to both Black and White America today. It’s very well done and worth watching more than once.

Lastly, is it even worth bemoaning the fact that if you’re going to go to the effort to preserve a classic album in 5.1, it ought to be in dvd-a as well as dd ? I don’t have the energy to go there anymore. It is what it is and I’m glad to have it in Mch. I give it an 8.
 

Rudy

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Thanks to this poll, I picked up this DualDisc. (Actually, I Amazoned it. :D )

I'm glad this was reissued, just for the music! Still Bill and Menagerie were finally reissued on CD for the first time a couple of years ago, so I'm glad to see this one. (There is a two-fer out there, but I have no idea of sound quality.) The bonus here is having a slightly higher resolution stereo version and the 5.1 surrouond version on the DVD side, along with the interview and live performances.

Musically it's a keeper by a long shot, and the surround mix, while being on the conservative side, is still a nice, and different, way to hear the album. Just the icing on an already good cake. I gave it an "8". (y)
 

elmer

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(y) This is a sleeper! A great DualDisc - I know that it is only DD 5.1 but the mix is excellent anyway. This is a simple recording - with the exception of the strings, this is basically Bill Withers fronting Booker T's band. The percussion is well recorded and is spread out quite well. This is all about the songs - Bill Withers came out of nowhere with a simple and soulful story to tell. Great songwriting throughout - all killer no filler!

The video content is also excellent - great live performances simply recorded and of it's time. A very cool documentary with the current "old" version (slightly bitter) reflecting on the artist as a young man. Should be required viewing for all up and comers.
 

Rudy

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elmer said:
The percussion is well recorded and is spread out quite well. This is all about the songs - Bill Withers came out of nowhere with a simple and soulful story to tell. Great songwriting throughout - all killer no filler!
I think that is what appeals to me: his approach is so simple and clean, you have no choice but to hear the message and listen to the words. Even my daughters sing along to it. This one and Still Bill are essential, IMHO. In fact, I burned the CD side of the DualDisc and the Still Bill CD onto a single CD-R a couple of days ago. This one will live in the changer for awhile. (y)
 

jaybird100

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The mix fit the music. I found this recording to be a treat. I had the stereo version of this album when it first came out, but hearing it redone in full 5.1 gave it new life. It doesn't need a radical mix; the way it was done here seems more realistic and rich. I couldn't have been happier with how it was done.
 

fredblue

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A "7". Stupid Sony! This should have been an SACD! The albums a bit short and lacking in excitement but I'm glad it happened at all. Took me forever to track down a copy here in the UK.. I think it must have been much more readily available in the States!?
 

Franklin

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The mix seems to match the music, the analogue vs digital out on my current player is quite different. Huge amount of bass when decoded on the AV amp, much less when decoded on the player, and analogue'd out. My old player was not like this!!! It's the first time I've heard the album (other than snippets) and I discovered it through the Still Bill documentary and then coming on here to see if there was anything in surround in his catalogue. He seems quite cross on the dual disc docu vs Still Bill!
 

jaybird100

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Check the bass management settings on your new player, if it has them. I have that disc too, and played it through the receiver's decoder. It has plenty of bass, so I think the AV receiver is handling it properly. Yours should, too, and the player's decoder should sound about the same as well, provided the bass management is properly set.
 

Franklin

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Yeah, I've had a right old fiddle out with them. It's a Denon 2900, and it appears to have most illogical bass management known to man. Also, it appears my AV amp bypasses some of the auto settings in analogue in mode. I used to use a Pioneer 747, and the analogue/vs digital outs sounded much closer, but strangely it's analogue CD playing just didn't sound quite right, whereas I really like it on the Denon (no 2 channel bass management used, or needed!)
 

Franklin

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What I'm not keen on in the mix is the additional reverb on Ain't No Sunshine, and sometimes the mix seems to lean quite heavily to the left at the front. Worth another listen though!
 

fredblue

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Yeah, I've had a right old fiddle out with them. It's a Denon 2900, and it appears to have most illogical bass management known to man. Also, it appears my AV amp bypasses some of the auto settings in analogue in mode. I used to use a Pioneer 747, and the analogue/vs digital outs sounded much closer, but strangely it's analogue CD playing just didn't sound quite right, whereas I really like it on the Denon (no 2 channel bass management used, or needed!)
a variation on the LFE bug?
 

fredblue

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What I'm not keen on in the mix is the additional reverb on Ain't No Sunshine, and sometimes the mix seems to lean quite heavily to the left at the front. Worth another listen though!
Fwiw there's a stereo mix of Ain't No Sunshine that's got quite a fair bit of reverb on Bill's vocals and another that's drier. I'll have a look at the weekend and see which one's which.
 

Franklin

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Ahh, that's interesting! Yes, update us about that!

Fwiw there's a stereo mix of Ain't No Sunshine that's got quite a fair bit of reverb on Bill's vocals and another that's drier. I'll have a look at the weekend and see which one's which.
 
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