The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

DVD Audio

DVD Audio

I have been slow to come to the world of “DVD Audio” – for one thing, I do not have a proper 5.1 DVD audio set-up. The first one I bought was “Halloween” by Frank Zappa. I am a life-long fan of Frank Zappa and I have been known to buy just about anything that walks down the pike from the Zappa Family Trust. There is a 2nd FZ DVD-A (“Quadraphiliac”) but I haven’t obtained it yet. I bought this DVD-A in a store, probably paid a “regular retail price” for it (i.e. not full list, but not super cheap).

Both Crowded House and Simple Minds DVD-A’s were bought because of price – I got them for $3 each. I’m not much of a Crowded House fan – I sort of lost the program after the 2nd album, never saw them live. I was quite a Split Enz fan, once upon a time, however (I contributed the Split Enz discography to Mike Chunn’s first book etc.)

As far as I know, I have a full set of studio Simple Minds albums – some as re-mastered CD’s, some as original vinyl releases – I even bought their double DVD set from Canada of all of their video clips! And I have tons of their 80’s 12” singles – really good packaging, good sound…seen ‘em live – real good. I believe there is a 2nd DVD-A for the Simple Minds.

I spotted the Motorhead DVD-A at an outdoor record collector swap meet for $5 – I’m a fan of the classic 3-piece line up (Lemmy, Philty Animal, Fast Eddie), saw ‘em live many times, chased after all of their autographs; I own all of that line-up’s CD’s and most of the original vinyl; I was shocked to see that there was a US DVD of all of their video clips – which I also hurriedly bought.

At the Al Kooper concert in January 2006, he mentioned that he had mixed Blood, Sweat & Tears “Child Is Father To The Man” into 5.1 (for DVD-A). Now that’s a DVD-A I would be keen to buy (as far as I know, it hasn’t been released yet).

So, what’s the future for this format for me? I doubt I will set up a 5.1 system at my home – what room would it go in? It would mean having to buy a new amp, and some new speakers. I suppose some releases could appear that would motivate me to buy a bunch of new equipment – perhaps a 5.1 of John Cage’s “Indeterminacy” – a record that has been in mono (only) since it’s release in the late 50’s.

Why does this all reek of “quadraphonic” to me? I have a couple of quad LP’s in my collection – with their funky hi-pitched tone (for the decoder) – SQ, QS, Discrete etc. What about ‘3-channel’ – “tri-ereo”! Or that system devised in San Francisco to play back the “Highlights From Vortex” LP on Folkways?

I love all the variant audio / video formats – beta hi-fi, Mini-disc, 8-track, cassette, LP, 45rpm, 12” single, CD3, CD5, CD, reel-to-reel, laser disc, play-tape, micro-cassette… PAL, NTSC, SECAM, U-matic ¾”…the medium is the message – the medium is the massage – the medium is the mass age – Thank you, Marshall McLuhan!



Blogger chas_m said...

Love the new blog, same as the old blog! :)

Have you thought about setting up your computer with a 5.1 system instead of your stereo? Same result, less cost, less room needed (though finding the sweet spot might take some work!).

3:19 PM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

My computer is not my stereo, at this point, Chas-san. With only 4 x 5.1 DVD-A discs, not likely to get there soon. I have many more "SACD" titles, however.

5:25 PM  
Blogger Brian Ware said...

I've installed a 5.1 system in my family room. It's a modest little set-up, but I'm very pleased with the results. I have two Sting 5.1 audio titles - "Ten Summoners Tales" and "Brand New Day". If you sit in the sweet spot they both sound great. Lots of textures buried in the stereo mix really jump out in this format. I also got the new "Beatles Love" collection with the 5.1 bonus disc for Christmas, but haven't had time to give that one a spin, but I've heard it's amazing.

It's my understanding they upped the ante with the "New Gold Dream" 5.1 collection and included extended mixes available no where else.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

Another DVD-A I would be tempted by is the self-titled debut CD by Toy Matinee - it's a DTS DVD-A, I believe.

I didn't notice more than 1 or 2 bonus tracks on the Simple Minds DVD-A, Brian. It did have a video clip that wasn't in the 2 x DVD set, however.

6:36 AM  
Blogger Brian Ware said...

Re New Gold Dream - it's not the bonus tracks I'm referring to - the LP cuts themselves are different!!

8:26 AM  

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