Mix Music FM-Australia's Best Mix-Volume 1 (2002)
|Year Of Production||2002|
|Running Time||79:55 (Case: 90)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Sided||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Various|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||Varies|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Varies||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Music compilation discs have always been popular, especially at this time of year, when they make excellent Christmas presents for the music fan who has everything. Having recently reviewed the disc for Australia's Ultimate Songs, I was a little bemused to get this disc for review that proudly proclaimed to be Australia's Best Mix. This compilation is from the MIX-FM radio station stable and as such features songs that one would expect to find on their playlists. Nothing too loud or offensive - "no rap, no hard rock" is the tagline for the MIX radio station in my home town, which gives you an idea of what you'll find here.
The disc is a little unusual since it is what the makers call a hybrid disc and is marketed under the name of DVD plus. It is a modified disc that combines two technologies in one, these being DVD and conventional Compact Disc (CD). The two discs are actually stuck back to back to produce a product that can be played in both CD players and DVD players. I guess it is designed to appeal to two groups. Those that have adapted quickly to the idea of music on DVD and those that still like their songs served up on the 'old-fashioned' compact disc. This disc features fourteen songs on the CD side and twenty-one video clips on the DVD side.
Australia's Best Mix is one of only a handful of discs of this type to be released in this country. Two of the first from the same distributor were compilations of music played on the Foxtel music channels, Channel V and MusicMax and were released late last year. This disc features a cross section of nice and easy contemporary music, that is unlikely to offend anyone in the over-30 category. International artists such as Robbie Williams, Emma Bunton, Tal Bachman, Ricky Martin, M People, and Macy Gray are joined by plenty of Australian artists. These include Kylie Minogue, Human Nature with and without 'The Voice' John Farnham, Kate Cebrano, and The Rockmelons.
Physically, the disc resembles one of the old-fashioned flipper discs, shiny on both sides with very small print on the inside ring allowing you to sort of guess which side is which. As one would expect, the disc is a little fatter and heavy than a normal dual layered DVD (1.48mm compared to 1.2mm for a standard single sided disc). I'm not sure if this is the cause, but apparently there are some compatibility problems with this fused disc (the official website for the distributor states that it is compatible with approximately 98% of players on the market). Apart from not playing in all DVD players there may also be issues with it working correctly in some car and portable CD players (this is actually stated on the packaging). You may wish to check carefully that it is compatible before forking over the dollars (or at least check your retailer's exchange-and-return policy). I did test the DVD side in two players and my DVD-ROM player and had no trouble. Likewise the CD side played in my DVD and CD players, my portable CD system, and my car CD player all without any trouble.
I've listed the CD tracks as part of the extras, since the DVD content is what we're really interested here. The video and audio summaries all relate to the DVD content.
The DVD track listing is:
|1. What Took You So Long|
2. Dancing In The Moonlight
3. Moving On Up
5. I Try
6. As I Lay Me Down
7. Every Time You Cry
9. Sunshine On A Rainy Day
|12. It's Raining Men|
14. Livin' La Vida Loca
15. What's A Girl To Do
16. Me Myself And I
17. I Won't Let You Down
18. She's So High
19. Buses and Trains
20. Forgive Me
21. Ain't No Sunshine
Unfortunately things don't get off to a great start. There is no time code information on the DVD content so all times are estimations made manually using a stopwatch. This applies likewise to the overall running time.
Thankfully things quickly improve. The individual video clips are mostly of recent vintage, so benefit from sharper and clearer images. Some are presented in a widescreen aspect ratio, others are in the original 1.33:1 aspect. None of the twenty-one videos are 16x9 enhanced. Grain is mostly absent and shadow images are handled well. Colours are well rendered, with no real problems to report. The colours featured in Life by Des-ree are particularly vibrant with a golden hue dominating.
I saw no MPEG artefacts. There is a little shimmer on Emma Bunton's dress during the first video What Took You So Long, but other than that these are pretty well all clear of any artefacts.
There are unfortunately no subtitles for you to sing along to.
As mentioned above this is a dual sided disc, with the all important DVD side being single layer only, so there is no layer change to navigate.
There is only one audio soundtrack on the DVD side of the disc. It is a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at the quite low bit rate of 320 Kb/s. This is a fairly lacklustre audio soundtrack that doesn't really reach any real height. It serves its purpose, but is really nothing more or less than you would get from watching these videos on Pay TV.
The vocals are clear enough with no apparent audio sync problems.
There is no surround channel or subwoofer use.
|Surround Channel Use|
While the cover may proudly proclaim that there are over 77 pages of artists bios and the like, they are really quite brief with only a few lines of text on each artist. They are not all that consistent in their content either, with some being quite up-to-date and others being a bit old.
Obviously the CD is more than just an extra in this package, as it really makes up half of it, at least from the marketing perspective. We're here for the DVD content though, so I have listed the CD as an extra and given it the usual treatment that we would for extras.
It plays exactly the same as any normal CD would. The quality is also on par with any other compact disc. I found nothing to complain about and have actually listened to the CD side more times already than watched the DVD content.
The following tracks are on the CD:
|1. Better Man - Robbie Williams |
2. Spinning Around - Kylie Minogue
3. I Need Somebody - Bardot
4. Cruisin' - Gwyneth Paltrow and Huey Lewis
5. The Horse - Daryl Braithwaite
6. High - Lighthouse Family
7. Last To Know - Human Nature
|8. Like The Sun - Wendy Matthews |
9. Take My Breath Away - Emma Bunton
10. There She Goes - Sixpence None The Richer
11. I've Been Thinking About You - LondonBeat
12. Say A Little Prayer - Diana King
13. Celebration - Kool & The Gang
14. Blame It On The Boogie - The Jacksons
Despite this disc proclaiming to be cutting edge technology, they still deem it fit to include these rotten things. Does anybody use them? I certainly don't know anyone who has a good thing to say about ROM content. This set has links to many of the artists official websites and to the MIX radio station website.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This disc is not available in Region 1.
This is an interesting idea I must admit. It caters for two markets at once and it will be interesting to see where the product heads from here. There is talk of a dual sided DVD plus that contains a DVD-Audio disc on one side and conventional CD disc on the other. The same content is likely to be contained on both sides - basically catering for all levels of equipment.
The quality and mix of artists presented here will appeal to most people though the inclusion of clumsy menus and inconsistent and wasteful biographies sees me deduct half a point in the overall score.
The video and audio quality of the DVD content is functional without reaching any startling heights.
With some thirty five songs in both CD and DVD format, this is a very good value-for-money product.
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10|