R.E.M.-In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 (DVD-Audio) (2003) (NTSC)

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Released 23-Jan-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Gallery-Photo
Multiple Angles-Bad Day rehearsal (4:03)
Music Video-Bad Day (4:01)
Discography
Credits
Web Links
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 76:04
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor
Warner Music
Warner Vision
Starring Michael Stipe
Peter Buck
Mike Mills
Bill Berry
Case DVD-Audio Jewel
RPI $32.95 Music R.E.M.


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1
English MLP 96/24 5.1
English MLP 192/24 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    You have probably seen it on CD. You should already have seen it on DVD-Video. So now we get to hear it on DVD-Audio.

    In Time: The Best Of R.E.M. 1988-2003 is a best-of compilation from the best band in the world, at least of the last twenty years. The reason for the rather odd dates for the compilation is simple enough: it represents the period that the band have been with Warners, earlier having been on I.R.S. Records with the rights held by EMI.

    One of the big problems of a band like R.E.M. is just how do you distil all that great music they have produced down into a CD-length compilation of 18 songs? Well, in the case of the CD that was easy - add a second disc and call it a limited edition. But really just how difficult is it to put together a compilation? Difficult it may be but considering the amount of material available to them, the people responsible have done a pretty fair job from where I am sitting. There is nothing too much in the way of essential songs missing here - perhaps Shiny Happy People being the most obvious - and the whole package just keeps the good music coming throughout.

    I am not going to bother with any more of my ramblings about this great band. If you really need my opinions then just search for R.E.M. in the site's database. You will not find me too far away!

    Frankly, this is perhaps the most essential DVD-Audio disc that has yet graced my player. Aside from being a great compilation of their finest moments on disc, it is also an appetiser for the forthcoming DVD-Audio releases of the likes of Green, Monster, Out Of Time and Up. After what we have here, which is one of the finest sounding DVD-Audio discs I have yet heard, I am really, really looking forward to those earlier albums. Now if only we can get EMI to do the DVD-Audio reissues of their finest works, I shall be a truly happy man.

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Track Listing

1. Man On The Moon
2. Great Beyond
3. Bad Day
4. What's The Frequency Kenneth
5. Reno
6. Losing My Religion
7. E-bow The Letter
8. Orange Crush
9. Imitation Of Life
10. Daysleeper
11. Animal
12. The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite
13. Stand
14. Electrolite
15. All The Right Friends
16. Everybody Hurts
17. At My Most Beautiful
18. Nightswimming

Transfer Quality

Video

    The only video on the disc is in the extras and the minor amount of menu animation, everything else comprising NTSC menus and stills. These are clear and reasonably sharp. The consistent still over which the music plays is a little prone to shimmer.

Audio

    There are five soundtrack options comprising: an MLP 5.1 surround soundtrack, an MLP 2.0 stereo soundtrack, a DVD-Video compatible Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a DVD-Video compatible dts 5.1 soundtrack and a DVD-Video compatible Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. I listened to the MLP Advanced Resolution soundtracks in their entirety, and extensively sampled the DVD-Video compatible soundtracks. The difference between the MLP six channel soundtrack and the DVD-Video compatible six channel soundtracks is like chalk and cheese.

    The DVD-Audio MLP 5.1 soundtrack is an absolute corker and a half. Just when I am starting to again question the merit of six channel surround sound recordings for music, the maestro Elliot Scheiner comes along with the answer to that question. With more gorgeous body than even Elle McPherson can boast, this is a dream of a soundtrack that literally has you sitting back and relaxing with a huge smile on your face. This is fine, fine stuff indeed, with a beautiful demonstration of how music can sound in surround sound. The vocals and main instrumentals are superbly handled in the front channels, whilst the rears are solely used for ambience and background vocals and instruments. The mixing is so good that you really feel as if you are sitting in a small recording studio listening to a private concert just for you. Bass is beautifully handled and is entirely natural, never overpowering the total mix but definitely there and doing its job. If you want a fine example of mixing, then check out the last track Nightswimming: mostly a single instrument (piano) that starts front and centre, with the vocals then coming in through the front surrounds and finally the instrumental accompaniment coming in through the rear surrounds. It is simply gorgeous. This is what surround sound was supposed to be like! The only, rather minor bummer with the entire soundtrack is that during Orange Crush and Imitation Of Life there was some static crackle noted (an example is at 2:40 in the latter song). I don't know for sure whether this came from my system or whether it was on the disc itself.

    The DVD-Audio MLP 2.0 soundtrack is at the full-blown 192kHz rate and it sounds wonderful too - for a two channel effort anyway. Obviously it cannot in any way compare to the six channel effort but if you are still not convinced of the merits of six channel and want a two channel perspective, then you could not do any better than this effort. Beautifully open and as clear as a mountain stream, there is nothing here to hinder the music at all. It certainly beats the pants of CD, I can assure you.

    The DVD-Video compatible Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is somewhat hampered by the fact that the bass is once again over-mixed into the whole deal and tends to drown out the vocals. There is also a tendency towards a little too much reverb in the mix at times, which does not improve the situation. Great Beyond and Daysleeper are two tracks where the problem is most obvious and the overall effect is not a patch upon the Advanced Resolution soundtrack. Otherwise this would have been another very nice soundtrack, as the surround encoding is otherwise very good with plenty of ambience out of the rears. Indeed, Man On The Moon demonstrates some gorgeous surround encoding that demonstrates the inherent quality of the six channel soundtrack. As seemingly becoming more obvious as we get greater exposure to dts sound on DVD, this is a little harsher sounding than perhaps ideal.

    The DVD-Video compatible dts 5.1 soundtrack is again the poorest on the disc, but this time not because of the mix but rather because there are obvious audio dropouts to be heard. Literally the sound drops out for a note or two then comes back and continues. I noted this most obviously during Daysleeper where the audio drops out at 41:12, 42:27 and 42:41, as well as in Animal at 47:55 amongst other places. This is most disturbing for once you notice it you cannot ignore it, which is a pity for the soundtrack. Whilst still having too much bass in the mix, is a much smoother sounding effort and the bass mix is less of a problem. Surround encoding remains excellent.

    The DVD-Video compatible Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is exactly what we would expect from this sort of soundtrack and it does not bear comparison to the other soundtracks with ease.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    A reasonable enough package within the context of normal DVD-Audio releases, specifically lifted by the inclusion of the two videos.

Booklet

   Presumably the release will include a booklet, but unfortunately we have only been provided with a pre production sample of the disc, and therefore cannot confirm that this is the case.

Gallery - Photo

   A pathetic twelve photos does not comprise an acceptable gallery for this band.

Multiple Angles - Bad Day rehearsal (4:03)

   Recorded on 10th May, 2003, this is really an excellent effort with four viewing angles on offer (one each for the three band members and one for a general overhead shot of the rehearsal). The presentation is Full Frame that is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround sound. Technically this is just about perfect in all respects.

Music Video - Bad Day (4:01)

   An interesting music video in concept and execution. The technical quality is excellent. The presentation is again Full Frame that is not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround sound.

Discography

   And a full one at that, including even the earlier albums that are in the EMI catalogue. Each album is presented with the album cover and a full track listing.

Web Links

   Pointing you in the direction of www.remhq.com.

Credits

   Covering both the album and the DVD.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This is the same disc as will be released worldwide.

Summary

    If you are merely a casual fan of the band, then this is an essential inclusion in the collection. If you are a big fan of the band, well you will certainly be adding this to the collection and then eagerly awaiting those other albums in the DVD-Audio format. One of the best, if not the best, DVD-Audio disc I have yet listened to, the surround encoding is a treat. The problem with the dts soundtrack is a concern for those who are not DVD-Audio capable.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
IRS/EMI - Dr Hackenbush
Purpose of this release?? -
R.E.M. Document DVD-A - vonwegen
Purpose of this release - vonwegen
dvd audio? -
Everybody Hurts! -
Re: Everybody Hurts! - Sorrow (bio - mechanical existence)
Re Everybody Hurts - Jakester
DVD A and CD -