Luis Miguel-Romances (DVD-Audio) (1997)
Featurette-Por Debago la Mesa (Video)
|Year Of Production||1997|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||None Given|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish MLP 96/24 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Luis Miguel is something of a boy-wonder in the Latin world. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Mexico, he released his first album at the frighteningly young age of 12 back in 1982. Since then, he has sold more than 42 million albums, and has won just about every music-based award there is, including being the first artist to receive a gold disc for a Spanish language recording in the United States. To top it all off, he even has a star on Hollywood boulevard. Impressive, no?
Well, I was so impressed with him that before receiving this DVD-A, I had simply never heard of him. Still, with a keen sense of bravado and an enthusiasm for the unknown when it comes to this new DVD format, I thrust my hand upwards and offered to review “Romances”, which is one of Miguel’s more recent albums.
Recorded in 1997, I was surprised (and intrigued) to discover that only two tracks out of the total fourteen were actually written in that year. As it turns out, most of the songs on this album were written in the 40s and 50s, going as early as 1926. A collection of classic standards? Perhaps, though I am not familiar enough to say. Certainly, many are re-tooled for modern times, but on the whole this is a laid-back, smooth and very polished orchestral-esque cocktail-lounge style affair which will offend no-one; though at the same time and for the same reasons it is not the most motivating music out there. Still, many of those 4.5 million people who have bought this album might argue!
|1. Voy A Apagar La Luz Contigo Aprendi|
2. Sabor A Mi
3. Por Debajo De La Mesa
4. La Gloria Eres Tu
7. Besame Mucho
9. Noche De Ronda
10. El Reloj
12. De Quererte Asi
14. Manana De Carnaval
The video is, as usual for DVD-As, NTSC and of perfectly fine quality. Menus and lyrics are easy on the eye, and the single video clip for track 3 is of fine quality.
Hammering home the notion that DVD-Audio is a about multi-channel, this disc indeed carries only surround tracks, being MLP 96/24 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1. It should be noted that any DVD-A player has the wherewithal to convert multi-channel MLP to two-channel (with help from downmix coefficients stored within the MLP data), and as such any disc can be played on a two-channel rig even when no dedicated stereo mix is available.
Luis Miguel certainly hasn’t sold a lot of records because he has a bad voice, and it comes across nicely on this disc. The engineering of the mix is such that his voice is spread across all three front channels, which has a slight defocusing effect. I would rather vocals be hard-placed into the centre channel, but this is a matter of taste and does give the voice a more full presence. Still, there are problems with harsh sibilance on the occasion though this is a minor fault.
The liner notes credit many people on this album, the bulk playing violins, violas, cellos and other orchestral instruments, along with mandolin, accordion, sax, trumpet, guitar and so on. The sound is full, warm and very smooth, with a definite clarity and presence which is telling of the high resolution nature of the medium. Percussive instruments have air about them, as do those instruments which have the lime-light during intros before Luis begins crooning. A favourite is the accordion, which just floats in space and has an enchanting quality to it. The Spanish guitar is also notable in its quality. I was sometimes disappointed with the piano, which on some tracks was poorly recorded, yet on others had a more convincing timbre. There is really little to complain about, though it does not reach the lofty heights of the finest DVD-Audios, and the nearest comparison I can make is Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now which has the most superb orchestral backing I have heard.
The rear channels are used relatively conservatively, carrying orchestral strings and the like, with percussive instruments often placed around the room and to the rear, a practice which I would applaud for this genre.
I listened to some songs in 2-channel player downmix mode and found them to be nicely presented, with a warm spacious quality, and formidably better sounding than any CD you might care to mention. As for the Dolby Digital mix, well – as I so often find, the music is there but the soul just plain aint.
Bass is tight and has its own cleanly defined space. The subwoofer is used lightly, but just adds a kick to the lower octaves when needed.
|Surround Channel Use|
Both versions are the same, so buy locally!
A pleasant album presented on a competent DVD-Audio. The sound quality is very good, though be wary that all lyrics are in Spanish. As they say, the language of music is universal.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-900E, using RGB output|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T43W1 16:9 RPTV. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DB-930|
|Speakers||Front & Rears: B&W DM603 S2, Centre: B&W LCR6, Sub: B&W ASW500|