Carly Simon-No Secrets (DVD-Audio) (2001) (NTSC)
|Year Of Production||2001|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Richard Perry|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English MLP 96/24 5.1
English MLP 192/24 2.0
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Carly Simon's No Secrets has been in my collection so long it must be my oldest record/CD, and yet it still gets played from time to time, saying something for its longevity and appeal. Because I have listened to it so many times, it was an ideal choice to try out this new medium of DVD-Audio. Although I have several other titles, none of them are as well known as this one. Carly Simon has been around since the late 1960s, and is not only an exceptionally fine singer, but a fine songwriter to boot, with over 20 albums, and dozens of other songs written by her but performed by other artists, as a testament.
No Secrets is a fairly simple mixture of ballads and pop tunes with excellent lyrics, coming as they do from within Simon's own life experiences. There's nothing raucous or too obtuse. Recorded in 1972 in London, as was her previous album Anticipation, the songs including backing vocals from the likes of Mick Jagger, Paul and Linda McCartney, and Cat Stevens, although I can honestly say I've never heard their contributions on the records - their backing vocals have always been totally obscured by the inadequacies of simple stereo. I hoped that this new medium would in some way make it possible to hear things like the backing singers within the recording, but alas, I guess technology hasn't progressed that far yet. Still, there's a lot more body and vibrancy offered up by DVD-Audio, even though some of my friends claim "2 ears, 2 speakers" is the only real way to listen to music. Personally I shall continue to experiment with this new medium and think on them as luddites (in the nicest possible way of course).
|1. The Right Thing To Do|
2. The Carter Family
3. You're So Vain
4. His Friends Are More Than Fond of R
5. We Have No Secrets
|6. Embrace Me, You Child|
7. Waited So Long
8. It Was So Easy
9. Night Owl
10. When You Close Your Eyes
The video consists of a set of stills that change for each song and also beneath each of the pages of the lyrics.
This disc comes with three soundtracks. The default DVD-Audio MLP 96 kHz/24 bit 5.1 soundtrack, a DVD-Audio MLP 192 kHz/24 bit 2.0 soundtrack, and a DVD-Video compatible Dolby Digital 5.1 448 Kb/s soundtrack. For comparison I listened to three tracks on all three formats (You're So Vain, We Have No Secrets and Night Owl) and the rest of the album in DVD-Audio format only.
For those of you interested, give the MLP 192kHz 2.0 soundtrack a wide berth. At first I likened this to listening inside an hollow tube. Later more like an echo chamber. A simple comparison to the CD reveals that CD is much clearer and recorded at a more temperate level. Stridency was the order of the day and listening to any of the even mildly upbeat songs is a challenge since the sound tended to distort at any decent level of listening and become unbearable fairly quickly. I rated this track as slightly less than no value at all.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is similar in a lot of ways to the DVD-Audio with similar sound levels and is very listenable. The unfortunate thing is that the age of the material is probably against ever getting much more than simple surround work out of the rear channels. They do add some ambience but there is a definite lack of life from them. The immersion factor is only reasonable, but the music doesn't make for a massive enveloping effect anyway.
Now, while I am no audiophile (unlike some of my fellow reviewers it seems), I know a good thing when I hear it. This new medium has a clarity and diversity that makes old music sound better. I can't honestly claim to have gone out and bought a DVD-Audio player, but now that I have one, music will never sound the same. The most impressive aspect of all this is the music in DVD-Audio sounds cleaner, clearer and crisper. There is so much more separation of the music, with Simon's voice solidly from the centre channel, leaving the left and right to the different instruments. The surround speakers aren't all that well used, with only minor immersiveness on offer, since many of the ballads simply don't lend themselves to that sort of effect. Still, they do offer some addition to the soundstage so excellently created by the front speakers. There is not much bass to speak of with this disc so the subwoofer doesn't get a lot of use - the best example is the opening few bars of You're So Vain. Still, if you listen to this album often enough it has simply never sounded quite like this before.
|Surround Channel Use|
This DVD-Audio is identical in content and format around the world
I would be a little remiss if I didn't say that this doesn't translate as well as something like The Corrs - In Blue (a much more recent offering) but it does scrub up quite reasonably with something like Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, as a comparison. DVD-Audio is relatively new and for me still too much in its infancy to be more than a gimmick. Also there are a lack of titles that I really want and they are expensive compared to normal CDs so I find it difficult to part with good money for what I already have on CD. Having said all that, I guess I'm going to be what you can only describe as Mr Average for a while. When discs by artists more to my liking are available I might take more interest. For now, I'll probably confine myself to the odd disc here and there, and bide my time.
|DVD||Toshiba SD5300, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Rotel RSP-976. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Rotel RB 985 MkII|
|Speakers||JBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio LS fx di/bipole Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS350-LS Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer|