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One & Only Thread About Star Wars Trilogy Audio Quality

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One & Only Thread About Star Wars Trilogy Audio Quality

Old 09-22-04, 10:59 AM
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in ANH, when we are first introduced to Luke, and he's running to see what Aunt Beru is calling him for, i heard loud footsteps that i swear was not there before. it sounds out of place, especially since a second later when he's done talking to her and races back to Uncle Owen and the jawas, we don't hear additional footsteps.

also noticed a funny-sounding "clinking" metal sound added when Leia bestows them with medals during the final ceremony. makes them sound even cheaper. ha ha.

going to watch ESB and ROTJ this week. but from what i've seen/heard, i am beginning to hate this release a bit more and more. these just aren't the same friggin movies anymore.
Old 09-22-04, 11:06 AM
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Originally posted by bboisvert
Back when the the "Definitive Edition" LD boxed set came out, they accidentally left off 7 seconds of ESB (with Leia welding on the Falcon). THX issued an immediate apology, fixed it, and worked with Fox to issue a prompt replacement for discs people sent back.

It'll be interesting to see if the same thing happens here for the reversed channels. If not, then "THX certification" really means nothing. (Many people have suspected this for a while now...)
Old 09-22-04, 11:11 AM
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Well, I picked it up and sorta watched ANH while working on a paper last night. I have seen this movie more times than I can count and am always one of the purist fanboys who wants the OT instead due to silly additions to the SE. I had read this thread last night and had an inkling of the audio issues. This is what I noticed, and what I think about it. As if anyone would care....

Artoo falling over is silly loud for bass, for no good reason. But that isn't a big deal, FOTR is worse for dumb bass. The Force bass I like. I liked the addition of it in Ep II (Yoda be bad), and I like it in the Death Star meeting room. It makes sense and really helps the ambience of watching someone using the Force. If I'm going against other OT fanboys on this topic, so be it.

For anybody still wondering, the surround FX are just fine generally. The best way to note this is when the Death Star blows up. The added SE expanding ring of energy whizzes by on the left. Real easy to tell. The surround FX are not bad for a film originally not in any sort of surround. They did a fairly good job back in 97 and now. Many older films that have been redone like this are worse.

The dialog quality can be distracting. I wasn't paying close attention, but even so the quality changes were noticable a few times. I remember writing something and hearing an imperial discussion at some point (not Tarkin/Leia, noticed that too) that made me look up at the screen it was so obvious. This is annoying to me, I hear audio issues in everything and it drives me nuts. I'm even starting to notice it in my first viewing of films. EX: I was totally distracted for talking scenes when I saw Spiderman in a theater and the imaging was messed up, all the centered dialog came from about 1/3 of the way from the left of the screen. Stupid theaters, had no such issue once I acquired the DVD. I hope I can get over it for this SW set. Otherwise the LD will still be an option.

The reversed score issues I did not really notice as I wasn't listening carefully. But during loud score scenes, it did sound a bit odd, but I couldn't pinpoint it immediately. If I hadn't already read about this, I would probably attribute it to a bad orchestra (obviously not) or a poor 5.1 upgrade. Which is what it is if the surrounds are reversed, but in this case apparently correctable. Hopefully LucasFilm will own up to it.

I can't really comment on the low volume score issues during the space battle as I wasn't paying enough attention at the time to have a valid opinion.

Last edited by Spiky; 09-22-04 at 11:14 AM.
Old 09-22-04, 11:13 AM
  #179  
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Originally posted by bboisvert
Back when the the "Definitive Edition" LD boxed set came out, they accidentally left off 7 seconds of ESB (with Leia welding on the Falcon). THX issued an immediate apology, fixed it, and worked with Fox to issue a prompt replacement for discs people sent back.
That's all well and good, but with that one, Lucasfilm admitted (how could they not) that it was a mistake. They aren't doing that here. If they can get away with saying it's not a mistake, then they will.
Old 09-22-04, 11:16 AM
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Originally posted by Green Jello
That's all well and good, but with that one, Lucasfilm admitted (how could they not) that it was a mistake. They aren't doing that here. If they can get away with saying it's not a mistake, then they will.
Yep....which means the terrorists have already won.
Old 09-22-04, 11:22 AM
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I heard there will be a switch that allows for flipping the L/R of the surrounds-- but it will only be available on THX receivers.
Old 09-22-04, 11:30 AM
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Adding to the discussion - it seemed to me that many of Vader's lines had been re-dubbed as well. "She may still yet be of some use to us" sounds entirely different than it did in the original version...not sure if this was a 1997 change or new to this DVD set.

I was more bothered by the dialogue changes (muted in one shot, clear as soon as the camera changes angles in the same scene) than I was the dialing down of Williams' score during the Death Star raid...but the missing (or just about missing) Star Wars music as the fighters swoop in towards the trench at the beginning of the attack really bothered me. I'm thinking about presenting Mr. Williams a T-shirt the next time he's in town that says "George Lucas Raped My Score!"

I agree that the picture looks fantastic...at first I thought it looked dark, but then I realized how much color has gone BACK into the print...all previous releases will look really washed out compared to this one.

One visual glitch though...when the droids first land on Tatooine, there's one shot where R2 looks like he has some haloing around him. Some of the sand looks a bit grainy (no pun intended!) and C3PO has a lot of flaring coming off his metal - but I'm guessing the latter is just from the orignal print, and not a transfer glitch.

There were also three or four points in the movie where the picture seemed to "jump" a bit. Not like it was skipping frames, but almost as if the picture lost stability for a mili-second...kind of like what happens with a movie projector in the theater. Kind of hard to describe, but noticeable enough that I wanted to note it here.

Haven't watched ESB or ROTJ yet...I'll be looking at ESB tonight.
Old 09-22-04, 12:15 PM
  #183  
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Originally posted by emhello
Guess I'll be sticking with my bootlegs for a while!
I think a lot of people will be doing the same or picking up both.
Old 09-22-04, 12:35 PM
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I watched ANH last night. The difference in dialog is noticable, especially during Tarkin Vs. Leia. The bass when R2 hits the ground is just overly ridiculous. I didn't notice any of the score reversal/muting during the x-wing assualt but I wasn't trying to either.

edited to add: I have no plans to purchase the LD or boots.

Last edited by sn9ke_eyes; 09-22-04 at 12:42 PM.
Old 09-22-04, 12:42 PM
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Originally posted by Fok
I think a lot of people will be doing the same or picking up both.
I have a set of the bootlegs, and have seen two others. They all suck in comparison to this new set. Even though there are some minor problems, overall these sound better than they ever have before.
Old 09-22-04, 03:02 PM
  #186  
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After having watched all three films now I can say that there's something very wrong with the A New Hope audio as compared with the other two.

I mean, ESB and RotJ are both mixed well (with Jedi sounding like it was always in surround - the mix is just incredible) - the dialogue, fx, and music are just perfectly mixed.

Meanwhile, ANH has overly loud effects and foley work, and overly soft dialogue and especially music. It's like someone fell asleep while mixing and their head hit the faders - and they just left it that way. It sounds terrible, and it's a shame because it looks so good.

But both Empire and Jedi have great sound mixes. It's inconceivable that the mix on A New Hope was intentional.
Old 09-22-04, 04:02 PM
  #187  
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I watched ANH and part of Empire last night having not yet read this thread. The variance in dialogue clarity was noticable to me, and bothered me a bit, but i nothing about the music particularly stood out as bothersome to me at all.
Old 09-22-04, 04:17 PM
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They should really go back and offer replacement discs for ANH. This was the original classic and deserves the best treatment.
Old 09-22-04, 05:09 PM
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Lucasfilm has already stated that all these "errors" were deliberately done. If anybody expects a recall/replacement, then you will get it once Lucas decides whether to use Blu-Ray or HDVD for the entire Star Wars saga. There is no way they will bother with the time and money it will take to replace or reissue discs that they have already stated are not defective.

They could easily say that the inconsistent audio and video are simply results of the original source material. And if they decided to clean up some dialogue and not others, then it's the same as adding CG dewbacks, droids, and X-wings, while leaving other droids (C3PO and R2) as non-CG.

So if you are looking for absolutely "perfect" Star Wars DVDs, don't buy these.
Old 09-22-04, 05:24 PM
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How can LucasFilms say:

"We are always impressed with how closely fans listen to the many different sound mixes we have made for the Star Wars movies over the years. It is flattering to know that, indeed, the audience is listening. Consequently, each mix comes out differently and any changes that you hear on the all-new Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX tracks on the Star Wars Trilogy DVD set are deliberate creative decisions. We can confirm that there are no technical glitches as reported."

... but when you listen to the French 2.0 track the Force Fanfare during the X-wing attack in the soundtrack can be heard loud and clear (Spanish got the short end of the stick as well). Was a "deliberate creative decision" to mess up the rear soundtrack channels on Empire or Jedi made for consistency? If so, then I can live with A New Hope being the same. Sure there maybe no "technical glitches" on the dvd but there are several major FUBARs. THX... pffft, they're over-rated.

Due to the errors on A New Hope dvd I can't say that I'd put the disc on my all time favorite Top 10 reference list. I was 13 years old when Star Wars was released in 1977 - the target audience. It was my all time favorite movie until 1997. Star Wars was the catalyst that made me the movie lover that I am today. I still enjoy the trilogy as it stands today, however it has slipped off my Top 10 list (and slipping further down) - replaced by The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Matrix trilogy and many others. I sincerely hope that another petition/protest is started to get LucasFilms to correct the major sound issues on the Episode 4 dvd, because until it's rectified I consider it a defective disc and kicking myself in the butt for lining Lucas' pockets with more of my hard earned cash. Sure the majority of the population won't notice the glitches, but we all know they're there and it bugs me. Are we going to be a bunch of Lemmings and take it?

LucasFilms... take a page from Universal - they replaced the defective Back to the Future and Jurassic Park discs!
Old 09-22-04, 05:33 PM
  #191  
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Originally posted by bmOptimus
So if you are looking for absolutely "perfect" Star Wars DVDs, don't buy these.
Sounds fair to me. I'm still just real confused. You've got some people talking about how this is the best the movie ever sounded. Then others providing a completely opposite opinion. I mean if it sounds like the sound guy "fell asleep and his head hit the faders," as jough indicated, how the heck can this be the best the movie has ever sounded??? And jough's opinion carries some credibility with me, since he says ESB and ROTJ do not sound like this - so he doesn't come across like some crazy Lucas-basher with a hidden agenda.
Old 09-22-04, 05:41 PM
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Originally posted by rennervision
Sounds fair to me. I'm still just real confused. You've got some people talking about how this is the best the movie ever sounded. Then others providing a completely opposite opinion. I mean if it sounds like the sound guy "fell asleep and his head hit the faders," as jough indicated, how the heck can this be the best the movie has ever sounded??? And jough's opinion carries some credibility with me, since he says ESB and ROTJ do not sound like this - so he doesn't come across like some crazy Lucas-basher with a hidden agenda.
This is the best they have ever sounded since this is the first time they have been released to a mass market format in Dolby 5.1 EX. I'm excluding the SE laserdiscs from this opinion since very few people ever saw those.

In my opinion the "problems" with the audio mix are minor issues that if you just enjoy the film are overshadowed greatly by everything that is right about the mix. Don't get me wrong, these are hardly the best sounding DVDs ever, but I don't think that Star Wars has ever sounded better.

I say this as someone who has worked in the Home Theater industry for 15 years and has watched ST:ANH on my system that is worth well over $40,000. I am a big fan of the films, but by no means am I a Star Wars "nut".

Pre-Amp: Denon AVR-5803
Amps: 4x Bryston 4BSST (300W x 2)
Speakers: Atlantic Technology 8200 THX Ultra System
DVD: Denon DVD-2900

Last edited by Green Jello; 09-22-04 at 06:16 PM.
Old 09-22-04, 05:59 PM
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What reference quality scenes for audio are there?
Old 09-22-04, 06:50 PM
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Originally posted by rennervision
Sounds fair to me. I'm still just real confused. You've got some people talking about how this is the best the movie ever sounded. Then others providing a completely opposite opinion. I mean if it sounds like the sound guy "fell asleep and his head hit the faders," as jough indicated, how the heck can this be the best the movie has ever sounded???
I think the problem is twofold:

1. Most people are used to shitty VHS tapes played through a mono TV speaker. Anyone who had, for example, been watching the laserdisc version (in Dolby Digital 5.1) for the past few years wouldn't be going so ga-ga over the sound today. And would also have been quick to point out the music issues, rear speaker issues, and other audio inconsistencies. Most people seem to think that home theater was invented with DVD and therefore anything that isn't on VHS is automatically "the best".

2. Most DVD reviews on the Internet are crap. I feel bad saying this (because I realize how difficult these things can be to write, especially one after another after another). But, basically, you have people writing these that usually aren't very technically oriented. Many do not own great equipment (and do not list their systems). And some are seeing the trilogy for the first time in years. These aren't people that I trust to give me a strong impression of the disc. They watch the disc, think "Hey, this looks/sounds cool", and then pull from a standard list of phrases ("never looked better", "best you are likely to see", amazing, glorious, etc.) to describe the sound.

As soon as you had people who knew the trilogy inside and out, who were paying attention to every line, and who had decent equipment getting the set, the flaws (and in some cases, defects) were reported.

I'm VERY disappointed that basically not a single review from the major sites noticed this stuff. Everyone went to the Lucasfilm lovefest event, got their goodie bags, and posted positive reviews. I don't think I saw a single review mention any sort of audio changes (muted music, new/loud foley changes, etc.) at all. And the fact that no one noticed that the freaking surround channels are REVERSED speaks volumes for the attention to detail that we're dealing with...
Old 09-22-04, 07:01 PM
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Originally posted by bboisvert

I'm VERY disappointed that basically not a single review from the major sites noticed this stuff. Everyone went to the Lucasfilm lovefest event, got their goodie bags, and posted positive reviews. I don't think I saw a single review mention any sort of audio changes (muted music, new/loud foley changes, etc.) at all. And the fact that no one noticed that the freaking surround channels are REVERSED speaks volumes for the attention to detail that we're dealing with...
Keep in mind that the flip side to that is that the audio is not "screwed up" enough for many people to notice without paying particular attention to them or are big enough fans to have previous versions to compare them too.
Old 09-22-04, 07:12 PM
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I guess Im the only one who thinks that in ESB the score volume goes up an down while the SFX is almost too loud?
It could be my systerm...I have a Philips HTIB..nothing too expensive...but Ive had no problems with any other movie...
I havent watched the other yets..but overall, the score just seems very thin and not full at all in some parts..
I also noticed the sound is very front heavy....

Maybe its just me....

Last edited by KevinSmithIsGod; 09-22-04 at 08:12 PM.
Old 09-22-04, 09:54 PM
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Originally posted by bboisvert
I think the problem is twofold:

1. Most people are used to shitty VHS tapes played through a mono TV speaker. Anyone who had, for example, been watching the laserdisc version (in Dolby Digital 5.1) for the past few years wouldn't be going so ga-ga over the sound today. And would also have been quick to point out the music issues, rear speaker issues, and other audio inconsistencies. Most people seem to think that home theater was invented with DVD and therefore anything that isn't on VHS is automatically "the best".

2. Most DVD reviews on the Internet are crap. I feel bad saying this (because I realize how difficult these things can be to write, especially one after another after another). But, basically, you have people writing these that usually aren't very technically oriented. Many do not own great equipment (and do not list their systems). And some are seeing the trilogy for the first time in years. These aren't people that I trust to give me a strong impression of the disc. They watch the disc, think "Hey, this looks/sounds cool", and then pull from a standard list of phrases ("never looked better", "best you are likely to see", amazing, glorious, etc.) to describe the sound.

As soon as you had people who knew the trilogy inside and out, who were paying attention to every line, and who had decent equipment getting the set, the flaws (and in some cases, defects) were reported.

I'm VERY disappointed that basically not a single review from the major sites noticed this stuff. Everyone went to the Lucasfilm lovefest event, got their goodie bags, and posted positive reviews. I don't think I saw a single review mention any sort of audio changes (muted music, new/loud foley changes, etc.) at all. And the fact that no one noticed that the freaking surround channels are REVERSED speaks volumes for the attention to detail that we're dealing with...
I have owned various version of the trilogy on laserdisc and have listened to the 5.1 tracks on them at great length. It is in my opinion that this new DVD mix is superior to those mixes if you can get past the few problems they have, which I think I minor.

You are right that most reviewers online really don't know what they are talking about when it comes to audio soundtracks. The only ones who I trust online are the guys at Widescreen Review, and they haven't posted theirs yet.
Old 09-22-04, 10:55 PM
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Prior to these releases, the only time I have ever heard these films in any sort of surround is on the SE VHS tapes and through a 80W (40x2) mini-shelf system that had SRS Surround. The distinct 5.1 EX track on these discs are going to sound different no matter what we've heard previously.

I noticed numerous new sounds and thought most of them were cool. I'm surprised everyone is griping about the extra bass on the R2 fall. I thought that "umph" has been sorely lacking in all previous releases. Its inclusion in this mix is greatly appreciate in my opinion. I always thought the original sound was too tinny sounding.

Although I'm sure it was there, I really didn't notice the reversed rear sound, however I sat on center with my left rear speaker while watching.
Old 09-22-04, 11:34 PM
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i just finished ESB, and noticed a lot of the original sound were missing. for example, when the ion cannon fires twice, i only hear one blast. no rebels screaming on hoth when their laser towers get hit. various tie fighter blasts and ship explosions are blocked/muffled out. asteroids hitting the ships with a dull sound only. added voice dialog here and there. i could barely hear han scream "you could use a good kiss!" from my left rear speaker. it was very distracting, to say the least. many of the familiar sounds that i've come to know are gone.

question: i have only 5.1 audio. is there any chance that i am somehow missing a 6th channel signal during 5.1 playback? i would think that the default audio is 5.1 and it should be balanced for that, but it just seems like the movie was missing way too much sound, even for 5.1.

Last edited by darmok; 09-23-04 at 10:11 AM.
Old 09-23-04, 01:10 AM
  #200  
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Generally I'm pleased with the release, the audio is my only gripe, especially in ANH. One second the dialog is crystal clear, then all of a sudden it sounds dated, a bit distracting.

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