Sunday, 14 August 2022

Ulzana's Raid (1972)

1991 MCA LaserDisc: This sounds a bit muffled. Having been released in the early '90s, it was probably subjected to some form of digital noise reduction.

2003 R2 Universal DVD: Strong noise reduction. The worst among these.

2020 Kino Lorber Blu-ray: Segments with music have less noise reduction than the rest of the film - and indeed less than the LaserDisc. They sound substantially more detailed here. Dialogue-centric scenes are slightly more muffled than in the LD mastering.

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Manhattan (1979)

The MGM DVD is unremarkable but sounds much better than the blu-ray. The blu-ray has had most of its bass removed (see 1:35) and some of its high end.

Thursday, 11 August 2022

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Theatrical cut, mono:

1993 Republic Pictures LaserDisc [LV25831]: Natural and seemingly unmanipulated, but it lacks detail above 8-9 kHz, probably due to source issues.

2004 Anchor Bay DVD - Ultimate Edition: From superior (lower generation) elements, but most of this improvement is negated by the noise reduction present.

2005 Anchor Bay DVD - Special Edition: Identical to the Ultimate Edition DVD.

2010 Arrow Blu-ray: This is the same track that's on the Australian Umbrella Entertainment blu-ray released in the same year. It's like the Anchor Bay mastering made to be fake stereo (the kind that achieves this by emphasising frequencies differently between channels).

2017 Midnight Factory Blu-ray: The mono track is a lossy transcode that's identical to the AC-3 one on the Japanese Happinet blu-ray from 2013. It's far and away the most detailed track here, possibly being a flat transfer with no destructive mastering work.

2021 Second Sight Blu-ray: The mono suspiciously resembles a downmix of the faux stereo track made in ~2010. It's been EQed rather strongly - it's extremely bass-heavy. The UHD is identical.

Fidelity-wise, the 5.1 tracks on the above discs (and the one on the earlier Anchor Bay blu-ray) are similar to the Anchor Bay DVD mono. I don't believe there are new foley effects, but I haven't checked exhaustively.

The Arrow mono, not downmixed:

European cut:

2004 Anchor Bay DVD - Ultimate Edition: The mono track has tonnes of noise reduction and sounds  poor, far worse than the Anchor Bay mono for the theatrical cut. The 5.1 sounds similar.

2016 Midnight Factory Blu-ray: The mono is like the Anchor Bay DVD track and is a lossy transcode. The 5.1, however, is extremely detailed - see ESC UHD.

2019 ESC Editions UHD: There is no mono track on this disc, but the 5.1 is like the one on the Midnight Factory disc, though not quite identical. I've downmixed it to mono for the comparison images below to demonstrate how much more detail it has relative to the mono.

2021 Second Sight Blu-ray: The mono is like the Anchor Bay DVD track and is a lossy transcode. The 5.1 is similar.