Orchestra/Don Jackson – DTS Entertainment Double-Disc: DVD-Audio 5.1,
DTS 5.1, separate standard CD 69286-01136-2-6, 53:40 ****:
This is another one of a series of seven albums which the DTS press
release refers to as Six Masters Rediscovered in Surround Sound (there
are two Tchaikovsky collections). Actually I suspect DTS was well aware
they had these masters, because they had been released in two forms
previously as far as I can recall: first as DTS 5.1 CDs and more
recently as DTS 5.1 DVD-Audios with DTS 5.1 options.
What’s a departure about this new series –
Handel’s Water Garden
– is that it seems to be DTS’ alternative to the technically dicey
DualDisc format. Instead of gluing a standard CD to a DVD-A or DVD-V
(usually with no video anyway), making a thicker-than-normal disc that
hangs up in many players, DTS provides an entirely separate CD for
playing in your portable player, computer or car unit. The surround
disc is both DVD-Audio and DTS 5.1, providing an excellent surround
experience for those without a DVD-A player (whose numbers are legion)
since most receivers and preamps now have DTS decoding built in. I
found that the Integra DPS-10.5 universal player at hand immediately
played some older DTS CDs as soon as inserted in the tray.
However, it refused to play the new DTS DVDs because I had turned the
Video Circuitry button Off. The player’s display showed “Top Menu,”
evidently meaning a video display was required, as with so many DVD-As.
When I turned the Video Circuitry back on it displayed “DTS DVD” and
started playing Track 1. I could then turn the Video Circuitry back off
to improve the sonics. The screen display for both DVD-A and DTS is a
single landscape still photo with the composer and selection titles
superimposed over it. The titles change as the tracks do.
There was no indication of DVD-Audio on the package or the disc except
for a very tiny logo that said “Audio Video” under a DVD logo. This
ploy reminded me of the Stones SACDs which said nothing about being
SACDs. However, the average user would probably find little or no
difference if they had DVD-A capability but ended up accidentally
listening to the DTS option instead. I found it was possible to
feed both simultaneously from the Integra player, and they sounded so
similar that the only way I could be certain that the six-channel
analog cable was in proper operation for DVD-A instead of the single
digital cable for the DTS bitstream, was by briefly unplugging one of
the six cables and having the sound to that particular speaker
cease. The latest DTS algorhyhms have gotten that good – and are
furnishing a hi-res audio experience for more recent classical and jazz
music DVDs as well.
OK, let’s wind up this technical farrago with a word about the music
and performances. They are of the highest quality. I was surprised to
read that conductor Jackson has recorded 45 major orchestral
albums with three different London orchestras. And that of the 14 true
classical albums to sell over one million copies, he conducted seven of
them! He conducted Placido Domingo’s first platinum album and has done
arrangements and scoring for such as Tony Bennett, The Boston Pops, Bob
Hope and The Temptations.
The London players are of course well familiar with all these classical
hits and play with the greatest skill and feeling. This is not a
budget greatest hits album taped on a shoestring in a drafty radio
studio somewhere in Eastern Europe. I earnestly hope that some of this
series will get into the hands of new home theater fans who have seldom
sat down in front of their speakers to just listen to music without
images, and that the experience of music in surround will excite them
to a new appreciation of recorded music. Perhaps even to consider
stepping up from their home-theater-in-a-box speaker system to
Selections: Ave Maria, Allegretto from Symphony No. 33, Andante from
Symphony No. 4, Allegretto from Octet in F, Andante from Symphony No.
6, Serenade, Allegro & Andante from Symphony No. 5, Andante from
Symphony No. 2, Entr’acte No. 3 from Rosamunde, Allegro vivace from
Symphony No. 1.
– John Sunier