LennonImagine BDAudioWell, here we go on the new wild and crazy ride known as hi-res music once again.  After the wave and sudden drops from sight that we experienced with the promise of DVD-Audio, and SACD, we’re about to do it again.  In fact, it’s already started.  In the not too distant past, we’ve heard rumblings of Blu-ray Audio, although any emergence of them on a scale worth noticing had been slim pickings.  Recently, however, especially with the delivery of a high profile YES reissue of Close To The Edge as remixed by Steven Wilson, and with a lot of extras, we’re starting to see titles emerging.

Many of the titles being announced are some that should be quite exciting to own. (If No Secrets by Carly Simon gets reissued in BD-Audio, I’m buying it right away. EBay copies of the DVD-Audio version are selling for a high premium!)

Iamgine by John Lennon is scheduled for February 11 by Capitol Records.  Also on the list  – and already released – are Peel Slowly & See (The Velvet Underground & Nico), Breakfast In America (Supertramp), Sea Change (Beck), Big Band Bossa Nova (Quincy Jones), What’s Going On? (Marvin Gaye), Songs In The Key Of Life (Stevie Wonder), Kaya (Bob Marley & The Wailers), and Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs (Derek And the Dominoes), all issued on October 30 of last year (2013).   There may be more titles joining Lennon‘s Imagine yet.

New titles (besides the high profile John Lennon – Imagine reissue) now include selections from the Classical realm and include Bruckner: Symphony Number 4 ‘Romantic’ (Bohm/Wiener Philharmoniker), 1612: Italian Vespers (I Fagiolini/Hollingworth), Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites (Karajan/Wiener Philharmoniker), Beethoven & Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos (Mullova/Gardiner/ORR), and Handel: Messiah (Various Artists).  All of these titles are scheduled on the calendar for March 18.

These are Universal titles, all in the first  – and now second – salvos from the label to test the waters of hi-quality audio being referred to as High Fidelity Pure Audio.  We haven’t seen any returns to DSD in Blu-ray Audio discs from Sony, or any Warner (who previously supported DVD-Audio) music.

Supertramp Breakfast In America

Still, I find these issues promising.  I’m sincerely hoping that we continue to see brave ventures out into the waters of these BD-Audio reissues.  The difference between these issues and the previous attempts with SACD, and DVD-Audio is hardware.  All toe-dippers in the past had to pony up for new and exclusive hardware, where Blu-ray players  already have a huge install base.  However, I’m not holding my breath for any adoption other than a few titles trickling out.  The money return expectations will have to be there which will exclude the popular but lower selling titles.

All we can do is to sit and wait it out.

Marvin Gaye Whats Going On

By MARowe

11 thoughts on “Blu-ray Audio – The Trickle Down Effect Anew”
  1. Supertramp “Crime of the Century” is coming out in Blu-Ray audio also – I have it on order. It is scheduled for release on March 14th.

  2. I’ve been grabbing these Universal releases as soon as I see them on Amazon (most from the UK).
    So far…
    Supertramp – BIA (I tried ordering Crime of the Century too but that order was cancelled by Amazon)
    Stevie Wonder – SITKOL
    Nirvana – In Utero and Nevermind
    Rolling Stones – Grrrr! and Exile On Main Street
    Queen – A Night At The Opera

    My biggest gripe is that none of them have been given the 5.1 mix treatment. A Night At The Opera, which was already released as a dvd-A with a 5.1 mix (which I have) is supposed to have a 5.1 mix but that one is in the mail so I can’t confirm that first hand yet. I passed on the Derek And The Dominos because I already have the sacd with 5.1 mix and from what I read the blu-ray does not have the 5.1 mix.

    I hope this is the beginning of some serious blu-ray/hi-res releases but, if history is any indicator, this will probably be treated as a niche market with continued sporadic releases. I hope I am wrong about that.

    Thanks for making sure everyone knows about these, Matt. The more people that buy these, the higher the probability that more will be released.

    1. I snatched up a couple of discs early on, with high hopes:

      Nirvana: In Utero and Nevermind
      Supertramp: BIA
      Nina Simone: I put a spell on you
      Velvet Underground: ST
      Oscar Peterson: Night Train
      Ella and Louis: I amp; II
      Bob Marley: Legend
      Stevie Wonder: The Key of Life
      Rolling Stones: Exile and GRRR!
      Quincy Jones: Big Band Bossa Nova
      Lionel Richie: Can’t Slow Down

      In general, very disappointed. Same gripe. No 5.1 and not a single extra to be found – particularly considering the capacity of the Blu-ray format. What kind of excuse can they make for putting 30-35 minutes of two channel music on a disc with 50GB capacity?

      The only thing that comes close is the Rolling Stones GRRR disc that has about 3 hours of music. The problem with that disc is that the mastering is absolutely horrendous!!! No excuse.

      However, discs like the Supertramp and Lionel Richie show a bit of care taken, although the lack of extras is appalling!!!

      I really had some hope, but with the inconsistent quality of the mastering and lack of any incentive to make these titles interesting, I think that I’ll just stick with my old copies of most of the forthcoming titles until Universal get’s its act together!!!

      It would be the perfect format for offering Hi-res 5.1 AND Stereo masters with all the extra’s of a deluxe edition. Then they could tack on a concert or something and really push these out of the door.

      Instead we just get crappy re-issues that honestly sound better on a format that is older than most of us (vinyl).

      Bah-harumph.

  3. Some other available at Amazon UK:

    Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks
    Bob Marley – Legend
    Lionel Richie – Can’t Slow Down
    Amy Winehouse – Back To Black

    Jan 20th:
    Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed
    Genesis – Selling England By The Pound

  4. THe industry again drops the ball – no 5.1?! The biggest disappointment? Getting artists to do track by track commentaries like movie DVDs.

  5. It will be interesting to see how well the United States Beatles CDs sell, given that the two volumes issued earlier didn’t do that great. I’m glad that they are giving us both the mono and stereo versions on the same CD. I wish the previous British re-issues had been sold the same way!

  6. I also agree that it’s encouraging that studios haven’t completely given up on high resolution physical media releases. My only questions regarding these Blu Ray releases are (as others have noted) why no 5.1 (especially where the mixes were already released on DVD-A or SACD) and why only 96/24? They sell higher resolution files of some of these online and the Deluxe Edition of Moondance Had 192/24 mixes included. I say if the medium can accomodate the larger files, why not “max out” the resolution? It seems like a bit of a missed opportunity to me. Also, the mastering on these titles has been hit or miss (from what I’ve read) so I would personally need to read a review of an individual release before I plunked down my cash. With that in mind, anyone have any opinion on the quality of the Legend or What’s Going On Blu Ray Audio discs?

  7. I haven’t done this with the other high res formats but after going through the dvda sacd and even dual disc debacles I’m taking a wait and see attitude no 5.1 on some of these is strike one

  8. How many times do we all have to repeat ourselves? All of this hi-rez stuff is nice, but the appeal will remain extremely limited without surround mixes! I’d buy so many of these if they were in 5.1, but since they are not, I’ll most likely pass on most if not all.

    Which, BTW, really gets me as I really like some of these titles, especially the Supertramp ones! Breakfast in America would KILL in surround!!

    Come on music companies! Take a little more time to get some new 5.1 mixes out there!! Just look at the prices now being commanded for so many of the now OOP titles…there is clearly a market out there for this stuff!

  9. Another soon to be orphaned format and the same “audiophile” rock/pop music selections. No thanks, but I’ll sit this one out.

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