NOCTURNAL ANIMALS: HI-DEF DIGEST

Active and potent best describe the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Though surround activity errs on the faint side, noticeable stereo separation across the front channels widens the soundscape, and strong bass frequencies supply essential weight while effectively punctuating dramatic moments. Sonic accents like gunfire, screeching wheels, and revving engines are crisp, and subtle atmospherics like rain and gentle breezes nicely waft across the room. A wide dynamic scale handles all the highs, lows, and sudden bursts of sound without a hint of distortion, and excellent fidelity enhances Abel Korzeniowski’s haunting score. All the dialogue is clear and easy to comprehend, and no surface noise or other imperfections impede this well-balanced, high-powered mix.  LINK TO ARTICLE

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS: BLU-RAY.COM

Nocturnal Animals arrives on Blu-ray with a quality DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The movie isn’t one to oversaturate the stage with sound. It’s deliberate and detailed, pronouncing when necessary but beautifully reserved when opportune. Music is well spaced, situated predominantly across the front and yielding high-end instrumental clarity from the bottom end to the top. Atmospherics bring the movie to life, whether insect chatter in Texas or street din in the city: both are nicely enveloping and engaging. Slightly more aggressive effects, such as interstate travel heard inside a car or a few crashes and screams, enjoy authentic detail while a few gunshots in the third act are crisp and realistically weighty. Dialogue drives much of the film and is presented with consistently natural front-center positioning, clarity, and prioritization.  LINK TO ARTICLE

DEEPWATER HORIZON: HI-DEF DIGEST

‘Deepwater Horizon’ has been outfitted with a rocking Dolby Atmos track that will really get adopters of the relatively new format excited. This mix makes use of all that Atmos has to offer. The second half of the film is certainly demo-worthy. The action here is primed for the sort of experience that Dolby Atmos offers. As the crew of the Deepwater Horizon run around an exploding floating oil rig the sound is engulfing. Explosions happen behind and above you. Creaking, groaning, and crashing metal structures give the height speakers a lot to play with. Helicopters hovering overhead provide some seamless surround to height speaker transfers that are crisp and fluid. Up front the center channel never loses any dialogue. Even during the explosions voices are heard clearly. The bass on this movie is tremendous. Explosion after explosion make this quite a bombastic mix. The low-end frequencies are rich and effective. For the Atmos crowd this one is going to be a must-own title.  LINK TO ARTICLE

DEEPWATER HORIZON: BLU-RAY.COM

Audiophiles may want to pick up this disc even if they have no interest in the subject matter, since Deepwater Horizon’s Dolby Atmos track provides one of the best reference quality audio experiences of the new year (which, admittedly, is still young). Even before the explosions send huge waves of sonic information rumbling through the floorboards and overhead, there are some great pinpoint placements of sound effects in the early going, including the helicopter rotors as the team gets to the rig, and some of the drilling sound effects. The underwater scenes have typical “muffling” but sound viscerally exciting at times. Dialogue is mixed extremely well, even in some of the cacophonous scenes late in the film where all sorts of effects are ping ponging through the surrounds.  LINK TO ARTICLE

LOST RIVER: HI-DEF DIGEST

Continuing it’s technical achievement, ‘Lost River’ earns full marks for this beautiful DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track. From the noises of construction equipment, to quiet hikes through weed-covered factories, to Ben Mendelsohn’s song number, the mix of ‘Lost River’ is fantastic. Coupled with outstanding imaging and the beautiful Johnny Jewel score, there is just so much to hear and appreciate with this mix. Everything for the most part keeps to the mid-ranges allowing all of the key dialogue and sound effects to be heard with crystal clarity. I say key because for whatever artistic reason, or to maintain the need to be weird, there apparently are some conversations or moments you’re just not meant to hear clearly. When these moments happen, it’s not a problem with the sound design or this audio track, it’s just the movie indulging itself. All around I loved the sound design for this film and this track does it great justice.  LINK TO ARTICLE

LOST RIVER: BLU-RAY.COM

If the strength and effectiveness of Lost River’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track isn’t readily apparent from the outset, it will be by film’s end. Johnny Jewel’s score pulses, thrums, crescendos then presses the advantage, rising from the center of the soundfield and rippling outwards, complementing Debie’s visuals with an unsettling intensity and engaging, dreamlike vitality. LFE output is bold and assertive, the rear speakers surge and relent, and the film’s soundscape, whether naturalistic or surreal, is only overwhelmed by the music when Gosling and Jewel allow. Ambient and directional effects are as subtle or jarring as required too, cross-channel pans are transparent, and dynamics impress. Dialogue is more hit or miss, with voices that are sometimes drowned in the chaos, music, or both, but again, only as the film’s sound design and Gosling’s intentions dictate. The soundscape isn’t neatly arranged or traditionally prioritized; it’s often designed to disorient, discomfort or knock the listener off balance, particularly as Billy explores the depths of Dave’s club. Bottom line: without any issues to hinder the mix, Warner’s lossless track only enhances the experience.  LINK TO ARTICLE

STONEHEARST ASYLUM: BLU-RAY.COM

Stonehearst Asylum features an all-around solid performer in its Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The film opens with some quality dialogue reverberation around the rather large lecture hall that immediately immerses the listener in the location and easily replicates the audio experience. The surrounds further enjoy some subtle and aggressive ambient effects as Newgate arrives at the asylum. A brisk breeze, lingering thunder cracks, cackling birds, and stringy music all set a fairly dramatic stage and play with a naturally wide and full-on surround experience. Music is consistently well defined and clear with naturally wide spacing, whether overlay or in-story music as heard during a ballroom dance in chapter nine. A few heavier action effects play with decent authority, and the low end kicks in with some necessary power in a few key moments. Dialogue, however, dominates the film and plays with effortless center-focused clarity and vocal nuance. This is a quality effort all around from Millennium Entertainment.  LINK TO ARTICLE

2 GUNS : BLU-RAY.COM

Universal’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track kicks down door after door, guns blazing. Shootouts, explosions, throaty dune buggies, roaring engines and thundering helicopter attacks feature ample low-end heft, and the LFE channel makes its presence known. And with bullets ricocheting, shrapnel flying and debris scattering, the soundfield is immersive and involving. Directionality is precise, cross-channel pans are smooth, and cramped kill rooms boast as much ambient prowess as more chaotic action-packed sequences. Dialogue is clear, intelligible and impeccably prioritized too, even when Washington and Wahlberg have to compete with gunfire. All told, 2 Guns is an AV crowd-pleaser.  LINK TO ARTICLE

2 GUNS : HI-DEF DIGEST

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix on ‘2 Guns’ really manages to give the film the presentation it deserves. As an action movie, there are certain expectations that come from the audience expecting big, boisterous gunshots and explosions, but also a bombastic score and maybe a familiar tune, or two. All of this is presented quite well by the mix, but it also does a terrific job of making sure the dialogue is clean and easy to here. In fact, one of the most remarkable things about the mix is the way it manages to balance the separate parts of the soundtrack and make them meld together in a cohesive, but distinct manner. Overall, this is a great sounding disc that fulfills the needs of your typical action film, while still managing to make sure the actor’s and environment aren’t forgotten.  LINK TO ARTICLE

THE CALL : HI-DEF DIGEST

This release comes with a demo-worthy lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand, with no evidence of cracks or hissing at any point. The surrounds get a workout here too. From the sounds of the helicopters flying over head, to the cars passing each other on the highway, to the call center calls and voices that engulfs your screening room, it all sounds authentic and real.The score provides a lot of tension and emotion in each scene, and never drowns out dialogue or the sound effects. The dynamic range here is flawless, with great highs and lows that pack a good punch. The ambient noises sound great coming from the surrounds here as well and happen quite often. All of the noises sound legitimate and real, making this one hell of an audio presentation.  LINK TO ARTICLE

THE CALL : BLU-RAY.COM

The Call rings onto Blu-ray with an excellent DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. This is one of those presentations that sounds straight out of the theater. It’s big, clarity is impeccable, and the quality is top-notch. In other words, it’s pretty much the perfect soundtrack. The film opens with, and again showcases once or twice later in the film, a sonic collage of 911 calls that spread all over the stage; front, back, and sides are swarming with chatter. The effect is fully immersive and highly enjoyable from an audio perspective. Music delivery is smooth and precise, wide and with a firm surround support and a strong low end foundation. Even muddled music heard from the trunk of a car sounds impeccably authentic. Some of the bigger sound effects — buzzing helicopters or various crashes and smashes — play with faultless presence and realism.  LINK TO ARTICLE

HUNGER GAMES : HI-DEF DIGEST

If the visual presentation was near perfection, the 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio presentation is perfection. This is a butt-kicking, ear-thumping audio mix that puts you right smack-dab in the center of the action and never let’s go. The additional two channels really help in providing and enveloping feel. As Katniss runs from other game participants we can hear them yelling at her through the rear speakers as the rush of foliage and the crunch of twigs are happening in the front. A swarm of killer bees is unleashed and all of the channels fill up with a deadly buzzing that really makes you feel like you stepped into the middle of a bunch of angry bees. LFE is also astounding. Fireballs shoot past Katniss as a wildfire is created in the game. The loud whoosh and boom they create rumble the floor, walls, and pictures if you’ve got them. Even subtle ambiance is completely noticeable. The scene where Katniss and Rue use mocking jays to communicate offers pin-point accuracy in the speakers as the whistling mocking jay song bounces from one channel to the other as it travels further away. Dialogue is always clear and comes directly from the center channel with the front channels offering pitch-perfect directionality when needs be. There’s nothing that’s left out here. Lionsgate’s audio mix covers all the bases and what you end up with is a demo-quality track which you could use to show off your set-up.  LINK TO ARTICLE

HUNGER GAMES : BLU-RAY.COM

This DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 is simply a huge, unadulterated “wow” from start to finish. Impeccably immersive and full of some of the coolest surround effects I’ve heard in some time, this track regularly assaults the senses with all manner of discrete channelization and bombastic LFE. I defy most listeners not to startle when they first hear the cannon which announces the deaths of various participants (and listen to how carefully it’s placed in the sound field with differing amplitude along the way). One of the coolest effects comes a couple of times in the film when a huge spaceship hovers over head. The LFE here is absolutely astounding and one of the most notable things about it is how it vibrates and pulses over the listener—this is an LFE “wave” of sound. There are too many wonderful moments, both large and small, to really list in any detail, but the track sports absolutely reference quality fidelity, with huge variances in dynamic range and a totally visceral sense of “being there”.   LINK TO ARTICLE

THE FOURTH KIND REVIEW : HIGH-DEF DIGEST

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack accompanying the video serves as a great and impressive complement, sounding better than initially expected. Like any other type of horror flick, the movie relies heavily on sudden, thunderous jolts of noise to startle the audience. When this happens, the entire system comes alive and envelopes listeners while dynamic range remains stable and sharply clean. Aside from those moments, discretes are effective in creating ambiance, several scenes of rainfall are enveloping, and the musical score enhances the soundfield to keep viewers engaged. The front soundstage is expansive, with nicely-balanced channel separation and strong clarity. Low-frequency bass is equally palpable and forceful for those scenes requiring split second shocks and panic.  LINK TO ARTICLE

THE FOURTH KIND REVIEW : BLU-RAY.COM

Universal’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is just as jarring, but even more mesmerizing. Osunsanmi draws his viewers forward with Jovovich’s subdued therapy sessions and Patton’s measured interrogations, only to send them hurtling back with a chaotic cacophony of unsettling noise; an explosion of dissonant strings, guttural screams, and high-pitched cries crafted and honed to assault the senses and unnerve anyone in earshot. LFE output is powerful to say the least — an increasingly heavyset hum permeates every alien encounter, thundering effects and Atli Örvarsson’s intense score form perfect sonic storms, and hurried police cruisers and shouting officers are anchored to the soundscape with legitimate weight and presence — and rear speaker activity goes for the jugular (or its inner-ear equivalent).   LINK TO ARTICLE

TRICK ′r TREAT REVIEW : HIGH-DEF DIGEST

Accompanying the already enjoyable video presentation is this robust Dolby TrueHD soundtrack, which takes full advantage of the sound system to immerse the audience in all the wickedly good fun. For a majority of its runtime, the well-designed mix is distributed evenly in the front soundstage, delivering precise dialogue reproduction and exhibiting wonderful room penetration. Vast assortments of ghastly sounds show terrific clarity and detail, generating a convincing aural presence of spaciousness and imaging. From the crunch of bones to the shredding of flesh, and from the shrieks of victims to the moans of the dead, the lossless track remains effective throughout and is nicely supported by some solid low-frequency bass.  LINK TO ARTICLE

THE FOURTH KIND REVIEW : MOVIE METROPOLIS

The Universal decision to make “The Fourth Kind” a hybrid film that featured ‘recreations’ and video footage allows for the soundtrack to be more dynamic and vibrant. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is far livelier than the purposely rough sounding “Paranormal Activity.” This isn’t to say the entire film is modern sounding, the sound editors had a little fun with the mix and the ‘transition’ scenes that move between footage and recreation have a clearly audible change in sound quality that was my favorite part of the film. I liked this. This is definitely one of the better sounding films of this subgenre and the polish from being part of the studio system is easily apparent. Dialogue is pretty good, but the film’s rough recordings of the Sumarian language will leave you frustrated at trying to hear what is being said. It’s supposed to be that way though.  LINK TO ARTICLE

TRICK ′r TREAT REVIEW : BLU-RAY.COM

Trick ′r Treat boasts a satisfying Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track that surpasses the usual direct-to-video drivel with a respectable mix and a rewarding sonic experience. Dialogue is clear and intelligible throughout, and prioritization is nearly impeccable, particularly when gnashing teeth and tearing flesh are involved. More importantly, the film’s pulpy sound effects pack quite an LFE punch; its scares and jolts even more so. Screams, roars, and shotgun blasts resonate, clomping footfalls have legitimate weight, and crunching bone is convincing and unsettling. Granted, the rear speakers are sometimes subdued for such an aggressive mix, but rustling leaves and other persistent background noise makes it relatively easy to immerse oneself in the film’s soundfield. And even though the track is a tad front-heavy at times, solid directionality and smooth pans produce an effective illusion of space.  LINK TO ARTICLE