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Reviews » Audio Reviews » Doors: L.A. Woman
Doors: L.A. Woman
Other // DVD Audio
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted June 7, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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M U S I C
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
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Highly Recommended
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The Music:

1. The Changeling
2. Love Her Madly
3. Been Down So Long
4. Cars Hiss By My Window
5. L.A. Woman
6. L'America
7. Hyacinth House
8. Crawling King Snake
9. The Wasp (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)
10. Riders On The Storm

The last official release by the Doors, this album has been remixed from the original 8 track analog 1" masters, offered in 5.1 surround at 96khz/24bit resolution for DVD-Audio.


The DVD

SOUND: Someone who happened by while I was reviewing this title said something that really summarizes perfectly how the audio sounds - "it sounds too good." Offered in DVD-Audio's Advanced Resolution 96khz/24 bit resolution 5.1 surround or 2.0 stereo, the sound is almost too smooth, too clean. The rawness of previous Doors recordings is all but lost here and honestly, "L.A. Woman", with a few little exceptions, sounds like something that was recorded today - if not today, quite recently.

Audio quality is quite impressive, but what I didn't always like is something that I'll often find when music is re-purposed for multi-channel audio. There's simply some surround use during the album that becomes rather gimmicky and unnatural. This is especially evident in the opening guitar part of "L'America", which bounces from speaker to speaker around the room. I generally don't mind if guitars or other instruments are occasionally placed in the surrounds, but to have instruments move around the room starts to become distracting and too noticable. Audio trickery like this pulls the viewer out of the experience and forces them to notice what the audio mixer can do, even if it's not right for the material. You'll notice a similar, although somewhat less annoying instance of this in "L.A. Woman", when the vocals suddenly bounce back and forth between the front and surrounds during one passage of the song. There's only one little bit of surround work that worked well for me - during "Riders On The Storm", the sounds of the storm are placed all around the viewer, making for a very enveloping feel without getting in the way of the music.

Thankfully, most of the other tracks on the album go for a more traditional approach to delivering the music with the 5.1 format. The instruments are placed around the viewer quite well, allowing for almost a "front row" feel. I found it interesting to compare even the stereo version to previous incarnations of the album, both on CD and cassette. I know that obviously, the DVD-Audio version is going to sound superior, but I was impressed with how vastly superior it sounded to the tinny, thin CD version. Fidelity is nothing short of terrific, with a suprisingly smooth, clean sound that never sounded the least bit "thin" or "edgy", although the vocals didn't always sound consistently crisp, but they certainly sounded great for the most part. Morrison's vocals shared space quite well with the rest of the music, having great presence in the mix.

The music itself also sounded superb. The detail to the playing of the fabulously talented band seemed slightly murky on the CD version, where on the DVD-AUDIO version every instrument came through distinctly. I've only taken a listen to two DVD-AUDIO tracks so far. Although the first one, the Corrs latest album "In Blue" sounded terrific, it didn't impress me quite as much as how well the format presented this older release. I was able to overlook the 5.1 presentation's occasional over-doing the surround use due to the terrific sound quality. And, the great part about DVD-Audio is that, if you don't care for how the music is presented in the surround format, there's still the stereo DVD-Audio track also included on the disc. Does it sound too good? Maybe, but I'm not complaining since it really does provide an excitingly fresh way to experience this great album with stellar sound quality.

For those who do not have DVD-Audio capability, there is also a Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation included for DVD-Video players.

Extras: Not a whole lot - a video for "The Changeling", bio and DVD-Audio mastering credits.

Final Thoughts: The last album from the Doors is a great one, and the DVD-Audio presentation is wonderful, with superior audio quality. Highly Recommended.
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