1. Hotel California
2. New Kid in Town
3. Life in the Fast Lane
4. Wasted Time
5. Wasted Time (Reprise)
6. Victim of Love
7. Pretty Maids All in a Row
8. Try and Love Again
9. The Last Resort
SOUND: This DVD-Audio edition of "Hotel California" presents the album in three ways: Advanced Resolution DVD-Audio 5.1 or 2.0 or DVD-Video compatible Dolby Digital 5.1. As with all DVD-A titles, only DVD-Audio capable players can play the Advanced Resolution 5.1/2.0 tracks, while those who have DVD-Video players can play the Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The DVD-Audio tracks are 96khz. The 5.1 mix has been done by Elliot Scheiner (Steely Dan, Sting).
The concern with an older album is, of course, not only how it will be remixed into 5.1, but the quality of the audio in general. On both counts, this is a successful effort that fans of the album will likely find enjoyable. Audio quality is, for an album that was released in 1976, quite enjoyable. Vocals are clear and easily understood, if a bit lacking in richness. The guitars seem to have more life and warmth than ever before, as every note of the electric guitars rings clearly. The sound does not quite have the depth and fullness of other DVD-Audio titles, but I found the overall quality satisfactory considering the album's age.
As with many of Scheiner's presentations, the surrounds are fully involved throughout each and every track of the album. Some have complained that some of his efforts are too agressive with the music, but I've enjoyed his works and his approach is effective again here. It's hard not to get into tracks like "Life in the Fast Lane", where the guitars strut their stuff in the rears. Surrounds are certainly not subtle, as various instruments are offered by the rears. There was nothing "gimmicky" though, about their use or the mix in general - nothing moved from speaker to speaker. The center speaker is mainly used for instrumentals and slightly used for vocals - vocals are mainly delivered by the front main speakers.
I did not detect any hiss or other problems related to age during listening to this edition. The album does fall slightly sort in terms of quality, but considering the age, I found the overall quality satisfying. I also found the 5.1 mix quite pleasing, with agressive, but not overdone, surround use and nothing gimmicky or artificial.
Extras: Credits and a short video interview with the album's producer, who also discusses his opinions on remixing the album into 5.1.
Final Thoughts: Certainly a classic rock album, "Hotel California" gets delivered in fine fashion on DVD-Audio with good audio quality and a fine 5.1 remix. Recommended.