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Blu-ray Discs to Showcase Your New Sound System  Print E-mail
Home Theater Feature Articles Audio Related Articles
Written by Dick Ward   
Wednesday, 28 July 2010
Article Index
Blu-ray Discs to Showcase Your New Sound System 
Top 10 Discs Continued

You've picked out some new speakers, a new receiver, an amp, or even an entirely new sound system.  It's a great feeling, and it's something that you want to share.  If your Blu-ray collection isn't up to snuff, you'll have a hard time doing it.  Comedies and indie flicks are fine to watch, but they're not going to give your system the workout it needs.

With that in mind, we've compiled a list of some of the absolute best Blu-ray discs, and the best scenes from each, to use while showing off your new system.  These are not only top quality as far as accurate sound reproduction goes, but they've got those dynamic moments that really make an impression.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers 'Revenge of the Fallen' was by no stretch of the imagination a great movie.  It'd even be tough to make the case that the sequel to 'Transformers' was a good movie.  As an audio demo though, it's one of the best.

You'll get 5.1 channels of DTS-HD Master Audio from 'Revenge of the Fallen' with a heavy emphasis on the .1.  It's a Michael Bay film, and if there's one thing Michael Bay films are good for, it's showing off your subwoofer.  On the downside, this film isn't great when it comes to dialog – it just gets lost in the shuffle.  

 The first minute or so is a nice sampler that really gives your sub a workout, but to get the full effect you'll want to cue this up to a fight scene.  I'd suggest the one about a half hour in where Megatron and Optimus Prime fight in the woods.  It's a good robot only scene that's full of those wonderful metallic noises and loud, deep booms.

The Dark Knight

Dark Knight At CES 2009 this was the one Blu-ray used to demo nearly every television and audio system at the show.  It's not just because 'The Dark Knight' was ridiculously popular either.  It's one of those films that really lives up to the hype.

Audio for 'The Dark Knight' is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround.  It's got those huge jumps between loud and quiet moments that really make an audio track pop, those lows that make your subwoofer rumble, and plenty of great ambient sounds to show off the sensitivity of your surrounds.  

Another bonus for 'The Dark Knight' is that it's probably the single easiest Blu-ray on the list to demo.  Turn it on and let it play.  The opening bank robbery scene doesn't have much in the way of fun Joker moments, but from an audio standpoint it can't be beat.

Black Hawk Down


blackhawk War movies are all too common, but the really good ones are few and far between.  Ridley Scott's 'Blackhawk Down' is up near the top, combining a excellently written adaptation of a real story, prime acting from Ewan McGregor, Josh Hartnett and Eric Bana, and some of the best sound you'll hear on Blu-ray.

If you had a chance to see 'Blackhawk Down' in the theater then you got a taste of what sound mixing is all about.  You don't get much better than this, though plenty of movies try.  It's hugely different from the over the top audio of 'Revenge of the Fallen' in that the goal is realism in both sound effects and mixing.

For a demo you'll want to go with the titular scene of the Blackhawk helicopter crashing.  It's a gripping scene without a great system, but with your speakers playing loud, that final moment of impact will feel like it's happening for real.

Elton 60 - Live at Madison Square Garden

Elton John Just because you're showing off an audio system doesn't mean things need to be exploding.  There's more to sound than just your subwoofer, like the crystal clear reproduction of a live musical experience.

Whether or not you're a fan of his music, Elton John's 60th birthday concert makes for one impressive Blu-ray disc.  It's got a 5.1 PCM presentation and an audio transparency that's second to none.  To add to that, you've got some choices between songs utilizing the full band and those with just Elton at the piano.

'Levon' might just be the perfect choice of songs to demo your new system.  It starts out with Elton playing alone until cellos start to kick in during the first chorus.  By the time the song ends, there's a full band playing and a choir singing along.  You'll hear all the sounds at once, but each instrument and each voice remains clear.

Avatar

Avatar This list would be horribly incomplete without the dealer's current demo disc of choice.  'Avatar' was an unbelievably popular movie that surprised everyone by sticking around far after most movies would have left the theaters.  It's doing well on Blu-ray too, and with good reason.

'Avatar' is strong both from a visual and audio standpoint, which makes it a great film to go to.  It's also one that most people have seen, so they'll be able to pay attention to the audio instead of trying to figure out what's going on.

 


 

 
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