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Imagine - John Lennon [Blu-ray Audio]
Review by Gary Tooze
Producer: Universal Music Group
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Total Music time: 0:39:45.883
Disc Size: 7,209,262,676 bytes
Chapters: 10 (one per song)
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: February 25th, 2014 (In USA)
LPCM Audio English 4608 kbps 2.0 / 96 kHz / 4608 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3745 kbps 2.0 / 96 kHz / 3745 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 3.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby TrueHD Audio English 3096 kbps 2.0 / 96 kHz / 3096 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Embedded: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
16-page liner notes foldout with essay, lyrics and photo
The front cover was a Polaroid taken by Andy Warhol. The back cover photograph was taken by Yoko Ono.
A paper with a code to access the disc digital downloads online
Imagine Track Listing (All songs written by John Lennon,
except "Oh My Love" by Lennon and Yoko Ono):
Imagine was written and recorded during a period of
particularly bad feeling between Lennon and former bandmate
Paul McCartney, following The Beatles' break-up the year
before and McCartney winning his case in the High Court to
have their legal partnership dissolved. Harrison guested on
half of Imagine's ten tracks, including the brutal "How
Do You Sleep?" − a song written in retaliation against
McCartney's alleged personal attacks on Lennon and Ono, on
their recent Ram album. Although Lennon softened his stance
in the mid '70s and claimed he wrote "How Do You Sleep?"
about himself, he revealed in 1980: "I used my resentment
against Paul ... to create a song ... not a terrible vicious
horrible vendetta ... I used my resentment and withdrawing
from Paul and The Beatles, and the relationship with Paul,
to write 'How Do You Sleep?'. I don't really go 'round with
those thoughts in my head all the time ..."
Imagine is the second album by John Lennon. Recorded and released in 1971, it tended towards songs that were gentler, more commercial and less primal rock than those on his previous album, the critically acclaimed John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. The album is considered the most popular of his works. In 2012, Imagine was voted 80th on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time".Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE
Adopters of Blu-ray immediately notice that lossless audio transfer is one of the most valuable benefits of this new format. Not only surround separation but the depth, resonance and overall purity exporting capabilities of the lossless and uncompressed sound formats. DVDBeaver prefers technical comparison as analysis. Unfortunately, I don't know of a way of extracting the tech info - nor do I believe there is any of John Lennon's albums in the SACD format to compare its merits to this Blu-ray audio. So, again my review will rely on my ears! I have a system with a Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player and can toggle back and forth between my Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray/SACD Player trying to notice/listen with a discerning ear.
NOTE: Even though this is a Blu-ray disc, it does not contain the Imagine 1972 television film by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, filmed mostly at their Tittenhurst Park home in Ascot, England, during 1971, and intended for television. All the songs from Lennon's Imagine album appear in that soundtrack, and also the songs "Mrs. Lennon" and "Don't Count the Waves", from Ono's album Fly.
UME are using the original master tapes transferred to uncompressed files, mastered at 24bit/96kHz. This elevates Blu-ray Audio discs to a new, more pure, level - hopefully the most accurate replication of the original studio sound - when recorded. These can be played with, or without, your video system being on (depending on your set-up!).
This Blu-ray audio is transferred at, only, 2.0 channel. You can choose from 3 selections: Linear PCM at a whopping 4608 kbps, DTS-HD Master at 3745 kbps or Dolby TrueHD at 3096 kbps. Keen ears will note differences. Being from 1971 - I chose the linear PCM track as my most frequent choice. The piano on Imagine and Jealous Guy sound very clean. Ditto for the guitars (George Harrison on a Gibson 'Dobro' resonator guitar) that start 'Crippled Inside'. It's nice to experiment and be able to change the option and sample another format (which one can do on-the-fly from either the onscreen display - see image above - or without your video display on - directly from the Blu-ray audio remote button.)
How does it sound? In my experience with Imagine - this definitely sounds, as advertised, more pure, clean and crisp than I have ever heard before. I wouldn't say it was overwhelming and suspect there would be room fro improvement (quad 4.0 mix!).
NOTE: The file size (just over 7 Gig) suggest that this format can offer multiple albums on one Blu-ray disc. Perhaps an entire artist's recorded work... and be able to play it for hours on end! I'd also like to see the price come down. Let's see how this Blu-ray audio format evolves.
My Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc (like CDs) playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
The only supplement is a 16-page liner notes foldout with many black and white photos of John and Yoko, a 'Lennon' sketch and the lyrics to the ten songs. There is also a paper with a code to access the disc digital downloads online but there are, continued, reports that they are not in 24 bit/96 khz quality.
Truly, I hope this Blu-ray Audio format grows to its capabilities (see our positive recommendations of Songs in the Key of Life and Ella + Louis) but only die-hard fans might find the value in this - in relation to the price. I'm pleased to own it and am listening as I write this, yet with all that is possible - we can't, in good conscious, endorse. So far these are only reserved for the, high-end, audiophile connoisseur who may have different parameters for 'the law of diminishing returns'.
February 5th, 2014
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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