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The Phantom Menace still sounds pretty good


Brock Lovett

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Very dynamic. It really comes alive. Brass could be a little more robust (especially for a Star Wars score), but we were spoiled by the analog Eric Tomlinson 70s and 80s recordings. It's overproduced in typical Murphy fashion, but the results were at least pleasing in this instance.

So...what the hell happened with Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith? To my ears, they've always been a step down. Clones is a hissy and muzzled. Sith is a similar case, only now, in addition to the overall distant sound, the percussion sounds awful. They never come alive, even in big moments. Our beloved Williams fanfares are restrained.

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Pretty good? It's one of the best sounding scores of (relatively) recent times, IMO.

AOTC and ROTS don't sound bad, but their sound is definitely the least exciting of the six scores.

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ROTS is my favorite sound-wise. Those end credits? The climax of Leia's theme? Come on.

From what I've seen ROTS gets a pretty raw deal but I really like the score. I think both AotC and RotS benefit from expanded scores as opposed to just what's on the OST although I think the AotC OST is a pretty good listen.

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Pretty good? It's one of the best sounding scores of (relatively) recent times, IMO.

AOTC and ROTS don't sound bad, but their sound is definitely the least exciting of the six scores.

Agreed.

The sound quality for the so called "Ultimate Edition" is great because it was remastered.

It would be nice if the score got a true complete remastered release...well same for AOTC and ROTS too.

Very dynamic. It really comes alive. Brass could be a little more robust

Um.. huh? this score and recording is very brass rippin'..

He could be referring to just the OST, unless ETE has heard the "Ultimate Edition".

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The sound quality for the so called "Ultimate Edition" is great because it was remastered.

From what I can tell, it's actually the original recording sans additional artificial reverb (which they added for the OST). The result is a cleaner and drier sound that doesn't drown in long reverbs. The OST is useless to me. It's a remastering trick to add reverb on the 'master' (for gluing all the instruments together) but in the case of TPM, somebody fell into excesses.

Alex

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Some of his later scores sound like they were recorded in a barn. Something like Insurrection really pushes the limits for me. I'm all for lush reverb, but not when the detail of the sound is sacrificed in favor of ambience.

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The only album for Jerry's that I had an issue with the reverb was for Star Trek Insurrection. Even with the expanded edition, it's still there but not nearly as bad as the original. The others CD releases I don't mind.


The sound quality for the so called "Ultimate Edition" is great because it was remastered.


From what I can tell, it's actually the original recording sans additional artificial reverb (which they added for the OST). The result is a cleaner and drier sound that doesn't drown in long reverbs. The OST is useless to me. It's a remastering trick to add reverb on the 'master' (for gluing all the instruments together) but in the case of TPM, somebody fell into excesses.


Alex

Ah understood.

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How do you guys feel about Goldsmith's love of reverb? I love his later recording sound personally.

Not really familiar with them but his Alex North recordings with the National Philharmonic Orchestra (2001: ASO - A Streetcar Named Desire - Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf) always sounded very good to me. Then Jerry went Prague on us ...

Alex

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"TPM" sounds "wet" and limp, with hardly any punchy mid range, but then, that's what you get for using B+W Nautilus speakers as monitors.

Compare this with "ANH": bright, vibrant, clear, and nicely dry.

Goodness knows what they used to mix "ROTJ". A pillow, maybe?

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"TPM" sounds "wet" and limp, with hardly any punchy mid range, but then, that's what you get for using B+W Nautilus speakers as monitors.

Compare this with "ANH": bright, vibrant, clear, and nicely dry.

Goodness knows what they used to mix "ROTJ". A pillow, maybe?

The SEs sound way too bright, Richard. And the OST sounds like a copy of a copy of a copy. I want a rerecording! (I actually like the sound of The Skywalker Symphony)

BTW, what speakers do you have or is that too private?

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True, asking about headphones or desktop speakers seems to be better socially accepted.

Forget I asked, Richard, I was only kidding!

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I do agree that Phantom Menace sounds better than Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, BUT! The Ultimate Edition I find a little over compressed, the dynamic range has been reduced, which makes it a little un-enjoyable at points.

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And I've heard from other people that the UE has better dynamic range than the OST. So who's right?

If you look at the waveform for each you can see how squashed it is. I'm not saying anyone is wrong btw.

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It would surprise me if the dynamics of the UE are more reduced than on any other album of Williams.

I always reach for the volume when the UE comes on, its much louder than all the others, but I think the UE is the "Film Mix", so that it can be heard with the bombastic sound effects.

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I went in and started comparing the UE and OST again, since I seemed to recall finding that they really weren't very different at all. If that's what I found last time, I was rather wrong. The most noticeable difference right off the bat is of course that the UE is louder, which means it does indeed have more dynamic range compression to avoid hard clipping in the louder passages. The reverb is also different between releases - a little more muddy, somber, and wet for the OST. And the UE is brighter and punchier as well, possibly as a result of being drier or maybe it was just EQ'd differently.

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  • 4 years later...

Happy to bump this old thread.

 

I just finally decided to buy the set.

 

So great music!

 

I hope one day we'll have an expanded set maybe a little more "honest" regarding JW's work.

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The cue Escape from Naboo is wicked. I feel like the vibrant brass in The Phantom Menace is what coined the Prequel style. The Trade Fedration March, the Flag Parade, many select cues that are just so magical, the mystic choral spectacle of Otoh Gunga, Sidious' theme being frequented, and gosh excellent Duel of the Fates material. The music in Qui Gon's Noble End (it's a track title so jokes on spoiled fans) right when we reach the noble end is probably the standout in-film usage of Duel of the Fates for me, as well as the introduction of Maul in the palace, and the first cut to the chasm fight.

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