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Star Wars Trilogy: 1997 SE vs. 1993 Anthology


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I have all three SE releases, but not the Anthology.

1. For A New Hope (or Star Wars for you purists out there) and The Empire Strikes Back, is there anything the Anthology provides that the SE does not, including better sound quality?

2. I know there are several cues from Return of the Jedi unique to the Anthology. I have also heard that sound quality is superior. Is this correct?

Considering purchasing the Anthology, y'see.

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is there anything the Anthology provides that the SE does not, including better sound quality?

There are some alternate takes on the Anthlogy for Star Wars that cannot be heard anywhere else. Whether we were actually meant to hear these takes or not is another story.

I know there are several cues from Return of the Jedi unique to the Anthology. I have also heard that sound quality is superior. Is this correct?

"Lapti Nek" and both the film version and album version of "Ewok Celebration" can be found on the Anthology set.

For the most in-depth coverage, read this.

Neil

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I'm pleased to say I have both the Anthology and the SE releases. I need to finish my Gerdhardt recording trilogy though. Then my collection of Wars music will be complete! :)

Justin -Who has more than enough now. :(

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I sold my Anthology CDs once I got all three special editions. Besides "Lapti Nek" and the original "Jedi" ending, you're not missing much.

For me, I enjoy the chronological order of the SEs. And I never had a problem with sound quality. Those black slip cases, however ....

Jeff -- revisiting "The Phantom Menace"

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I don't know about the rest of us older folk who actually had LPs but to me TESB double record set had a deep, crisp and full sound to it compared to the somewhat thin and compressed sound the Cds have.

Any true Star Wars & Williams fan should have the SE and The Anthology in their collection.

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2. I know there are several cues from Return of the Jedi unique to the Anthology. I have also heard that sound quality is superior. Is this correct?

Yes, the Anthology ROTK has superiour sound. More depth, less muddled.

Marian - who bought the Anthology for that reason.

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The Anthology also has an alternate cue for the closing credits of Empire.  It's mixed with the non-Ewok version of the original RoTJ ending.  It's a pretty good track actually.

No, it's the film version of the Ewok song.

Neil

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The Anthology and SE used different source materials, so you gain and lose something with both sets. While TESB is the best representation of Eric Tomilson's mix on the anthology set, I found several tracks really painful to sit through because they had deteriorated. The special edition version used, for the most part, the raw 24-track first generation tapes. There was very little time to due a mix proper, which is why many complained about the lack of stereo separation tracks like "Hyperspace."

I still like listening to the anthology set from time to time since you can hear various cues on its own, rather than having it segued together into long suites. And the anthology also maintains some of the album arrangements, which is still nice even if it isn't chronological. These arrangements were what most of us grew up on going back to the 2-LP sets of the day, so being a purist is like having a double-edged sword. Purist as in complete/chronogical, but purist as in original album version, too. (I still miss hearing the 2-LP arrangement of Empire.)

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  The special edition version used, for the most part, the raw 24-track first generation tapes.  There was very little time to due a mix proper, which is why many complained about the lack of stereo separation tracks like "Hyperspace."

That must be it! I always thought the sound/mix was rather dubious. The more I think about it, the more I realize the Special Editions are a rip-off. I never enjoy listening to them. I just keep them because of the few percent "completism" in me.

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Alex Cremers

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I'm listening to Anthology's ESB right now and I must say the sound quality is indeed much better than the dead sound of the Special Edition. You can hear far more room in this recording which enables the instruments to breath better. Buy it, I would say. The box also come with a nice book.

---------------

Alex Cremers

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I'm listening to Anthology's ESB right now and I must say the sound quality is indeed much better than the dead sound of the Special Edition. You can hear far more room in this recording which enables the instruments to breath better. Buy it, I would say. The box also come with a nice book.  

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Alex Cremers

My book is signed by JW himself! I met him at the Barbican Centre in London many moons ago!

James ;) Dvorak Slavonic Dance #7.

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I don't know about the rest of us older folk who actually had LPs but to me TESB double record set had a deep, crisp and full sound to it compared to the somewhat thin and compressed sound the Cds have.

Any true Star Wars & Williams fan should have the SE and The Anthology in their collection.

Amen and amen, brutha'!

I enjoy the completeness of the SE's, but I also feel that the Anthology set does have the best sound quality of every CD to this point. I personally made a hybrid of ROTJ from the Anthology and SE's.

And it's true. The original LPs to SW and TESB had a beautiful sound to them that is just not there in every CD release I've heard. Of course, my LP of ROTJ is sealed, so I've never had the opportunity to compare them.

Also, I'll add that some of the album arrangements (especially in ESB's double album, never fully released on CD) are some of the best of Williams career. Take it from me... someone who loves complete scores AND album cuts.

Yes, you are missing the two Ewok Celebrations (IMO, both are inferior to 1997's Victory Celebration, but essential for Wlliams and Star wars fans nonetheless), the album version of Lapti Nek. Of note, we are missing the film vesion of 1997's Victory Celebration, which I feel is better than the album version.

Another thing missing on the SE is the album/alternate version of "Jabba's Theme" portion to the track "Han Solo Returns (At The Court Of Jabba The Hutt)". Also, the album version of "The Emperor (AKA "The Emperor's Death") as heard on the original Polydor disc/album has additional goulish effects (either chorus or synth) that neither the Anthology or SE have. I prefer the Album version myself.

Also, I do indeed like the alternate version of possibly my favorite Williams cue of all-time: ESB's "Luke's First Crash" on the Anthology set. It has louder percussion that can' be heard on the album and SE versions of that cue. Not saying I like it better... but it is nice to have. :P

-Chris, Who loves all of his Star Wars LPs and CDs, and will never part with any of them...

PS- Gamn fine avatar, Mr. Ware! :) I love my complete set of DVDs!

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"Victory Celebration" is the same cue in the film and the CD. It's just a different mix.

Jim and I were going through the Empire cues from the anthology set and found a portion of music that has the stereo channels reversed! One track is already noted at the link I porvided all the way at the top of the page, but 2:06 into "Drawing the Battle Lines / Leia's Instructions" the channels swap and remain swapped until the end of the track. This only affects the anthology.

Neil

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but 2:06 into "Drawing the Battle Lines / Leia's Instructions" the channels swap and remain swapped until the end of the track. This only affects the anthology.  

I thought there was something different there! Thanks! Now I know I'm only SLIGHTLY crazy!

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In the Anthology there's also a little piece of Ewok music that's missing from the SE, no? It's an alternate cue "Leia Breaks the News", you have a little cue for when the Ewok has an encounter at the end with Han/Leia kissing. It's not in the SE.

Anyway the sound quality of ALL the Return of the Jedi tracks on the Anthology is far superior to the SE. There has been long talks about that, even some deep website analysis/interviews of Thaxton's work compared to the RCA version.

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Yep. The ROTJ set has such muffled highs that I had to turn on an EQ and jack them up to the max every time I listen to that set. That's why I made a hybrid of ROTJ and upped the highs in the SE exclusive cues.

Also, ymenard is right. A little ewoky version of of that cue.

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I do think that not including the music were the Falcon escapes from the cave slug on the Anthology is a big flaw, since it was included on the OST CD, and i'm guessing on the LP also.

I know I bought the whole set for that one cue. I remember being terribly dissapointed when I coudn't find it.

Justin -Glad he bought it anyway. :P

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"Victory Celebration" is the same cue in the film and the CD. It's just a different mix.  

Jim and I were going through the Empire cues from the anthology set and found a portion of music that has the stereo channels reversed! One track is already noted at the link I porvided all the way at the top of the page, but 2:06 into "Drawing the Battle Lines / Leia's Instructions" the channels swap and remain swapped until the end of the track. This only affects the anthology.  

Neil

If you ever have time, couldn't you make a complete cue list? Only a suggestion of course!

:P

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Since the SE is pretty much filled up i've never been bothered by the fact that they left it of.

Bah! I thought you were a completist my friend. :thumbup:

I do think that not including the music were the Falcon escapes from the cave slug on the Anthology is a big flaw, since it was included on the OST CD, and i'm guessing on the LP also.

Indeed that was a very bad mistake. The OST CD is one half of the OST Double LP, so it's on there. Why they pressed the badly lacking single LP into CD and not the Double LP has always bothered me a great deal, since it's personally my favorite John Williams original album.

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It's a matter of taste.

For some people, the SE may be overkill. Original albums may be all some can handle. The Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back double albums are excellent arrangements, but the Return Of The Jedi single album was woefully short. The Anthology (I think many have concluded) has better sound quality, but some mistakes and incompleteness are counts against it.

In terms of completeness and general sound quality (minus Return Of The Jedi's muddled highs and the fact that it's missing a handful of ewoky tracks and Lapti Nek- which I don't care what anybody says... it's WAY better than that atrocious Jedi Rocks), the S.E.'s are the way to go.

And, if you are like me (who's a lifelong fan of John Williams and feels that the original Star Wars Trilogy is the crown jewel of his distinguished career), then you must have them ALL! That's why I'm still sad that the original dual album to Empire was never pressed into CD. Only half by Polydor. :thumbup:

Since the original abums are hard to find, I'd say every Sta Wars/John Williams fan needs both the SE's and the Anthology boxed set. Many also insist the Gerhardt re-recordings are essential, so that's up to you (I prefer the original soundtracks, myself).

-CJ, Listening to his Chrusherpromo complete Temple Of Doom set...

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Will buy the Anthology soon.

Perhaps I can make up for not buying the original LPs by, uh, compiling a complete The Phantom Menace soundtrack from music in various computer games. Yeah. (Not to mention a slightly expanded Attack of the Clones!)

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I think the verdict of this thread is CLEAR:  

Nothing touches the SE release.

Hmmm, that's not the impression I get from this thread. I'm sorry that I have to say this but you have bad ears. The sound of the SE is an insult. Sound wise the SE is useless.

However, I must confess that Star Wars for the Anthology box has about the same sound quality as the SE version.

SE for completeness: :thumbup:

SE for sound quality: LOL

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I think the verdict of this thread is CLEAR:  

Nothing touches the SE release.

Hmmm, that's not the impression I get from this thread. I'm sorry that I have to say this but you have bad ears. The sound of the SE is an insult. Sound wise the SE is useless.

However, I must confess that Star Wars for the Anthology box has about the same sound quality as the SE version.

SE for completeness: :thumbup:

SE for sound quality: LOL

The Star Wars album in the SE is a masterpiece. An almost pristine 3-track master was found at Fox and used. It was only a second generation master and 3/4 of the album came from it (other parts were either missing or damaged). What we are hearing though is as close to the master as has ever been released. The anthology on the other hand was about 5 generations away from the master, and utilized incorrect takes (for Star Wars only). The SE has a very clear and wide sound stage, but I admit some of the sonics are a little too "blary-glary". Superman suffers from the same thing, noticably in the brass. My "favorite part" is 3:16 into "The Dune Sea of Tatooine / Jawa Sandcrawler" when it sounds almost as if a mic was jammed into the tuba.

On Empire it was decided to use a 24-track master that was discovered with the Star Wars 3-track. There wasn't much time afforded though to re-mix, which is why in some instances ("Main Title" and "Hyperspace") the soundstage is not as wide or the instruments are placed poorly. Empire has very clear sound, but it's not accurate in some instances in terms of placement, and this can affect the enjoyment. Just compare "Hyperspace" on the 2 albums. The anthology uses the original mix and has the cellos and basses properly placed on the right, which makes the music that much more exciting, instead of lumping all of the strings together, which the SE does.

Jedi has really weird sound on the SE. Sometimes it's very clear, but other times it sounds like it was recorded in a tunnel. How can something with almost no high frequencies have tape hiss? It sounds so odd to me. It's always dynamic though and the mix is very good (again, they were working with a 3-track element).

Neil

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The anthology on the other hand was about 5 generations away from the master...

Not according to the book found inside the box. The Star Warses are pretty close in color of sound. The Anthology ESB is much better than ESB SE. I never bought ROTJ SE so I can't make any comments about the third one.

...and utilized incorrect takes (for Star Wars only).

Amazing, isn't it?

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Alex Cremers

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The anthology on the other hand was about 5 generations away from the master...

Not according to the book found inside the box.

Well I was going by what Michael Matessino wrote in FSM at the time of the SE release. He said the material they had to work with on Star Wars was closer to the master than the Anthology.

The Anthology ESB is much better than ESB SE.

No doubt that on some cues the mix is better on the Anthology, but the tapes used for the SE had better sound, which is why they were used. If only the mix wasn't so rushed.

...and utilized incorrect takes (for Star Wars only).

Amazing, isn't it?

Here's what Nick Redman had to say about the issue, "I hired Ford to sequence the material, and he did a very good job in a short period of time. We had only a small budget, and we were limited in what we could accomplish. Ford did not select all the "wrong takes." There are a few cases in the set of alternate takes, and that is because, generally speaking, a final take of a John Williams cue is culled from several takes cut together. There are no complete wrong takes in the set but there are partial alternates that are detectable to really knowledgeable fans. This was not Ford's fault as I did not want him to re-edit anything, particularly as we were only working from two-track material."

You can find that reply here.

In the case of Empire and Jedi they were already working with Ken Wannberg's edited tapes for the Anthology, so the music is edited properly....except when the channels get reversed. :thumbup:

Neil

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Because of those quick mixes done for the SE edition the LSO sounds less coherent and thus less professional. Also, the natural ambient is much more apparent in the Anthology mix than in the SE mix, which at least to my ears, is almost totally missing.

----------------

Alex Cremers

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Everyone's been going on about the difference in sound quality, so let me take the time to say the Anthology has some drop-dead gorgeous packaging. The original one-sheet for starters and concept art throughout the booklet. Concept art also adorns the three trilogy CDs, and a picture of a strange bearded man holding some sort of pointer is on the disc of unreleased music.

Now, I already had the SEs when I got the Anthology. I thought it was a bold move at the time, but the completist in me had to have it. I also liked having the cues broken up more, although I found it slightly jarring when unrelated cues were put together, i.e. Shootout in the Cell Bay and The Final Battle. I know many people here probably grew-up with that arrangement, but it was totally alien to me. Anyway, I think I prefer the chronological order of the SEs, but I now know the better sound quality for ROTJ is reason enough to get the set.

The truth is, it's actually been over a year, according to my iTunes, that I've listen to a full Star Wars disc. I guess I should listen to Jedi Rocks three times as penance.

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Hmmm, that's not the impression I get from this thread. I'm sorry that I have to say this but you have bad ears

I believe you mean BAD EYES! Unless you have REALLY, REALLY, and I mean REALLY good hearing I dont think you can hear anybody else on this board! :P

You read their posts. :sigh:

It's a matter of taste.  

For some people, the SE may be overkill. Original albums may be all some can handle.

YOU CAJN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH SW MUSIC! :)

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The Star Wars album in the SE is a masterpiece.

Agreed that the SW SE sounds best of the three, but I remember the sound of the old LPs... it was so gorgeous. I wish that they would take the album masters and put out the three OT albums on CD. AKA the Polydors plus well-needed remastering (and the Empire one needs to be restored to it's 2-LP glory!).

On Empire it was decided to use a 24-track master that was discovered with the Star Wars 3-track.  There wasn't much time afforded though to re-mix, which is why in some instances ("Main Title" and "Hyperspace") the soundstage is not as wide or the instruments are placed poorly.  Empire has very clear sound, but it's not accurate in some instances in terms of placement, and this can affect the enjoyment.  Just compare "Hyperspace" on the 2 albums.  The anthology uses the original mix and has the cellos and basses properly placed on the right, which makes the music that much more exciting, instead of lumping all of the strings together, which the SE does.

Thank you. I always thought Hyperspace sounded crappy on the SE, your analysis confirmed it for me. To me, it always sounded best on the double album. I'll listen to it again on the Anthology when I get back home.

Jedi has really weird sound on the SE.  Sometimes it's very clear, but other times it sounds like it was recorded in a tunnel.  How can something with almost no high frequencies have tape hiss?  It sounds so odd to me.  It's always dynamic though and the mix is very good (again, they were working with a 3-track element).

Neil

I know what you mean. Tape hiss with no highs sounds so odd. Almost like an old cassette or something. Like you said, some tracks sound better than others though. Especially the SE Victory Celebration. Of course, that track was newly recorded anyways, so they had everything needed right there for the album.

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Everyone's been going on about the difference in sound quality, so let me take the time to say the Anthology has some drop-dead gorgeous packaging.  The original one-sheet for starters and concept art throughout the booklet.  Concept art also adorns the three trilogy CDs, and a picture of a strange bearded man holding some sort of pointer is on the disc of unreleased music.

Agreed. It is awesome. Other than the all-black jewel case inserts. But the booklet and box art more than makes up for that.

YOU CAJN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH SW MUSIC!  

Agreed. Which is why I own the original LPs, the Polydors, the Boxed Anthology, the SE's and all of the most celebtrated re-recordings! :wave: I recommend the same to all, but at the absolute least, BOTH the Anthology AND the SEs, with maybe Polydors and LPs... IF you can find them! :spiny:

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I wish that they would take the album masters and put out the three OT albums on CD.

RSO did release the double LP of Star Wars on double CD and it's almost unbearable to listen to. Although it should be said that some say they don't hear any difference between the LPs and the CDs.

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