on June 5, 2013
I tried playing the Amazon's MP3 files of this album but found they were of not great quality. Likely best to just get the Audio Only Blu-Ray of this album. (I'm not sure if the video version includes a Uncompressed PCM 5.1 stream.)
Although this is an audio only Blu-Ray, it does export a black and white video title page with the title of each song, per HDMI spec. Personally, I just want the audio and I find the audio file provided is one big blob with no separate tracks. Guessing any software playing the stream will use stream seeks to find the tracks. (And seems to be evident by the slow response when using Windows software players.)
An interesting note, I usually tend to avoid LIVE albums as the audience screaming tends to overwhelm the music. Not so with this mix and seems they tended to keep the audience to minimal levels and only heard during the beginning and ends of the tracks. But within the Amazon MP3's, all I heard was audience and bass which was very unlike the quality of the Blu-Ray Audio version.
MULTIPLE STREAMS PROVIDED:
Thanks to FFMPEG/FFPLAY, here's a quick listing of streams:
Stream #0:0[0x1011]: Video: h264 (High) (HDMV / 0x564D4448), yuv420p, 1920x1080 [SAR 1:1 DAR 16:9], 29.97 fps, 29.97 tbr, 90k tbn, 59.94 tbc
Stream #0:1[0x1100]: Audio: pcm_bluray (HDMV / 0x564D4448), 48000 Hz, stereo, s32, 2304 kb/s
Stream #0:2[0x1101]: Audio: pcm_bluray (HDMV / 0x564D4448), 48000 Hz, 5.1(side), s32, 6912 kb/s
Stream #0:3[0x1102]: Audio: dts (DTS-HD MA) ( / 0x0086), 48000 Hz, 5.1(side), s16, 1536 kb/s
Surprisingly, it looks like Stream #0:2 is the best quality containing 24/32 bit versus DTS at only 16 bit? Albeit, the streams do vary slightly in quality from track to track. So far, my favorite is Stream #2 providing Uncompressed PCM 5.1 sound, exhibiting the best quality. However, I use Linux and seemingly Linux is not able to play through DTS-HD Master streams through to a receiver, and only use pass-through DTS. As such, I'm biased towards PCM and PCM-5.1 streams. (Seems Cyberlink PowerDVD might be remixing or changing the stream header in high-definition or bit-stream mode, but the stream still seems to have identical rates when playing on Linux.)
The DTS stream is a bit more dynamic or contains more coherent drum beats (or the attack wave of each drum beat creates more of a pop sound) when compared to the other PCM streams. PCM streams sound somewhat flattened. I guess that's why they call it DTS Coherent Acoustics. The DTS stream is also of slightly lesser quality as previously mentioned, but the DTS encoding makes up for this and any quality difference is almost inaudible. (I think it's been stated, consumers will notice very little difference, unless they're amplifying and playing the music within a large area?)
When playing back the Uncompressed PCM 5.1 stream, ensure you're playing through a connection capable of handling the bandwidth such as HDMI. (S/PDIF will downmix to two channels, or software may compress the stream to a compressed Dolby/DTS if you're lucky.) It's difficult to tell if my receiver is playing all six channels over HDMI or only playing two channels, while mirroring the others using it's high quality decoder chip.
I should also make mention, after relaxing after dealing with all this encryption stuff for the past weeks, I finally sat back and listened to both PCM5.1 and DTS streams. The PCM streams seem to be slightly overloaded with loudness (AKA Loudness Wars Wikipedia), so I opened the PCM-5.1 stream within Audacity and lessened the gain to -6dB (or -3dB to -6dB) on channels 1-2 or the main two channels. (The two channels were significantly louder than the other 4 channels.) After doing so, I noticed the music sounded much more like music, similar to the older style Led Zeppelin recordings. Further reducing the gain again only on these two channels resulted in a retro 1980's style Robert Plant vocal solo, similar to his riffs within the Nirvana and Tall Cool One albums. (See my note made on 2013.11.03. Seems my Yamaha RX-V375 defaults to PEQ Mixer after using YPAO. Switching off the mixer and ensuring no other Enhanced modes are used, the center channel now definitely seems louder requiring no volume level changes to the channels.)
Unfortunately, using Linux MPlayer with AACS to play this Blu-Ray is impossible as MPlayer complains vigorously about encryption errors. I had to again use the expensive $50 Linux version of makemkv program to copy to local hard drive; wasting space, time and energy. I am not a fan of forcing honest people who pay for their products to have to struggle to use encryption and preventing them from enjoying their products. Shrugs. I did notice once I decrypted the streams onto another Blu-Ray for using within Linux, the Blu-Ray would play just fine within the Windows proprietary Blu-Ray Movie player. Plus one here, for not screwing the honest consumer over. ;-) ... Movies tend not to play properly within the proprietary Windows player after copied, giving some FBI warning. Guess it's probably wise to expect blacklisting or problems traveling to other countries criminalizing consumers for playing purchased commercial Blu-Ray media within Linux?
You mileage may very with this review, as it's written according to only what I hear. For those seeking higher quality than CD Audio, or higher resolutions than 24 bit 48000 Hz, these are above the range of human hearing. If you have problems with playing Blu-Ray media like I do, might be best to stick with CD or DVD media.
2013.06.10 - After several weeks, I've finally learned how to extract the audio files for my enjoyment and have written a Gentoo Wiki "FFmpeg - Extract Blu-Ray Audio" for others. Another headache with the Blu-ray audio, is making sure the software playing device is playing at the highest audio quality possible rather than down mixing. Best method so far, buy a audio receiver capable of playing 24 Bit PCM WAV files via USB storage devices. Very little degradation versus HDMI and S/PDIF! Also, apparently the Yamaha RX-V375 will only play 16 Bit PCM Microsoft WAV files and not 24 Bit PCM WAV files! Will require a Yamaha >= RX-V475 receiver for 24 bit playback via USB?
2013.06.11 - Added notes about loudness on channels one and two. Cited DTS as being more coherent on drum beat attacks, and DTS Coherent Acoustics. Minor grammar corrections. I'm really glad I purchased the high-resolution. As they say, avoid the eye-candy and go for meat.
2013.11.03 - Just found my RX-V375 defaults to PEQ Equalizer when using YPAO to setup the speakers. Using PEQ remixes the audio and apparently lowers the volume of some of the channels of PCM 5.1 streams. Setting the Equalizer to OFF, and ensure any Enhance modes are switched off, seems to play the audio a little louder within the center channel now.