Live performances always capture us. Seeing your favourite artist performing on stage is a well-deserved time off from our daily routine. High quality home cinema setups not only bring out the full sonic impact of that latest blockbuster movie. They also recreate the magic of a live music performance within your own home, for amazing experiences every day. Try out these three examples of outstanding concert footage on your surround set and you will see if your current home cinema gear is up to the challenge or needs an upgrade for the real live feeling.
John Mayer – Where The Light Is – Live In Los Angeles
Blu-ray Disc, listen in Dolby TrueHD 96kHz/24bit
Free falling’ – acoustic set with three guitars – John Mayer joined by Steve Jordan and Pino Palladino.
Start with his amazing acoustic guitar solo – followed by his iconic voice, and just feel the atmosphere. A bit later, the other two guitars join in to complete the performance. All three players are clearly audible and nicely positioned on the stage, and their individual playing characteristics can be identified. Mayer’s voice is perfectly positioned in the centre, even if you don’t have a dedicated centre speaker in your setup, but only left and right speakers for the front channels. The surround channels are purely used for creating the atmosphere and giving a feeling for the theatre where the recording took place back in 2007.
Kraftwerk – 3D Der Katalog – The Catalogue
In 2017, the Blu-ray Disc was released covering the famous tracks from German prog/electronic music band Kraftwerk. Recorded in 3D in several locations around the globe, it is an amazing piece of art. There are two recommended tracks you can check first before enjoying the whole album.
The first track – Autobahn – is just great to evaluate the synch of your audio with the video. With the first sound you will see the original Volkswagen Beetle on the screen. When the engine starts, the music is bigger than the actual engine of the car, however it has a nice solid character and when the car is hitting the road and getting smaller you actually can hear the audio following the car into the screen.
Track number 4 – Die Mensch Maschine – The Man Machine – is utilizing the full potential of Dolby Atmos and puts the sound all around you and even above your head. But it also delivers a great experience even without height channels in a standard 5.1 surround set up. This is different to John Mayer, where the surround channels are only used to transport the atmosphere of the concert hall. Kraftwerk uses the channels actively to get the electric sound beam to you from all directions. The “distorted” computer voice creates a field of sound, which will stop and opens the space for clean electrical tones with pinpoint positioning. The incoming deep bass is a real test for the low frequency capability of your front speakers and the subwoofer. It should be all fast and precise. At around 3:30 the sounds are starting to move around you and there should be no gap when the audio is panning from front to rear and back. This track is also fine to check the relationship with your neighbours, as it is best enjoyed at high volumes.
Robbie Williams – Live At The Albert
At the peak of his career after Take That, Robbie played a famous concert in 2001 performing the best classic swing tracks.
On the Blu-ray Disc, both 2ch Stereo and DTS5.1 mixes can be found. Played in 2ch stereo direct mode without the use of any up-mixer, the correct positioning of the front speakers can be tested. Vocals should be exactly between the two front speakers if you sit in the stereo tri-angle. On the same sweet spot you should be able to get a wide soundstage with a nice depth and height too. In the 5.1 mix, a wider audience can enjoy the full effects, as there is more than one sweet spot. The quality of the centre speaker and the amplifier electronic is key to get the nice voice of Robbie presented in the living room with all his charm and charism.
This can be checked by many of the tracks on this disc, however the most “touching” one is for sure the interpretation of “My Way”, well known through the version sung by Frank Sinatra.
Do you also want to upgrade your home cinema set, to really dive deep into live performances whenever you like? Click here to find out how many channels your AV Receiver needs.
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