Scream LD audio AC3 vs PCM

Subject:      Re: Scream Dolby Digital sound better than Pro-logic?
From:         Erik Olson
Date:         1997/11/27
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: >: In an interview with Wes Craven on "Scream" he specifically mentions
: >: mixing the 5.1 track. Listen to it, it is excellent. The PCM is very
: >: good, but it isn't 5.1, nor what the director intended. (Like watching
: >: it in P&S instead of LBX)

Last night I listened to Scream in both the PCM matrixed surround and the AC3 versions. The two versions sound very different. Here are the differences I heard:
  1. the AC3 version has much more bass which is really apparent during crashes, things breaking, fights scenes, ...
  2. the PCM surround version has much more ambient background sounds. The ambient sounds I'm talking about are steered to the front channels and the AC3 version has these same sounds, they are just -6 or -9dB down in the mix when compared to the PCM tracks. For example just listen to the opening 5 minutes with Drew Barrymore. There is sizzle, frogs croaking, the winds, trees creaking, leaves rustling, ... Just listen and flip between the AC3 and PCM tracks, the difference should be obvious immediately to everyone.
  3. Neither version has heavy surround effects. I just spent 30 minutes scanning the disk so I could of missed some.
  4. AC3 has better channel separation as expected but not that much better than the fine Prologic decoding in my processor.

My feeling is that the PCM track is the prefered one to listen to on this disk. The mix they chose for the AC3 tracks is just dull and lifeless sounding. Usually the AC3 tracks are the prefered listening choice, this disk IMO is one of the exceptions.

The big question are the AC3 tracks on the LD going to be put on the DVD version of Scream? Or will they get some other 5.1 mix for the DVD? If they make it anamorphic and give it a new 5.1 mix then I might buy it.

My listening environment was a Pioneer CLD-99, Lexicon DC-1 with the THX and AC3 mods, and the levels of the THX speakers were properly calibrated with the fine Radio Shack SPL meter model 33-2050. If you don't yet have one then get one now! Because I'm tired of reading posts from unsophisticated folk who have their surrounds and subs cranked +10dB above were they ought to be. Learn to calibrate, it just feels better.

erik olson

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