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    K.D. Lang - Live by Request

    Warner Vision/Warner Vision . R4 . COLOR . 67 mins . G . PAL


    k.d. lang (note lower case) has been described as Elvis reincarnated in female form. I tend to agree however she tends to remind me of a version of Brent Spiner (ol' yellow eyes from "Star Trek: The Next Generation") who can sing.

    In any case, 'Live by Request' is a year 2000 TV performance of the just released new album CD. Clearly with similar pricing and superior sound (let alone actual footage), this represents a viable alternative to CD.

    She puts in a varied performance - sometimes subtle and soulful as the song requires or playful and flamboyant with a number of eye popping costume changes. The more soulful classic numbers tend to be more her forte. Note the number of covers. Tastefully done.

    Anyway it's the type of music DVD where you pop it into the player, set it to dts 5.1 and let it spin while you do something else in the house (like write a review?)

    Track Listing

    1. Summerfling
    2. Big Boned Gal
    3. Black Coffee
    4. Trail Of Broken Hearts
    5. Crying
    6. Don't Smoke In Bed
    7. The Consequences Of Falling
    8. Miss Chatelaine
    9. Three Cigarettes In An Ashtray
    10. Barefoot
    11. Constant Craving
    12. Wash Me Clean
    13. Pullin' Back The Reins
    14. Simple


    Video is PAL 4:3 and of excellent quality. I am extremely impressed with this one; even in the face of what is an impressive reputation from Warnervision. I could only detect some very slight aliasing on diagonal lines like guitar necks. That is all.

    Colour rendition is excellent with the blue of the stage floor and the number of coloured lights in use. There is no blooming or incongruity between the light and dark. Flesh tones are excellent and I first expected that colours were boosted given the high saturation however this passes the final litmus test - this has some of the best blacks and shadow detail I have seen.

    The theme of the night seems to be black clothing - the singers and band are all in black or black chiffon. k.d lang is in a full black from neck to toe.

    Most players would treat this as an overwhelming wash of black however a little tweaking with Avia or Video Essentials has the full details and patterns of the black clothing becoming visible. I rarely see such strong black detail with most players and MPEG decoding systems tending to hide shadow detail to some extent. Flat matte black clothes are actually patterned suede or a mix of vinyl and cotton.

    This disc is single sided.


    Ok to the meat of the issue. There are three tracks, a 'reference' Linear PCM track track at 1,536k/s - a Dolby 5.1 track at 448k/s and a dts 5.1 track at 768k/s. If you take the LPCM track as the simple unadorned rendition of the just released CD, both compressed tracks deviate from what is the 'reference.'

    The LPCM has excellent fidelty and seems quite well served by the internal stereo conversion on my new DVD player (an Omni 3200 btw.) - good deep bass and clear treble and a decent spread of stage to accompany the picture.

    The Dolby 5.1 seems to have the Dialog Normalisation boosted as the vocals seem too strongly presented at the detriment of the instruments (you do want to hear all the instruments and there is a good set of accompanying instruments and excellent back vocals). Acoustic intruments tend to be particularly badly served - the acoustic guitar sounds poor. I have yet to work out how to check for DialNorm on my processor so I cannot verify this. Vocals sound strong with unsubtle soundstaging and it seems a little 'shouty' for my liking.

    The dts 5.1 track tends to envelope the viewer with a 360 degree field of instruments, well not quite 360, say 240? Anyhow the vocals seem recessed compared to the other tracks. dts has no dialog normalisation so I guess the compressing had tended to impact more on voice than instruments. The instruments tend to stand out with the 'body' of the bass guitar and backing vocals feeling more consistent and present. k.d lang and the band seem on the same 'plane' whereas she sounds like she standing several metres in front of the band in the other format. Rears are audience participation only.

    True to form, the dts track is louder than the PCM and the Dolby track is lower as expected. It depends on what the user prefers, vocals or instruments. I prefer the timbre and 'warm sound' from instruments. I could detect no LFE.


    There are no extras. As I said before, perhaps this is what many studios think a music DVD is - a music CD with moving pictures. Consistent if not charming.


    This is a must buy for fans. I'm guessing that this may be the choice as the definitive version for fans. I cannot complain about the 67 minutes as that is how long the concert runs. Perhaps we might seen music CD take a back seat given the release of portable and car DVD players? Music DVD is also very hard to copy or distribute in digital format...

    Here's her website: http://www.kdlang.com/

    And for this disc itself in CD format: http://www.kdlang.com/live.html

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      And I quote...
    "well presented with reference video and a choice of sounds but no extras..."
    - Tony Lai
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Rom:
          Pioneer 105(s)
    • MPEG Card:
          Geforce2 32MB AGP
    • Decoder:
          Sony TA-E9000ES
    • Amplifier:
          Parasound HCA-1206THX
    • Speakers:
          Mission 763
    • Centre Speaker:
          Mission 75c
    • Surrounds:
          Mission 760
    • Subwoofer:
          Mission 75as
    • Audio Cables:
          rca coaxial SPDIF
    • Video Cables:
          VGA connector
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