100 Best Blu-Ray Discs Best Sound

Best Sound

The Dark Knight
(Warner Brothers)
This Dolby TrueHD lossless soundtrack is relentless. Its gunshots and pyrotechnics are explosive, with staggering dynamic range—enough to make you jump. Crunching, droning low bass is present throughout. Hans Zimmer’s intense, minimalist score adds to the film’s emotional unease and is captured sensationally here. Surrounds envelop throughout, but they place directional effects spot on when required. Plus, the dialogue is clean and never gets lost in the tumult. This is pure reference quality and a must-own for anyone who wants to show off their theater.

The Hurt Locker
(Summit Entertainment)
The pulverizing deep bass will expose every resonant mode in your room. You and your neighbors will think your place is being demolished by Humvees and tanks, with choppers providing air support. The gunshots, explosions, and other transients have more dynamic crack than nearly anything we’ve heard, especially in the surround channels. Each of the many different weapons fired and ordnance detonated has its own distinct sonic signature, and dialogue is mostly clear. This DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack offers two-plus hours of demo material.

Black Hawk Down
(Sony Pictures)
Think of the beach scene from Saving Private Ryan lasting two hours and 20 minutes. That’s an approximation of this film’s mind-blowing sonic experience. Presented in explosive uncompressed PCM, this Oscar winner for Best Sound delivers everything. The spatial details, dynamics, sound pressure levels, and overall aggression are amazing. The convincing realism of the individual effects will knock you out. You’ll be exhausted by the time the end credits roll. This is reference-quality sound in every way.

Fight Club 10th Anniversary Edition
(20th Century Fox)
Ren Klyce’s pulverizing sound design puts the Fight Club 10th Anniversary Edition among the best movie soundtracks we’ve heard. The level of activity in all channels, the use of explosive dynamic range (it’s not just loud, it’s got incredible swing from quiet to loud), and the quality of the individual sound effects are beyond convincing. It’s so organic, it doesn’t just sound real, it feels real. The Dust Brothers’ score alternately pulsates and enriches the atmosphere.

Any Pixar Title
From the opening roar of the engines in Cars to the gutters of Paris in Ratatouille, no one serves up sound design like Pixar. From its early days at Lucasfilm, Pixar has made sound design a key factor in its production, employing some of the biggest names in sound design. Every one of its releases features an enveloping masterwork of surround sound with incredible dynamics, subtle nuance, and heartwarming scores. It doesn’t matter which title you cue up, you’re in for a sonic treat every time.

Pirates of the Caribbean 3-movie collection
At land or at sea, Pirates’ uncompressed PCM tracks fully envelop you at every moment and are powerfully explosive when called for. These soundtracks are active and expressive every second of the run time, both loud and quiet. There’s no getting around the action set pieces, like the cannonades between ships and the Kraken’s destructive assaults as it pulverizes ships from the inside out in Dead Man’s Chest. The trilogy is a wild ride on Blu-ray..

The Ultimate Matrix Collection
(Warner Brothers)
Each of the three films boasts an impressive Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack filled with demo-worthy scenes. In The Matrix, the lobby scene offers depth and impact as bullets fly around the room. In Reloaded, the highway chase places you in the middle of the action with vehicles careening all over the road. And in Revolutions, bass enthusiasts will relish the most intensive room-shaking bass imaginable as the trilogy draws to its sub-par conclusion.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
(20th Century Fox)
This is among the bestsounding films ever made. You feel a surreal sense of the atmosphere, from every creak of the hull to the gentle lapping of the sea. Combined with intense battles, blistering explosions, and unnerving cannon fire, this is a dynamic tour de force. The soundfield is one of the best we’ve heard; its imaging extends around and over you. Master and Commander’s soundtrack defines the state of the art.

While the jury is out on Cloverfield’s queasy-cam imagery, there’s no controversy about its crushing Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. It images a full 360 degrees around the room, and it features some of the most bone-rattling bass you’ll ever hear. It’s also surprisingly adept at the subtler aspects of sound design—like behind the camera in the apartment party that starts things off or in the dark, claustrophobic subway tunnel. This disc demonstrates sonic aggression on the largest scale.

Transformers Two-Disc Special Edition
This film took sound design to a new level. The inventiveness of the characters’ sounds coupled with the immersive mix creates an intense ride that’s both fun and utterly jaw-dropping. With front-to-back panning to infrasonics that test the might of your walls and guts, Transformers delivers the goods. The battle sequences are some of the most intense we’ve ever heard. It has many demo-worthy sequences of surround sound, dynamic range, and sheer envelopment.