Best 5.1 Surround Sound Music Tracks Page 2


9. Genesis: "Firth of Fifth." Selling England by the Pound
(24/96 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Blu-ray. Universal/Charisma/Virgin, 2014/1973.)

Longtime Genesis producer/engineer Nick Davis gave the 5.1 treatment to the entire Genesis catalog from stem to stern for both DVD-A and SACD in the mid/late 2000s, and his care, ingenuity, and instinct have served their cumulative studio and live canon quite well. Thankfully, Universal chose to reissue the album that best represents the band's collective strengths as a compositional force, October 1973's Selling England by the Pound, on Blu-ray in 2014. All 9:36 of "Firth of Fifth" fulfills the maxim "give everybody some," whether it's Tony Banks majestically bookended 1:08 classical piano intro and theme-reprised outro; vocalist Peter Gabriel's wafting flute solo; Banks, drummer Phil Collins, and bassist Mike Rutherford's in-tandem minute-long piano and rhythm section break (listen closely for Collins's oh-so-subtle gong); or guitarist Steve Hackett's 3-minute multilayered guitar clinic to close out the back half. The path is clear, for the progressive trajectory of the house of Genesis is linchpinned here.

Second takes: a) "Watcher of the Skies." Foxtrot. 24/96 PCM DTS Surround DVD-Audio. Rhino/Charisma/Atlantic, 2008/1972 (a pair of intergalactic Hackett solos lord over the left channel); b) "Dance on a Volcano," A Trick of the Tail. 24/96 PCM DTS Surround DVD-Audio. Rhino/Atco, 2007/1976 (opening gambit for the band's Collins-led era is totally en fuego, via his layered, charismatic lead vocals and insistent hi-hat and cymbals).


8. Rush: "The Camera Eye." Moving Pictures
(DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Blu-ray. UMe/Anthem/Mercury, 2011/1981.)

Rush music has always been bred for listeners with expansive ideas and proto-cosmic goals, and February 1981's Moving Pictures bridges their eager '70s adventurousness with their more streamlined—but no less complex—'80s output. The cross-the-Pond continental flight plan of "The Camera Eye" puts it all into focus, ably aided and abetted by Richard Chycki's in-simpatico surround mix on the Deluxe Edition's Blu-ray. The first half of this two-part travelogue mirrors the hustle and bustle of New York City with Geddy Lee's vigorous, rumbling low end and firmly insistent vocals and Alex Lifeson's gritty, sustained guitar riffs. Meanwhile, the second half transitions to a moderately austere but still thriving London setting by sporting a slightly more reserved Lee lead vocal and Lifeson's somewhat cleaner yet still aggressive guitar tone. Each half is accented by carefully chosen run-of-the-kit Neil Peart drum fills from right to left, while Lee's all-channel synth accents dissolve before and between each half as they wash across the waves of every channel. "The Camera Eye" gives you access to the sense of all Rush 5.1 possibilities yet to come.

Second takes: a) "Vital Signs." Moving Pictures (sine-wave synth and bass, staccato guitar riffs, and the tautest snare on record elevate the norm); b) "La Villa Strangiato." Hemispheres. 24/96 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Blu-ray. UMe/Anthem/Mercury, 2018/1978 (Lifeson solos mightily down the middle, while Peart channels Gene Krupa and Lee divines Weather Report).


7. The Moody Blues: "Nights in White Satin." Days of Future Passed
(DVD, 24/96 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 DVD. UMC/Deram, 2017/1967.)

Pushing beyond the stereo soundfield has always been part of the celestial-leaning M.O. of The Moody Blues, and their November 1967 collaboration with The London Festival Orchestra and conductor Peter Knight gave them their first opportunity to open the 360-degree hatch. Mark Powell and Paschal Byrne have quite masterfully "manipulated" (their words) the initial of-era 1972 quadraphonic mix done by original producer Tony Clarke and original engineer Derek Varnals into modern 5.1 royalty (and a full decade-plus following its 2006 release on SACD). The breathtaking 80-second orchestral swell that follows lead vocalist Justin Hayward's final, impassioned "oh, how I love you" is post-scripted quite nicely by the rightly austere, back-channel-only "Late Lament" narration by Mellotron maestro/gong hitter Mike Pinder. Voices in the sky, indeed. ("Days" can also be found in 5.1 on DVD [Disc 15] in UMC's hard-to-find 17-disc 2013 Timeless Flight import box set.)

Second takes: a) "Legend of a Mind," In Search of the Lost Chord. 24/96 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 DVD. 2019/1968, UMC/Deram (Second-bridge diagonal-channel cross-pollination between Ray Thomas' breathy flute stabs and Pinder's swooping Mellotron wails will make you go, "Timothy Leary's dead? No n-n-no, he's outside the soundfield, looking in"); b) "Question." A Question of Balance. SACD DSD. UMC/Threshold, 2016/1970 (Hayward's insistent acoustic guitar is met full-force by tambourine, Mellotron, and wholly otherworldly background vocals).

6. Pink Floyd: "Echoes." The Early Years – 1971 Reverber/ation
(24/96 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Blu-ray. Pink Floyd Records/Columbia/Harvest, 2016/1971.)

Considering Pink Floyd was the first band of the rock era to ever experiment with live quad at The UFO Club in London in 1966 (a performance practice they continued all the way up through the stadium-centric 1994 Division Bell Tour), it's fitting that a track once given proper 4.0 treatment makes the final cut. To that end, the initial 1971 Quad mix of "Echoes," the 23-minute whirling-dervish epic that takes up all of Side 2 on October 1971's Meddle, is easily accessible on the bottom-screen menu on the 1971 Reverber/ation Blu-ray that was initially part of the band's massive The Early Years – 1965-1972 33-disc box set in 2016 before being released in a separate three-disc Reverber/ation collection in 2017. But it takes some ingenuity to access Andy Jackson's full-on 5.1 mix that's one of the box set's most cherished Easter eggs. Either way you get to experience it, "Echoes" fully lives up to its name, right from the outset of keyboardist Richard Wright's signature recurring ping (courtesy of his grand piano being sent through a Leslie speaker and a Binson Echorec echo unit). From there, "Echoes" never sits still, swirling its way through each channel like a crossfire hurricane that attacks and engulfs you from any direction you'd like. The middle section's piercing bleats, an amalgamation of guitarist David Gilmour's backwards wah-wah pedal lines, swoop in and out like a divebombing bird hellbent on revenge, while the periodic wind swells (courtesy of Roger Waters using a guitar slide on his bass strings) all lead up to the finest Floydian all-channel full-band jam that set a clear template for the more economical pleasures of March 1973's The Dark Side of the Moon.

Second takes: a) "Time." The Dark Side of the Moon – Immersion Box Set. 24/96 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Blu-ray. Columbia/Harvest/Capitol, 2014/1973 (clocks initially ticking like raindrops explode into all-channel resounding alarms, while Nick Mason's agile tom-tom hammers across the front channels during the intro as Gilmour's thundering chords crackle as low as they can go); b) "High Hopes." The Division Bell – 20th Anniversary Edition. 24/96 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Blu-ray. Columbia, 2014/1994 (the unrelenting tolling of a church bell in the key of C puts you in a chilly cathedral while Gilmour takes it all home with a tasteful lap-steel slide solo down the middle).


5. The Jimi Hendrix Experience: "1983 . . . (A Merman I Should Turn to be)." Electric Ladyland
(24/96 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Blu-ray. Experience Hendrix/Legacy/Reprise, 2018/1968.)

When Jimi Hendrix and his right-hand studio man Eddie Kramer discussed the sound template they wanted to achieve with October 1968's Electric Ladyland, surrounding the listener as best they could given the limits of 1960s recording technology was of paramount importance. Their plan was to push the literal boundaries of 2.0 presentation, with the hope its jampacked 75 minutes would someday be able to encircle its listeners in full. Fifty years later, Jimi finally got his 360-degree wish fulfilled, thanks to Kramer himself taking the 5.1 helm and utilizing the original 1-inch 12-track master tapes to their abject fullest measures on Blu-ray in the 50th anniversary box set. "1983," a track many of us marveled at for decades while listening to it repeatedly on headphones, has since become the perfect soundtrack for a 3D Aquaman movie, the aural equivalent of taking a sonic voyage 20,000 leagues (or should that be Hz?) under the sea. "1983" is a breathtaking 13-minute journey depicting Hendrix's concurrent ascent and descent into a future lived underwater, punctuated by his lightning-quick ping-ponging guitar-riff depth charges, multiple flute accents from Traffic's Chris Wood floating in and out of the ether, and drummer Mitch Mitchell's ever-intuitive jazz-influenced stick, snare, and cymbal work. If you have never been to Electric Ladyland, this breathtaking undersea adventure is the best place to start swimming.

Second takes: a) ". . . And the Gods Made Love." Electric Ladyland (like a centrifugal-force machine gone haywire and unfolding at breakneck speed all around you until it reaches pure climax); b) "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)." Electric Ladyland (wah-wah pedal mastery at its finest, presented in a way that makes you feel like Hendrix is simultaneously coming at you from every direction all at once yet never betrays the song's core structure and presentation).


4. The Beatles: "A Day in the Life." Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
(24/96 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Blu-ray. UMe/Apple/Capitol, 2017/1967.)

The most celebrated track on the most celebrated LP of the rock era that's generally acknowledged as the first long-playing record to cement the idea of an entire album being an artform until itself, "A Day in the Life" reaches newer heights beyond its original mono and stereo forms, thanks to the no-holds-barred surround mix by Giles Martin (with engineering assistance from Miles Showell and Sean Magee) on the Blu-ray that's part of Pepper's 50th anniversary box set. Indeed, this 5.1 "Day" is nothing short of extraordinary, pushing beyond the form it appears in on November 2006's LOVE DVD-Audio release. Witness both the subtle details (Beatles roadie/confidant Mal Evans counting out the number of bars during the orchestral build-ups, a chair scraping across the floor and papers rustling during the denoument) alongside the track's biggest moments — namely, the pair of cacophonous, 24-bar, 40-piece atonal orchestral swells that reached beyond the red of the very limits of volume. Not only that, but be ready for the heart-attack-inducing impact of the group-hit E-major chord on three separate pianos (in addition to producer George Martin banging along on harmonium), which resonates for a full 40 seconds until high-pitch effects and a repetition of the telling, prescient phrase "never could be any other way" (initially intended for the June 1967 vinyl album's runout groove) close the proceedings. A fitting coda to a studio-born promise realized that continues to stand the test of time, the 5.1 mix of "A Day in the Life" is way beyond compare.

Second takes: a) "Revolution 9." The Beatles – 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition. 24/96 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Blu-ray. UMe/Apple/Capitol, 2018/1968 (en garde your ears as The Fabs' prototypical avant-garde bouillabaisse sloshes and prods at you from all sides); b) "The Long One." Abbey Road – Anniversary Edition. 24/96 Dolby Atmos Surround Blu-ray. UMe/Apple/Capitol, 2019/1969 (i.e., the original working title for the 16-minute Side 2 medley; marvel at the depth and precision of Ringo Starr's lone Beatles-era drum solo and the three-channel guitar-solo tradeoffs between Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison respectively during "The End").


3. Porcupine Tree: "Time Flies." The Incident
(24/96 5.1 MLP Lossless DVD. DTS/Roadrunner, 2010/2009.)

It's nigh impossible to pick but one 5.1 track from the surround output of post-prog giants Porcupine Tree, but you gotta draw the line somewhere—and, in this case, that line arrives somewhere near the edge of time itself. Surround magnate Steven Wilson reaches the summit of his Tree-era surround experiments with an 11-minute multipart melancholy reminiscence that could also serve as the soundtrack to a mashup of The Twilight Zone episode troika of "Walking Distance," "A Stop at Willoughby," and "The After Hours." The opening stanzas set the stage with lines I could have penned myself: "I was born in '67 / The year of Sgt. Pepper and Are You Experienced? / It was a suburb of heaven." Wilson's bright, front-stage acoustic guitar intro soon gives way to waves of all-encompassing muscular Gilmourlike riffage—as in, "Sheep" meets "Time" in a back-channel back alley for a few rounds of comfortably nimble crosstalk—before a final acoustic figure nestles in the middle, buttressed by drummer Gavin Harrison's smashingly good snare and Richard Barbieri's right-behind-you keyboard textures. This soaring "Time" marker set the stage for Wilson's solo career, one that's been tailor-made for original music created for surround sound treatment that continue to raise the bar for 360-degree enjoyment.

Second takes: a) "Halo." Deadwing. 24/48 DTS Digital Surround DVD-Audio. DTS/Lava, 2005 (Wilson's distorted voice of God ascends through the channels like the titular halo around your head); b) "Blackest Eyes." In Absentia. 24/96 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Blu-ray. kScope/Lava, 2020/2003 (5.1 mixing pioneer Elliot Scheiner ensures the full headbanging impact of this track's neo/proto-metal crunch).


2. Yes: "Close to the Edge." Close to the Edge
(24/96 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Blu-ray. Panegyric/Atlantic, 2013/1972.)

The 18.5-minute-long title track "Close to the Edge" is perhaps the most fully realized composition in the entire Yes canon, a progressive rock hallmark that could only be brought to its fully immersive 5.1 life by the ever-ubiquitous Steven Wilson. The highlight comes in Part III, subtitled "I Get Up I Get Down," which features keyboard maestro Rick Wakeman's panoramic church-organ sequence that was recorded at St.-Giles-without-Cripplegate in London and ultimately floated into the final track from quarter-inch tape. Each respective Yesmate shines here, whether it's Chris Squire's extended bassnote runs in Part I ("The Solid Time of Change"), guitarist Steve Howe's front-channel sturm und twang attack in Part II ("Total Mass Retain"), vocalist Jon Anderson's continual exploration of his "uhhhh" and "owww" vowel extensions in Part III (the aforementioned "I Get Up I Get Down"), and drummer Bill Bruford's masterclass stick-and-snare work in Part IV ("Seasons of Man"). Truly a 5.1 mix that stretches outward beyond the Edge of possibilities.

Second takes: a) "Heart of the Sunrise." Fragile. 24/96 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Blu-ray. Panegyric/Atlantic, 2015/1971 (furiously sharp sunbursts from a distance, with Mellotron rising in the rears); b) "Yours Is No Disgrace." The Yes Album. 24/96 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Blu-ray. Panegyric/Atlantic, 2014/1971 (first salvo of Yes' compositional prowess unfolds with abject military precision; "silly human race," indeed).


1. Steven Wilson: "Luminol." The Raven That Refused to Sing (and other stories)
(24/96 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Blu-ray. kScope, 2013.)

Surely there can be no real surprise about who's No. 1 on this list. "Luminol," the utterly kinetic 12-minute lead track from Steven Wilson's groundbreaking February 2013 solo effort The Raven That Refused to Sing (and other stories), is the hands-down toppermost track that embodies all of the best qualities of any A-level 5.1 mix: palpable drama, hellacious highs, subwoofer-slamming lows, truly majestic volume dynamics, consistent six-channel challenges, and an extended song length to let the scope of the full arrangement breathe. All these elements create an unyielding impetus for us listeners to play "Luminol" again and again, because we'll always find something new to enjoy and/or focus on during each pass.

I could put forth a thousand words dissecting every striking "Luminol" moment there is, but I'll restrain myself only somewhat to note a few of my favorite things, such as Nick Beggs' thumpingly deep low end, Wilson's own Mellotron magic, drummer Marco Minnemann channeling Keith Moon through a tight time-signature hourglass, keyboardist Adam Holzman seemingly playing with eight hands all at once, and Guthrie Govan's ever-lithe electric-guitar musculature, all topped with the garland of Theo Travis' mystical flute accents. Subtitle it, "Planet Caravan Experiences Déjà Vu in Aspic Amidst Many Topographic Oceans."

Since the release of the Raven album and the breadth inherent in "Luminol" in particular, Wilson has continued to up the 5.1 ante considerably in his ensuing solo work—and because he's firmly nestled at No. 1, he gets (yes) four second takes below. And if what I've heard so far from his upcoming studio album The Future Bites is any indication, there's nowhere for him (and us) to go but up up up, around and around, and back again. Count out that final description of mine, and you'll find that it adds up to 5.1 more ways Wilson will continue to reign as the one true master of 360 degrees supreme.

Second takes (times two): a) "The Raven That Refused to Sing." The Raven That Refused to Sing (and other stories) (a somber funeral dirge that tears into the meat of your funereal soul); b) "Pariah." To the Bone. 24/96 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Blu-ray. Caroline, 2017 (ascends to a shimmery heaven with secret vocal weapon Ninet Tayeb's emotive work on the choruses); c) "Index." Grace for Drowning. 24/96 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Blu-ray. kScope, 2011 (a truly twisted collector's call that skitters along as a twitchy 5.1 OCD chronicle-cum-manifesto); d) "Routine." Hand. Cannot. Erase. 24/96 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Blu-ray. kScope, 2015 (anything but a reflection of its title, with yet another out-of-the-ordinary vocal wash from Tayeb).


Puffer Belly's picture

Just a correction that the Genesis surround discs were released as DVD-V (not DVD-A) in the USA, and SACD in the rest of the world. The DVDs are lossy (24/96 DTS) and the SACDs are lossless (DSD64).

Mike Mettler's picture
Thanks for the Genesis notes. I thought of mentioning DVD-V in the provided parenthetical info, but erred on the side of semantics, truth be told. My technical bad, per se.

It should further be noted that Genesis gets a solid A grade for providing top-shelf video content on each of their 5.1 releases in terms of filmed commentary/analysis from all bandmembers, occasional of-era live performances, and of-era videoclips (even if the video quality for much of the latter isn't quite the best, which keeps them from getting an A-plus distinction here).

On a semi-related note, if a DVD-A release offers visualized menus/screens and other movable visual elements per se, are they actually DVD-Vs? Asking for a friend...

Puffer Belly's picture

DVDs have two folders, AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS. A DVD-V player will access the VIDEO_TS folder and a DVD-A player will access the AUDIO_TS folder. AUDIO_TS has audio encoded with lossless MLP (and I think LPCM is allowed), and VIDEO_TS has audio encoded as Dolby Digital, DTS, and/or lossless LPCM. Both can have video content. See Wikipedia for more details, but those are the basic differences.

John Sciacca's picture
Hey, Mike! Great to read your deep music knowledge as always! Wondering your thoughts on some of the new Atmos-mixed albums and how you feel they compare to a traditional 5.1 mix? Specifically have you heard REM's "Automatic for the People" or Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" in Atmos? Love to hear your thoughts and if you think that might be something that we see replacing 5.1 to elevate (pun intended) surround music to the next generation. Thanks!
Mike Mettler's picture
Hey John -- great to hear from you, my friend! While I do have the Atmos version of Automatic for the People in hand (and have a note to get Kind of Blue Atmos ASAP!), I have yet to hear it in all its Atmos glory. You?

That said, I have heard the Atmos versions of Sgt. Pepper and Roger Waters' live The Wall, both of which set new surround standards on their own.

It's a good Q as to whether Atmos will replace 5.1, but it's still TBD, imo, until more content is available. Hmm, maybe I should ask SW what he thinks about Atmos the next time we talk...

trkarp's picture

This messed up my day - as in my 'work from home' office is only a few feet from my home theatre and I spent more time listening that working.

Many of these terrific choices are on my list too. The Yeah, Yeah, Yeah Song, High Hopes & Rocket Man are some of my go-to's as well. I even gave a listen to my very rarely played copies of Mojo & Hypnotic Eye with new appreciation.

For me, I would add Thick As A Brick (Jethro Tull), Benighted (Opeth) and Saturate Me (Riverside).

Mike Mettler's picture
Sorry/not sorry re messing up your "work from home" day -- but thanks for the comments! It really is something to visit/revisit all these 5.1 gems, isn't it?

I have a hard time narrowing down my favorite Jethro Tull 5.1 moment(s), but, as semi-alluded to in a previous response, I have a feeling they'll be on my next Top 5.1 list. Ditto with Riverside -- but shhh, don't tell...

PaulF14566's picture

Eagles Hotel California DVD-Audio is one of the best recorded 5.1 surround albums. Besides being great musically throughout it is reference quality sound. Another honorable mention is Yes Live in Amsterdam on DVD-Audio.

Mike Mettler's picture
Hotel California is indeed fabulous in 5.1 -- most especially "The Last Resort," which I delve into a bit further in this review:
clement's picture

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and well-presented choices! You really sparked some good conversation, which seemed very much to be one of your purposes. The most evident purpose, though, seems to be to share your very clear joy of surround sound! I certainly hope you consider another fifty . . . or is that 15.1? Have you ever visited I think you would really enjoy the community of like-minded multichannel music lovers! Stay Surrounded, Comrade!

Mike Mettler's picture
Thank you for saying so on all fronts -- and, yes indeed, the more we hear from passionate and enthusiastic people like you, the more I'm inclined to jump onto compiling the next 15.1-cum-50 list. (Paging EIC Griffin...)

And yes, I have visited and interacted with the community -- lotsa great folks over there!

t_m's picture

Wonderful article and some great comments too. Some of the tracks that I've used (Title-Artist-Album) - Comments welcome :
1) Ambergris_March-Bjork-Drawing_Restraint_9 : The bells are key to getting it sound right
2) Yesterday-Boyz_II_Men-DTS_Multichannel_Demo_CD_(Vol_1) : each voice is distinct; if speakers are not done right it just doesn't come together.
3) Biko-Peter_Gabriel-The_Best : The reverb is key to getting it just right.
4) Oxygène_2-Jean_Michel_Jarre-Aero : As indicated in another post, getting seamless transitions across speakers is key to this track.The Aero version is the best.
5) El_Barrio-Unk-Harman_Kardon_Logic_7_(The_Sounds_Of_New_York) : Consistency across all channels
6) Heavy_Metals-Ian_Anderson-Homo_Erraticus : Center channel with male voice
7) Pavement_Cracks-Annie_Lennox-Bare : That voice

Mike Mettler's picture
Many thanks! A few notes... 1) I do love much of Bjork's surround output, which I'll have to wade through further for my next list. We've noted 4) Jarre in a previous exchange, but I'd like to get further clarification of the album names and origins/formats of your specific source material for 3) Gabriel and 7) Annie Lennox, as I'm not aware of authorized audio-centric surround mixes for either of those releases...
insman1132's picture

What?? You couldn't find a single classical album that is great surround?? Really??

Mike Mettler's picture
Oh, believe me, there are scores of fantastic classical releases in 5.1, but they deserve a separate assessment all on their own, not interspersed randomly within a pop/rock/prog-oriented list I had trouble narrowing down in the first place.
NUJazz's picture

I agree with you. There are a lot of classical 5.1 tracks which provide an audiophile orgasm, just to mention one of those:
Magnificat – Nidarosdomens jentekor & TrondheimSolistene -"Fecit potentiam"

3ddavey13's picture

Just wanted to thank you Mike for making me aware of these surround releases. Thanks to you I was able get all 5 Yes blurays at reasonable prices, as well as all the Jethro Tull stuff (except for Thick As A Brick. I had to set settle for the stereo download from hdtracks. But I did manage to get my favorite - Benefit) Some great surround SACDs which haven't been mentioned are George Harrison Live in Japan, Roger Waters In The Flesh, Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here, Layla, and The Who Live At The Royal Albert Hall. If I had to choose a favorite surround release it would be the Atom Heart Mother album from Pink Floyd's The Early Years. It's a shame they didn't do the entire Meddle album. As for Atmos I've only experienced The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus and Abbey Road. While I hope this is the wave of the future I can't say that I relish having to buy my music over again.

Mike Mettler's picture
Thanks for the comments, Dave! Glad you got all the Yes Panegyric Blu-ray 5.1 releases in hand. There are also DVD-A 5.1 mixes for latter-era Yes albums like November 1997's Open Your Eyes and September 2001's Magnification -- both definitely interesting to some degree (see/hear the latter album's "In the Presence Of"), but not quite on par with Steven Wilson's definitive work on Yes' prime creative era.

That said, I wouldn't mind hearing SW tackle July 1977's Going for the One, if only to hear how he'd handle "Awaken" (which someone else also mentioned earlier in this comments thread).

Trevor Rabin and I once discussed the possibility of him doing a 5.1 mix for November 1983's 90125 -- and I'm certainly all for that, especially to hear what he would do with "Changes," one of the tracks both he and I agreed would be fantastic in 5.1.

As for latter-era Yes, I'd be down with getting 5.1 for the studio tracks on both volumes of 1996/97's Keys to Ascension and September 1999's The Ladder. Maybe someday on all counts, but who knows at this point. . .

Interesting choices on the SACD front from your POV as well. Speaking of the man behind In the Flesh, I will say that something from Roger Waters' Amused to Death BD is most definitely in the running to be on my next Top 5.1 tracks list, having barely missed the cut for the first one. It's the kind of mix that begs immediate reassessment of an album unjustly overlooked at the time of its initial release (in this case, September 1992).

The Randyman's picture

Great list! Makes me wish I had a better 5.1 system, but I love the music, and appreciate your guidance! If it's alright with you, I'm planning to use this list as the foundation for the radio show I host each Saturday. Thanks for the recommendations!

The Randyman's picture

Not only serious music, but serious lyrics as well! Of course the sound quality of the show does not come close to what the 5.1 experience must be like, but it did make for one awesome show. Thanks for the inspiration and I may have to put my own 5.1 system to the test and acquire some of these gems!
The Flaming Lips … Do You Realize
Elton John … Rocket Man
Styx … Radio Silence
Porcupine Tree … Time Flies
Rush … Vital Signs
Genesis … Watcher Of The Skies
The Moody Blues … Question
Steven Wilson … Pariah (Feat. Ninet Tayeb)
Yes … Yours Is No Disgrace
King Crimson … Elephant Talk
Dire Straits … The Man's Too Strong
The Jimi Hendrix Experience … Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Pink Floyd … High Hopes
The Beatles … A Day In The Life
Queen … Dragon Attack
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers … First Flash Of Freedom

Mike Mettler's picture
Hey Randy -- quite honored to see this list you put together for your radio-cloud show! Hope you got some great feedback about it too!
3ddavey13's picture

I'd be interested in more Yes especially live stuff. I have both Magnification on DVD-A and Amused To Death on bd. I started hunting down DVD-A and SACD discs when they first started to appear. I bought just about anything rock-related. Some of my 'interesting' 5.1s are British Are Coming (Brit hits from the '60s), Humble Pie at the Whiskey A-Go-Go, The Best Of Atomic Rooster, Deep Purple with Malcolm Arnold conducting The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and ELP Live From the Front Row. I also have the first DVD-A of Brain Salad Surgery. After reading your S&V article I tried to find the newer Sony released surround mix but all I've been able to find is a 2CD/1DVD stereo version from Manticore.
Getting off the subject a bit, I wanted to mention that the bluray from the 5 disc 40th Anniversary of The Last Waltz does not include a dts-HD Master Audio soundtrack. It has the same audio options as the standard bluray (5.1 PCM and Dolby Digital) even though it's listed in the book.
Getting even further off the subject, I'm hoping someone can identify this receiver. Back in the early days of quad (early '70s) a friend had a name-brand Japanese 4-speaker receiver that had a joystick built in to front. When moved around the music would gyrate from one speaker to the next. I don't know if it was a true quadraphonic receiver because he didn't own a quad turntable. This was my first introduction to surround sound and I thought it was pretty cool. I'm just curious if anyone knows anything about it.

Mike Mettler's picture
Wholly agreed re getting more Yes in 5.1, as we've noted in other related threads here. I may be able to get an update on that front fairly soon directly from the source, so to speak, so stay tuned for that...
Patbarr's picture

Yes 3D Davey, I recall that Sansui had a joystick although I never owned one.

One of my favorite 5.1 releases is America's "Homecoming" album. It's an Elliot mix that was originally on DVD-Audio (with the "swirly" logo that says "Advanced Resolution"), but I believe Audio Fidelity later released it as an SACD. Nick Davis' remix of Genesis' "Trespass" is a real revelation in 5.1 or stereo.

For new re-releases on SACD, take a look at the website for duttonvocalion in the UK. Prices are good and I grabbed "Best of the Guess Who vol. 2" which sounds good in a '70's quadriphonic way.

Mike Mettler's picture
Very much agreed re the merits of America's Homecoming in 5.1 -- and you are indeed correct re that one also having a latter-day Audio Fidelity release. (And, yep, I have both versions, of course.) Have you also heard the Audio Fidelity SACD quad version of their 1975 Hearts album?

I too have picked up a few of those Vocalion Guess Who 5.1 titles, and am awaiting another one's arrival from overseas before I do a multidisc GW-in-surround listening session.