I came across an interesting bit of history on Raider's original sound mix over at the LDDB forum, but I think you have to be registered there to be able to access it.
You mean this? http://forum.lddb.com/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=1296
"Raiders sound was mixed to be played in the VistaSonic Sound system that Paramount had previously used on Popeye and Dragonslayer. Unlike Dolby Stereo that used a matrix to encode 4 channels to 2 optical tracks, VistaSonic used 4 discrete optical tracks in the place of the normal 2. Since they were much smaller tracks, they were noisier, so a noise reduction system was used to improve fidelity. Stereo surrounds could also be employed by use of the SQ Quadraphonic matrix system - the stereo surrounds were encoded onto the Left and Right front channels with SQ - the discrete mono surround track then wasn't used. The playback head used a CCD based reader instead of a photodetector to keep the tracks and their phase response aligned better. The system was invented by Terry Beard who is also the inventor of the theatrical DTS system - while he owned NuOptix, a company that built much of the equipment used to record optical soundtracks, he also worked for Paramount's sound department as a technician in charge of research. There were many problems with VistaSonic during the Popeye and Dragonslayer showings (it had to be turned off during Popeye's premiere at the Chineese theater), so Raiders was switched to Dolby Stereo at the last minute - some minor remixing had to be done to accommodate the limitations of the Dolby logic decoding. The 70mm prints used the 4-track discrete VistaSonic mix unaltered except for the addition of Baby Boom subs. The DVD's 5.1 mix is the original VistaSonic mix so it's slightly different than the Dolby Stereo mix used on LaserDisc. The VistaSonic system was never used again - it had a nice logo though."
The plot thickens...
I just saw that press release and popped over here. That lddb quote is gold, and something that I've never heard of before. 4 optical tracks, or three with stereo surround matrixed sounds like an odd way to do things theatrically. That would answer why the film was mixed for stereo surround and then converted to Dolby Stereo.
Now I wonder what the '92 LD used if it's different.
Yeah, that's it. :)
Just how many short lived theatrical audio formats were there back then? I was aware of "Sound 360" and "Megasound", but this was a new one to me.
It's a really interesting alternative for getting something closer to 70mm 6 track magnetic audio into conventional 35mm theaters. The thing is that they didn't think about the large noise associated with multiple optical tracks with no hiss reduction. Thus it was only used and abandoned for Popeye and Dragonslayer with them being reconditioned for Dolby Stereo. It must have had some kind of Paramount association, thus Raiders would be planned and mixed for the new format but converted to Dolby Stereo for the main 35mm release.
I wonder if any prints ever had a Vistasonic credit? Every version of Popeye I've seen didn't even have a Dolby Stereo credit. I actually thought the movie was mono for many years, having only seen it on tv.
Well, I'm stumped. This second disc has every indication of being the remaster. Bar code, Paramount 75th anniversary logo on the label, and chapter stops. Yet no digital sound. :(
On the plus side, no laser rot, and the sound seems much better.
Is the analog at least CX-encoded?
FWIW, LDDB lists these inner-circle mint marks for the remastered-sound release:
These "stealth" repressings are nuts. I'm worried how many we might have to get before we come up with a real digital-sound pressing. Almost makes it seem worth it to track down the expensive Japanese widescreen release...
Tell me about it. ;)
The mint numbers don't match any of those. The earlier disc has hand etched numbers by comparison. I'll try to find a match on the LDDB later.
It gets stranger with the CX. I can't turn it on with my 704, which seems like an opposite of the "auto CX" encoding some discs had to turn it on automatically in modern players. My older player would ignore such things though.
There's enough info to ask a seller now and avoid the earliest pressing at this point. The only other alternative would be to seek out a sealed pre-1998 VHS Hi-Fi copy. It seems like the movie was never really out of print even when the 20th anniversary rolled around.
Note the back of the VHS is easier to tell apart from the 20th Anniversary tapes.
Found another Ebay seller who's also selling some players, so they ought to be able to check the soundtrack for me.
Did a transfer of disc number two overnight. Sounds really good for analog. Will try to put up a song or two by this weekend.
Came up dry with that Ebay seller. They were very nice in taking the time to check the Laserdisc they were selling though.
Has anyone listened to the songs I captured off the analog sound LD yet?
It does sound good for analog alright! I'm not entirely familiar with the film's mix, so I can't say how "correct" it is, but streaming to my Apple TV and decoding it into Pro-Logic II, it's wonderfully rich. I did have to crank the fader way up to get a decent level though.
It sounds wonderful on these hi-quality headphones. Very warm sound.
If anyone still cares about this, I've got the Japanese Grease LD with digital sound on the way. Might be there already, but I'm on vacation. ;)
Wonderful, looking forward to it after your vacation (and after mine - I'm going up to Canada tomorrow, specifically BC/AB).
And they sent me the wrong freaking disc. It's not like you can't tell the Japanese pressings apart. :(
This may not be a total disaster, as this does have CX encoding. This is still starting to bug me.
Seriously, was not expecting that. It's as if some higher power doesn't want us to find the digital track...
Either that or it's this guy...
This Japanese LD actually sounds like mono! The curse continues...
I have been able to I.D. the mid to late 90's catalog VHS Hi-Fi release that was out right before the 20th anniversary reissue. (Not easy with Paramount's constant recycling of cover art with minor changes.) I'm in the process of getting a sealed copy on Ebay. Keep your fingers crossed!
Got the VHS today. Minty fresh, original version, and no tracking problems so far. Best of all, apparently no macrovision, so I don't have to pipe in another video signal to get the DVD recorder to play nice.
Unlike the other older video masters, the opening and closing credits are letterboxed.
Now I feel guilty for sending you on a wild goose chase for laserdiscs when you could have just gotten the VHS. :(
No worries. :)
No one could have anticipated Paramount slapping new labels on old stock. (Or that LDDB seller needing their eyes checked.) It was a crapshoot whether the VHS was going to be the 20th anniversary version on the tape, and there were no obvious tracking issues. It could have even been Grease 2 on there. ;)
Factory sealed or not, this tape is over a decade old.
I've had a few "tapes from hell" where the Hi-Fi track drops out every few minutes.
Factory sealed or not, this tape is over a decade old.
A bit off topic, but why would a tape from the 90s not have macrovision?
It may have been someone forgot to flip a switch at the dubbing facility.
Not every studio used it as it did cause video problems for some people. Fox videos were the worst offenders in my experience.
Reviewed my capture tonight, and there was a major video glitch during the Sandra Dee reprise, which affected the audio for a couple seconds. Going to try to recapture that bit tonight. If it's beyond salvage, it will have to be patched from one of the Laserdiscs or some other source.
In spite of one or two other minor video dropouts, the rest of the audio sounds great!