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The Music of Star Wars: 30 Anniversary Collection

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Not much is yet known about this release. It hasn't been "officially confirmed," but SONY/BMG lists it as a new release, and Amazon.com is taking preorders.

Amazon lists it as costing $89.98.

It also says it will have 8 discs.

Amazon.com item

Song/BMG slates the release for october, but we're also hearing November as well. (Scroll down to 1.10.07)
Sony/BMG site


There is also a Corellian collectors edition that will come out. It is said to be similiar to the Target Exclusive CD that has tracks from all 6 films.

Scroll down to look at it

I thought I'd make an announcement and will keep you all posted with any new news


Is it not sad that in this time, we are more surprised by acts of love than acts of hate?
-Me

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looks to me because it is 8 discs that it will be the generic packaging of the sony 2 disc editions of the se trilogy 2004 release, as well as the single disc editions of the prequels.

if it was to include the doubled disc phantom menace it would be 9 discs.

they are so stupid not to release the 2 disc editions of attack of the clones and revenge of the sith.

even though John Williams is my favorite composer i will not be buying this box set unless it has bonus extras like the John Williams radio interviews.

“Always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin’s ghost. What a fucking shame.” -Simon Pegg.

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well, that's the thing... if it is just the 2 disc OT, then that's 6 discs... if they include the prequels... that's only 2 more discs so who do they leave out?

There's a lot of speculation going on about what the discs include... I think it's best to wait and see... I have my hopes up. Afterall, they did release a box set recently that had a cd with a song from the holiday special. If they're releasing music from THAT lol... they better be releasing music from the films lol


Is it not sad that in this time, we are more surprised by acts of love than acts of hate?
-Me

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I have the 2-disc soundtracks to the OT, so I don't know why this release would be worth getting. I like the music from the prequels enough, but sometimes the music reminds me of certain prequel scenes, and then it's hard to listen to, because those scenes sucked so hard.

Maybe this is just the OT music with 2 discs of bonus stuff relating to the OT music.
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If I may interject, there are things about the 2 disc sets for star wars that are...rather lacking.

Do not mis-understand me in this. They are a wonderful release where they did a lot... but there are also a lot of mistakes.

If they are re-releasing the 2 disc sets, then that's a pity... if they are re-releasing corrected versions, then i may consider buying them.

Return of the Jedi sounds like you're listening to it through a wool sheet. And it's also missing a ton of tracks.

Empire Strikes Back is missing quite a few alternates and is mixed incorrectly half the time because of Risner.

as for the as Prequels go, Episode I is my all time favourite score. Episode III is a great score but is used ineffectively at times in the film and really needs a much better release.

Episode II has a lot of... interesting creative choices but is still star wars and should still be released in its entirety.

Problem is that Episode I has about 4 discs of material by itself. Episode III has 3, and about 2 for Episode II. That's already 9 discs..

And if it is corrected SE's for the Original Trilogy, then that would mean it was at least 6, but probably 7 since most of the missing material (Max Rebo band music, Lapti Nek versions, Jabba the Hutt suite, Ewok insert, and the Empire Alternates) could fit on a single disc. That still begs "what's the last disc."

So it is ...difficult to guess what this could be.

Some are saying that the information on AMazon seems to be wrong and it's possible that they got that wrong as well...

Only time will tell... but if the sets that they're coming out have been any sign, this should be a GREAT set.


Is it not sad that in this time, we are more surprised by acts of love than acts of hate?
-Me

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This could be nice if pulled out right, namely if it includes any unreleased material from the original movie or the sequels and a wealth of liner notes—why were they taken out the last time?

Off-topic: could this be of any sign for the speculated re-release of the movies?
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Maybe the 8 discs will be DVDs, or CD-ROMs containing FLACs. Wishful thinking, I know, but sometimes I wish we could put the CD audio format to bed. At least for "specialist" releases like the fifth major release of a twenty-five-year-old movie trilogy soundtrack.
"It's the stoned movie you don't have to be stoned for." -- Tom Shales on Star Wars
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I dont' think they'd have flacs on the discs lol... most people dont' even know what that is lol...

I kinda hope that maybe they'll be DVD's of the complete scores, like the Lord of the Rings sets... but even those sets had CD's with the DVD's.

If it were DVD's, that STILL asks "what are the last 2 discs" lol... maybe some music from the radio program or tv movies or something...


Is it not sad that in this time, we are more surprised by acts of love than acts of hate?
-Me

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Well, regarding that the "Star Wars Soundtrack Anothology" had a 4th disc containing alternate versions of several tracks, it might be 1 CD for each movie and 1 for each trilogy containing alternates... of course 1 CD per movie wouldn't be enough, so it's still something different I guess.
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Well that's the thing. Who says it won't be just one disc per movie?
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Why can't they just release a 15-CD version of the entire saga and be done with it? Like the radio dramas.
I am fluent in over six million forms of procrastination.
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Originally posted by: ADigitalMan
Why can't they just release a 15-CD version of the entire saga and be done with it? Like the radio dramas.


Because that would make sense.

Well, it's SOME kind of of 30th anniversary release.

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Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death

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If you own the Anthology boxed set from the early 1990s (which featured the last release of the original Jedi music), PLUS the 2-disc SE releases, I can't see any reason to buy this, unless it contains some of the "lost" music from Jedi (like the film-version of Lapti Nek and the Sail Barge intrumental music).

As far as the PT music goes, I care as much about that as I do about the movies (which is not very much).

Originally posted by: GoodMusician
Afterall, they did release a box set recently that had a cd with a song from the holiday special. If they're releasing music from THAT lol... they better be releasing music from the films lol

Are you talking about the "vault" book? That's coming out in October and it will feature Carrie Fisher's song from the Holiday Special.

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that uh... that's exactly what I said lol Although I thought it was already released...

As far as the Anthology and the SE's, both are poor releases in their own regards, but I'm not going to turn this into a talk about what's wrong with the various releases...

I do hope, however, that if this is a true re-release of the OT music, they've properly mixed it and fixed what they did wrong and found all the missing music.


Is it not sad that in this time, we are more surprised by acts of love than acts of hate?
-Me

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Originally posted by: GoodMusician


As far as the Anthology and the SE's, both are poor releases in their own regards, but I'm not going to turn this into a talk about what's wrong with the various releases...

Why not? I'm curious to know what's wrong with them. They sound quite good to me (especially the BMG/RCA 2-disc editions), but maybe that's because I grew up listening to the LPs on a plastic record player with plastic speakers.

I hear quite a bit of tape hiss on the CDs, but I think that's to be expected from recordings of their age.

What would be really nice is if the OT scores were released on SACD or DVD-Audio, but that's probably not going to happen.

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You asked for it lol

Problems with Releases to date:

Problems with all Album releases: John Williams had been around for quite a few years by the time he composed the scores for the star wars trilogy. At that time, it was common practice to compose a score for a film, and then arrange cues from the film for an album release. Around this time however, Williams started using a different technique.
Rather than record the album separately and have to arrange the music for it, he would record the score, and edit the score to highlight cues from the film, edited together in a sort of concert suite approach.

In this, many cues are lost, left unreleased or partially unreleased.

The LP's:

Original LP for Star Wars: Biggest issue is the entire score is not released. The quality is actually very very good. Unlike CD's, the music is not digitally compressed and is considered to be almost near "reality" as possible. It's funny to think of the price we paid for convenience and for technology.

Original LP for Empire: Same as the first. Even with the double LP's released, the entire scores are not presented.

Original LP for Return of the Jedi: Some of the most defining moments for this film are left off. Stranger still about this film is the lack of a Double LP set. Perhaps because of the popularity of CD's, LP's began to loose a foothold and a single disc became more feasable and would cost less on both ends. This SEVERELY cut down on the amount of music released.

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The first CD's:

CD's as I mentioned contain the music from the LP's in an almost strict copy to CD but unlike LP's, cd's are compressed. The music presented on the CD's often lack a lot of the clarity and depth and reality that the LP's present and for this reason, many people often say they prefer the old LP's to the CD's.

As I said, the CD's are almost strict copies of the LP's HOWEVER some information and documentation had been lost over the time as you have to realize in this time, when they edited the music, they literally edited the music tapes. Some of the CD's used alternate or incorrect takes.

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The Anthology Set:

Perhaps one of the most loved of the releases, the Anthology presents a wealth of music along with a great booklet.

Problems with the Anthology:

A New Hope: One of the biggest problems was the company putting together this set was denied access to vaults and to a lot of materials that would normally be required to put a set together. Limited access to copies of masters was granted so the quality of the music is still a further step down from the LP. Also, proper documentation on the exact editing of the score (the correct takes of cues used, where they are edited, how many edits, what take is used of the ~400 takes) was thought lost so the people working on the set guessed.

This led to incorrect editing, usage of improper takes, and a few other errors like this.

Example: Compare "Throne Room" on the Anthology to the "Throne Room" on the SE. You'll find that the horns do a triplet on the Anthology but a duplet on the SE. This is an alternate take and was not meant to ever be used and although it shows the creative decisions behind the composing of the score and recording of the score, it denies the definitive and final creative choice/version meant to be heard.

Empire Strikes Back: One of the more complete of the trilogy, the second disc highlights and shows a great wealth of cues. I personally have always preferred this CD to the 2 DISC SE for reasons I will discuss in a bit.

Several of the cues on disc 2 suffer from omissions of material heard in the film but not here (such as the music that plays in the helicopter establishing shot of Luke riding his tauntaun on Hoth). Some of the cues warble in and out of tune at times and it has been said that several cues were transferred at the incorrect speed (compare Imperial March to the same from the SE).

For the most part, the only issue is the less than stellar copy of the master used to produce this.

Unfortunately, the Empire tracks on the 4th disc weren't so lucky. Many of the extra tracks from Empire tacked on the 4th disc suffered from editing errors. The second half of a few tracks such as "Drawing the Battle Lines/Leia's Instructions" suffer from flipped Left/Right channels. This occurs on several cues in this. Why it occurred is perhaps carelessness as the cello/bass are suppose to be in the right channel and the violins in the left. A simple editing program can flip these back to the correct sides however, but the release does have these errors.

Return of the Jedi: Some of the most interesting aspects of this score is how bad it has always sounded. It has never truly had the clarity or depth that any of the other recordings had. The strings in every release lack quality and strength and almost don't exist in the mixes and are bland and weak.

Aside from the amount of material lacking in this release for the set, Film versions of cues are left off. "Lapti Nek" on the 4th disc is an album recording and is one of 6 recordings: (some have been released denoted by *)

Film Version
*Album Version
*Extended Album Version
*Instrumental
Film Instrumental
English Version

Other missing tracks include the Album recording of "Jabba the Hutt's" suite. This was recorded after the film in a separate album recording session (where the "The Ewok Battle" and "Return of the Jedi" were recorded.

Interesting to note was that the final portion of the "Jabba the Hutt's" suite was Incorrectly edited onto the end of "Han Solo Returns," replacing the correct segment which is unreleased until the SE's. This is the only release of the original John Williams Album recording in existence. It is now proposed to be lost.

Besides the sound being quite dead, they use a copy of the master. Interesting to note is a strange blip of sound at 2:33 on track 2. This is also heard in the SE but NOT on the LP as the LP's were derived from the original masters which were not available for this release and were not found until after the SE was released.

Some of the greater parts of the Anthology were the extra tracks on Disc 4. They show a great deal of extra music never before released and to this day, the Anthology has been one of my favourite sets.

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And now to the SE's.


A New Hope: This set is perhaps one of the most well done of ANY of the Original Trilogy releases. Mike Matessino who edited this went back and studied the original LP and the film to make sure his edits were accurate. He then, through a few people, was able to find the lost documentation on what cues were used, how they were used, when they were edited, and what cues were recorded.

Through this discovery and the discovery of some of the masters not available to the Anthology producers, the "Binary Sunset (Alternate)" was discovered. This, plus the first recordings/takes of "Star Wars" were found. They were added to the set as extras and were not originally know about.

Unfortunately, as with all the releases, the set comes from several different masters and copies of the masters. Because of this, Matessino admits that they had to dumb down the sound slightly of the tracks from the better masters to ensure a playable experience and that the set on the whole, worked together and that certain tracks didn't sound better than others.

Also they discovered that the other takes of the Main Title had degraded so poorly that they were lost forever.

Binary Sunset was discovered on some extra reel left over from the editing process from when they actually had to edit the tape to put together the score.

This set is a definitive release of A New Hope. It uses the correct takes, is mixed properly, and with the advent of digital transfers, the masters were safely stored on a computer (digitally but eh, it's better than nothing for now) and this, unlike Analog, does allow for a larger degree of clarity in the recordings. When you listen, for the first time, you get the entire score as it was meant to be heard and better than it has ever sounded before.

Empire Strikes Back: A New Hope was a great start, but Empire falls apart quickly.

From track 2, fracking "Main Title" that which you hear at any Star Wars concert and is recorded for each film and so on, one of the biggest problems with this set begins to show. Unlike the Anthology predecessor, this error is not easily fixed.

The Horn channels are very obviously flipped.

When an orchestra is recorded, there are 3 main mics (left, right, center) and there are separate mics for different sections and specialty instruments such as harp.

The normal orchestral setting is:

Extreme Left: Harp
Left: Horns (aka french horns), Violin 1, Violin 2, percussion, (and in the case of Imperial Walkers) Piano.
Middle: Winds and Violin 2 to an extent. Precussion like timpani
Right: Viola, Cello. Brass sections (trumbone, trumpet, tuba, baritone, etc), (and in the case of Imperial Walkers) Piano 2. choice of percussion like glocks.
Extreme Right: String Bass, Harp,


In every track edited by Risner, one of two music editors for the SE release of Empire, the Horn's are flipped: putting the trumpets and brass on the left, and horns on the right.

Also, one of the bigger mistakes made by Risner is his improper mixing of the harp. In every track he mixed, he mixed the music so narrowly that the definition of right and left is almost non-existent. The Harp is meant to be on the extreme left or right (usually there are two harps one one each side). He places them in the MIDDLE. This is WRONG. You listen to the music in the film or ANY John Williams release or check out the common orchestral set up and you see that it is meant to be on the extreme left and/or right. NEVER the center unless it is a lead instrument which it was never used as such in Empire.

Celeste, meant to accompany the first violins plucking in "Training of a Jedi Knight" is again, mixed into the center rather than being in the far right complimenting the strings.

"Imperial Walkers" utilizes two pianos in it's opening measures very loudly. In the performance notes, Williams says that the more pianos, the better.

In the SE, the pianos are mixed so narrowly that it sounds like a single piano in the center! It says something about the accuracy of the performers that they could be down-mixed into a single piano and be flawless, but the problem is, THAT is NOT how it was meant to be at all!

Certain aspects of the score were also improperly mixed such as the little synth used in "The Wampa Lair" and the choir in "Cloud City." In both cases, the mixing is incorrect and the synth/choir are meant to be very lightly mixed, not mixed so loudly as to cause actual digital distortion as you hear in the SE in "The Wampa Lair."

Other problems:

Many of the more important cues are mixed very narrowly. Take "Imperial March" for example. It is meant to be a sonically bombastic power house piece, but it sounds wimpy and flat on the SE. The strings sound HORRIBLE and the brass is so narrowly mixed it may as well be mono. The bass and middle registers are removed and the brightness becomes harsh and crass.

Other tracks like Hyperspace are again mixed so narrowly that the handoff between the string sections becomes dangerously downplayed and mono, destroying the original vision of the score (not to mention the flipped horn tracks).

Lastly, the omission of many alternate versions. "The Rebel Fleet" heard on the Anthology and on the SE/LP are two DIFFERENT versions composed for different edits of the same sequence.

Also worthy of note are the two versions of "The End Credits," the one commonly heard on the other releases and the one heard here.


Return of the Jedi:

This release is almost not worth buying.

This was the first of the three sets finished and has the least amount of work done to it.

The plehtora of problems with this set make me wonder where to begin:

First off, the set sounds like shit. It sounds like your listening through a woolen blanket. The strings dissapear and sound dead.

For a "dolby digital" transfer, with THX verification, this score really sounds bad. We know that the masters used for the anthology are the same used here. The original masters could not be found in time for this set.

On top of that, many other masters went missing. The various version of Lapti Nek, the 2 Max Rebo Band songs, a completely unheard/unused/unreleased third source cue also composed by John Williams son, Joseph Williams is lost.

The original music composed for the Ewok Celebration is not presented here (On the Anthology two versions are released: neither are the film version).

The Alternate for "Leia's News" is left off of the set along with several alternates and the Ewok Insert heard only in the film.

Jabba the Hutt's concert suite is missing (as the masters could not be located).

The concert suites used on this set came from the masters from the Anthology release and so their sound is questionable.

Certain cues use incorrect takes such as the great cue "Superstructure Chase." The film take does not have the horn flub as heard in this take. Not to mention it sounds much better as this one sounds like utter glorified shit.

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So where does this leave us? What can be done? What can a new release do?


Well for one:

A new release can release some of the alternate takes from A New Hope that have not been released including an alternate End Credits take that has leaked through video game sources.

Empire could be completely remixed (CORRECTLY) and it's alternates could be reinserted.

Return of the Jedi could be released in its complete fashion (however I heard that the masters for the Lapti Nek cues and Album recording sessions are still proving illusive). It could also be remixed to sound worth listening to.

All this together could take up about 8 discs. 2 for A New Hope with some extra tracks, 2 for Empire with some tracks left over, and 3 for Jedi. The left over tracks from ANH and Empire could go on their own CD.

That would be 8 discs...
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Other Original Trilogy Music Odd's and Ends:

-The Star Wars Disco versions (which can still be found around)
-The Star Wars concert versions (which are available in many places and recordings)
-The Holiday Special Score (one track is in a 30th anniversary set of 'The Star Wars Archive')
-The 2 Ewok movie scores (which have very poor incomplete bootlegs)
-The Radio Show music (which has been released)


So what can be on the set? Hard to say. We know that masters for Return of the Jedi surfaced and that they could be used to create a much better release. Look at the DVD with Revenge of the Sith and the concert suites. They music is mixed in 5.1 and sounds quite good.


The other option would be to release DVD's of the complete scores like they did with the Lord of the Rings sets, but even then, they included CD's so it's hard to say unless the DVD's are simple transfers of the 2 disc SE's and if you want to listen to the CD, you buy the SE and you buy this for the Surround sound mix.


Hard to see the future is...


anyway, I hope this answered your question.


Is it not sad that in this time, we are more surprised by acts of love than acts of hate?
-Me

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Thanks for the info. Now I can sound even more nerdy infront of my friends!

I do have a question about the alternates. By 'alternates', do you mean anything that is different than what ended up in the film or is it anything different than what was previously released on an album?
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Alternates... alternates...

these...alternates you speak of... :-p


In Empire, the alternates are all released in some form, but not all of them were digitally remastered and included on the SE set.

For Jedi, the alternates are said to be missing.

For A New Hope, there is some debate about the origin of the alternate take of the end credits, but there were some 400 takes so variations in orchestration do occur and are slowly changed during the recording process... happens all the time.

The alternates are things like an Ewok Insert to replace a portion of "The Forest Battle," or "End Credits" from Empire which is really just a different editing of the tracks (there is the album edit and the film edit. The Album is more 'listenable' where as the film Is more accurate to what was wanted I suppose but is more jarring.)

There is the alternate "Han Solo in Carbonite" cue which is on the set but is hidden. There is the alternate "Finale" which isn't on the set and is only on the anthology. There is the alternate Sail Barge Assault which came from the masters for the Anthology, not from the actual masters so the quality isn't as good as it could be. On top of that, it's the "Album concert suite" recording session, not the actual film recording.

Example of differences between Film and Album concert suite recording:

"The Ewok Battle" and "Ewok Battle Concert Suite" ... they are almost literally the same, but there are slight orchestration differences and the concert suite is longer of course. But if we only had the concert suite, we'd still would be missing a great cue of the film version of "The Ewok Battle."

These are things composed for the films, usually at different points or for different edits of the film. When the film is re-edited, Williams would come in and rescore them such as Sail Barge Assault which is said to have been one of the most complex edits of the original trilogy becuase of there being so much action going on simultaneously. Because of this, the edit went through several versions. Williams scored the original edit.

Then Ben Burtt went back and kept tweaking the scene and adding in more, extending some portions and shrinking others. Then Williams came back in and rescored that edit.

Burtt, however, kept working until they "got it right" as Lucas said, but by then, Williams was no longer available to re-score the scene and record the music so they had to use what they had and edit it to how you hear it in the film.


Is it not sad that in this time, we are more surprised by acts of love than acts of hate?
-Me

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Oh, and there has been a find about the Correllian album:

Corellian Edit


You can view the cover art, see the track list, and listen to the tracks. They seem to be taken directly from the albums however (edits intact and track names the same).

If anyone gets this, could you let me know.

Apparently this was the Target exclusive cd and they are just now pacakaging it alone. I've also foudn some information from Film Score Monthly:


Sony Classical will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Star Wars by releasing several versions of a Star Wars Anniversary collection that includes a single-disc John Williams ‘best of’ grouping of 13 tracks from all 6 Star Wars films and will be called Star Wars: The Corellian Edition. The other version is a Box set containing 8CDs of Star Wars scores including 2CD Expanded Editions of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Return of the Jedi. Each episode CD will be contained in a gate-fold mini-jackets that are exact replicas of the original LP sleeves. The 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition 8CD Box will also contain a fold-out poster created specifically for this set, historical notes of the creation of the soundtracks, and 4”x4” four-colour stickers. Whatever your desire is, the Star Wars collection is coming to a galaxy near you (sorry I said that.) The Box arrives on October 8 whilst the single disc Corellian Edition arrives on October 2.


It still doesn't explain what the last 2 discs are... some speculate it could be TPM UE... which sucks... I don't know why they'd bother packaging that.

I hope that if these are the SE's in a box set, they at least fixed them.


Is it not sad that in this time, we are more surprised by acts of love than acts of hate?
-Me

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Originally posted by: GoodMusician
It still doesn't explain what the last 2 discs are... some speculate it could be TPM UE... which sucks... I don't know why they'd bother packaging that.

I hope that if these are the SE's in a box set, they at least fixed them.


Because it's the 30th anniversary and just about everything has been repacks.

After reading most of your post about what's wrong with the SE CD set, I hope they fix it too. I'm not counting on that at all though and I'm betting that this is in fact a simple repackaging of the SE CDs and the TPM UE.

Fixing the sets and releasing the rest of the missing music would require actual work. With this, all they have to do is go back to the masters and reduplicate everything. That's not very hard and takes little to no effort.
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Thanks again, GoodMusician!

This is a bit frustrating, I must admit. We can't get a decent DVD release of the movies and we can't get a decent soundtrack set. Why can't they get it right? Is it that the general public just doesn't know the difference?
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Probably. I'm only realizing the extent of the audio problems thanks to audiophiles like Neil S. Bulk and GoodMusician. And I actually sat first-chair Trombone for 10 years. Once you understand the problem, it's hard NOT to hear it. Just like the color timing issues on the movies ... once you realize you're looking at blueish Snowtroopers, that's all you see.
I am fluent in over six million forms of procrastination.
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Originally posted by: ADigitalMan
Probably. I'm only realizing the extent of the audio problems thanks to audiophiles like Neil S. Bulk and GoodMusician. And I actually sat first-chair Trombone for 10 years. Once you understand the problem, it's hard NOT to hear it. Just like the color timing issues on the movies ... once you realize you're looking at blueish Snowtroopers, that's all you see.


1st chair, 2nd trumpet.......I like to harmonize.....

I love everybody. Lets all smoke some reefer and chill. Hug and kisses for everybody.

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Originally posted by: Sluggo
We can't get a decent DVD release of the movies and we can't get a decent soundtrack set. Why can't they get it right? Is it that the general public just doesn't know the difference?


At least in regards to the DVD release, I would have to answer with a resounding yes. By the way, was that a rhetorical question?