As home theater enthusiasts we love to show off our home entertainment systems. Let’s face it we have put lots of blood, sweat, tears and money into our labor of love so why shouldn’t we sit our friends, neighbors, relatives and anyone else that happens by down for a demonstration? Like many of you reading this I still get a kick out of watching people react to a great demo scene played back in my 7.2 channel theater. Of course this type of setup isn’t required to derive the awe factor as each room, system and enthusiast is different.
The advent of surround sound gave us a whole new way to thrill ourselves at home. DVD and its 5.1 digital sound and crisp video put smiles on more faces than I can count. The arrival of high definition Blu-ray and lossless audio took it to a new level entirely. I have a variety of Blu-ray Discs that I like to use for demonstration material. Some are for video quality, some are for audio quality and some qualify for both. This month I thought I would focus on audio quality and offer a few specific scenes from Blu-ray Discs that I use to demo my system. It should be noted that the order is random and this isn’t a comprehensive top fifteen list. I decided to focus on live action films and chose a few that some might not consider main stream but have something tangible to offer. I have included specific chapter and where applicable time stamp information along with the format used.
Chap 9. (opening): Short but incredibly dynamic and jarring - DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Chap. 29 - 1:42:00 (Hallway shootout): Dynamically rich with a punchy low end – DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Chap. 15 (“depth charged”): Needs little introduction and is simply terrific – DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
War of the worlds
Chap. 13 (The ferry crossing): Deceptively good with immersive sound and involving bass – DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Flight of the Phoenix
Chap. 5 (The sandstorm): An oldie but goodie that makes for a great system torture test – DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol
Chap. 5 - 00:31:00 (Kremlin explosion): Another brief but wonderfully jarring/immersive experience - Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Chap. 14 - 01:20:00 (Bus attack): This is an involving sequence featuring dynamically rich sound, off camera cues and hearty bass – Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Chap. 3 (Battling the Frost Giants): From start to finish this one has it all – DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio
Chap. 9/10 (The surprise attack at the gas station followed by the chase): Lots of great directional correlation and room filling bass – DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
The Hunger Games
Chap. 10 (At the edge): This is a great sequence that makes excellent use of the entire surround platform and features room traversing effects underscored by pulsating low frequency detail – DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio
Chap. 14 (The battle at the river): Lots of flying bullets, big guns and room filling explosions – DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio
Chap. 1 - 00:03:15 – 00:08:00 (The tsunami): I like this one for its involving use of surround, robust dynamics and enriching detail – DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Act of Valor
Chap. 9 thru 00:41:12 of chap. 10 (The rescue): Much like Hereafter I like this sequence for its visceral edge, involving quality and snappy dynamics – DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Chap. 3 - 00:12:50 – 00:14:30 (The crash) – This is a short sequence but it’s memorable – DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Transformers Dark of the Moon
Chap. 15 - 01:38:40 – 01:39:36 (being greeted upon arrival in Chicago): This entire soundtrack would qualify as demo worthy. This is a brief sequence that I like to use because it’s well rounded, directly to the point and hits hard – Dolby TrueHD 7.1
I have reviewed nearly all of the Blu-ray listed above. They can be found in the AVS Forum Blu-ray Disc Review Database for those who want to check out the details.
There you have it – 15 demo worthy Blu-ray scenes that’ll sound great on your multi-channel home theater system. But this list is by no means supposed to be definitive. I'd love to hear which scenes you consider worthy of eliciting the awe factor when showing off your audio system. Please post some suggestions in the comments below, or feel free to create your own list on AVS!
Ralph Potts has been a member of AVS for ten years and has been reviewing audio/video hardware and digital home media for even longer. He has been AVS’ official Blu-ray reviewer for the last four years and has provided over nine hundred Blu-ray reviews for the AVS Community. You can follow Ralph along with AVS’ other official Blu-ray reviewer Lee Weber HERE