Originally Posted by Chris Beveridge
Originally Posted by Hayate Kurogane
Originally Posted by Rhodes
For some a 5.1 mix is way more important than improved video... look at all those 6.1 and 7.1 audio mixes that gets pared down to 5.1 only for the US.
Frankly I can understand that but if the source was originally 2.0 and it was up mixed to X.1 I'm willing to stick to 2.0 if it's lossless and there wasnt much or any sound action from the other channels. Would be nice if someone looked at the 5.1 dub mix and see just how much action the other channels got once you filter out all the music.
Unless the Baccano! dub got some sort of special treatment, I can't imagine it's anything to really get excited about, if some of FUNimation's other, more recent 5.1 English audio mixes are any indication. I mean, they're better than having your receiver upmix a stereo track, but not by much. I question the sense of directionality their audio engineers seem to have, when there's actually any directionality involved. Mostly it comes across as slightly louder sound coming from everywhere, voice-wise, essentially the same as the music.
A great deal of the English 5.1 mixes aren't really all that different from the 2.0, because there's not a lot to do with it. As is said, it's usually two things:
And directionality applied to all speakers, and not really that directional. Almost like a 4.0 mix. Sometimes the bass gets taken up a few notches as well. I'll always prefer a well made stereo mix than a 5.1 mix built out of it, because the audio was engineered to be in stereo and placed a certain way.
It's become a moot point in a way these days, since FUNimation's releases contain only a 5.1 English audio mix, but without discrete M&E audio elements being supplied by the Japanese, any worthwhile directionality is limited to what the audio engineer chooses to do with the English vocal audio, which doesn't seem to happen very much, and is applied in questionable ways when it does.
Sure, you can run stereo M&E material through a filter to try and separate some stuff out, but based on existing 5.1 mixes, it either A) doesn't work very well, or B) isn't being done properly, or C) isn't being done at all, and any M&E directionality is purely an unintentional byproduct of throwing more audio to the surround channels. The only ones that turn out well are ones where there's a corresponding 5.1 Japanese audio track and so they obviously had better audio elements to work with.
I mean, they clearly tried to get better about it as time went by. I just rewatched the Blue Gender movie this past weekend, because I prefer it to the TV series (which is a discussion for another thread) and because I wanted to check out the dub just for the hell of it. The movie disc features a 2.0 and a 5.1 mix for the English audio. If there's actually a real significant difference, then would somebody please let me know, because flipping back and forth between the two seemed to reveal no difference whatsoever, during a number of scenes (with and without music, action and quiet, still shots and lots of movement on and offscreen, etc.).
So, clearly since those early days (the Blue Gender movie was released some years ago), they've gotten more involved in making their 5.1 mixes different relative to the 2.0 mix on the same disc. But we as fans and consumers sure aren't getting a hell of a lot out of it, other than some strange sense of satisfaction that we can listen to our dubs in Super Amazing Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio that, really, doesn't seem to have much actual bearing in reality. If some audio engineer is actually spending time to try and make some sort of difference, I'm not really getting what the point is. My receiver can do the same thing for free, and in the time it takes to push a button.
This is not to say that ADV's 5.1 English audio mixes are any better, mind you. In fact, a number of them are worse, as someone must've been drunk at the board that day, because the results sound tinny and hollow, like listening to them through a stovepipe. For example, check the various Chrono Crusade singles, the OP and ED sequences in particular, and there is variance between volumes. Perhaps somewhat ironically, it's ADV that produced the first genuine and proper 5.1 audio mix in their release of Noir, having been supplied discrete M&E elements by the Japanese that allowed for not only a proper 5.1 English audio mix to be constructed, but a 5.1 Japanese audio mix that even the Japanese did not get.
I understand why the knee-jerk, principled reaction to Aniplex not including the 5.1 English audio for Read or Die, or not including the 5.1 English audio for Baccano!, is one of negativity and disappointment. But I can't really find it in myself to be that upset about it when those elements are of questionable benefit as they exist, and can be reproduced on the spot to about the same level of quality with a piece of equipment many of us already have in our homes.