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BNO: Here & There, Vol. II Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0 (96kHz/24-bit); Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (Audience Mix/Stage Mix) (96kHz/24-bit); Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: None
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: AIX Records
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 25, 2012
  • List Price: $34.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

AIX Records assembled a group of outstanding country musicians with special guests, the ageless Albert Lee and Nathan Mceuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), to follow up BNO’s (Brand New Opry) first release, a DVD-Audio Volume I, “Another Time,” recorded in 2005 with a number of the same players.  The current BD, available in several different soundtrack versions (more about that later), is of the same vintage and is dedicated to bluegrass performer and writer, James “Jimmy” Ross Adams who contributed three of the fourteen songs.  This is an HD-film performed in an empty auditorium; however, the artists seem to get it going without the need for a live audience. Most of the songs are low-key typical bluegrass numbers, complete with country fiddle, a gaggle of really good guitars, and a thumping string bass.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The details in this HD production are not as sharp as one would like. The colors seem a bit muted, possibly due to the low level of ambient light. The rotating rainbow color wheel does not help matters. The image also has occasional motion artifact when the players’ hands move rapidly. Perhaps this is due to the 1080i frame rate. Nothing objectionable, but overall not up to the best that current high-resolution video has to offer. A bonus track that is a good looking high-definition video makes you wish even more that the entire affair had been shot with that level of quality.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Listeners can choose between a Dolby 5.1 TrueHD “stage” mix or “audience” mix. The former is a real surround experience while the latter is a more natural hall sound. Which to choose? While I like the latter some might want to be up there with the musicians.  A Dolby Digital 5.1 mix of stage and audience and a PCM 2.0 track are also provided but are distant seconds to either of the TrueHD choices.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

We get the above-mentioned HD-recorded track, in a high-res two channel version. There are biopics on the musicians and a set of liner notes.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]


BNO: Here & There gives viewers a pretty good dose of mainstream bluegrass, broken up only by a jazzy vocal (“Have a Pretty Dream”) and a Native American number (“Warrior of Love”).  Most potential buyers will, of course, plunk down their money for the bluegrass, particularly when it is as well done as it is here.  To nitpick a little, I wish that there had been more Albert Lee who shows up for only one song. Compared to previous AIX Records BD releases, I was a bit disappointed in the video quality and would have loved to have all of the proceedings shot in HD video rather than film. That aside, the soundstage is darn good and you really do get a good sense of the music and individual instrumental voices.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase BNO: Here & There, Vol. II on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B008P76XA6[/amazon-product]

Purchase BNO: Here & There, Vol. II on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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