Interviews - Queen

A Night At The Opera (Melody Maker 22nd November 1975)

A Night At The Opera

Queen was well-known at the time of this album's debut for hard rock. The band's third release, Sheer Heart Attack, had proved that they could push the limits of the genre and gain international success. But I doubt that many believed that Queen could blow those limits away so completely as they do in A Night At The Opera. The music ranges from pop ("You're My Best Friend") to heavy metal ("Death On Two Legs," etc.) to ballad to sprightly singalong to multi-layered instrumental ("God Save The Queen," would you believe), and the lyrics go everywhere from fantasy ("Prophet Song") and sci-fi ("'39" is one of only two songs I can think of that deals with the effects of time dilation during near-light-speed travel) to heartbreak. There are campy seaside songs ("Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon," "Seaside Rendezvous," "Good Company") placed schizophrenically (sometimes without a pause) up against earnest hard rock numbers - and then there are tracks that combine many of these elements, like "Bohemian Rhapsody," all tied together with a multi-layering of guitars and vocals that is almost unique in the genre. The only two players I can think of who come close in the multi-layer guitar stakes are Ollie Halsall and Martin Briley, and neither of the best examples of their work in this area were ever released.

A Night at the Opera works, I suspect, because nobody in the band takes anything too seriously. Some of the numbers are certainly tongue-in-cheek, but even in the more "significant" cuts, there is a lightness without which this album would have been very heavy going. The 5.1 mix successfully picks up that lack of seriousness, but perhaps takes it a little too far.

24-track, two-inch recorders were fairly common in British studios by 1975, and this album was recorded in major facilities all over the country. Those tracks are needed, too. The multi-layered guitar arrangements which characterize this album, along with similarly-layered vocals, would have been extremely difficult to achieve only a couple of years earlier without serious loss of balance control and increased noise levels due to 16-track track-bouncing.

The masters ended up in the tape store at Abbey Road, where they were recovered last year and transferred to 24-bit, 96 kHz sampling digital audio on Steinberg's powerful new Nuendo digital audio workstation, the up-and-coming choice for engineers and producers working at high sample rates, endorsed by heavyweights like Alan Parsons. The results so impressed Abbey Road's engineers that other Queen material is likely to be transferred the same way.
The discs were then brought over to California and mixed by Elliot Scheiner at the Dog House in West Los Angeles and Capitol Records in Hollywood. Roy Thomas Baker, who produced the original mix with the band, also produced the 5.1 remix and was involved in the whole process. This pairing of the virtuoso surround remix engineer and the original producer no doubt accounts for the impressive, if idiosyncratic, translation of this classic album into surround.

It's easy to hear why Nuendo is becoming so popular in modern studios when you listen to this surround mix. 24-track in the early days gave you more tracks, but at the expense of higher noise and loss of audio quality. Those factors are completely overcome here: quiet passages are extremely clean and noise-free and the top end is pristine, while the bass is powerful and present. There are a couple of inevitable weirdnesses, like piano pedal thumps in one case that one would have thought could be EQ'd out, the odd edit that was evidently on the multi-tracks and shows its true nature rather more clearly in digital surround than it did in analog stereo, and occasional accidental over-use of noise removal algorithms resulting in lower noise at the expense of some detail. (This last may be imaginary, by the way: noise could well have added an apparent smoothness that really wasn't there.) Overall, however, it's an excellent-sounding remix of a classic album.

There are wonderful opportunities in the material here to be exploited in surround, and not one is missed. Vocal and guitar parts appear from all around the surround soundstage. Solos pan from one speaker to another. Effects pop out of nowhere. It's a pyrotechnic display that would be well over the top on other material, but here is almost entirely appropriate.

It must be said, though, that some of the smoothness and coherence of the original stereo mix (which is also presented on this disc at 24/96) is lost, from time to time, in an apparent desire to make the surround mix as impressive as possible. The surrounds are also distractingly loud in places.

I have seen one early review that thoroughly panned the surround mixing on this album as both lacking audio quality and taking too many liberties with the material, in terms of gratuitous panning, etc. I would not go so far. While I would acknowledge that this mix is over the top in some ways, the album as a whole is not what you could call conceptually understated - it too is over the top - and I really don't mind. We already have the original stereo mix, after all. I would certainly not criticize the overall sound quality a great deal: it's almost as if the earlier reviewer was listening to a different disc - which could well be the case, as this album was originally scheduled for release last year and was then held back for several months, perhaps due to some unknown technical problems.

The disc itself is playable on both DVD-Audio and regular DVD-Video machines. The MLP track on the DVD-A area is the best, of course, but DVD-V owners can enjoy the latest DTS encoding technology that theoretically offers 24/96 capability at a level of quality that is superior to "standard" DTS and is also backwards compatible if you don't have the latest decoder. I don't have the latest decoder, so I can't tell you how much of an improvement the new DTS offers. There is also the original stereo mix presented in a new 24/96 transfer from analog, where it does rather show its age in terms of noise level, due to an additional analog tape master stage, while still sounding overall better than the previous CD versions. Additionally, there are full lyrics (nicely laid out to be readable even on small screens), credits, a photo gallery of contemporary band photos and a clean, well-designed menu structure. There's also a comprehensive booklet. The people behind the actual physical production of a DVD don't often get mentioned in reviews, but I would like here to congratulate Jeff Levison at DTS for an exceptional job of putting all this together.

This important release brings this classic album right up to date, and although one song doesn't quite hold its own, lyrically, into the 21st Century (the eight-minute prog-rock "Prophet Song," I'm afraid, though it is musically more significant than the other tracks that are far more clearly recalled), almost everything else is timeless and even more enjoyable in its new 5.1 incarnation than when it first came out.

Despite the fact that some may feel the production team were having a little too much fun in the control room while they were mixing this record, I would label Queen's A Night at the Opera a "must-have." Turn it up loud and enjoy.
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Queen - A Night at the Opera
A DVD-AUDIO REVIEW BY STUART M. ROBINSON


Few DVD-Audio releases can boast the level of hype and anticipation of that surrounding Queen's 'Night at the Opera', due for release in April. DTS Entertainment have already delayed the launch numerous times from the original street date of November 20th 2001, putting the blame on various distribution issues, not least of which is the collapse of distributor Valley Entertainment.
At CES 2002 in Las Vegas however, each DTS press kit contained an advance copy of the disc, although it isn't labelled as such, one of which is the subject of this preliminary review. The sample looks like the real thing; shrink-wrapped, a DTS seal covering the top of the Super Jewel case and both the disc and inlay card printing appears to be of production standards. For those interested, the stamp number on the disc itself is IFPI LL07 B01K2137 DC-1091.
The purpose of this piece is to provide an insight into what might appear on the final release for those who just cannot wait until April, but it's important to remember that it is not based upon a commercially released sample and the contents could change prior to the official launch date. Whenever that might be.

For example, we know that Brian May, who it is claimed has overseen the DVD-Audio project since its inception, did not complete the six-channel surround mix until January 16th, which means that the 3/2.1 mix upon this disc is not the finished article!
Which is just as well, since it's decidedly lacking in many regards. The surround mix itself has a dual personality, one moment conservative the next aggressive, switching partway through some songs as instruments move from distinct and at times distracting surround placement to more conventional positions. In fidelity terms, the DVD-Audio MLP track sounds decidedly rough around the edges, percussion is unstable (cymbal crashes have audible artefacts usually associated with lossy encoding) and there is a distinct lack of any meaningful dynamic range.

Just why the red-hot marketing machine of DTS should release such a sub-par effort to members of the press of all people, is anyone's guess. It is hard to believe that either Brian May or Roy Thomas Baker would approve. Hopefully things will improve considerably when the final release version becomes available, so until that time I'll reserve further judgement.

The sample disc contains three audio formats. There are two 3/2.1 mixes; one MLP on the DVD-Audio layer and the other DTS 96/24. To retain full DVD-Video compatibility, the disc also contains a two-channel mix presented as 96/24 linear PCM (which will be downsampled to 48kHz by the S/P-DIF output of most DVD-Video players) but does not offer any form of Dolby Digital track.
The inlay card continues DTS' current theme of DVD-Audio misdirection. It states: “Each DVD-Audio disc from DTS Entertainment includes a DTS master quality multi-channel soundtrack and a standard stereo track for complete compatibility with all DVD-Video players, plus an MLP 5.1 soundtrack for DVD-Audio players." The perception therefore, is that only the DTS track is 'master quality', where in fact only the MLP really is a true representation of the original master tapes.

The DTS track on the disc is the company's newest extension format, DTS 96/24, a lossy but backward-compatible way of delivering 96kHz sampled data. In reality however, the entire audible portion of the frequency spectrum, 20Hz - 24kHz, is only delivered at 48kHz resolution and, to accommodate the inaudible data above 24kHz, at a bitrate lower than that of standard (full-rate) DTS. Once again, for reasons explained in the following paragraph, we'll reserve judgement on the merits of DTS 96/24 until a later date.

The reason I wasn't able to test DTS 96/24 in this preliminary review was that neither it nor the 96/24 PCM track would actually play on the hardware currently to hand. A Meridian 596 DVD-Video machine produced near full-scale digital noise into a Lexicon MC-12 on both tracks and even during the menu sequences, while a Pioneer DV-717 (another machine capable of outputting 96/24 PCM via S/P-DIF) refused to transmit any data whatsoever. Once again I have to question just why DTS would supply such obviously flawed and potentially damaging discs, regardless of their 'advanced copy' status.

As for extras, the advanced disc contains a video version of 'Bohemian Rhapsody', complete with a DTS 3/2.1 audio track, a set of ten small photographs and complete song lyrics (the frames advancing in synchronisation with the music) along with the story of DTS and appropriate production credits.

Many of the static disc menus appear to be overly compressed and artefacts are clearly visible around text and in areas of saturated red. Hopefully this is another area the will improve before the final release, especially as the artwork is visually attractive.
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Queen: A Night at the Opera (DVD-Audio)
Reviewed By: Dennis Burger
Reviewed On: 04/13/02
Audio Format: 5.1 channel 96/24, Stereo 96/24, DTS 96/24
DVD Format: DVD-9
Length: 43 minutes
Release Date: 04/30/02
Packaging: Super Jewel Box
Region Code: 1
Studio: DTS Entertainment
Catalog Number: 1091DVDA

Grades & Ratings:

Audio : 3.75
Extras : 2.25
Menus : 3.00
ROM : 0.00
Audio : 3.75


EXPECTATIONS & REACTIONS:

Special Note: The release of Queen's 1975 album A Night at the Opera on DVD-Audio has been the subject of some controversy in recent months - all of which resulted from very poor reviews of the original disc sent to the media in December. Depending on the source questioned, the reasons for Brian May stepping in after the disc had been finalized to make some changes the reasons are varied. The official word from DTS was that the delay was due to the fact that their new distributor needed a "few months to present the upcoming new titles to their entire dealer network." According to published reports, as well as off-the-record statements I have received from credible sources, Brain May was dissatisfied with the results and wanted to go back and make some alterations. In any event, the reasons for the revisions are irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that the end result - the one you will be experiencing - is up to par. The new disc is now set to go, and as a result, my initial review has been pulled down and replaced with this one. For the sake of comparison, and for archival purposes, the initial review can be found here. Suffice to say, the disc that is making its way to the market is a completely and utterly different experience than that of the initial prospective release.

Queen may have missed out on being part of the ground floor of Glam because of the three years they spent making their first album, but few bands define the genre as well as they do. Although their first two albums performed reasonably well, their third - Sheer Heart Attack - not only took the band in a different direction, it also firmly planted the band in the charts around the world, and pretty much guaranteed them a spot in the annals of Rock History. Less than a year later, though, Queen would release what is still considered to be their quintessential work - 1975's A Night at the Opera - an album that presented not only the band's most eclectic collection of work, but sadly, some of their least recognizable. It seems that for the past three decades, audiences have been flocking to the album for one song, and one song only - the band's Magnum Opus, "Bohemian Rhapsody." Ask anyone on the street to name a single Queen song, and they'll undoubtedly stumble around for a minute and sing a few lines from this one. Just as with Led Zeppelin IV - where the infinitely superior "The Battle of Evermore" is completely overlooked due to the overexposed "Stairway to Heaven" - "Bohemian Rhapsody" completely overshadows much better tunes such as "The Prophet's Song" and "'39." I guess we have Mike Myers to thank for that, at least partially, since Wayne's World propelled both the band and the song to new heights of popularity.

Queen in general - and this album specifically - would seem to be perfectly suited to multi-channel remixing, given the majesty and flamboyance of the music, and the amazing pairing of Freddie Mercury's brilliant and beautiful vocals with Brian May's spectacular guitar work. Other than Page/Plant and Jagger/Richards, few other guitarist/vocalist duos have meshed as well, with as much chemistry and effectiveness. In fact, since the inception of DVD-Audio, I've been absolutely salivating at the prospect of any of the band's material making its way to the format. The early preview copy of the disc dashed my hopes, presenting a mix that didn't reflect the spirit of the original album, but the final disc supports my contention to the Nth degree - Queen was never meant to be heard in stereo, and nothing proves that more than this excellent DVD-Audio release.

AUDIO & MIX:

The 5.1 mix for A Night at the Opera has been carefully re-crafted under the supervision of guitarist Brian May, and the improvements over the preview disc are, at times, astronomical. Not only has the overall multi-channel design been modified - quite drastically at times - but relative level balance has also been tweaked heavily to be much, much more in line with the original stereo design of the album. The difference, for those that have heard the initial mix, are readily apparent from the opening moments of the album's first cut, "Death On Two Legs." Whereas the cacophonous crescendo of guitar that forms the segue from the intro to the body of the song were practically ear-blistering before, this final release mix places the instrumentation at a much more pleasing and faithful level, and the constant volume adjustment that was necessary before is no longer a factor. The lead vocals, which were practically buried before, now gloriously fill the front three channels, and take center stage in the mix, as is appropriate.

Honestly, it would take three or four normal-sized reviews to go into detail about the improvements in both surround design and relative level balancing, but a few more drastic changes truly stand out, and should be noted. In "I'm In Love With My Car," the original mix buried Taylor's lead vocal with lead guitar parts that were boosted to the point of overkill, which has been greatly improved in the release version, and the harsh bite of May's licks has been tamed appropriately. As a whole, a great deal of shifting has been done - the previous mix often suffered from the discrete placement of elements that should have been combined and overlapped, and are in fact arranged fittingly in the overall soundfield now. But a few of the cuts, most notably "Sweet Lady" and "Love Of My Life," seem to have been entirely assembled from scratch this time around, with absolutely no consideration at all for the previous effort. In the former, vocals are now predominantly front-focused, and the subtle elements of the track that were buried by both the previous 5.1 mix and the original stereo mix now have much more room to breathe. In the latter, the mix focuses heavily on the front three speakers for the bulk of the song, with subtle but effective surround ambience, and then creatively explodes with aggressive rear channel usage just before the final chorus. Even cuts like "You're My Best Friend," which sounded pretty good before, benefit from a much more focused and balanced sound design.

And, of course, there's the star of the show - "Bohemian Rhapsody." The changes to this one actually aren't as drastic as on many of the cuts from the disc, but if anything, this new mix demonstrates the enormous impact of very subtle changes. My main complaint before was the utter separation of the front and rear soundstages, the lack of any sort of significant sidewall imaging, and the noise reduction, which clipped the smooth transitions in the opening vocals. All of these elements have been improved upon, and the song now sounds as bombastic and over-the-top as it should, but still manages to hold onto some semblance of cohesion. My only complaint here is that the bass element of the vocal "Bismillah" line is still too pronounced, covering up the higher-pitched voice that utters the same, which is sure to be distracting anyone that is familiar with the song...I don't understand why that wasn't fixed.

As I said, there are any number of drastic changes to the mix, and even more subtle tweaks here and there, so to go into all of them would simply be an exercise in tedium, but overall, the new mix definitely works for the music. The surrounds have been tamed, and now rarely overshadow the front soundstage. There are aspects of the mix that are still slightly distracting at times - one or two places where the elements placed into the surrounds differ noticeably in terms of equalization and fidelity from those in the front soundstage, and a few cases in which the rear channels are still too discrete - but such subjective traits are going to bother some people more than others. The important thing is that - with only a few exceptions - the balance of relative instrumentation and vocal levels is very faithful to the album's original sound design, and although the 5.1 mix is extremely aggressive, and makes very heavy use of the rear channels, the sound is encompassing and fun, rather than the disjointed and cramped sonic attack from all angles that we almost ended up with.

In terms of fidelity, the stereo version of the album, presented here in 96kHz/24-bit PCM, is an improvement over the CD, but initial recording conditions and production values do keep this from being an audiophile's dream. The high end is somewhat brittle at times, and the music sounds very hot, with noticeable peaks and slight distortion on occasion, but this is true of any release of the album. The advanced resolution does add texture, subtlety, and when possible warmth to the recording, especially in comparison to the CD, but the timbre and equalization never really approach realism. Those familiar with the material will certainly be accustomed to such traits, and wouldn't expect it any other way, but A Night at the Opera simply never will be the best demo material it terms of the total advantages of high-resolution music reproduction.

The good news is that this time around, the MLP-encoded 5.1 track matches the stereo version of the album in terms of fidelity, and in fact, due to the more carefully crafted surround mix, often unlocks hidden nuances that even the high-resolution stereo version couldn't. "The Prophet's Song" is a fine example of this - Mercury's vocals on the track contain a slight reverberation in the original recording, which was lost in the previous 5.1 mix for some reason. In the release version, though, the effect is restored, and actually comes out better than in the stereo track, despite being mixed with the same intensity and relative level. The fact that the lead vocal track is mixed discretely across the front three channels creates additional weight and presence that makes the effect all the more obvious, but not at the expense of the effectiveness of the instrumentation. In addition, the aggressive noise reduction (or possibly simply a roll-off of the treble) that plagued the pre-release disc is now gone, allowing the upper frequencies to provide much more definition to the vocals and guitars. Yes, this means that there is some minor hiss at times, but this is highly preferable to a loss of actual audio information.

This disc also features the new 96kHz/24- bit DTS format. I still don't have the proper equipment to evaluate this track, and don't plan to, since I already have access to a true high-resolution format in DVD-Audio. In case you haven't heard, DTS 96/24, as it is called, is a new 5.1 lossy compression scheme that adds an additional "piggybacked" track to the existing DTS bitstream, so those with the proper equipment can experience additional resolution. The format is backwards compatible, so those without the required hardware can still listen to the track as they would any standard DTS track. Whereas before I noticed no real difference between this track and the true 96/24 MLP 5.1 track, the improved mixing and level balancing of the new mix - as well as the improved resolution of the high-end frequencies - do lead to some differences this time around. Granted, I'm only hearing a backward-compatible portion of the track, and not the full resolution of this new format, but considering the fact that lossy-compressed high-resolution audio isn't exactly a technically viable proposal (I'm still waiting for someone to explain the process for coming up with a psychoacoustic compression algorithm for frequencies above 20kHz or so), I'm seriously skeptical. Nevertheless, the differences between this track and the true high-resolution track are quite subtle - mostly in the form of a slight loss of smoothness in the mid-and-upper frequencies, and a slight change in the LFE channel - so even those Queen fans that only experience this track on standard DTS-compatible equipment should get quite a bit of enjoyment out of the disc.

EXTRAS & HIGHLIGHTS:

A Night at the Opera isn't exactly the most feature-packed DVD-Audio disc on the market, but there are a few nice touches here and there that round out the package. First and foremost among these is the original music video for "Bohemian Rhapsody," which features both DTS 5.1 and stereo 96/24 audio. Each song also features onscreen lyrics, broken up into several pages per song to ensure that the text is large enough to read on even modestly sized televisions. There is also a small gallery of eleven photos of the band members in either publicity shots or onstage, a section of album and DVD credits, and a few screens of DTS history and information labeled The DTS Story.

MENUS & INTERFACE:

The disc's interface is fairly straightforward, with little in the way of flash or frilliness, but an overall attractive design that fits the album. Navigation is a bit sluggish at times, but my main problem with the interface isn't so much anything related to the design, per se, but rather the fact that the audio selection screen seems to push the new DTS 96/24 track above all others, making it seem like a superior choice to even the uncompressed MLP 5.1 track. One nifty function of the menus, though, is that although the songs aren't split into chapters, a simple press of the right arrow advances the lyrics screen to the next page, and brings the audio right along with it, so anyone looking to jump straight to a particular section of anyone song can do so fairly easily. One nice additional touch over the initial release is the inclusion of DTS 5.1 song clips on the credits menu pages - the preview disc contained stereo-only tracks that were much too loud.

SONG & TRACKLISTING:

Death On Two Legs (Dedicated to....)
Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon
I'm In Love With My Car
You're My Best Friend
'39
Sweet Lady
Seaside Rendezvous
The Prophet's Song
Love Of My Life
Good Company
Bohemian Rhapsody
God Save The Queen
rtists & Technicians:
Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon are Queen. A Night at the Opera was produced by Roy Thomas Baker and Queen. Baker served as Producer of this new 5.1 mix, Brian May receives credit as Co-Producer, and mixing was handled by Elliot Scheiner. 5.1 Mix mastered by Ric Wilson and Jeff Levinson.

CONCLUSIONS & AFTERTHOUGHTS:

Evaluating 5.1 music is a subjective thing - given the exact same mix, two people will often come to two totally different opinions about the effectiveness of the surround design. In fact, many people may have very well been perfectly happy with the original 5.1 mix for A Night at the Opera, and there will undoubtedly be those who won't be overly thrilled with the final release version, but having extensively compared the two, I could write a rather lengthy book about why this new mix works infinitely better for the music, from songs like "Bohemian Rhapsody," which have been mildly but very effectively tweaked, to tracks like "Sweet Lady," which bear absolutely no resemblance to the pre-release efforts. Queen is an outrageously fun and quirky band, and therefore an outrageously fun and quirky sound design is in order, but the disc that almost hit the market simply was not true to the spirit of the original album, which would have been inexcusable for many of us Queen fans. While the new mix does have its odd spots, the final product is an overall success, and definitely works for the music at hand.

A Night at the Opera has never been my favorite Queen album - I tend to prefer their earlier and later work for various reasons - but the band is still one of my favorites, and this is still a great work that deserves a great treatment on DVD-Audio. Granted, the disc could have used a few more extras - it would have been great to have an interview by Brian May about his involvement with the disc, whether it be audio, video, or text-based...Lord knows there was plenty of time to put something together. Despite that, the disc is still a pure delight for fans of the band, and May's ear for surround mixing definitely spells good things for any subsequent Queen releases on the format. The album has never sounded particularly astounding from the audiophile point-of-view, but it sounds better here that it ever has, and the 5.1 simply takes that to the next level. For fans, this one is a no-brainer.
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Hi-Res Rhapsody By Steve Harvey

Sure to be on many music fans' Top Five list for re-mastering to 5.1, Queen's classic album, A Night at the Opera, is scheduled to be in stores in April. The DVD-Audio package will feature not only the requisite 96/24 MLP tracks, but also a 5.1 96/24 DTS version in the video zone for backward compatibility and a 96/24 stereo track, remastered from the original.

"This album has been on my list since I started with DTS," enthuses Rory Kaplan, executive producer/artists relations at DTS Entertainment. "We've all talked about records we'd like to experience in 5.1 surround. You hear the songs in your head and how incredible they would sound." But remixing a classic like A Night at the Opera does not happen overnight. "I've nurtured this one for the last five years," reports Kaplan. He recollects that, several years ago, Reinhold Mack, who produced a number of Queen and Freddie Mercury projects during the Å’80s, put him in touch with Queen's manager, Jim Beach. "But they had planned to release Freddie Mercury's solo projects first." Then, finally, Beach phoned to say that the project would go forward.

Understandably reticent to let the original tapes out of his sight, Queen's librarian, Justin Shirley Smith, oversaw their transfer at Abbey Road Studios in London. The 24-track tapes were transferred into Steinberg Nuendo at 96/24 with the assistance of Steinberg's Rob Hill and Sam Wetmore and Paul Wiffen from Swissonic, plus Brian May's engineer and studio staff.

Not surprisingly, the tapes, over 25-years-old, began to shed oxide almost immediately. The team took a break while the tapes were baked, returning several days later for a trouble-free transfer. The hard drives were then shipped to Glen Frey's Doghouse Studios in Santa Monica where engineer Elliot Scheiner and the album's original producer, Roy Thomas Baker, set to work on the 5.1 remixes. As some readers may be aware, DVD-A copies of the album first made an appearance at the AES Convention late last year. Kaplan explains that May had unfortunately been unavailable during the initial mixes at Doghouse due to previous commitments in Europe. A change in distribution channels opened a window of opportunity. "Our distribution went bankrupt about the time we were thinking of releasing [the DVD], so we reorganized our distribution and it bought us a few months," explains
Kaplan. "As soon as Brian May finished his obligations with the planetarium in Munich and work on his play in London he joined us at Capitol Studios to finish the album."

He continues, "One thing I love about DTS is that they have such integrity. We've always been really artist-oriented. They let me keep the integrity with no shortcuts: we work with the artists, we get the best engineers, the original guys if possible, and, if not, the ones that the artists approve."

That integrity extends to the album package, which was overseen by Beach and May with Jeff Levison in the DTS authoring department. "Brian sent us all the original photographs and even some additional stills. The original 1975 "Bohemian Rhapsody" video release is on there as well, in sync with the 5.1 mix, and there are lyrics with every song."

For Scheiner, the project started with "being thrilled at being - asked if I wanted to mix the project, and then getting the call from Roy. There was a lot of dialog between me and Rory and Roy. It took what seemed to be years - Rory first asked me a year and a half ago. It took forever to get the formal approval and licensing and so on."

Scheiner was pleased with the choice of Doghouse Studios. "I like working there. I did Hotel California there, and it turned out really good. I thought, Å’Gee, this is similar in that it's one 24-track.' Glen has a 48-input console, which in the end turned out not to be enough for the 24-track tape."

He elaborates, "These guys were so crafty when they recorded [the album], they utilized every bit of space on the tape. There's so much track-sharing going on that, by the time you'd got everything split off where you needed different EQ, different reverbs, different panning, it was 96 channels in some cases."

He adds, "For a 24-track tape, that's saying a lot. It says these guys were not only able to record all this information, but mix it without the benefit of automation." His hat is off to the band's legendary producer, he says: "Roy Thomas Baker is brilliant; just amazing."

The idea was to remain as true to the original recording as possible in terms of equipment, says Scheiner. "Some effects were printed, but most of them have been re-created. We're using an analog delay machine, which is what they used, and we're using

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