Laserdisc Dynamics vs Blu Ray

I've done a lot of research lately on the merits of Laserdisc. A number of people have suggested that a Dolby PCM Surround track sounds much better then DVD and even in some respects better then Blu Ray.

I understand the DVD vs Laserdisc comparison because of the resolution and lack of compression found on Laserdisc in Dolby PCM and even DTS. What I've found interesting is that Laserdisc used Theatrical Audio Cuts while DVD and Blu Ray use watered down Studio mixes for the home. The theory being that many users will use cheaper speakers and television's as their primary audio sources. A Theatrical Audio cut offers dynamics most systems couldn't endure, therefore the mix down.

Can anybody share experiences? Has anybody compared a Lossless Blu Ray presentation vs an older Laserdisc Dolby Surround cut on a decent setup?
I can only say the video portion of any laserdisc presentation pales in comparison to DVD.
Laserdiscs were better than VHS. But as soon as I saw what my laserdiscs looked like on a 720p plasma. They were doomed.
I actually THREW AWAY thousands of dollars of laserdiscs Including at least 50 Criterion because they just were not worth bothering with.
As for the music.. yes they were good, but not good enough to even just keep, let alone invest in at this time.
I recently GAVE AWAY a (original price)$3,500. Pioneer LD-2 for free.
You question (please forgive me) sounds like someone extolling the virtues of 8-track tapes.
Recent DD true hd and Dts Hd Ma are light yrs better than the best questions.
most laserdiscs were often schleped from one inch masters(the same source used for vhs and beta), with a minimal amount of audio or video fixes or clean up. in any event, its a little late to care.
Wow, some interesting responses. I understand the video is slightly worse then DVD. I might add that there are benefits in no mpeg2 compression but the slightly less resolution and the fact that most comb filters have been stripped on flat panel televisions isn't helping.

I have however been told by many people that Laserdisc just simply sounds better. Lossless HD offers better resolution but the theatrical dynamics have been compressed for the sake of poorer audio playback systems (Flat panel, Home Theater in a box).

I remember hearing Apocalypse Now on LD and then buying it on DVD and being incredibly disappointed. At any rate thanks for your thoughts.
And no Elizabeth, my original comparison was more like the virtues of Vinyl as Laser is analog stored in a digital medium. Perhaps I'm hearing a slanted view.
I still use my Laser disc player. I have a few movies that were released "Letterboxed" on Laser disc but only released "Pan & Scan" on DVD. As for picture, it is only better than VHS tape. Sound wise is where I really like it LD. Many DVD's and BR soundtracks are to to boomy, meaning dialog at lower volumes and music and action at much high volumes. I know that it's fashion but it is annoying.
I think its a dead arguement seeing as even if the audio isnt quite as good (I am not sure I beleive this) its the video that more than makes up for any true degradation in sound. I had a LD player like many others and it was great in its day but that day is gone and there is no point watching something that makes me feel like my eyes need to be checked.
Unless I could not get the movie ANYWHERE else.
I think some of the vintage crowd is fixated on the romance of anything past and convinces themselves its still a great format and argues many times its better. But somethings are better left to history no matter how "cool" somebody thinks they are.
Taking into account that audio "sounds" different to different people and having grown through the Laserdisk era and into the DVD era (and yes I still own a laserdisk player) I can categorically state that that the audio on DVDs and Bluerays sounds me. Saying that the audio on a DVD sounds a "bit" better is like saying that a knife is just a bit more deadly than an atomic bomb. No comparison.

I used to get this from the Betamax crowd from time to time. Betamax audio reproduction is the "highhest form of analog recording and playback. Now though I don't still own my Betamax, at the time this argument was going around I tested it. And though it sounded reasonable it in no way could hold water next to a good reel to reel system and certainly not to recorded vinyl.

So, sound quality is certainly in the ears of the beholder but I don't think audiophiles are going to rush out and buy laserdisk players and scrap their blueray players anytime soon....
Sorry, just can't stand misspellings, is that with 2 ss or 1?
I guess us ole' LD fans haven't faded away yet,huh?
So much of this is our memories,our first taste of this surround sound thing.
Back then I had the Meridian 656/7.1 and Aerial 10 t's and it was dynamic and my ears were better then. My LD player was the Theta Data3 Just because time marches on we can still hold onto our memories.

Have you done a direct comparison of say Mission Impossible on LD vs it's DVD counterpart? Or Perhaps Apocalypse Now? I ask because while there is very little debate about blu ray outside of better dynamics on LD (Theatrical cut vs Home Users) I've heard many state that DVD is simply inferior as it's resolution is compressed and LD isn't. I guess it would be the comparison of MP3 5.1 vs. PCM 2.0 remixed into 4 channel.
Nothing wrong with fond memories. I still yearn for the sound I got from an old Yamaha ca integrated with a set of Technics 10" 3ways and a Technics that sounded good...using 'zip' cord for spkr cables. It kicked butt. However, when it comes to ht newer is better which is the topic of discussion here I do believe. Even my sdvd copy of Master and Commander pales in comparison to the BR version...the first battle scene will make your lips quiver and skin crawl with excitement. No LD will do that.
Lush, sorry for the lag in response, been busy tubin. The short answer is no. I have not made that particular comparison, Apocalypse Now was always one of my favorite LDs. Your point about 5.1 vs. PCM 2.0 remixed into 4 channel is a good one however. Truly difficult to make an apples to apples comparison there. As 7.1 is the order of the day and HD quality video is vying for space with audio on a single double layer disk audio compression will always be a concern.

I doubt we could ever reach a consensus on the comparison mainly because LDs have fallen so far out of the mainstream. I would say this however. Any format that requires me to get up and put in the second disk to finish watching a movie hearkens me back to the first time I heard an 8 track tape switch tracks ( in Dark side of the Moon, it was an abomination). Though the sound may be better (if we could come to an agreement on that point which I'm not sure we have) I just can't get past the interruption. I feel the same way about the new 45rpm vinyl editions. I own a few and they sound fantastic but it's too interuptive to have to change the side every few songs. I try to look at movie enjoyment in it's entirety. In home theater the sum of the parts has to equal a worthwhile experience. If one of these parts is disproportionately lacking in quality such as to detract from the enjoyment of the film I don't deem it worth MY time and money to build a system around it. Others might disagree.

The music/audio portion of my DVD Blueray based home theater system has never once made me yearn for the long lost Laser disk days of yore. I'm an audio snob, I freely admit this. The quality of current audio simply does not draw adverse attention to itself in my system. Quite the contrary, I find it quite satisfying. That is the litmus test for me. It's why I still love vinyl and finally got into tubes. There are some things that refuse to die, laser disks just do not seem to be on the list...
I had chance the other night to do a comparison of Laser Disc and DVD. I just received a new DVD copy of “Russia House” the picture on my old LD is not that good. The DVD’s picture is outstanding. Very detailed and clear. I sound is another story. I really like the music and it just sounds better on the LD. It has a warm quality. The DVD is crisp and bright but not in a bad way. The DVD is 3 channel and the LD is stereo. Now as of other LD movies I’ve replaced like the 3 original Star Wars movies, the remastered one’s are way better then the LD’s in every way. PS: My Laser Disc Player flips the disc automatically, I still have to flip if it is three sided movie. LOL

The Star Wars LD's were they the THX certified transfers? Usually known as the 'Faces'.
Yes, the box set is the "Widescreen" THX Special Edition.

I started this thread many moons ago...I finally purchased an LD player (Pioneer CLD-703) fed into a HT receiver equipped with a decent video processor (ABT2010 or DVDO Edge) and have done numerous comparisons. My findings include:

With the right player and video processor you can get a lot of mileage out of LD, it's expensive but you'd be surprised. The differences in LD players and the quality associated with picture is staggering. One LD player could destroy another in picture quality. Still my setup allows for newer titles to have similar picture quality to NON-Anamorphic DVD's. Empire Strikes back on DVD looks MUCH better then the LD counter part.

The Audio however is an entirely different story. LD DESTROYS DVD with regards to audio on every title I've tried. In fact the THX certified Top Gun LD is only a bit behind the Lossless Blu Ray. Having listened to Empire Strikes Back on PCM and done direct side by side comparisons to the DVD I simply can't listen to the DVD. It sounds like poorly recorded MP3's at high volume. The LD crushes it, allowing the user to 'crank' the volume and have no concerns about hardness or compression.

It's been a fun experiment. It's opened up my eyes (and ears) as to how easily the end consumer can be fooled into thinking newer is almost certainly better. With regards to audio we took a big step backward with DVD. Picture is certainly better on the smaller disc but if you're into audio like I am I can live with LD until BD versions of my favorite films come out (Star Wars, Apocalypse Now, some non existent James Bond films, True Lies among others).
I will have to agree with you about the value of an uncompressed PCM soundtrack.

I have Backdraft on LD and I just keep it on PCM stereo, which sounds terrific.

Using Dolby PLII leaves something to be desired though.

I just wish they'd get as cheap as HDDVD's!
Hey Longhorn,

Top Gun and Empire on LD with PCM translated into multi using either PLII or NRL THX sounded better then the DD 5.1 in all scenes. I could simply abuse volume and never hear compression on a decent setup with LD, that wasn't the case with the compressed Dolby Digital soundtracks.
My Jurassic Park LD seems far more clear and dynamic than the DVD(DD, not the DTS DVD). The clearest example is the scene in which they zoom in on the T Rex and it roars real loud. I clearly remember wondering what happened to the visceral impact of the roar when I got the DVD. On the DVD, it just seemed way compressed.
I also recently gave away my Pioneer laserdisc player with 100's discs including a bunch of Criterion collection, hi bitrate DTS, uncompressed PCM, etc, etc. LD was good during its time before DVD came out. But the format cannot compete against DVD, let alone BluRay. If you prefer uncompressed PCM over compressed DD or DTS, great! Many modern DVD's also carry LPCM tracks in addition to the standard DD track. BluRay supports all the traditional compressed and uncompressed formats, and also the newer DD-TrueHD and DTS-HD lossless compresed formats. PCM tracks on LD might sound better than compressed DD tracks on DVD. But that does not mean in any way that the sound tracks on LD is superior to the sound tracks on DVD. To compare apple to apple, PCM track should be compared to PCM track.
What DVD's are in LPCM? I'm not aware of any. I haven't come across a single DVD that outperformed LD in terms of audio quality. Usually it's not even close.
Most concert DVDs do have 24 bit PCM tracks. Some are 24/96, some are 24/192, and some are just 16 bits. Sometimes it's not labeled well on the box and you just need to pop the disc and select audio menu to see which tracks are available. DVD players will almost always choose Dolby Digital track as the default, and that's what will be playing if you just hit play. I think two channel PCM is also required in all DVDs but I'm not 100% sure about that.
Hi Jylee,

I find it hard to believe DVD has 24/96 and 24/192 standards if even in two channel. These standards would take up so much room on a disc you'd be hard pressed to fit video. DVD Audio which was for the most part DVD with only Audio lived up to these standards but video simply couldn't fit. Also most direct comparisons of DVD vs LD soundtracks by ear are usually slanted towards the LD's favor. Even measured:

Take a PCM copy of Apocalypse Now and then compare to the DD contest. True contest...Mission Impossible no contest...I could go on and on. I concur that Blu Ray better's LD but many of the movies I've enjoyed simply won't be on BD for many years to come.
Have to say it.
No one else will so far-

Lush with all do respect from what i can gather :)
Your set-up was designed and engineered for LD!
Of course it sounds better!
Go't sit on the floor lamenting over the past.
If you choose to continue this slippery slope do it privately.
Thank you.

With all do respect I have a higher end HT processor with all the latest codec's and a Blu Ray player and a growing collection of movies. I will continue to choose this 'slippery slope'...and this is an open forum, don't want to read it then DON'T.

You sound as ignorant as JOE PUBLIC who thinks CD sounds better then vinyl...don't like what I'm typing then please MOVE ON sir...feel free to stop reading and posting.
OK?.........Epic Fail response aside....

I openly apologize,
I had not realized you were Mark Levinson living in your bleeding edge technology fortress.

Let me guess next...You had Lloyd Walker make your Laser Disc player out of a sold piece of Ti-5Al-2.5Sn Titanium too?
Which Lloyd designed according to your personal schematic!

Unless you are replacing capacitors and diodes on a board level on your "higher end" video processor you are not impressing me with your vast beyond "JOE PUBLIC" knowledge.
Lets not get into a hardware pissing match here. LOL!

But seriously though everyone is trying to help you-
I started out very interested in this topic, but you killed it for me.

You are approaching this in an argumentative and one sided manner. If you want another perspective,(which I thought was your basic intention and goal when you started this thread),then you might want to "LISTEN" to what others are saying to you about the topic you choose to discuss.

Trying to convince others of your opinion with bullying and disregard for their opinion is unfounded and even more laughable is dismissing their opinion entirely. This is not what Audiogon is about.

I responded to you according to how you presented yourself on this thread. Which was one sided, low tech and living in the past.

You are true to form and I have not changed my opinion of you so far.
Codecs and a Blu-Ray player will not change that!
Chaos...I started this thread because I was shocked how LD beat DVD in sound quality alone. I will not disagree that BD is better in all aspects. You will notice that almost every person who has done a direct comparison between DVD and LD (same title) has mentioned the things I have. Some discs on LD will not be on BD for a very long time; Star Wars, Apocalypse Now, some older James Bond movies...

You come bursting on the scene with one post and attack me. Citing I'm living in the past, I should move on and get the latest technology...I have. You have no idea what gear I'm using but you mention all my gear is setup for the older technology. Then that I need help to boot. Then somehow mention how my response is an 'Epic Fail'...what would success have been? How can there be a fail and a success on an open forum?

It was never a pissing came onto a thread I started. I notice you have no other threads attached to your handle. Perhaps I'm missing something. I've been on Audiogon for years and never had somebody belittle me. So please, like I said, move on. I'm not looking for help...I've been in this hobby enough to know what I hear. What I had originally started this thread for was to hear people's opinion's on direct comparisons between mixes. When those comparisons are becomes a much more interesting discussion.
I'll join you on the slippery slope. I have a small collection of LD's vs. a large collection of DVD/BR, and while the visual feast of DVD/BR is outstanding, there is something inherently right about many of the LD's from a sound perspective. Not better, but maybe more natural.