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LOTR:FOTR CR Soundtrack - Hands-on Review

TheHutt
Gondor


Apr 16, 7:39am

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LOTR:FOTR CR Soundtrack - Hands-on Review Can't Post

Last week, a new reissue of the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Complete Recordings has been released. The 3-CD set which was initially released in 2005, has been sold out for a while and available at rather unreasonable prices. This new reissue has also been upgraded to HD audio, featuring a BluRay with the entire score in the format DTS-HDMA 5.1 and 2.0 (the old version used a DVD-Audio disc instead).
I was curious as to whether there are any difference in packaging compared to the 2005 edition. So here is my hands-on photo review.
What's not subject of this review is the audio quality. After all, the CRs have been out for a while now.

The discs are in a sturdy cardboard box with gold-foiled title.


The disc sticker. This new edition contains a BluRay.


The view from the spine. The spine is made of faux leather, with gold-foiled title.


The back side with the track list.


Removing the shrinkwrap.


The tech sheet with the track list is removable. The back of the outer box is plain, with the map of Middle-Earth.

The tech sheet fits neatly into the box.

Opening up...


On the left side there is an extra tray with a silicon hub to hold the BluRay.

To the right, there is the container for the CDs and the booklet.


The empty box. Note the silk band enabling to take out contents without hassling.

The booklet and the interior box holding the CDs.

The box is a book-like "digistack". One page contains the track list for a CD, the opposite page contains a tray with the respective CD. Disc One.


Disc Two.

Disc Three. The info on the 3rd page is updated with BluRay infos.

Under the CDs are the Ring Inscription runes.

All the four discs together. The BluRay is the lower right.

The booklet by Doug Adams contains extensive information on the themes used in FOTR. Also available is an additional free PDF by the same author containing the track annotations (a lite version which was later developed into the "Music of LOTR films" book). The original site with the PDFs is down; mirror copies can be found at Henneth-Annun.


The booklet has 48 pages. Apart from describing the various used themes (grouped by peoples, cultures and geography of Middle-Earth) it also contains info on the used instruments and performers. The copyright page has been updated to replace DVD-Audio credits with BluRay ones.


Now to compare the two boxes: the 2018 and the 2005 one.
It is pleasant to see that the editions are practically identical. Though there are some difference. The new box (the lower one) is slightly narrower. Also the spine part of faux leather is slightly narrower as well.

The spine. The new box (to the right) looks less crooked and the spine is more straight (the 2005 one is more rounded). Although this may be just my copy.
Also, the printing on the spine looks finer on the new edition.

The inside of the box. The 2018 edition (the lower one) has both the left tray and the disc label more yellowish than the 2005 one. The 2005 version looked more orange.
Also, the silk band is red instead of brown now.


The boxes with the discs look basically the same (there are some variation in brightness). As mentioned before, the info on the DVD-Audio on Tray 3 has been replaced with BluRay in the 2018 version.

Same goes for the booklets.

Now to check out the good stuff. The DVD used to have a very stylish animated main menu with changing backgrounds (the rest was static). Normal DVD players only offer Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0. Special players with DVD-Audio support offered lossless audio formats instead.
DVD main menu from the 2005 edition:

Sound menu (2005 edition):

Track list and playback (2005 edition):

Compared to that, the design of the new 2018 BluRay is somehow disappointing. Everything is placed into the static main menu screen, okay. But couldn't they have used a more adequate font, at least?

Conclusion: the reissue is quite adequate and long-awaited, too. No compromises were required to keep the luxurious original packaging. The price has grown however: the first edition from 2005 was selling for 50-60 dollars, the new one has been priced for as much as $80. The upgrade from the rather niche DVD-audio format to a more mainstream Blu-Ray was a good step, too - however, the BluRay menu design is rather disappointing compared to the previous DVD.
What is of course of more interest is another edition released simultaneously with the CD reissue. For the first time ever the CR for LOTR:FOTR have been released on vinyl! Coming soon: a visual hands-on review of the Vinyl set!



The Hobbit: An Unexpected Booklet - Custom Booklet Project


 
 

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