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Concerning DVD-A-version - December 2005:
" The listener joins the string quartet - they are situated all around you and can even move if you wish...
The highly individual Beethoven Quartet series from Tacet continues with Volume 2 on a single DVD-Audio disc. All four of the quartets - running 30 to 40 minutes each - are on the single disc in two different versions. The first employs Tacet′s unique Real Surround Sound, which means one of the string players is situated at each of the four channels around you (the center channel is not used). The layout is first and second violins are at the front left and right speakers, the viola is at the left surround and the cello at the right surround. The quartet surrounds the listener, and once you get used to that orientation you will find you are much more involved in the music - especially the interweaving parts given each of the instruments around you. (There is no video display - the disc is quite full with the two versions plus the 5.1 PCM audio bitstream for those without DVD-Audio capability.)
I compared some of the quartets by the Auryn (perhaps not known by many music lovers but they′ve been active for 22 years) with the same Beethoven quartets featuring my favorite quartet - the Fine Arts on several Everest/Omega CD sets. The standard CD sonics are superb on this remastered set and I didn′t notice a huge clarification in the Tacet DVD-As but there was certainly a much clearer presentation of the various string voices, and a deeper and richer solo sound coming from each one - separated from its neighbors. Performing style was similar but the wide separation of the dVD-A gave the impression of more precise playing and phrasing from the Auryn Quartet.
I have raved before about the second option here - all four quartets in a concept allowing for movement of the players around you - what Tacet dubs Moving Real Surround Sound. Well, I have to admit this time this option seemed a bit over the top to me. One movement is seen by the producer as a musical journey, so he mixes the four players in such a way that they seem to be slowly rotating around the listener as they play. But other movements have an instrument suddenly coming loudly from the center channel speaker for no apparent reason. At least one is able to go back to the first series of tracks in which there is the extreme separation but no movement."
John Sunier

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