8 discs for a home theater

You've got the HDTV, you've got the proper DVD player, now it's time for sound. Lots and lots of loud sound. Having the proper sound system can truly make home movies the cinematic event they are in the theater. In fact, with a truly powerful system, you'll never have to leave the house again. These 8 discs prove this point better than any others on the market. (Note: Most of these discs are the DTS versions. The 5.1 tracks on these discs are also excellent if your unable to play the DTS track, but you'll lose some of the impact the bass produces and take a minor loss of clarity. Minor issue that most people won't even be able to notice.)
1. The Haunting, DTS-ES edition: Though I'll say this list is in no particular order, this one is, by far, the best example of home audio EVER. It's not even the usage of the 3 available rear channels either. The LFE channel included here is the most powerful you'll ever hear. In fact, I dare you to skip to chapter 10 with your receiver turned up all the way. Actually, scratch that. I don't want any hate mail when someone blows their subwoofer. Shame the movie is an absolute bomb, but the audio presentation is unmatched to this day. 2. Saving Private Ryan, DTS edition: Though the horrific events of D-Day is a downer, the sound isn't. Gernades pound the beaches, the transport boats go up in flames, and the German troops bombared our guys with a barrage of fire from all angles. That's only the opening moments. The final battle featuring tanks grinding the ground below them and rocket launchers going to work is a stunning achievement in sound design. Need more proof? This one got an academy award for sound. Need I say more? 3. Black Hawk Down, 3-disc collectors edition: Another war movie that doesn't let up. It may take a half hour to get going, but once the troops enter the warzone, make sure the volumes not set too high. This 5.1 mix is simply astounding in not only it's incredible clarity, but great use of LFE channel. Sequences inside the helicopters have roaring blades surrounding the viewers and the great slow-motion shots really give all 5 speakers a chance to work. 4. Godzilla (1998): Regardless of my personal resentment towards the directors of this abomination, this disc needs to be here. Even the opening menu is blaring with bass from Godzilla's thunderous steps. The helicopter chase is a flawless example of why surround sound is such a special piece of technology. Then final few chapters featuring an utterly ridiculous chase is a perfect finale soundwise and I have to mention the Madison Square Garden sequence that precedes the chase. Wow. 5. Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers Extended Edition: Good ol' DTS 6.1, how I love thee. The insane battle sequences are not only great to watch, but add in the sound mix and you've got an experience like no other. Even the music surrounds the viewer making this epic film even better than it already is. Listen for the weapons clanging against each other in specific speakers and the tracking shots that have the sound moving with the video. Oh, and that door ramming sequence? You can probably see the smile on my face right now. 6. Jurassic Park III: My favorite sequel to the 1993 classic is an action packed adventure that never lets up. Neither does the audio. The back of the package states this one has a DTS 5.1 track, but it comes up as 6.1. The plane crash is great as is the attack by the Spinosaurus that follows. Still, nothing compares to the final few chapters taking place in a massive torential downpour. The Spinosaurus makes it's final attack and the giant crane in the area produces some outstanding bass effects. Oh, and that rain...you'll be tuning to the Weather Channel to mke sure it's only in the movie. Action movies have rarely sounded better. 7. Disney's Dinosaur 2-disc set: Disney's cliched CG mess features some great sound and right from the start your receiver gets a workout. About 10 minutes in an asteroid strikes the planet and pieces of the death rock rains in from the heavens. You'll be bombarded from every angle by the firery masses but of course that's not the only scene that makes this disc worthwhile. Later sequences of the herd stampeding, chases by the Carnotaurs, and the final showdown with the carnivore featuring an outstanding sound stage that makes this a must own set. 8. Gladiator: The first disc to really make DTS a household name, this incredible 6.1 mix is a testament to sound design. Chapter 2 entitled "Hell on Fire" is a sequence that must be experienced, not simply heard through TV speakers. The chariot sequence later in the movie has horses thundering through the dirt of the arena packed with people. The weapon clangs and screams of the dying warriors are too much for anyone not to enjoy. Every speaker will get a workout when this disc enters your player and is a must own for a home-theater enthusiast. There are so many discs on the market, this is the far from a definitive list. These are the discs in my personal collection that get the most play time simple for their sound quality. Other discs to consider are any of the Matrix trilogy, Lion King, Band of Brothers series, and Independence Day. If any of these are missing, it's time to head out to the store with your checkbook in tow.

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