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Reviews: ET: The Extra-Terrestrial Soundtrack

Reviews: 5

Review by peteyspambucket July 21, 2003 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I've been a fan of this soundtrack since it came out in the early 80s. I always thought the last 20 minutes of the album was the most fun, exciting, and emotional music on the disc. Listening to those tracks on SACD, I am still thrilled and moved by the music. The sound quality is much improved. The bass drum is much clearer than ever before. The high strings are kind of brittle sounding, but I think that might be due to the early digital recording techniques of the time. The winds are also much clearer than before, and the brass are bigger than ever.

There are a lot of extra tracks on this anniversary edition, compared to the LP and original CD releases, which I grew up to.

This is one of John Williams' greatest soundtracks, and I think it's essential in anyone's SACD collection.

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Review by RobertPaulson February 8, 2004
Performance:   Sonics:
Yeah, Petey is right.
This soundtrack is absolutely great.
The main theme of E.T. ........if you have heard it once, you won't forget it.
Track 20 is an absolute masterpiece.
The sound is very clear (I think Petey said the most things to that)

But the reason why I'm posting here is, that I think that the surround-mix is disappointing.
Most of the sound is very front-based. The surround-speakers aren't used that much.
And it also could "flow" more into the room.
Sometimes it "glues" on the speakers!

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Review by deathstroke June 13, 2004 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Being a John Williams fan (mostly from Star Wars), I had to have this one. Since I was not very familiar with E.T.'s soundtrack I didn't know what to expect. However, this one is a masterpiece! Sonically, it compares well to the Star Trek Nemesis album, even though the two were recorded twenty years apart.
Now here's hoping the Star Wars soundtracks will be reissued on SACD :)

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Review by eddievanhalen March 20, 2005 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
The soundtrack for E.T. has been my favourite for as long as I can remember, that is, the day I went to the cinema being 8 to see the film.
I bought my SACD player because of the release of the E.T. Soundtrack on multichannel and stereo SACD.
I must say the sound presented here is nothing but wonderful. Everything on the original recording is on this SACD, all the subtleties and nuancies, musicians turning the pages of their music books, you can even hear some of them caughing.
The mix is very front oriented, with surround channels only carrying ambience from the recording hall, wich I think is the way to go. I personally find very annoying and distracting hearing instruments placed and panned on the surround channels (as in "The Film Music of Jerry Goldsmith") as this is not a very realistic way to present music. Even the conductor doesn't have that perspective of the performance as he is in front of the orchestra, not surrounded by it.
For me the E.T. SACD multichannel mix is very realistic, atmosferic and enveloping.
What I'm not sure if the original master tape is analogue or digital. The original 1.982 Vinyl record said it was recorded digitally by Digital Magnetics (I think this was a company who owned digital recording equipment for renting), but the non remastered 1.986 CD relese by MCA said it was an analogue one with the SPARS code being AAD.
Anyway, we should keep in mind that the original 1.982 soundtrack album wasn't the real soundtrack recording as it appears on the film, but a concert arrangement, wich was recorded separately on different sessions.
Maybe digital equipment was used for the concert arragement soundtrack album, and analogue tape recorders for the music as it appears on the film.
I don't notice on the E.T. SACD any of the harshness typical of early (and not so early) digital recordings. Strings, like harp solos sound sharp but never agressive. I also notice the usual tape hiss typical on analogue recordings. I don't have a problem with it as low level signals don't get buried on it.
Just to finish, if you are looking for an spectacular sounding SACD, you should be looking anywhere else. If you want good music and natural sound, the E.T. soundtrack won't dissapoint you.

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Review by PureAudio September 2, 2005 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Me and my girlfriend saw the E.T. movie some 5 years ago for the first time. We both love the movie but haven´t seen it since. So, this spring I came across a fragment of the theme song on the internet and played it on my PC. My girlfriend looked up from her book and said "I know this piece... don`t know what it is but it´s great!". She stood up and floated around the room on her toes making a flying movement with her arms. This is what she associated the music with. Her mind clearly recalled the bicycle-over-the-moon scene. I told her it was from E.T. and we where both amazed by this happening. We just need to have this on SACD.

Yesterday it came by mail and yes it´s great. Conducted and played with a great sence of feel. Never forced or rushed and always complete, once even leading. Track 20 takes 15 minutes while a lot is happening. Williams could not get it both timed right and sound good. So Spielberg adviced him to just do the piece without visual cues and see what happens. It sounded great and Spielberg adjusted the scene near the end a little bit to make it fit. Outstanding teamwork resulted in this 5 star performance!

The mix of this SACD-MC is surely not the best compared with other mixes. Although detail and dynamics are in fine shape (considering age of tape), the music seems to stay caught somewhat inside the speakers. Nothing dramatic but it costs a star. The orchestra is in front with the surrounds adding space and giving a natural impression. Individual instruments are easily definable and sound great, brass and piano in particular.

PRO: Briljant soundtrack, recall of movie fragments while listning.
CON: Mix probably not optimal.

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