ELV1S 30 #1 Hits
The "30 #1 Hits" is presented by RCA music in 24bit/96khz 5.1 DVD-Audio and Dolby Digital 5.1. This DVD-Audio version of the album has been "split" (sort of) into two groups and the track order differs from the CD version as a result. The first 18 songs of the album have been remixed and remastered in 5.1 audio from the original multi-track master tapes. The remainder of this presentation has been remixed and remastered into 5.1 from the original mono master tapes.
The remix of "A Little Less Conversation" is certainly a respectable effort in terms of both audio quality and the 5.1 remix. The surrounds kick in with some of the techno sound effects of this dance remix and provide a good, general reinforcement of the music when not called upon to do their own thing. Audio quality is also very pleasing: the bass beats of the techno track have a considerable kick and Elvis's voice still rises above all of the electronic beats that have been placed over the original vocals.
The classics that make up the remainder of the album are presented quite well, too, although their 5.1 remixes are understandably pretty simple. The songs that have been remastered from the multi-track masters have the surrounds providing some of the instrumental elements or offering pleasant reinforcement of the music. The songs remastered from the mono tracks have the surrounds providing some reverb/reinforcement of the material, but only in a very basic fashion. While the surround use is rather artifical during these songs, the general audio quality and nice envelopment made any issues pretty minimal.
Audio quality across the board is better than I'd expected. Those who are interested can find an A/B (before remastering/after) of three tracks (Burning Love, Return to Sender, You're the Devil in Disguise) as hidden bonus tracks that play after the last song of the 31 hits are finished playing. Although these "A/B comparisons" are in PCM 2.0 only, the differences between the muddy before and the crisper, cleaner after are pretty fascinating.
Although some of the tracks on the latter half of the album that were remixed from the mono tracks have a slightly thinner, more hollow sound, instrumentals are still crisp and warm, while Elvis's vocals are remarkably clear and natural, given the age of the recordings. Overall, this is an excellent DVD-Audio release, with great audio quality and a 5.1 remix that remained appropriate and never became gimmicky.
EMI's DVD-Audio edition includes no extras whatsoever - there didn't even seem to be any menus or song selection.
Although Elvis fans were likely thrilled with the CD version of the "30 #1" album, this DVD-Audio version's marvelous sound quality and subtle, enjoyable 5.1 mixes provide a new, even more enjoyable way to experience these songs. Some supplements would have been nice, but effort has obviously been put into the remastering/remixing process here. Highly Recommended.