Stand in the doorway of Hotel California, and you'll be taken immediately by the clarity of the title song's main theme on acoustic guitar, placed nicely in the center channel. Then, the harmony guitar resonates from the left and right front channels more vividly than ever before, as atmospheric effects shimmer around you. With the two hits of his drums, Don Henley starts singing in a voice that seems newly robust, and the whole song blooms in a wonderfully realistic, three-dimensional soundstage. Comes the second verse, and the countermelody on electric guitar rises up from the surround channels - just enough to make a cool impression without overwhelming the warmth of the front channels. Up ahead in the chorus, the vocal harmonies soothe you primarily from the front, as they should. By now, you've been inside for only two minutes, but Scheiner and Szymczyk have already shown you how they can create a remarkable surround experience. And if you've missed anything, there are four more verses and another chorus to come.
And then there are the guitar solos.
Whereas the original mix had both Don Felder and Joe Walsh in both stereo channels, the remix puts Felder in the right front and Walsh in the left front - all the better to witness their duel, and all the better to cheer their dance when they come together. In the end, the great achievement of the full 6 1/2 minutes of this "Hotel California" is how all the guitars, once forced on top of each other in a Yertle-the-Turtle-like stack, can now breathe in their own individual spaces. At the same time, the song's other instruments hold their ground, led by the newfound depth of Randy Meisner's bass and the fresh crack of Henley's snare. If you're looking for the perfect song to demonstrate the capabilities of DVD-Audio specifically and multichannel music in general, look no further.
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