Although best known for cables and line conditioners, Monster Cable has jumped into the high-resolution pool with recordings pressed on what the company calls SuperDisc featuring HDS (high definition surround). Monster’s latest SuperDisc is George Benson‘s Songs And Stories, a collection of classic tunes and new songs from artists including James Taylor, Bill Withers, Smokey Robinson and Lamont Dozier, all with fresh musical and vocal interpretations from Benson. The deluxe version of Songs And Stories is a 2-disc set featuring a DVD (SuperDisc) and redbook CD. It’s the high-res DVD I’m interested in, and this disc comes bundled with a Dolby Digital and DTS 24/96 surround mix, 24/96 PCM stereo mix and digital music files (WMA and AAC) to transfer to a Windows- or Mac-based computer or portable player. As well, the files are offered in a Dolby Headphone version that simulates the surround experience through a standard set of headphones. Monster has certainly covered the bases. The playing, arrangements and recording are superb, though some of the music veers too much toward “smooth jazz” for my tastes. However, Benson’s takes on Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” and Tony Joe White classic “Rainy Night In Georgia” are perfect, and I love hearing the guitarist’s trademark silky octave lines in glorious 5.1 in any context. And there’s an extra instrumental track on the DVD that pops up unexpectedly. Wait for it. Going forward, maybe Monster can revisit and apply the HDS technology on my favorite Benson album of all, 1975’s Good King Bad. An open challenge to Monster?
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