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How do you decide what release group to watch for a series?


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#1
QifutuWahuta

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Question is as the title says. I generally go for quality of subs and availability of dual-audio (go ahead and flame me, most dubs these days are pretty decent). Styled subs are becoming another deciding factor for me since a couple of shows have spoiled me with things like different color text for different characters, which is a feature I LOVE.

I ask because right now I'm trying to find a decent version of Fate/Stay Night to watch. Anime-Supreme has a good dual-audio apparently, but THORA has TL notes, which I like in a show. I saw that Cman and BluDragon also have releases on here (though Cman's isn't linked yet). I just don't know where to go and I feel like I'm spinning in circles trying to find a group to use. :cry:

#2
Sayer

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Video quality is the main decider for me, though I also prefer FLAC audio along with most BR release. If I'm watching in subs, I generally want them styled and accurate compared to context. I like a lot of Coalgirls' projects because they perform pretty well imo, they have good quality video, the sound is where I want it (regardless if I have the setup for it now), and they choose their subs based on what they think is best (usually). There are plenty of groups that do work like this though. When it comes to DA, it's generally just video and audio as a main decider, but sometimes I like the styled subs over the boring ones.

For your FS/N query, I have the release posted by Cman on here. I think the video quality was better than A-S (Was it Thora video?) You said you liked the TL notes by Thora, their release is single audio right? If you watch in Jap, take theirs. If you want DA, take OPA. IMO!!!

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#3
pinny

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What I find most important in releases is the subs.
I always prefer to watch literal translations with honorifics, so ripped R1 subs etc are usually out of the question. Also TL notes and translated signs are important to me.
For styling I prefer a simple white with black border and easily readable font (no strange curvy fonts). Karaoke is great, as long as it doesn't give me eyecancer. (simple filling effect is fine, I want to be able to actually read the translation, which seems impossible with some effects that make the text disappear as they are sung)
Second to that comes the video quality.
If I see obvious encoding errors like banding and ringing I usually drop the release right away, unless it's the only option.
Other than that I try to get 1080p where I can. Not much else I care about with the video, since I've seen a lot of old stuff which had extremely low quality. I guess it also depends on what genre you're watching. For a mecha you're gonna want better quality video than for a comedy.

For F/S N I currently have Doki's 1080p release. It seems like just a bad upscale and the styling is pretty bad on that release, so I might switch to THORA's 720p even.
I haven't seen the OPA release. But if it's like Cman's other releases they default to english audio/signs, and do not have tracksets, so you can't have your MKV splitter to automatically switch to japanese audio/eng subs and have to do it manually for every ep. Both this and the fact that the subs are probably R1 unedited I stay away from them.
AniDB can provide you with some user ratings on releases. Though, mostly the newer better blu-ray rips for old anime aren't rated yet by many, so you might miss those in the list.

If you're a sub watcher stay away from anime-Supreme. Their encodes are awful and they just rip the subs without much editing.

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#4
Will

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I'm with Pinny, if you're watching subbed, quality of subs is by far the biggest factor. Anidb has general ratings for fansub groups I think, though I'm not sure whether those scores are trustworthy or particularly comprehensive. Sometimes it's worth going to the anidb section for a show and having a look at the discussions. Sometimes there are sub comparisons and discussions (I remember seeing one such discussion for Ano Hana that was very helpful).
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#5
IZEROII

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What Pinny and Will said. Subs (if you watch subs over dubs) is the single most important thing. I would take a hit on video quality if the translation, styling, and typesetting were better by contrast. Styling is semi important because you are reading hundreds of lines. It also shows some consideration was made to match the font to the show itself. Typesetting is only a problem if it's just done stupid like with crunchy/horriblesubs. I pretty much know who I like and don't like at this point but if you are watching something with subs offered by a group you aren't familiar with then I typycally take a look at MAL to see the approval and make decisions from there. Bakabt is another good resource because usually they will approve of the best subbed release and the comments offer good insight as well.

For airing shows, you just have to go with groups who's work you are familiar with.

As far as video quality goes, it just depends. Check out some comparisons and decide if you want 720p v 1080p. I for one will pretty much always get 1080p even if it is classified as an "upscale". I don't let file size be a decider for me when it comes to video (unless it is just stupid big...tenshi).

#6
Zachimillius

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Subs>Video quality>Audio quality is what I go by!!

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#7
13ack.Stab

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Get UTW's version of Fate/Stay Night. They typically do a great job on typesetting and their translations are always spot-on.

As for which group I use, well... it tends to be a fine balance between video and subtitle quality. I tend to be pretty OCD about good subtitling, so I drop releases that are inferior immediately. I'm also crazy about archiving, so I will always try to go for the best video and audio. Since I will often watch a show when it's airing, I just focus on the best typesetting and translation then, and then grab the BDs from the same group later on. If, for whatever reason, the video is lacking, I'll either mux the best releases together, and get the best of all worlds - or I'll be lazy and go with a group like CoalGirls out of sheer convenience.

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#8
Koby

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I often compare the releases and go with the one that has the most accurate translation, best styling and typesetting, and highest video quality. It's rare that a single release will beat every other one in all these categories though so I often have to choose which was the best package overall. If there is a dual-audio release I'll grab it over an English dub or Japanese dub release.


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#9
Cman21

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lol you guys and your inaccuracy. for me i only check 2 things. 1: can i watch it. 2: make sure it isnt trollin me. done. i honestly do not care if he said "i hate you" or "i dont like you" or "i dislike you" or just "fuck you" as it is all the same damn thing in the end. but im mostly a dub watcher so subs are just meh to me. :harhar:

note: this only applies to aired subs releases.

#10
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Dub is ofc the most important thing for me, I have only ever watched 3 or 4 shows subtitled (Out of 400+). Secondly, a signs only sub track. Hate DA releases that don't have a signs only track, thats just damn annoying. Thirdly, video quality.

These are the 3 top priority thing for me anyways.

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#11
ruprecht29

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For awhile, it was mainly trial and error. Now, I usually go with encodes done by people/groups that I like. I'll choose OZC, Cman and other encoders on here due to previous releases. The deciding factor is video quality and size. I don't care about FLAC and other HD audio as I honestly can't tell the difference compared to AAC and AC3. Nice subs are great. With fansubs, a pet peeve is spelling and grammar mistakes. I do wish some groups would pay attention before they release an encode.

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#12
Zalis

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I don't necessarily go through these entire checklists every time I want to download something, and sometimes things like fansub group fanboyism will take precedence. But imo these are good things to look for.

For fansubs, I look for:

* A resolution I can comfortably play (576p down to 360p or so, though I will watch 240p if need be)
* Subtitle styles designed to be readable instead of "to be unobtrusive" (= background-blending CAPTCHA-subs) or "to fit the anime" (usually means esoteric and stupid fonts). Hardsubs are okay if they're readable; softsubs should be no less readable, especially if numerous dialogue styles are used. Having to change 12 different color-coded softsub styles because they're too small or too low in the image makes a softsubbed release effectively hardsubbed.
* Songs translated with English lyrics at the minimum, though romaji with fabulous hardsubbed, simple softsubbed, or no karaoke effects is a nice bonus. Kanji doesn't need to be there, but I don't mind if they're present.
* All relevant and amusing text decently typeset. Hardsubbed AFX typsetting is fine too.
* Localization: not overly-localized to the extent of 1990s official subs (like yen to dollars, riceballs to doughnuts, that kind of stuff), but also free of pointless undertranslation (like SS-Eclipse's Shana releases ~de arimasu) and weeaboo elements. No "keikaku means plan" TL notes -- if you have to put a note saying "Japanese Word A means English Word B," you should probably just put English Word B. I don't care if words/phrases like itadakimasu, ojamashimasu, ittekimasu, gochisousamadesu, otsukaresama, etc. are sacred cultural relics. They're translatable, so they should be translated. Honorifics, Eastern name order, and other Japanese "flavor" elements are okay. What I mainly look for are "liberal" subs that flow well in English, to the point where the subtitle script is a solid piece of English standalone reading material. Creativity, variety, and context-sensitive writing that fits the characters is the key.
* Accurate translations, with as few English technical errors (spelling/grammar/word use) errors as possible.
* Audio/video quality isn't too important, since it's dependent on the quality of the raws or transport stream source. But obvious macroblocking and artifacting that indicate bitrate starvation are never good.
* Subtitle timing that employs sufficient amounts of lead-in and lead-out, avoids distracting errors like "flash" (short gaps between consecutive lines), "flicker" (lines start just after or end just before a scene change) and "scene-bleeds" (lines start just before or end just after scene changes). Subtitles should stay on the screen neither too short nor too long. Too short, and you get a bunch of fragmented sentences without a lot of time to read them. Too long, and you probably give away too much information too early, which disrupts the dramatic flow. Staying within 2-5 seconds where feasible is a good guideline.
* Some "trolling" is fine if it's in a non-serious anime (Kampfer, B Gata H Kei, Needless, Baka & Test) or an unintentional comedy (Code Geass, Umineko, Star Driver).


For "re-subs" that apply fanmade subs from TV releases to DVD or Blu-Ray encodes, I mainly look for:
* Video quality that's a significant improvement over the TV rips, or at least offers enhancements like decensoring, animation fixes, and new scenes.
* Subtitles that provide an experience no worse than what the TV-rips did -- if a song or relevant sign was translated in the TV-rip, it should also be translated in the BD-rip. "But the group hardsubbed their kara/signs, it's too much work!" isn't an excuse, as I routinely release DVD-rips of shows that were 100% hardsubbed. And doing things like leaving songs out because the rip group/individual thinks they're pointless is just pushing their own agenda and value judgments on viewers. Fail.
* Subtitles that do not introduce mistakes that weren't in the TV-rips, and preferably fix layman-fixable mistakes, i.e. things you don't have to be a translator or talented editor to fix. Running Aegisub spellcheck and Timing Postprocessor is *not* that time-consuming.


For rips of R1 DVD/BluRay, and general encoding preferences:
* If English audio is present in the source, it should be present in the release. In this day and age of relatively cheap huge HDDs, when people embrace FLACebo audio and ridiculous bloated upscales, I find it hard to believe that the disk space taken up by lossy English audio still matters, I suppose it matters if you're burning on CD-Rs, which is why I call dub-removing encodes "CDR-scrimping" releases. Rips of Japanese releases that don't add in the English audio are acceptable.
* Unedited R1 subtitles are generally better than poorly-edited fansubs, but ripped subs should deliver subs that are no worse than the original DVD subs. Introducing mistakes via careless OCR or failed attempts at enhancing/editing = bad. Using the original DVD imagesubs in .mkv = neutral. Getting actual talented editors, typesetters, retimers and QCers to enhance the DVD subs = good.
* Video encodes should be as big as they need to be to preserve major details and prevent blocking, without pointlessly bloating the files to preserve irrelevant details. That's just diminishing returns. Encoding to varying file sizes depending on what's in the episode is preferable to encoding every episode to a constant file size, like in the CD-R days. Constant file size means that subdued episodes with lots of "talking heads" scenes will be bloated, while episodes with tons of action or "bitrate hog" sequences like rain/snow/grainy flashbacks will be starved.
* Audio shouldn't be bitrate-starved, either. Either use original AC3 audio from DVD, or transcode to AAC or vorbis at sufficiently high bitrates. I won't *avoid* a release with FLACebo audio, but I sure will look for alternatives.

#13
Hao

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its better to go for video quality since you can always mux a different sub to the video, but this requires you to know how to do the timing and stuffs.
i dled one episode of doki's new hi10p 1080p clannad with only had sub , and tried to mux in a dub and another sub file.
gave up lol.

#14
Hark0n

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I generally watch subbed versions so subtitles is very important. Usually try to get anime from group I am familiar with, or at least with good evaluation from other viewers.

For a TV version I accept hardsubs, but try to avoid in BD and DVD versions. Also vobsubs form DVD usually have bad styling ( weird color and ugly fonts) and not so good job at signs. ASS is the best option in subtitle format as far as I know.

For translation I prefer fansub version. Fansubs usually are more closer to original and preserve original jokes, explaining meaning if necessary. I hope to learn Japanese one day, so closer to source is better for me.

BD versions I prefer in 1080p, unless it is horrible DVD upscale ( like Shakugan no Shana ). If source has lossless audio, I prefer to have one too. Generally I like having my anime as close to original as possible for BD/DVD versions.

If I find version that has good subs and not so good video/audio, I am willing to get my hands dirty and remux/edit it.

#15
Zachimillius

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DTS: MA is the audio i would prefer :P

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#16
Koby

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DTS: MA is the audio i would prefer :P

Don't know why but DTS audio seems to stutter really bad and make everything sound sorta mechanical on all of my PC's, even though it's keeping up with the video fine. I think it may be a decoder issue or something, but I use CCCP.


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Now you have come here, and steal my reason to die, too?!


#17
Hark0n

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Don't know why but DTS audio seems to stutter really bad and make everything sound sorta mechanical on all of my PC's, even though it's keeping up with the video fine. I think it may be a decoder issue or something, but I use CCCP.

You can try to use some of stand-alone players like daumPotPlayer, MPlayer or VLC. If problem still remains it can bee hardware or drivers related.

DTS and TrueHD is better with hardware decoders or home-theater sound system. Since I have neither, I try to get FLAC - it is smaller but still lossless. eac3to (for free) and xrecode2 (not for free) can convert DTS:MA and TrueHD to other formats if necessary.

#18
Koby

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Well when I Gooogle'd information about the issue a few months back the results came up with the common issue and apparently given the replies there is some sort of issue with the Haali Splitter and DTS audio. Apparently to Haali commonly has problems with certain types of DTS audio and it recommended a solution but I didn't understand how to go about it so I opted to just try to stay clear of it. I've got a couple releases with 6 channel DTS, and they have that issue. I've tried re-encoding the audio to another format numerous times with various settings but the audio always messes up or gets out of sync so yeah just haven't succeeded.

I'll never downgrade to VLC, that player has more problems and bugs than anything else I've ever seen. I don't really care to bother to switch to another player just to play DTS audio when I have less than 5 files that even use it out of my 10+ TB archive.


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You bastards You stole my sisters horn and stole my reason to live, but that wasnt enough?

Now you have come here, and steal my reason to die, too?!


#19
Hark0n

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If Haali is responsible, You can try different splitter like LAV Splitter. daumPotPlayer (for some videos it works better than MPC-HC, at least for me) and MPlayer is still an option.


P.S. And some of my friends say having 6+ TB anime archive is too much. Now I feel a need to buy new HDD just to keep up.

#20
Zachimillius

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That sucks koby, but if you do not use HT systems, then i guess there is nothing to worry about.

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