Star Wars: The Force Awakens-Disney/Lucasfilm
DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
Level - 4 Stars (110.94dB composite)
Extension - 5 Stars (1Hz)
Dynamics - 5 Stars (28.39dB)
Execution - TBD
Overall - TBD
Supervising Sound Editors: Matthew Wood, David Acord
Sound Designers: Ben Burtt, Gary Rydstrom, Robert Stambler, Will Files
Re-Recording Mixers: Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, Juan Peralta, Nathan Nance
Not much to say about this one that hasn't been said already, and it's true that it is an absolute bass monster. The dreaded 30Hz peak is still present, but the falloff below it is gentle enough to still leave some significant content down low. While most of the bass falls into the typical sci fi bang and slam category, there is plenty of variety in the effects so they never get boring to listen to.
Then we get to the 'Force Rumbles' that are unleashed almost every time Kylo Ren appears on screen. They are loud and have significant energy below 20Hz (so bolt down your wall hangings), but thanks to some creative sound design they are not one dimensional and will ebb and flow both in frequency and intensity (no annoying "Interstellar" drones here). Unfortunately they are annoying in one regard: they will reveal every single source of noise in your listening area.
The overall quality of the soundtrack is fairly high, but it is also marred by clipping, courtesy of what appears to be a brick wall limiter set to -3dB. Why the limiter was set this low is a mystery, as it leaves the soundtrack noticeably quieter than many others, yet full of flat topped waveforms any time the volume ramps up. Thankfully the distortion is mostly unnoticed aside from a few effects that are pushed too hard, becoming boomy and muddy in the process (the Starkiller base weapon firing is the big one).
Overall this is a good, but not great soundtrack. It's a definite step up for JJ over ST:ID but not anywhere near his first Trek movie. Unfortunately, mixing like that seems to have gone out of style, so it was probably a pipe dream to expect TFA to be in the same league. Still, the soundtrack does a good job supporting the movie, and thankfully goes against the grain by featuring some decent dynamic range and an overall tone that is much smoother than the harsh soundtracks that usually grace 'event' movies like this one.