Rush - Why do their recording sound so bad - diyAudio
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Old 24th August 2011, 01:46 PM   #1
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Default Rush - Why do their recording sound so bad

Before you flame me, I've been a Rush fan since the 3rd grade, maybe sooner! I'm 40 now and grew up with this band. As far as content goes, I love most of their work, but it seems to me that a band with such talent and range in their genre, would have better recordings.

So what is it then? Are their studio arrangements to complicated to capture correctly, budget restrictions, record company interference, bad production, engineering or mastering? The word "thin" comes to mind, with a few exceptions. The recording sound better in a car than a high-end system, and maybe that was the objective all along. My vinyl record of the opera Carmen has better definition and scale! Granted, all my Rush records are in CD format. Maybe that's part of the problem?

I think there are a few Rush records that sound OK: Hemispheres, Permamant Waves, Roll the Bones and Counterparts. The last two, Vapor Trail and Snakes and Arrows again, great tracks, mediocre recordings.

What are your thoughts on this topic, if you are a Rush fan. Is there a gem I'm missing? One friend said 2112 sounds good. For such a large production, I think it's weak. Same friend has the new Blu-Ray of Moving Pictures. He said it's not much better than the original...I was upset to hear that news.
Please list any recording you think have merit.

Please save the Geddy vocals critiques. We know, we know...

Here's your chance to comment. Go!

Vince
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Old 24th August 2011, 01:53 PM   #2
CeeVee is offline CeeVee  Portugal
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simple...compression!
You are right it's made to sound good in mediocre setup ( car ).
A really good set-up will show it's time-domain limitations ( stage, definition, depth.....).

I very famous figure got rich with this concept " wall of sound "....shallow, compressed bandwidth....just right for lousy systems.
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Old 24th August 2011, 02:07 PM   #3
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Yup, dynamic compression. (Note that this is very different from lossy compression like mp3, same name, different thing altogether.)

That being said, the ridiculous over-compressing that's in use now only became popular in the late-90's.

Look for original recordings, not "remasters". (And regarding their newer stuff, you are SOL, or get it on vinyl)

Compression of music on CD is also my theory on why some people prefer vinyl over CD, since vinyl records are mastered with a lot more care and attention but also the amount of compression used on CD is physically impossible with vinyl.
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Old 24th August 2011, 02:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Look for original recordings, not "remasters" .
This is a good point. Some of my Rush CD are Remasters.

There are people in my audio group that look at what "release date" a CD is before buying, especially older 80's and early 90's CDs. For Example, most Police recordings suffer from the same compression. One of the group members prefered to listen to a BMG reissue of a Police CD because he thought it sounded better with less compression. I think it still sounds awful!

Do you think this compression takes place in the mastering stage or earlier? Just curious.
It's a shame that CD has good dynamic range, yet to 'blend' the sound they compress the hell out of it, making it two dimensional.
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Old 24th August 2011, 03:50 PM   #5
CeeVee is offline CeeVee  Portugal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vdi_nenna View Post
....

Do you think this compression takes place in the mastering stage or earlier? Just curious.
It's a shame that CD has good dynamic range, yet to 'blend' the sound they compress the hell out of it, making it two dimensional.
It's post mastering, supposedly the master tapes are non-compressed ( i won't bet though ) but it makes sense that the studio should have a base copy that can be treated ( compressed, etc ) for the LP, CD masters.
These later ones are for sure compressed, the CD's more so, which makes no sense if you consider the potential of the format.....other than comercial strategy for greater sales: ie: target mid-Fi !
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Old 17th September 2011, 07:43 PM   #6
JoeDJ is offline JoeDJ  United States
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This is all ironic since one of the main original selling points of CDs was its higher dynamic range over vinyl.
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Old 17th September 2011, 08:27 PM   #7
cbdb is offline cbdb  Canada
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Quote:
Compression of music on CD is also my theory on why some people prefer vinyl over CD, since vinyl records are mastered with a lot more care and attention but also the amount of compression used on CD is physically impossible with vinyl.
The last statement is just false. Most of the compression (actualy to much peak limiting) is now done in the mix (so everyone can hear the end results (the record company) before the product is manufactured), so an LP wont be much different than the CD (except for the LP flaws). The mastering guy may or may not add some more, mostly not.
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Old 19th October 2011, 09:05 AM   #8
ElEsido is offline ElEsido  Switzerland
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There are several groups on facebook that try to draw attention towards the issue. Have a look for example at this page.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 01:14 PM   #9
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Anyone listen to the Clockwork Angels CD? It's a bit better sound wise than most other Rush records. It doesn't sound as congested or limited. There is also an article on Rush in the September issue of Stereophile where they discuss the sound quality.
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Old 14th November 2012, 06:08 AM   #10
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Good summary on wiki 'loudness war':
Loudness war - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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