Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Ken_McAlinden, Apr 27, 2015.
What section was the watermarking most noticeable for you?
I've been holding off on buying any of those remasters because of the watermarking others have mentioned here. I have yet to actually hear what it sounds like, though. Is there a sample available somewhere?
There’s no watermarking on the 2015 24/192 Magee’s from the first album through Exit Stage Left. I have them all, have dissected them inside and out, head phones, no headphones, and there’s zero signs of watermarking. Anyone who comes on here claiming otherwise should show it and identify exactly where to find it, put their money where their mouth is.
I listened to some of the first 2 albums earlier. It doesn't sound like they're watermarked. If they are, then it is not as apparent as it was on Caress of Steel (24/96 from HDTracks). On COS, I could hear some 'swishy' or 'watery' sounds in the decay of the drums on every track, which indicated that the download was watermarked. Not hearing that on Rush or FBN thankfully, but I still need to listen to 2112.
It's been a long time since I listened. I'll have to check when I can and get back to you.
Are you talking about the digital downloads, or the LPs?
The digital downloads
I have to respectfully disagree, then. The two spots I noticed watermarking is the commonly referenced beginning of Tom Sawyer on MP - you can hear it in the reverb trails on the drums.
However, and I don’t think this has been mentioned before, the most infuriating example to my ears is on Exit...Stage Left, during Neil’s drum solo on YYZ. The entire first minute of the solo is destroyed by the tell-tale annoyingly swishy, fluttery harmonics in the treble. Absolutely intolerable, and insulting to the band and the listeners.
I just listened to both tracks you listed again and I'm not hearing what you're hearing. My MP (24/192) was purchased at 7Digital and ESL (24/48) at HDTracks. What versions do you have and from where?
Another good place to hear the watermarking artifacts is during the final minute or so of Lock and Key on Hold Your Fire. That 'swishiness' is present in the decay of the drums and keyboards. It's a shame since I really like the EQ Magee used on the album.
I just bought the 2015 hi-res versions of all the albums from 7digital. Includes 1974's "Rush" through 1987's "Hold Your Fire." All are 24/192 up until 1981's "Exit...Stage Left." That album (along with "Signals," "Grace Under Pressure," "Power Windows," and "Hold Your Fire") is 24/48. For some reason, "Caress of Steel" was only available as 24/96.
I have listened to most of the areas identified as problematic for watermarking in the various albums, based on what has been posted on this thread, and the only one that stood out to me as having obvious watermarking was the first few bars of "Tom Sawyer" on "Moving Pictures" (I downloaded the 24/192 version, which I assume is identical to the 24/48 version).
Can anyone else confirm if these 7digital versions are watermarked or not? They are listed as having a release date of 03/10/20, but all are copyrighted 2015.
@jwp1029, if possible could you snip out the beginning of Tom Sawyer and share it here? I'd really like to hear what this watermarking sounds like.
And here are the three samples where I do not hear any watermarking.
1) "YYZ" from "Exit...Stage Left", 2) "Mystic Rhythms" from "Power Windows", 3) "Lock and Key" from "Hold Your Fire"
Dropbox - YYZ (Live In Canada 1980) 24-48 7digital sample.flac - Simplify your life
Dropbox - Mystic Rhythms 24-48 7digital sample.flac - Simplify your life
Dropbox - Lock And Key 24-48 7digital sample.flac - Simplify your life
Happy to - what is the best way to share, since I just tried Dropbox but it was removed?
Strange, your Dropbox links in the previous post worked fine!
Thank you so much for taking the time to edit and post these!
I was truly hoping that you had versions that were different than mine (I bought mine from HDTracks and ProStudioMasters) and didn't include the watermarking. Unfortunately, I hear it in exactly the same spots.
For the drum solo in YYZ, I hear it most obviously at the following points:
In Mystic Rhythms, I hear it most clearly in the space between 0:01 and 0:02 - Neil hits two notes on the low toms, then answers with two notes on the high pitched Chinese cymbals, and then repeats. I hear it super clearly in the reverb trails right before the second two sets of low tom notes.
I actually don't hear it in the end of Lock And Key.
FYI, I was listening with a pair on Westone ES60 custom in-ear monitors, into a Dragonfly Red DAC, playing the files using Vox.
Based on the samples @jwp1029 so kindly posted, I went ahead and bought the download of Power Windows. Partly because it's one of my favourite Rush albums, and partly because it's one of the few remaining albums in their catalogue where I felt like there was room for improvement in my preferred master.
Most importantly, I really like what Magee did here. It's fuller-sounding, with more bass and warmth to it. It's not as midrange-y as the original master, which is precisely what this album needed. The drums have more body, and the synths are a little less in-your-face.
10/10 from me, I can't see how it could be improved on. Wholeheartedly recommended.
Following your description here, @wellers73, I went and listened for the watermarking in Mystic Rhythms.
Yes, it's there. It's very, very, very subtle. If it hadn't been pointed out to me and I couldn't directly compare between the new master and the old one, I never would have noticed it. It's a slight digital warble that, like you said, is apparent in the decay of the toms. It sounds almost like mp3 quantization.
Do I wish it wasn't there? Sure. Does it ruin it for me? Not really. I'm never going to notice it unless I'm listening intently through headphones.
Interesting - the second time I tried to post the "Tom Sawyer" clips, it was removed again. But the other three clips weren't...
Anyways, I agree with @Dansk. With the exception of "Moving Pictures" (I have three pre-1997 CD versions that are all excellent), I have found almost every 2015 hi-res release to be an improvement over previous versions. Even with the watermarking. Any other thoughts on this?
I've only heard the remasters of the Atlantic-era albums so far, because when I bought them on vinyl they came with hi-res downloads. They were all big improvements over the originals, in some cases huge ones (T4E, S&A). Sean knows what he's doing.
The Mercury albums only came with mp3 downloads and I never bothered to check them out, especially when I heard about the watermarking. Based on Power Windows, though, I'm going to have to start getting them. It's very good, a definite improvement, and that's an album I didn't think you could do much with because of the era it was recorded in. Early digital can be unforgiving...
I agree; most of the Magee downloads (and CDs for Kings and Hemispheres) are better than the original CDs to me. These are my exceptions:
Permanent Waves - I'm waiting until I get the 40th anniversary edition to hear this one since I want a physical copy. For now, the 25-8P/AMCY/SHM is my favorite.
Moving Pictures - I like the 25.8P and Anthem way more.
Signals - Several CDs are better than the Magee for this one. The AMCY/SHM, MFSL and Anthem are the ones I'd definitely pick over Magee's remaster, though I still need to compare it with the rest of the CDs.
Presto and Counterparts - AF SACD for both.
Hold Your Fire is kind of a tossup. There are moments where I prefer the warmer tone of the Magee download, but sometimes, I feel that the original CD has better clarity. I also like most of the alternate mixes on the Sector 3 remaster enough to listen to it regularly.
Just realized Presto, Roll the Bones, Counterparts, and Vapor Trails Remixed are all no longer available to purchase from Amazon or any other outlet not on the resale market.
Assume they’re out of print, hopefully temporarily. Does anyone have insight into this and whether they will available again at some point? Apologies if this was already addesssd in the thread. Thanks.
I have absolutely no inside info, but I would imagine the first run of these is simply sold out, and even if a re-pressing was in the cards, that has been delayed by the combined forces of the pandemic and the vinyl shortage resulting from that fire a few months ago.
That all makes sense...thanks for the reply
I dithered for a couple days with getting Counterparts and Snakes & Arrows from Barnes & Noble, and the next time I looked they were gone. "Temporarily Out Of Stock Online."
Picked up VT Remixed just before the lockdown.
The lacquer shortage will not affect a repress of this series, they were cut DMM if I remember right
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