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Rush Power Windows 25 years later, what do you think?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by steeler1979, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. walrus

    walrus Forum Resident

    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    Closer sounds the same minus the end jam (which was the same every night on the tours they did it), Bravado is a good song but always sounds the same to me. La Villa has cool solos but how many versions do we have officially already?
     
  2. Scroller

    Scroller Forum Resident

    I highly recommend the new Popoff books as he breaks it all down in 3 separate volumes, the 3rd one not to be released until later in 2021, but every record and song is discussed in detail and for the most part chronologically, too! They make excellent reference books as well - very easy to look up what was going on and where their heads were at during the Hemispheres or Signals sessions for example. So yeah, there's bound to be repeated stuff but he's adding tons of new material. He did say he is using a lot of the information they gathered during interviews when making Beyond The Lighted Stage that didn't make it into the film. For the most part, in these books, he stays away from his own personal opinions of everything which is how I'd prefer it. I'll read his reviews when I want that.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2020
  3. Scroller

    Scroller Forum Resident

    Real quick, getting back to Power Windows, I am listening to the 2015 Magee vinyl remaster which has just been dropped off at my door and I am thinking this is the best sounding version I have yet heard. Because of this thread and the book I am reading, I am revisiting this album. I played the original atomic CD. Then The Rush Remasters CD. Then my original US vinyl and now this one. Sounds to me some of the harshness has been tamed and the low end is fuller and more resonant. I grabbed it on Amazon currently $21.99 which seems like a pretty good price these days. Flat, quiet, QRP pressing. Very pleased overall.
     
    ytserush likes this.
  4. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario

    Today the idea of carefully backing up your multitrack is a no brainer, but back 35 years ago it was a different story. The idea of doing 5.1 mixes for albums, or using every individual track to make a video game like: Guitar Hero and Rock Band didn't exist then.

    Back between 1957 - 1972 it was common place for some record companies to actually erasure and reuse their 1/2, 1 and 2 inch tapes. 1 and 2 inch tape was freaking expensive back in 1967.
    The very idea of "remixing" was silly. Why? The album/ single was recorded, mixed and released. Why are we keeping this 1 inch tape around?
    Find that hard to believe? They are confirmed stories back in 1971 of record companies bull dozing thousands of quarter inch mono masters tapes into pits. Mono was dead right? The junk was only taking up room. 3 years from that year the BBC would destroy/wipe most of the Doctor Who stories in their archives. Sound familiar?
    None of the half inch 4 track Four Season tapes exist. They were either erased or destroyed. Another tragedy. It all comes down to money.

    The reason engineers made back up copies of multitrack tapes wasn't to do remixes decades later. It was because analog tape wears out with repeated use. Tracking in a studio (recording, over dubs, repeated punch ins) puts a great strain on a tape. After 300 times or so of punch ins, recordings, payback, etc the transients and top end start to disappear from your 2 inch tape. So a back up would be made of the just the rhythm tracks or the tape (minus vocals, guitar solo).

    Enter digital. No worries there. Play number 1 sounds the same as play 1000. And if you need to make a copy of your DASH 24 track tape you can make a bit for bit perfect (yes sure...) copy. So if they needed to go to the copy 45 days later then no problem. Peter Collins and all the other short sited clowns didn't think anyone would need to go back to the multitrack 30 years later and do a remix or stranger still.....A 5.1 mix.

    We are lucky they even kept the DASH multitracks! In 1997 back up to what? ADAT?
     
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  5. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    You can really hear Geddy's voice on stage suffer after The Snakes And Arrows Tour. After that tour he voice really went down hill. Some fans (Assuming Neil was still was alive) would have preferred that Rush continued on into their 90's. No matter how bad they would have sounded. Rush stopped at the perfect time. They went out with class. 19 studio albums! What more could any fan want?
     
    Stormrider77 and Murph like this.
  6. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario

    The original PW CD is a flat transfer. That is all they pretty much did back in 1985. The idea with the CD was that NO compromises had to be made. Now the consumer could hear the master as it was intended. Back in 1985 the digital signal traveled from the digtial mixer through the S-DIF2 cable (Not SP-DIF) to the Sony PCM DASH 3302. That is your master. That is what Peter Collins and Rush wanted you to hear. A few days later a transfer from the 3302 to the Sony PCM 1610 was made. The data was recorded on a 3/4 inch video tape. This tape was shipped off to the local CD plant where the glass master was made. From this Glass Master all the PW compact disks would be made.

    Any remastering is just Dicking around. The only way to reduce harshness is to bring down the midrange and/or treble. To make that work would need at least - 1.5 db of EQ. Bringing down the midrange and top end would also have the effect of bringing up the bass.

    The remastered PW is a butchered PW. It isn't the mix. Seven Samurai would look way better in colour but it was meant it be seen in black and white. Just my opinion. Keep mind that all the 1997 Rush remasters have a similar high frequency boost applied. It does sound good but it taints the mix.
     
  7. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    I wish Air Supply had stayed the same. Or even Madonna. I can't listen to anything after Breathless (Music Inspired by/from The movie Dick Tracy.). The sound quality is amazing. And the arrangements. It may sound crazy but when it comes to madonna I only listen to:

    Madonna
    Like A Virgin
    Crazy for You (single)
    True Blue
    Who's That Girl (single)
    Used To Be My Playground (single)
    Like A Prayer
    Breathless

    Where as many Rush fans I know are:
    Rush
    Fly By Night
    Caress Of Steel
    2112
    Farewell To Kings
    Hemispheres
    Permanent Waves
    Moving Pictures

    I recently made a 2 CD set for a friend that was only 1974 - 1981. The one exception was "Subdivisions". Funny, my brother thinks "Subdivisions" is actually on Moving Pictures. To be honest my brother calls the album, Limelight.
     
    Scroller likes this.
  8. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Who is Poppoff? Is he a audio engineer or a producer? Or just some Rock journalist with a hate for 1980's Pop?
     
  9. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Nothing wrong with always serving meat for dinner. But if the dinner is always beef stew with boiled potatoes then it will get boring.
     
  10. Ron2112

    Ron2112 Forum Resident

    Hmmmmmm......I'm going to differ with this. The original Power Windows master -- as an example -- was optimized for a vinyl medium, and transferred straight to CD. That master was not optimized for the amount of resolution that the CD medium could deliver. Subsequent remaster efforts have attempted to "fix" that, with varying degrees of success.

    To that end, I believe that both the 1997 remasters and the 2013 (?) Sector box remasters were done with the band's involvement, and presumably represent their vison for the audio.
     
    ytserush likes this.
  11. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    I got back into Rush because of the Show Don't Tell single on the radio. Even without the singing I knew it was Rush. From there I purchased HYF, PW, GUP. I was going back I time. Finally I was hearing what I had missed for the past 4 years.
     
  12. Ron2112

    Ron2112 Forum Resident

    He's a critic with arguably quirky tastes in the music he writes about. He's got an amazing collection of memorabilia, which is featured in his "illustrated" biographies -- many worth the price just for those photos. He also gets a pretty high degree of access to the artists he writes about. So in general -- his opinions aside -- his books are worth a read.
     
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  13. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario

    It was a DDD project. That means it was recorded on a DASH 3324, to the 3302. That was the way it was done. You had to then transfer the digital tape to a 3/4 inch tape. The Sony 1600 or 1610 was the only way to put the sub code data back then. The pressing plants could only take a 3/4 inch PCM tape to make a glass master. The vinyl master could have been an analog copy of the 3302 tape with bass reduction.

    The editors had EQ option. It could have been done there. Do you have any sources to site this statement.

    1997 remasters are not flat transfers. Dosen't matter what input the band had in them. There is a distinct high frequency boost that is on every CD on the remasters. Even a slight amount of compresion.
    Sectors is horrid. Over compressed.
    The original CDs are not. Although the problem here is that sometimes copy tapes were used. Check out the original Signals CD. Hissy as hell!

    The studio they mixed the record in will not sound the same as the studio these albums get mastered in. The band is hearing these albums for the first time (properly, not on PC speakers) in decades. So naturally they will want more low bass here or more highs there. In the business we call this the "master distance syndrome."
    This is the reason Jeff Lynne went to re- record those classic ELO songs. And Sir Martin to remix 2 Beatle albums. Back in 1976 or 1979 they heard it one way but in 2010 or 1997 their hearing or tastes have changed and so all of a sudden the songs just don't sound so good anymore. Tney might need remix or some low bass EQ or re-record them.

    The new anniversary CDs are flat. Well the last one was anyway.

    It may have been altered for the vinyl but not for the CD.
     
  14. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    However, I think I know what you mean. Except as an engineer of 20 years I can tell you that no mixer mixes for a medium. That is the job of mastering engineer. Brian Wilson mixed the bass super loud on Pet Sounds. Engineers have been bringing the bass down ever since. The DCC versions are the only ones with bass intact.

    LOL.This is quite common in the mastering field. "We would have mixed the bass was louder if it was today." Expect that everyone has short memories. In the 1970's they would mix the kick so loud that it would often cover the bass. Plenty of 1970's Reggae records with bass way louder than the 1997 Rush PW. And they got cut no problem. Power Windoes wa not a low bass heavy record. Not even by 1975 standard. It was Bob Ludwig drunk that day.

    No one screws up a master tape with mastering EQ. They would make another tape. That is studio procedure. You don't optimize a master tape. You do that with a copy. Because EQ is kind of a permanent thing. But who knows......

    Do you mean they used the f up copy EQ tape and not the unfudged digital master? I'd buy that for a dollar.
     
  15. Can Utility

    Can Utility Well-Known Member

    Location:
    England
    I'm a big Rush fan since 76 ( bought ATWAS on import) and when I first bought PA I had some problems with it. The production was very 80s, bright. I played it over and over and gradually came to appreciate the songs. " Manhatten Project" is a Rush classic. I actually dug out my LP from the loft in the summer and this is how I listen to it now. The remaster CD just accentuates the already bright almost glossy sound of PW production and to me, is unlistenable ( need to get the original back from my brother).
     
  16. Veovis

    Veovis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    Power Windows resides around the middle of my list of best to less great Rush albums, but it holds a special place in my heart because it was the first Rush album I got at the time it was released. Middletown Dreams is one of the best song they ever recorded. Manhattan Project and Emotion Detector are great songs too.

    I tend to go to my rip of the original CD when listening to this one. The Magee (in 24/48) is easier on the ear but the tradeoff is a certain muddiness (and there is talk about watermarking artefacts in the digital version). The Rush Remasters version and the Van Dette remaster (the one in the Sector box and the hi-res release from 2013) are not very good, at least not to these ears.
     
    Scroller likes this.
  17. Ron2112

    Ron2112 Forum Resident

    Yes, that is why I explicitly used the word "master." And mastering is most definitely done for the medium in question.
     
  18. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    There is some confusion over terms here.
    In my line of work the word "master" means the 2 channel mix down tape. What you should have said was the CD/Vinyl tape master. But apparently you didn't mean that.

    All those releases were originally mastered by Bob Ludwig. He took the DASH 3302 tape to Bob Ludwig where he added Eq and compresion. If Peter Collins (is not a mastering engineer) did the EQ changes there would have been no need to send it on to the mastering engineer, Bob Ludwig. No doubt the vinyl and CD were made from this tape. Unfortunately.

    I quote, "The original Power Windows master -- as an example -- was optimized for a vinyl medium, and transferred straight to CD..."

    Many of these writers that right music books don't know anything about studio operations. So if some producer says, "optimizing the master" they mean sending off to mastering engineer. They don't mean actually altering the.master as you mix. Ask any mastering engineer on the forum.

    . NO ONE mastered their project back in 1985. It just wasn't done. Today, sure, but not back then.
    Why screw up your master when a copy can be made with all the changes and leave your master tape unmolested? This is how studios have been doing it for decades. Sorry but I believe you are incorrect. Can you site a passage from a magazine or interview to back your claim up? It is possible you misread. Sometimes you have authors who wrote these books who don't understand how mixing works.


    You are mixing down. All moves are automated.
    This is a PCM 3302. You can't put a digital Eq between the path of the digital mixing board and the master recorder. Not in 1985. You are suggesting that Peter Collins added some channel insert EQ and rotuted it to the stereo bus. Possible sure. Now your levels are all screwed up and your compresion won't sound the same. Stereo eq over the stereo mix bus will throw the whole mix off. And this is why sir NO one does it. Especially when Eq won't be the same for every song.

    No one in the music industry was every this stupid.
     
  19. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    I would imagine some members must be confused. The laymen often doesn't understand how a studio works and unfortunately (no offense intended) a few seemed to be suffering from the Dunning-Kruger syndrome.

    Many engineers will say in interviews things like, "We wanted more bass in the kick but we were of the limitations of vinyl....."

    Or the old stand by:

    "If I had known then about what I know about CD now I would put more bass on track number 6...."

    They all say that. Even if it is an analog project they go into regret mode. The mix is the mix.
    An engineer might optimize a mix for medium. But like I said, no one does this. They leave it to a mastering engineer.

    A while back (some years ago) I had the privilege of hearing the raw PW 24/192 file transferred somesome time ago. It didn't sond anything like the 1985 CD. I live in Tontoto and are well known among other studios.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2020
  20. Ron2112

    Ron2112 Forum Resident

    Sorry, but I think the confusion is yours. I've been recording bands for 30+ years, and I understand the process. Suggest you google Andy VanDette and Rush remasters, if you want to understand the specifics of how they worked in preparing their recordings for the various remastering efforts.
     
  21. ytserush

    ytserush Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northeast US

    Haven't seen any of the new books yet, but his "Illustrated History" book (which somehow warranted and "updated" edition) is mostly disappointing. There were some great band photos, but much of the memorabilia (and records) didn't really seem incredibly rare to me and not very difficult to find. But I'm a fair portion into the rabbit hole on that stuff so that might be why my opinion could be clouded.
     
  22. Son of Ziggy

    Son of Ziggy Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    For me his books just come across as cheap cash grabs, probably thrown together quickly.
     
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  23. Ron2112

    Ron2112 Forum Resident

    The new books are primarily interview transcripts that didn't make the Beyond the Lighted Stage film. So they add a level of detail more suited to the hardcore fan -- if a bit redundant at times. Highly recommended.
     
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  24. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    I think I managed to depress myself in the post.
     
  25. leefarber

    leefarber Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    On a related note, my brother just sent me this video of a Rush cover band from Brazil performing (flawlessly) the one track never played live from this record... Emotion Detector! The lead singer's voice is more Andy Partridge than Geddy Lee, but he hits all the notes, and their instrumentation (including keyboard sequencing) is fantastic. Enjoy!

     

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