Rush....Vapor Trails

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John Wes, Mar 14, 2003.

  1. John Wes

    John Wes Stunt Coordinator

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    A rant...

    IMHO, I happen to think this is some of Rush's best work.

    Now on to the rant. Why is new material engineered to sound so "over-saturated", for a lack of a better term. If I crank this one up...It just seems....overdone. If you know what I mean. Is there a reason for this?

    I seem to notice that a lot of new music and "remixs", seem to suffer from this problem.
     
  2. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Yes, I'm not very happy with the mastering on this one, it is way too hot, and craps out on most of my CD players. This is a huge problem on most of the mainstream stuff coming out. One of the big selling points of CD was the dynamic range, which is now being squashed out of everything.
     
  3. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Agreed. On both points.
     
  4. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    There was a huge article on this disc on a website that deals with pro audio and engineering.

    Basically every dynamic peak on the album is clipped. There is absolutely no dynamic range. What you are actually hearing is white noise when the frequency spectrum goes "off the charts" so to speak. There is nothing you can do short of remaster the album yourself using computer software on your home PC.

    Blame the record company, not the engineer, as I doubt he's that incompetent to not notice what he did on this album. I'm sure the record company had him over compress the album so it would follow the trend of LOUDER IS BETTER when it comes to mastering. In a way, a lot of todays engineers have a gun to their head. Do it the "right" way and risk not getting hired in the future, or do it the record companies way and risk your reputation. I cannot believe Rush allowed this as a finished product and didn't step in and force a redone master before release.
     
  5. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Agreed. I also find it irritating that I can hear Tom Sawyer 8 times a day on classic rock stations in my area, but nada from this one. Their best in maybe 6-8 years IMO.
     
  6. John Wes

    John Wes Stunt Coordinator

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  7. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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  8. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    I don't think it is possible to simply take the CD and "uncompress" it properly--how do you know which parts originally were supposed to be quiet, medium loud or a crescendo?

    And clipped waveforms would have to be literally reconstructed--is home PC software sophisticated enough to do this?

    LJ
     
  9. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    I think it's possible to do so. Back when this was a popular topic, I seem to remember a thread where somebody on this forum burned a copy of this disc to his hard drive, remastered it, then burned it onto a CD-R and said it was night and day from the original. Might want to run a search and find out. I would but the search function seems to be down now.
     
  10. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Once music is squashed like this you can't "uncompress" it (it is actually excessive limiting that is the common problem these days). There is no way to remaster this and get it closer to the original. The clipped waveforms are there, and can't be undone. The only thing that could be done on a home system is lowering the overall output level so nothing is at 0db, (preferably around -0.3db), which should stop cheaper converters from crapping out at all the consecutive overs.
     
  11. Sathyan

    Sathyan Second Unit

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  12. John Wes

    John Wes Stunt Coordinator

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  13. Erik Johansson

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    Well, the thread "Is LOUDER better? " had info on how to restore the clipped peaks. I tried it and it made the distortion disappear. It cannot restore the dynamics, of course, but now it's listenable.

    I recommend it to those who love the album enough. Try it, it didn't take that long.
     
  14. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Sathyan, that was EXACTLY the article I was referring. Thanks for the link!!!!
     
  15. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  16. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Speaking of Rush, anyone catch the DirectTV Free View of the Show of Hands concert? It is on all month during the weekends.

    I had totally missed it, but stumbled on it this afternoon. Haven't seen the whole thing yet, but the sound is pretty good. Its being Tivo'd tonight.

    I assume this was on a video tape? I thought it was off that they were running this with a new DVD out soon. Normally, DirectTV runs the recently released DVDs, as they did with Clapton.

    BGL
     
  17. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    I just read about the CoolEdit clip restoration procedure described in the other thread. There is one step that directly contradicts the CoolEdit documentation for clip restoration. The documentation says do NOT fix the DC before doing clip restoration.

    I watched the Show of Hands concert on DirecTV this afternoon. A good show, but I didn't like all the rapidfire camera cut editing. Also I would have liked to see a little more of the animation in the context of the screen behind the band instead of seeing it "raw" full screen on the television. But it sounded pretty good.
     
  18. Joel Fontenot

    Joel Fontenot Supporting Actor

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    CoolEdit can only "approximate" what might have been above that "buzz-cut" waveform. Since higher frequencies are carried on the lower frequencies, CoolEdit might guess that the frequencies that were there in the wave going to the 0db limit may still be there if the wave had continued it's original course, but it's still a guess.

    However, I've tried the clip-restore feature only once so far - on Curve's Come Clean CD which is massively maximized and limited with an incredible amount of "wave-chopping" throughout. Now, Curve usually makes noisy music anyway (Dean and Toni, the core of the group, are, after all, friends of Trent Reznor - so, there you go), but this was the first CD release that employed such maximizing to their music. All previous releases sound loud too, but you can easily turn up the volume without getting that excessive static - static that's not already intentional, of course [​IMG]. And, none of the previous CD's have any 0-db hard limiting on them.

    How did the Come Clean clip-restore turn out?

    A good bit smoother sounding. There is still plenty of distortion in the music, but that's all intentional and part of the sound. However, my CD player is no longer generating additional static from the square-wave effect caused by the buzz-cut clipping at 0db.

    That is what the player generates from the digital-to-analog converter when it comes across a flatten square-wave. A sound is normally generated from the difference in the values between two samples. If there are too many samples that are the same value - and those values are the high amplitude values - then all the DAC can do is spit out white noise. Loud white noise. The more, and the longer the flat waves are at full amplitude (like at every beat), the more you will perceive the distortion and the harsher it sounds.

    If these new artists want this kind of mutilation to their music from the start - well, that's fine.

    The fact that this happens to older, previously released music is a shame. Those soundwaves are set on tape already - as originally mixed and laid down on the master tapes. Those guys would sweat over those recordings for hours and days to get sound the way they wanted. When someone like a George Marino or John Astley goes back and digitally processes the crap out of them, all for the sake of making them sound "modern", they should be whipped with a cane stick. IMNSHO [​IMG]

    Actually, as I understand it, Vapor Trails was mixed to the way it is - before being sent off to the mastering house.

    So, short of a re-mix from Rush themselves, there isn't much that could be done. Simply re-mastering won't help. The mastering engineer could back off the volume so that the sound wave won't reach 0db, but the square-wave from the master tape would still be there - just at -.03db or so.

    Joel
     
  19. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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  20. Joel Fontenot

    Joel Fontenot Supporting Actor

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