Unfortunately, most probably due to a 16:9 active track still issue the hi-res (both surround and stereo) portion of the DVDA
doesn't start playing on my Pioneer DV-600 player. Interestingly, so far my player's had no issue with other discs containing 16:9 active track stills (eg. Dorothee Munyaneza album). Nevertheless, I'm not so upset because I can HDMI bitstream the hi-res part from my HTPC and I could author a playable disc from the hi-res tracks as well.
Song by song after 3 BD plays, 4 DVD-A plays and 1 PCM 5.1 play (PCM 2.0 seemed pointless so I didn't continue)
TOM SAWYER - Establishes the mix philosphy; main instruments across the front, vocal center forward. synths & florishes in the rears. Drums okay but all up front. Synth line panning is cool and then wild vibrato fades out in the rear as next main jam kicks off up front. Major opportunities missed for panning the drum toms across the room. Guess they wanted to keep more of the original mix sound.
RED BARCHETTA - Mix now has drums out into the room but they seem more like the positioning of a stereo pair rather than discrete elements spread. More bass would be welcomed but I calibrated with Denon Audyssey so not monkeying around with that. Extra guitar parts in rear, screeching tires placement effective. Sculptured solo up front seems more prominent. Alex may have suggested goosing that up a little. Ends with a polite fade again; been listening to live version on Exit Stage Left too much this week!
YYZ - Rapidly panning triangle in intro is cool. Drums mostly up front, oddly hi hats are behind me, treating it as if another instrument. Drum rolls are on sides and/or rear but not corrolated to a kit in the normal sense. Not off-putting bad just an odd choice IMHO. Overall the track is as exciting as always. There are small quibbles that are not show stoppers. The sound is balanced and always sounds like everything is there somewhere.
LIMELIGHT - Guitars are loud and crunchy as one would want. Various guitar parts have room to breath and shine. Drums stay up front. The vocal seems a tad affected but when the guitars stop you can hear that the vocal itself sounds fine. Some type of slight frequency collision but not too bad. Want more bass under that yearning guitar solo, turning up the track helps everything.
CAMERA EYE - Now we're talking about a creative soundfield. Very natural foley sounds (voices, city, etc). Drums are out in the room; better than stereo pair placement but not quite 100% opened up yet. I'm enjoying this song more in surround, the ambitious arrangement benefits fron the larger soundfield spread. Synth interplay across the room momentarily reminds me briefly of ELP...
WITCH HUNT - A lesser known but important little song, got into it after Show Of Hands (1989) live album repeated play. Listen to those drums (placement of cascading toms) build so much of the song! I wish the drums were more like this across the album, it hints at so much. Sounds terrific.
VITAL SIGNS - Also benefits from the big soundfield; choppy guitars make a nice call-and-response front to back. I noticed in the video that video that Geddy used the Jazz Bass which provides a nice big round bottom. The usual Rickenbacker with it's cloven hoof tone (usually fine for filling out the trio sound) may be too much with the emphasis on guitars in this track. The choppy guitar parts sometimes recall The Police in my mind.
Okay so they were 1:33 shot in the studio in 1980 and it's amazing they existed at all in those pre-MTV days. They had a good album budget by this time. My favorite part of the videos is the ERASERHEAD poster on the wall.
The CD/DVD-A or CD/BD packaging is what many of us have been preaching for a long time. Bullseye and the icing is all of the rare photos and fine booklet.
Disclaimers: Despite getting into the band in 1977, I didn't own this album in the vinyl days. I knew the hits and came back to the band seriously in 1982. This is not my absolute favorite Rush album but it is perhaps the most consistent.
Expectations: Based on the comparably feeble Snakes & Arrows mix in Dolby Digital no less, I wasn't going to get too excited before hand. I knew that Alex had come around to surround mixing; he wisely spend the money on remixing the sound on the older concert videos (Exit Stage Left, Grace Under Pressure, Show Of Hands) because they were never going to look any better. Those mixes were halfway good so there was some hope. I have to think that Alex and Richard must've read the criticisms about the S & A release and decided to be bolder this time.
Final Word: Having said that, they didn't deviate too far from the original album sound. There is a lot of talk (myself included) that opportunities were missed during the surround mix of possibly their most popular album. Overall they did end up doing quite a commendable job. As to perceived shortcomings, we do have to remember that the artist approves the final product; it's what they wish. The members of this band are no strangers to technology and I'm reasonably sure they took it as far as they wanted to. Richard may have built some more adventurous mixes or he may have needed Alex to encourage him to be this bold? I dunno. Maybe we'll find out at some point. And somehow if we never do, that's okay too. Just my 2 cents......
EDIT: Voted 9 here and 10 on the Blu Ray version for a net 9.5. I favor the BD but gladly have both!
Mike - This tour show is one of the best I've ever seen, you won't be disappointed. They touch on the whole catalog and I heard anumber of later tunes I never saw them do live. This was my seventh Rush concert (77, 79, 86, 88, 91, 93, 11). Bought a nice program too.
DMT - The two formats do sound different but I can't put my finger on what the difference is yet.
My thoughts on Moving Pictures 5.1 are under the DVD-Audio poll heading. I do favor the Blu Ray release but either works well. I voted 9 for DVD-A and 10 for BD for a net of 9.5. I reserve 10 for PT & KC mixes and this one is simply a half notch behind for reasons cited there.
2011 is shaping up as a revival year for surround! Hooray for us!
^ I agree....thank you for the great song by song review!
Yes, great review Tim. That sums up how it is and what's there in the mix. It does have a 1981 feel to it, the year it first came out.
I'm really grateful for this title and do hope this is the beginning of many more RUSH titles to come.
That's right, it does has a 1981 sound to it, which honors the original intentions I suppose. We're so used to juiced bass that is the only reason it might feel lacking.
Hell yes it's fun and points the way to more releases. When I was in the store looking for the DVD-A and BD pkgs, the girl (30?) with child in front of me was also asking the clerk for the DVD version and I take stuff like that as a good sign.
This is the first time I've ever listened to a Rush Album. So yeah, I'm blown away by the band - these guys are great. And it's high-res so it sounds great too (after making some adjustments to my Bass Management).
But it's not a great surround record. Tom Sawyer gets a good surround thing going but that feeling never really comes back in subsequent tracks. For the most part the rears are just repeating what's coming out of the fronts. I hate that because 1. it's doesn't do a whole lot for the overall surround experience and 2. it's like the mixing engineer is saying "well I really can't think of what to do with the rear speakers".
Regardless, it's still a fun album to listen. Makes good use of the center. The sound out of the mains and the center is well mixed. It's big and powerful with good separation of the instruments. Definetly worth having.
Having given it a couple spins, I can tell all the QQers the secret to unlocking the magic of this mix.
1 - Crank the rear surrounds.
3 -- Listen for the juicy doubled guitar parts. And the stereo synth bits.
2 -- PLAY IT F&*^ING LOUD!!!!!!!
Yeah....I played it again this evening....loud....that's the ticket!
I really didn't need to listen to it loud..just at a comfortable level...but then I HAVE BIG speakers (yeah and a small....that's prolly why, heh heh heh)...only 4 humble JBL E80s-if I crank it way up it's uncomfortable (to my tinnitus ridden ears)...and I love the mix...it's such a revelation... don't know what others were expecting when they "trash" it..but to each his own...
Avatar: a Goddess...Capucine -...The Ice Queen
"LIFE is NOT in Stereo , it's in SURROUND, so why limit your music to stereo...? By that same train of thought we should've stayed in MONO..." -Me
The simple act of isolating that vocal would have opened up the separation more and made this a better mix. The mixer had the multitracks and chose not to do that. That is a decision that makes zero sense to me. I could have isolate that vocal in the fronts with SPEC on half those tracks. They can't do something I could have done from stereo?
I also don't buy that the mix is the way it is because it's "faithful to the stereo." You can be faithful to the placement of the original stereo and give the listener a more intense surround experience. I think the listener gets that in parts here ("Tom Sawyer" and anything from "The Camera Eye" are an improvement for sure), but much more could have been done here.
I gave the mix a "5" and stand by it. It's not a bad mix. It's not a very good mix. It's right down the middle. It does makes me think twice, though, as to buying future Rush retail mixes.
Variety is the spice of life, Kap'n.
kap'n krunch, nice review. i agree with you on this one.
probably that this mix can be done in more agressive way but my guess is that how band wanna us to hear them.
albeit this mix didn't filled with sharp cool effects, it's still sound very good in the view of sound fidelity and
surrounding panorama which filled the room around the listener.
i give it 9 of 10 and hope that next one will be done on 10+
and expressed the hope for more releases in such quality of the sound in the near future.
perhaps would be nice if every member of QQ community will do the same.
not big deal at all but encouragement for those who was involved in the project, obviously will not hurt.
Tried the "Play it Loud" method. Wow, lasted about a song and a half. Just can't take it. It was very uncomfortable. I've always suspected that my tolerance for loud music decreased immensely ever since a Tool concert that I attended about 5 years ago. Crap, that was loud. Unbelievable.
Overall, I'm very pleased with this disc although I have a few quibbles. I do wonder a bit about the overall quality of the source tapes given what strikes me as some uneven muddiness that I detect from time to time. The mix is solid although could be more aggressive (Witchhunt is an exception imo). I have always been a huge fan of Rush and Moving Pictures so I am really happy to have this in surround even though I only give this an 8. Bring on the rest of the catalog!
I'm still disappointed with the sound and mix of the drums - with few exceptions they lack dynamics and presence ( less so with more volume - I know), but a missed opportunity nevertheless.