This mix came as a complete surprise. The album is well presented and the use of surrounds is not skimped on. Chycki chose to heavily highlight the guitars in the rear surrounds and, in his mix, they power the album. The 5.1 mix is not quite as "aggressive" as the original stereo mix, it does not "drive" quite as hard - compare the two MLP versions of "Beneath, Between and Behind."
The primary problem is in the unity of the band in the new mix. Geddy's bass lines, arguably the driving force for many compositions, seem buried and there is little cohesion amongst the various layers.
I complained that the Signals disc suffered from a full-frontal assault of the vocals at the expense of everything else. Here, the guitars seem to overwhelm the other elements. This is not a huge disadvantage since, at this stage, the band was primarily a three piece ensemble playing fairly stripped-down rock (with a twist).
However, all complaints aside, this is an extremely listenable, if not entirely successful, surround mix.
The real winning track: "By-Tor & The Snow Dog" - Exemplary.
Being a bigger fan of their early years, this is the one I tried. And I have to say, it's quite enjoyable. Not a stellar mix, but it sounds pretty damn good. And "By-Tor" is a fun listen. Still could have been more adventurous in using the surround potential, but I'm much more pleased with this one than either the very disappointing mix for "Snakes and Arrows" or the somewhat disappointing "Moving Pictures" mix. I like this one a lot. Brings back memories of my first days of high school when I had a buddy who was real into this and we'd listen to it on an 8-track in his Pinto wagon.
And never being a huge Rush fan, I only owned two cd's of theirs; the first album which I do love and "Hold Your Fire". So getting all the cd's along with the surround disc seems like a pretty good deal. I'll try at least one, and probably both, of the other "Sectors".
A slight improvement over "Signals," but that's not exactly a ringing endorsement. There's better separation in this mix, but nothing anywhere near what any respectable mixer should be charging you money for.......then you start realizing that, not only is the vocal not centered in the soundfield on half these tracks, but it actually seems to be somewhere in between the center and left side of the mix, and that "it's better than 'Signals'" begins to mean that, if Signals was a "2" out of "10", this raises the bar slightly to "3" out of "10." Still nothing that should ever be called a professional mix.
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I just listened to this disc, top-to-bottom, tonight. I have to say that, although this is clearly not a demo surround disc by any stretch of the imagination, it's a huge improvement over stereo. Would I like a more adventurous mix? Sure, but what we have here is no dud. I think this conservative mix brings new life to this old recording. Some of my favorite Rush tracks are right here, alive and well and sounding better than ever for me 12 years into the 21st century. Life is good.
"You gotta always remember, the name of the game is 'What does it sound like?' That's always the end result - I don't care if you got 90 tracks. What does it sound like, baby?" - Ray Charles
Overall a solid effort from Chycki and the boys from Canada.
This album is the most straightforward of all the Rush albums remixed in 5.1 thus far so naturally the surround presentation doesn't allow for much unique mixing options as other albums like 'A Farewell to Kings' and 'Moving Pictures' do. That being said, I love how the solo section of By-Tor is mixed, and I think it's one of the best highlights of RUSH's 5.1 catalogue.
I'm continously stunned that people consider stuff like this to be a solid mix. I just don't get it.
It makes a big difference between DTS and Dvd Audio on these for some reason as I hated 'Signals' as I had only heard the Dts version but after getting the Dvd Audio(finally bought the Sector box's) and listening to it on my Dvd Audio home system and in the car I like Signals now, its not perfect and not very adventerous but pretty good sound wise.
Same thing with Fly by Night, the Dvd Audio sounds pretty good and to previous poster its not that compressed, you can really crank these Rush Dvd Audio's, the Dvd Audio of these are best version's of albums I have heard or remind me more of listening to the Lp's from the past(I don't have a record player any more).
Loud and Compressed.