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Vapor Trails

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by ZeroSymbolic, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. I remember a lot of people talking down on Vapor Trails when CLockwork Angels came out.

    Yet in my quest to collect all things RUSH, I picked it up along with Moving Pictures a few days back.

    Both of these albums are fantastic, and I don't understand the problem people have with Vapor Trails. Please do shine a light... or maybe you like it too.
  2. I think most people feel as I do... I think it is a great album. But the recording is awful. Way too compressed and "LOUD" sounding. I really hope it gets remastered because there are some great tunes on there. We'll see. Maybe some day.
  3. avvie

    avvie Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2010
    Maui, HI
    What he said.

    So i saw it when it was released and thought "hey! new Rush album!!" Sat down to the listening bar to check it out. Found myself skipping forward all the way through till nothing was left because the compression was so bad it was giving me a headache.

    It's an example of exactly why guitarists should not be allowed to mix or engineer an album. Alex Lifeson knows it's a POS and it became the poster child for bad audio engineering the world over, and also became the primary defense exhibit in the Volume Wars. Lifeson soon realized that he had tracked everything too hot and there was no way to get the dynamics under control; if you look at this album through a sonograph it's nothing but a solid brick of loud noise.

    Here's one of many articles on the subject:

    Engineer Richard Chycki had planned on remastering the album but so far has not done so:
  4. Hmmm... So I thought the recording was kinda creative. It put the music up front and the vocals backwards a bit. Unconventional but I enjoyed it. Nothing else sounds like this.

    I guess I get why it didn't take off though. To a lot of people it just sounds bad. I tend to be really accepting (to a fault). I understand this concept of sound compression too though. It is poor mixing.

    tl;dr: I know it's wrong but I like it anyway.
  5. Sponsored by:

  6. TC424

    TC424 Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2010
    Holtwood, PA
    On Retrospective 3 they remixed "One Little Victory" and "Earthshine". A world of difference. You should check it out if you can.
  7. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Music should be mastered in 2 ways 1 for Ipods & 1 for KickA$$ Old School stereos Like a Bogen Tube amp through some Scott s51's. I wish I could still buy Cassettes. I think Vapor Trails fall into that in between period of Mixing technique. It sounds friggin cool on my system.
  8. avvie

    avvie Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2010
    Maui, HI
    Well... it's more complicated than that. It has to do with the way your brain processes sound. For many people, they were all excited to hear their fave artist's new album but about halfway through it they'd turn it off because they were tired of it but couldn't understand why. It wasn't the songs or the performance; they were just sick of the album- literally. Most listeners did not understand that it was because their brain was getting a sensory overload and was rejecting the music.

    Record execs would have none of that nonsense..."The kids want it LOUD!!", they insisted. This led to many engineers turning down lucrative contracts because it went against everything they knew about sound and recording. Eventually they started turning the tide and dynamics are coming back into the mastering suite.
  9. Man, you're bringing back memories of my teenage past with the references to Bogen and Scott....back in the day, on Long Island we had a Lafayette store that I spent many a weekend at listening to different audio equipment. Those days seemed more fun to me regarding stereo items. These days every dam thing is digital, MP3, etc. My dad had an HH Scott tube amp and a Thorens Isotrack TT with some Lafayette house brand speakers and I remember it sounded great, at least to my teenage ears back then. Good Times!
  10. avvie

    avvie Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2010
    Maui, HI
    once on an old Marantz system I heard that 12-string acoustic guitar up front and clear on "The Camera Eye" and it blew me away. Never heard it before and haven't heard it since.
  11. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player Supporting Member

    The album mastering was done by Geddy Lee:

    I haven't heard those remixes and no doubt they sound better, but I speculate there isn't "a world of difference" since, from what I've read about the making of the album, there was digital distortion during recording. And digital distortion glitches can be swept away (by remixing/remastering) when they happen during the mixing and/or mastering process, but not during recording. In that case, the only real solution is re-record the whole thing making sure there's no distortion. Aside from that, distortion can be reduced or masked, but not removed.
  12. avvie

    avvie Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2010
    Maui, HI
    True. Lifeson did the tracking though. Different stages. A bad track is difficult to master.
  13. Yeah, good album, mixed really hot. I can't listen to it for the reason avvie mentioned, and I know it. The songs are good, but they really need to remaster it, it would be great.

  14. avvie

    avvie Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2010
    Maui, HI
    I don't think it can be saved....digital clipping really can't be undone. Theoretically the tracks couls each have their gain digitally reduced but that leaves a big dead spot at the top and botom of the wave. The listener's brain would explode trying to bridge all those gaps.
  15. Stealth

    Stealth Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    I've heard both versions and the remastered version sounds much better, more dynamic and clear to my ears.
  16. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    nothing wrong with Vapor Trails except it has digital distortion (like you just poured the milk on rice krispies) ....i beleive Alex did his own tracking and hit the red alot ....which worked for tape ....not hard drives!

    Death Magnetic is brutal for rice krispies!
  17. ...Have they actually released the remastered album? Or are you referring to something else?

  18. When I bought Vapor Trails and put it in my car stereo for the ride home, I thought there was something wrong with my stereo...until I popped in another CD...

    Vapor Trails has great songs on it that I have difficulty hearing correctly.
  19. Stealth

    Stealth Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    I'm referring to Retrospective 3. TC424 mentioned it before me.
  20. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    I hear you. I love all the old vintage tube gear. I have a set of Scott S51's Solid wood in Mahogany finish. I run a vintage Pioneer through them but I am on the constant lookout for an older Tube amp. Heathkit, Macintosh, Bogen, Marantz etc....
    Most of the music being mixed today is very compressed to be played through Ear Bud's. It's sort of just a sad truth. My son is only 23 but he's all about vintage gear. He runs an old Marantz through Scott s-10's. He listens to Jazz and brags how he can hear every note of every instrument.
  21. Ah, of course. Silly me.


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