Rush's Live Sound

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by pbenn2112, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. pbenn2112

    pbenn2112 Member

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    Is it just me or does the sound of Rush's latest live albums sound weird? Almost too thick and muddy. I'm talking about from Different Stages through the latest, Time Machine. There's just a strange guitar sound. I really think that their live album All the World's a Stage (1977? '76?) is such a great sounding record. I don't notice the weidness when i see Rush live though. Just on live albums. I know this is kind of vague. hard to describe sound sometimes.
     
  2. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    Well, everything post Terry Brown has been distinctly different, and much brighter and more mid-scooped.

    All the Terry Brown produced albums had a certain smooth, mid-rich quality. Very warm and punchy. That includes Rush self-titled all the way through Signals. They changed a lot in those years, but there was a real signature sonic footprint.

    I saw them last year on Time Machine and they sounded great- Alex's tone was more organic than it had been in years, but somehow, the live dvds and cd's don't sound as good in terms of EQ and production. It's like they scoop all the mids out of the guitar tracks.
     
  3. RocksOff

    RocksOff Member

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    Over processed guitar signal.
     
  4. raugie

    raugie Member

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    I think they have to make compromises live to try recreate the records as a true three piece. They do sound pretty darned good live, though.
     
  5. Neptical

    Neptical Member

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    I think I'm pretty much distracted by their musicianship and creativity to really care too much.

    Although..I know what you're saying. ;)
     
  6. JDouglee

    JDouglee Member

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    I think both the guitars and basses sound better at the actual concert than they do mixed down to a live album.
     
  7. jcmark611

    jcmark611 Member

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    I noticed this too, just figured it was something to do with their hearing (either loss of or the monitors they use).
     
  8. beckerman

    beckerman Member

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    Live, Alex's signal is split with one half being a piezo feed in order to give them a 'fuller' sound. Maybe that has something to do with it.
     
  9. '58Bassman

    '58Bassman Member

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    What does their hearing have to do with the sound of a live recording? The feed for the recording is parallel to what goes to the mixing desk and that, as well as the FOH and monitor feeds are EQ'd separately. The only audio that has anything to do with their hearing is the monitor mix.

    Some things that may make a difference are:
    -The producer's techniques and preferences
    -The speakers used for mixing may sound totally different (I would guarantee this- speakers have come a log way in 40 years)
    -Their own sonic preferences have changed
     
  10. Rotten

    Rotten Silver Supporting Member

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    I think it has to do with a combination of a solidy body guitar into a processed amp, coupled with a bass sound that is much more accented in the low frequencies than during the middle years. Before, you had a big thick midrangey Rickenbacher together with a semi-hollow guitar that added air. I'm not a big fan of how their two instruments blend these days.
     
  11. Lonestar Boogie

    Lonestar Boogie Member

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    Their first two live albums (ATWAS and ESL) sound amazing. And Alex's tone on ESL (especially with that amazing flanger) is among my all time favorite guitar tones. But his tone on DS is cold and over-processed sounding. I thought it was a bit better on S&A Live, and I haven't bought Time Machine yet (I think Geddy's voice really struggles during that show.) The real gem in these live albums though, is disc 3 of DS.
     
  12. bugzapper

    bugzapper Member

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    ESL is my favorite live Rush, and AL's guitar tone on that album is one of the main reasons.

    But, probably, THE main reason is that the performances of the pre-Moving Pictures tunes are much better than the studio versions.

    Re: the original topic -- I noticed something too burly and stiff about their live sound on the Test For Echo tour. Too much bass and lower midrange, especially on the dirty guitars. The 30th anniversary tour was better. That was the last one I saw, and I haven't really kept up with the newer live albums.
     
  13. magdream

    magdream Member

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    Disc 3 of DS is like a better version of ATWAS.
     
  14. dc_jcm800

    dc_jcm800 Member

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    The R30 material has thick ,almost too thick and muddy sound as well.

    Not to bash, they are one of my all time favorite bands, but I really almost can't stand Geddy's live voice anymore. It sounds flat and struggling at times.
    I guess that's age for you.

    They can still play like like mofo's!

    Eh, what am I complaining for.......
     
  15. clintmartin

    clintmartin Member

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    I have noticed that their dvds sound better than the cds. I have all of their dvds and I really like the mix on Time Machine. Alex's tone sounds a bit deeper to me. I think he used Palmer speaker sims for the first time on this tour.....I think I read that somewhere.
     
  16. televox

    televox Member

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    I kind of remember the live in Rio DVD sounding horrible to me, guitar heavy and kind of muddy.
    It's been a while since I've seen it, will have to pull it out again.
     
  17. pete692

    pete692 Silver Supporting Member

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    I can no longer listen to live Rush anymore, because of this. It's almost like they're doing something in post-production to make them sound this bad. Also, too much of the crowd and venue noise has marred both of their last two live sets. I know for a fact from interviews this is on purpose, so it must be to fill in the holes the trio can't fill. Strip it back down and give me the warts and all, I'll be fine with that, the gloss and eq'ing is just layering bad on top of bad and magnifying into a bigger mess.
     
  18. Hetfieldinn

    Hetfieldinn Senior Member

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    Agreed. I bought both the CD and DVD Time machine. I popped the CD in on the way home, and was very disappointed in the sound. I got home, and watched the DVD, and it sounded totally different (better). Geddy's voice on the CD sounded horrendous. Not so much on the DVD.

    All the World's a Stage and Exit Stage Left are perfect.

    The R30 and Rio DVDs sound great.
     
  19. NorCal_Val

    NorCal_Val Member

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    AtWAS was Alex playing through big ol' Marshall stacks
    with a minimum of effects. Big n burly tone for sure.
    From the tone he got on that, I figured he was playing
    pretty loud.(his tone really benefitted when they re-
    mastered AtWAS)
     

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