HAKEN / Aquarius & Visions re-masters.

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LarryD
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HAKEN / Aquarius & Visions re-masters.

Postby LarryD » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:25 am

Have not see anyone talking about these (2) monster discs being re-mastered. I know lots of people don't care for re-masters in the same way that some don't care for live shows, opting for the original studio pressing only. Arguments to be had in both camps, but as for me personally I'm a chump for both. Give me a re-master of a monster any day of the week, providing that I think the disc actually needs it. Live discs to me are documents of a band's music in a live setting, and if I can't see a band live, it serves as a worthy substitute.

Back to the matter at hand -- I recently grabbed both "Aquarius" and "Visions" from The Lasers Edge blindly, without hearing a note or without having heard someone tell me I need them. These are my two favorite Haken discs hands down, but in my mind only Aquarius would benefit from a re-master as I thought Visions already sounded very good originally. Turns out I'm right - but something interesting has happened here. As my favorite Haken disc has always been "Visions" - the re-master of "Aquarius" is making re-think that choice.

I'll start with the "Visions" re-master. I always thought "Visions" sounded great as it was - and I still think that. Lots of audiophiles don't care for re-masters for many reasons, one being that in some cases raising the volume levels on some discs seem to excite some people causing them to think that the disc now sounds a lot better than it did. In some cases - I think that older discs say from the 70s could benefit from this, and I've experienced that first hand. In other cases, a re-master serves to "clean up" a disc as it were, providing a little more "clarity" in a disc without a musical benefit (ie King Diamond re-masters where only the vocals are improved). "Visions" falls under the "clean up" category. In fairness - I listen to discs in 3 places. I start with my car, then move on to a smaller system in the house, and then finally onto the larger (more revealing system) down below in the dungeon. I have only heard "Visions" in the first two locations - the car and the smaller system. Both revealed very little in the "wow what a change" category, and I have not gotten the disc downstairs yet to experience that. I didn't feel the need to - and it sounded good originally, and it sounds good now.
Some of the vocals are a bit more clear, and maybe the bass is a little chunkier, etc etc .... but these are minor changes that one has to look for and dissect.

With "Aquarius" - this is a different ball game. Whereas I thought it sounded very good originally, it now sounds friggin awesome. Many changes have occurred, in twp of my favorite places. One, the vocals - the clarity is now astounding and just about every word is now understood without needing the CD booklet as I initially did back in the day. Two - the keyboards. I love the diversity of the keyboard patches in "Aquarius" but I am now hearing even more subtle patches than I heard before giving this a " where the hell did that sounds come from" feeling. Did they add that ? Nope - it was there all the time. Now you can hear it. At some point, with the help of some nice rum, I think I'll sit down and count the keyboard patches on this disc - I imagine it will astound us. The guitars have been cleaned up as well - and overall this disc is now beyond the awesome slab of prog metal it originally was ......and the most interesting part of all of this is - I've been playing the shit out of "Aquarius" non=stop since I got this re-master and I think it's going to beat out "Visions" as my favorite Haken disc of all. This re-master has not only shown me all of the subtle moments actually stored on this disc, but it has forced me to actually dissect every note and makes me realize that this is one diamond of a disc - whereas before it was only gold.....(only gold hehehehe). I don't think this has ever happened in my musical lifetime.....

This has been a very interesting ride with these discs - and after hearing all of the keyboards in "Aquarius" and realizing just how "epic" this disc really is, it feels like I just got the disc all over again and have just re-discovered it. I don't think this has ever happened, and it's an incredible feeling. That's not to say that I won't be losing my shit over the upcoming "Visions" show at Prog Power -- because that still is one of the shows I'm looking forward to most this year. "Aquarius" just went up another level on the awesome scale, and I feel like I just discovered the next best prog metal band all over again .........in addition, you get bonus discs on both with just the instrumental parts which I haven't gotten to yet as I can't get "Aquarius" out of the player.

In the end - both discs are essential as far as prog metal goes, but "Aquarius" is buy or die in it's re-mastered state. "Visions" is not essential in it's re-mastered state unless you want the bonus disc, or you're a chump for re-masters like I am.

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Re: HAKEN / Aquarius & Visions re-masters.

Postby Sir Exar Kun » Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:54 am

I've held off on ordering either, as I have the originals on both and never really felt any need to have them retooled. Had they included even a single bonus track on them, I would have bought both instantly. Alas, the instrumental mixes don't do anything for me.

"Aquarius" has always been my favorite of their discs, by a very narrow margin. I simply love the quirky nature of that album, as it veers all over the sonic spectrum. "Visions" was a more consistent album, and I can certainly understand that being many's favorite..... I still stand by "Affinity" being a solid third also, despite a couple songs that drag it down some.
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Re: HAKEN / Aquarius & Visions re-masters.

Postby Hearing Aid Man » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:19 pm

I just bought the Visions 2CD. I traded my original away for some reason? I've been on a Haken kick of late revisiting all of their releases. It's funny how they all have a signature "Haken" sound, but they are all different - though good. I really like the craziness of Aquarius. Visions is more polished. The Mountain is more quirky and my favorite. Not sure how to describe Affinity, but I like most of it. I feel the vocalist has improved with each release. I guess the instrumental CD's are for those who don't like him :lol: .

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Re: HAKEN / Aquarius & Visions re-masters.

Postby LarryD » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:43 pm

Hearing Aid Man wrote:I just bought the Visions 2CD. I traded my original away for some reason? I've been on a Haken kick of late revisiting all of their releases. It's funny how they all have a signature "Haken" sound, but they are all different - though good. I really like the craziness of Aquarius. Visions is more polished. The Mountain is more quirky and my favorite. Not sure how to describe Affinity, but I like most of it. I feel the vocalist has improved with each release. I guess the instrumental CD's are for those who don't like him :lol: .


***I agree with everything you said except I don't care for the last 2 discs....... as far as the instrumentals added on, I haven't gone through either one of them yet, but I am curious to here what Aqaurius sounds like without the vocals -- not because I don't like him, but because it is so quirky I'm betting it will be awesome because of how great the music is - and we also get to hear what they heard before they put the vocals down on it ....... We all know what great musicians they are, but I imagine we might put them up on another level when all we have to focus on is the music......that might bring out another level of greatness to greatness.......

I've played Aquarius 3 times a day since getting the re-master and I cannot believe how enthralled I am with this recording at the moment....... I'm just feeling like I'm hearing some things I didn't hear originally......

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Re: HAKEN / Aquarius & Visions re-masters.

Postby Mardoch » Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:46 pm

I didn't really think that either Haken disc needed a re-master. Maybe I'll check out Aquarius if it's as strong a change as you say it is, but that's my least favorite of their works anyhow so...eh?

Now, of the newer bands that could benefit from a tune on their old material...I'd vote Voyager every time. Those first 3 discs could really use some love to come up to par. They didn't have that production punch until The Meaning of I. The re-recording of The Morning Light on V vividly displays such.

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Re: HAKEN / Aquarius & Visions re-masters.

Postby GaetanL » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:52 pm

Larry, with all the differences you hear on Aquarius, are you sure it's just remastered? Maybe it's also remixed?

My opinion on remastered editions has changed over time. I had bad experiences. I have some CDs for which I bought the remastered edition and I still listening to the original pressing because of audio glitches (not distortion) on the remastered edition. I think I'm now in the "Don't try to fix it if's it's not broken" camp. Most of the time when I compare a well sounding original pressing and a remastered edition, I just need to crank up the volume to have the same sound. I think it's more some recent pressing with distortion that needs a remaster edition to lower the volume and get rid of the distortion.

Recently I bought the remastered / remixed edition of Heaven's Cry - Food For Thought Substitute. I prefer this version over the original pressing.
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Re: HAKEN / Aquarius & Visions re-masters.

Postby ToddS » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:25 pm

We talked about it a bit, but yes the Aquarius remaster sounds nice. I need to do a side by side with the original, but upon hearing it, I thought it was remixed as well. Visions not so much.

I have been spinning Haken at least monthly for a year now. lol
Was great seeing them twice last year, and I can't wait to catch them at PP.

Diego is an awesome keyboard player! The guy can shred, but he paints such wonderful soundscapes. Love his stuff!
And... Celestial Elixir is one of the coolest songs ever. :)
"My songs become my freedom, and my freedom turns to gold"

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Re: HAKEN / Aquarius & Visions re-masters.

Postby LarryD » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:36 am

Larry, with all the differences you hear on Aquarius, are you sure it's just remastered? Maybe it's also remixed?


***No Gaetan - The Lasers Edge site, and the band site and other sites all say "re-mastered edition" ........ and I still have to glow after countless spins that this re-master is absolutely superb. There are too many aspects to list of what the re-master did for this disc, but one of the main aspects is that the disc now has an "open and airy" feel to it.....not that the original didn't but the sound field (or imaging if you will) has widened and there is lots of separation between the instruments.

For $13, or whatever the cost actually is, all I can say to anyone is that if you are a fan of Haken, or especially a fan of "Aquarius", you really owe it to yourself to grab this one....... the arguments are great against re-masters, not to mention just people who are loyalists and only want original pressings of their favorite bands.....but when a re-master really works on a disc of this already awesome caliber, it's like discovering the disc all over for the first time, and that's what makes the $13 so worth it......

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Re: HAKEN / Aquarius & Visions re-masters.

Postby GaetanL » Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:24 am

I did also some research. Like you said Laser's Edge, Band website only mention remastered. Also Inside Out website only mention remastered.

But I have found two websites that says it's remixed as well:
https://theprogmind.com/2017/01/18/remi ... and-haken/

https://progressivemusicplanet.com/2017 ... -borealis/

I'm not sure what to think.
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Re: HAKEN / Aquarius & Visions re-masters.

Postby LASERCD » Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:04 pm

Its not remixed. Only remastered.


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