Steely Dan Aja vinyl shootout

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Sam, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. W.B.

    W.B. Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    'X' was usually etched on pressings by Columbia's Pitman, NJ plant. Does this AB 1006 copy you have, have the customary 2.703125" diameter pressing ring associated with Columbia pressings?
     
  2. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    What the what the??
     
  3. Massproductions

    Massproductions Active Member

    Location:
    Boston, MA, USA
  4. NaturalD

    NaturalD Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, Mass., USA
    I had a dream once about doing a shootout with every copy of Aja I could find. :)

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Massproductions

    Massproductions Active Member

    Location:
    Boston, MA, USA
    "you'll shoot your eye out!"
     
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  6. GentleSenator

    GentleSenator Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    am i crazy for thinking my copy with the union jack in the deadwax blows the cisco away? seriously a great sounding piece of wax.
     
  7. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector

    AnalogJ,

    It appears W.B. is giving you some valuable info that will help identify where your vintage AB 1006 Aja LP was made. And although possibly seeming like an esoteric question, I think that the pressing plant is relevant, in the context of this thread.

    For your shootouts, I'd also suggest tracking down a Columbia Santa Maria AB 1006 1A 1A, if possible. The mastering is definitely different on that version than what I've typically encountered on the Midwest (Terre Haute) and East Coast (Pitman) early pressings. Even though they all appear to have the "Bernie Grundman" handwriting in the deadwax, and sound amazing...

    To my ears, the CSM 1A has a surprisingly more immediate sound and is more dynamic than pressings made at the other plants. Why? I don't know. In fact, early in this thread I posted a comparison that included a Terra Haute copy and a Santa Maria, and preferred the CSM. Since then, I've gone through a few more vintage copies of Aja, even acquired a near mint, possibly unplayed Santa Maria. Luckily, Aja is still inexpensive in the used bins of Detroit area stores.

    And the 1A's, to my ears on my system, have the most amazing sound. Some of the shortcomings you mentioned regarding your (Pitman?) AB copy might not be as pronounced on a Santa Maria copy. Either way, it could be an interesting comparison.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2015
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  8. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    I'll keep an eye out. There's a lot to be said for the X copy. I think it sounds incredibly immediate (aside from Deacon Blues), particularly nearer the beginning of the album sides. It's the front to back volume that is shallow, and you can hear the limiter on the cymbals on the original, whereas on the Cisco, the cymbals sounds are allowed to expand more freely. But again, the original definitely sounds more immediate and open.
     
  9. Massproductions

    Massproductions Active Member

    Location:
    Boston, MA, USA
    Was the Cisco cut from the actual master tape? According to Roger Nichols, the original analog 1/4" masters had not been stored well by ABC, and were deteriorating. So he transferred them to an early 3M digital format, which they eventually cloned over to 1630, then to CD, etc.

    If the original analog tape was falling apart in 1982, did they really go back to that for the Cisco? Roger said they tried to re-transfer the analog masters again in 1997 for the remasters and said the tapes were such a mess they could only work from the old digital transfer.
     
  10. Lebowski

    Lebowski Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eastern MA
    So I got my AB copy in the mail the other day and it has the Union Jack in the deadwax followed by AB1006(RE-3)-A K2. These are Keel pressings from Happaugue, NY right?
     
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  11. W.B.

    W.B. Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Oh, it would be . . . must've been pressed when the Columbia Pitman plant was on strike, no?
     
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  12. Lebowski

    Lebowski Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eastern MA
    OK, now I have an AB, a mediocre AA, Cisco, and MoFi. What should I get next? Do any white label promos exist???

    I recently got a red vinyl Canadian copy off ebay but condition was rougher than expected so I returned it. Should I bother looking for a clean one? Or perhaps the yellow version? Gold CD??
     
  13. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    I don't know about Aja, but my Japanese vinyl copy of Royal Scam betters my original US. Would it be worth it to seek out a Japanese copy of Aja?
     
  14. Lebowski

    Lebowski Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eastern MA
    YES! I will attempt this, but are they expensive? I lucked out on my Cisco at $55 (sealed!) which is normally much more than my comfort zone for vinyl... even for Aja!

    EDIT: just did a quick ebay search and there's several different Japanese versions currently on offer. Don't know if I can/should go down this rabbit hole...
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2015
  15. rob303

    rob303 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I'd say you still need to seek out a Santa Maria AB.
     
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  16. jacksonwalker

    jacksonwalker Well-Known Member

    Thanks to W.B., I was able to ascertain that my copy of "Aja" was pressed at Terre Haute, IN., and a 1st pressing with the "B" crossed out (the AA indicated a raise in price).
     
  17. DaleH

    DaleH Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southeast
    I'm not sure there is bad pressing of this. The record seems to have been mixed so well that it's hard to screw up the mastering (maybe the mofi ;)). Please post your bad sounding clips...
     
  18. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    It depends on what your definition of bad pressing is.
     
  19. Preston

    Preston Forum Resident

    Location:
    KCMO Metro USA
    I'll be able to tell you in a month or so. I just ordered a (supposedly) first pressing Japanese Aja. I have an AAB-1006 (second A struck-through), another original pressing (can't remember deadwax info) and the Cisco. I've been having a lot of luck with Japanese LPs for other bands I love, so I bought the entire Steely Dan catalog from one Japanese vendor to save on shipping. Ouch, but after the pain subsides, I'm sure I'll look back on it as a great decision. No pain, no gain! :)
     
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  20. Jasonb

    Jasonb Forum Resident

    Recently got a beautiful copy of an AA-1006. Seconds into Deacon Blue I thought my stylus was covered in dirt. Awful sound (Pro-ject expression). Wasn't until I read this thread that I ordered an AB-1006. Here's hoping.
     
  21. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    That sounds like a defect with that particular copy, not with the mastering I'm general.
     
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  22. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    Man. That's probably the first auto-correct that's gone in my favor. :bdance:
     
  23. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    Location:
    Sweet VA.
    Owner of a AB1006 (RE3)-A 1A/AB1006 (RE3)-B 1A 1B. A faint "S" on both sides - Santa Maria?
    Maybe it's not the earliest, but I an very happy with it!
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2015
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  24. GreatTone

    GreatTone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Falls Church, VA
    I have a promo copy of Aja (indicated on the cover), but it doesn't have white labels. I do have a WLP of Royal Scam, but there is no clue about it being a promo on the cover.
     
  25. rob303

    rob303 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere, but does anyone know what is the faint letter/number combo scribed on the opposite side of the matrix on CSM pressings? Examples are "A15" or "B11" etc. This is not the CSM stamper code at the end of the matrix info. These are much more faint and, as stated, on the complete different side of the matrix string.
     

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