Steely Dan CD Question

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by MJM, Dec 22, 2002.

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  1. MJM

    MJM Member Thread Starter

    Hi everyone--Happy Holidays!!

    I just purchased the Steely Dan "A Decade of Steely Dan," on its original CD version. I sort of made the purchase on a whim. Did I pick a good version, or is there a more recent version that blows it away?

    Thanks everyone!

  2. pauljones

    pauljones Forum Chef

    columbia, sc
    I do not own that CD anymore, but I remember a note in the liners about the crackling noises on Bad Sneakers being part of the tape. I think it was compiled by Roger Nichols. If so, you are assured of good sound quality.

    But still, seek out the original MCA issues from 1984-1985. They are made in Japan. The first 4000-5000 of Aja and Katy Lied were mastered by Steve Hoffman. Then, the Japanese runs up to 1986 were mastered by Roger Nichols from special masters. Mid-1986 through 1991-1992 were manufactured from stock masters.

    Hope this helps!

  3. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    The later Decade, that is/used to be an MCA Gold disc always sounded a bit wonky to me. It was done by Glenn Meadows.
  4. Togo

    Togo Well-Known Member

    Middlesex UK
    Hi MJM,

    I still own this disc (aluminium version not the later gold) was one of the first CD's I ever purchased.

    The liner notes say it was produced by Gary Katz, re-mastered by Bob Ludwig and Roger Nichols.

    It was released in 1985 on MCA and sounds very good to my ears.

    Happy holidays!:)
  5. Doug Hess Jr.

    Doug Hess Jr. Active Member

    Belpre, Ohio
    I used to own that version and wish I had kept it. Decade has since been re-mastered again and the problems with Bad Sneakers "fixed". I always preferred the one you have-- however, Steve Hoffman says the recent remasters from the actual original master tapes of the individual albums are supposed to be the best available now-- of course that is excluding the one's he did.
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Beaver Stadium
    Not trying to hijack this thread, but I read on another forum once that the MFSL version of Aja is poor because MFSL did not use the original master tape. Is this true?
  7. Chuck

    Chuck Member

    Carmel, CA
    Does anyone recall if the recent remasters are the same as used on the 'citizen' box set?
  8. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host

    No, it is not true.
  9. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    I like the latest remasters by Roger Nichols. Some people think they are too bright, but I think they are on the money.
  10. Sckott

    Sckott Hand Tighten Only.

    Hyannis Ma
    I woulnd't call Aja on MFSL poor at all. In fact, it's one of MFSL's better discs of the Mach I era of CD.

    I still own that Decade Of disc. I don't call it the most sonically perfect CD ever, but I like it. I think I didn't bother nuking it because it includes "FM".

    The latest remasters are actually quite good.
  11. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    "Decade" is the only place to get the original version of "FM".
  12. audiodrome

    audiodrome Well-Known Member

    North Of Boston

    I agree - they are much fuller (and I don't mean EQ) with a hell of a lot more detail than previous CDs.
  13. Gary Freed

    Gary Freed Well-Known Member

    I have the AJA remaster dated 1999. The sound is very nice but it seems
    to be lacking just a wee tiny bit in the midrange and treble.

    The credits say Mastered by Bernie Grundman at A&M
    Digitally remastered by Roger Nichols at Digital Atomics

    The Gold Decade of that I have is the 1985 Glen Meadows version.
    It's well ah OK.

    The MCA version that Steve Mastered IMHO has the best balance.

    Hope some of your questions have been answered

    Happy Holidays!
  14. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    The 1999 CD reamaster of "Aja" matches my first pressing run of my ABC Records pressing exactly in every way.
  15. Jeff H.

    Jeff H. Well-Known Member

    Hey Grant what is the difference in the versions of "FM" on the Decade CD then the recent reissues of the "FM Soundtrack" and the "Showbiz Kids" compilation?
  16. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    I don't recall the "FM" soundtrack, exactly, but the main difference is that on the "Decade" version is an extended version of the 45 single. The "Show Biz Kids" and "Citizen Dan" version has a bad edit near the end where the guitar solo is replaced by a sax solo.
  17. Gary Freed

    Gary Freed Well-Known Member

    Hi Grant,

    The first ABC pressing? What year was it released?

    Is there a more recent release of AJA then 1999?
  18. ACK!

    ACK! Well-Known Member

    New Hampshire
    On a semi-related note, a 5.1 DVD-A of Donald Fagen's "Nightfly" is coming out sometime soon. Hopefully, the remix will be done by Elliot Scheiner, who did phenomenal surround mixes for the DTS Gaucho CD and the "Two Against Nature" Live DVD.
  19. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Beaver Stadium
    I picked up a used copy of an older MCA version of Aja tonight and my first impressions are quite positive. The disc is from Columbia Record Club, and the catalog number on the spine is MCAD 37214 DIDY 55. The back insert says "PRODUCED BY GARY KATZ". The disc sounds good, but I have not yet had a chance to compare it to the current MCA remaster, which I like very much.
  20. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al Forum Resident

    Long Island, NY
    I have the '85 Ludwig/Nichols "Decade", but never heard the remaster. I've always found this disc to be fine. A natural sound, that doesn't seem to be over EQ'd, compressed or maximized. It stands up to listening regardless of the volume (low, moderate, or concert level). Despite favorable reviews on the re-master, I never felt the need to replace it. Just my 2 cents.
  21. pauljones

    pauljones Forum Chef

    columbia, sc
    When the catalog was remastered in 1992, some of Decade and Gold were mistakenly stickered as newly remastered.
    However, they were not.
    Andy McKaie said at the time that it was decided not to, because the two released were made from masters approved by the band, and it was felt not necessary to remaster them.

    Therefore, if you purchased an early version of the two, you should feel satisfied that the sound is good.

    Hope this helps!;)
  22. MJM

    MJM Member Thread Starter

    I thought this DVD version of "Nightfly" came out last week...?

    Thanks to everyone for their responses!!
  23. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    "Aja" was released in either late 1977 or early 1978. "Peg" was the first single, followed by "Deacon Blues". "Josie" was the final single form it. It was released on ABC Records a year before MCA bought them.
  24. Gary Freed

    Gary Freed Well-Known Member

    Hi Grant,

    Now I understand . I didn't realize you were talking about the original LP pressing.
    My original LP was destroyed by a 4 year old visiting cousin long ago who thought it was a frisbee.

    So you feel that the 1999 release sounds exactly like the original LP.

    Happy Holidays!
  25. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    Personally, I'm anxious for the new Steely Dan CD coming out in '03! :D Hope there's a good tour in the works for this coming summer--the last one had a great set list (favoring the album tracks), a superb band, and the "worried father" Roger "The Immortal" Nichols hovering in the wings with a watchful eye.

    I actually would like to get the inside story on those mediocre-sounding MFSL CDs. I finally sold mine earlier this year--I rarely played 'em anyway. The story I got, from Glenn Meadows (if I remember correctly) was that MFSL didn't have the correct masters for those gold CDs, and it was after a lot of research and listening, in tandem with Nichols, and Don and Walt, that they found proper masters to make the CITIZEN box. To me, the MFSLs were too bright and 'metallic' sounding, and never did sound good. I bought very few MFSL CDs after my experience with these two.

    My money's on the most recent remasters, personally--the Citizen box sounded quite good, and these latest are marginally better. The new liner notes and complete credits are just as important as the sound IMHO. The worst CDs were those original MCA CDs I bought back in the 80's. AJA and GAUCHO weren't so bad (I nearly burned through these with the lasers due to playing them so much :) ), but those earlier albums? Many of the reviews I read at the time were in line with what I heard. Digital Audio magazine, along with many of its readers, particularly panned COUNTDOWN TO ECSTASY's poor overall sound. I never thought it was as bad as many made it out to be, but the newest reissues are much easier on the ears. The only word I can think of is "balanced." (And of course, YMMV...)

    What's really interesting to me is Denny Dias' story about trying to master the original KATY LIED LP. Top notch equipment in the studio, Magnepan panels and subwoofers as monitors, a mysterious "mist" in the studio...and a dbx unit that wouldn't cooperate.

    But hey, I amuse easily...
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