Steve Hoffman's "Aja" Steely Dan...WOW!

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Grant, Sep 23, 2003.

  1. Grant

    Grant Proud Nerd

    Steve Hoffman's "Aja"...WOW!

    I just got a hold of the Steve Hoffman mastering of "Aja" and WOW! The music sounds natural and unfutzed with, the transients are crisp and clean and extremly detailed with just the right timbre, and it all sounds nice and flat with nothing exaggerated. It BREATHES!

    After listening to Steve's version I put on the recent Roger Nichols 1999 remaster and it is AWFUL! I can't even listen to it anymore! What the hell was he thinking??? The Nichols version sounds phony, artificial, and the treble boost is horrible!
  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Mastering Your Host

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I loved "Aja" back then. I must have played that thing every day for a while.

    Glad you like the CD!
    ACK! likes this.
  3. Joel Cairo

    Joel Cairo Video Gort Staff

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Steve:

    I noticed in past threads that you've indicated that your "tweaking" of this title was pretty restrained... and since I've finally located a copy of it to listen to, I'd certainly agree with you.

    What interested me most was that it seemed I heard your touch most on the final song of the CD-- "Josie"... it's got a nice airy "spread" and great dynamics.

    Was this a favorite of yours, or am I just imagining things...? :)

    -Kevin
  4. -Ben

    -Ben Active Member

    Location:
    Washington DC Area
    Re: Steve Hoffman's "Aja"...WOW!

    Grant,
    I know it's been posted many times before, but for the sake of the "new" guys, could you post the particulars required to recognize the Hoffman "Aja" CD?
    Thanks
  5. Gary Freed

    Gary Freed Well-Known Member

    Ben,

    Look for this:

    The original MCA made in Japan 1984 Steve Hoffman Aja. The CD jewel box has "patent pending" embossed on the back lower right corner. No barcode. The inner ring information is DIDX-55 21A1.

    Best regards,

    Gary:)
    jeffreybh likes this.
  6. -Ben

    -Ben Active Member

    Location:
    Washington DC Area
    Thanks Gary. :thumbsup:
  7. Grant

    Grant Proud Nerd

    Heh! You did try to tell me...;)
  8. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    To build on Gary's point, Steve's version has "DIDX-55" under the catalog number on the CD. This disc was pressed at the CBS/Sony plant and has "CSR COMPACT DISC" repeating in the plastic ring.

    The Nichols version was pressed at the JVC plant in 1985, and the "DIDX-55" was dropped from the label side. There is nothing stamped in the plastic ring. Finally, the matrix code is of the form, "MCAD-37214 XXXX" (the last grouping of characters varies).
    jeffreybh likes this.
  9. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    Grant, glad to hear that you are enjoying Steve's version. I think it is much better than the '99 remaster.
  10. Grant

    Grant Proud Nerd

    That is an understatement! The remaster now sounds like badly EQ'd tape copies to me.
  11. JohnG

    JohnG Boney Fingers Jones

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    too bad we won't see an Aja SACD any time soon as they can't locate the multi's for the title song.

    i would love to hear Aja in MC.
  12. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    I'd still settle for it in stereo SACD--I'd rather have it now in stereo instead of never having it at all! Ditto the other titles. Their catalog is ripe for some good high-res stereo releases. I recently picked up Gaucho and it sure sounds nice! :)
  13. John Carsell

    John Carsell Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northwest Illinois
    I'll second the motion Rudy. :thumbsup:
  14. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    Grant,

    This is quite a turnaround for you (;)), as I remember you favoring the '99 remaster in some old threads on Aja. I always thought you had heard Steve's version and preferred the '99 remaster.


    Rudy,

    Absolutely. I would love to see UMG release a stereo SACD of Aja, but seeing as they seem to be including multi-channel tracks on every SACD, I am afraid they won't release Aja. :(
  15. Grant

    Grant Proud Nerd

    Well, I had always liked the sound of my LP. I had two other masterings of Aja on CD but got rid of them years ago and thought Im remembered what they sounded like. I also had lesser stereo equipment before. Even Steve tried to tell me that I was hearing tweaked sound on my LP!

    All I had to do was hear Steve's version!;) I guess you can't always just tell people somethings better and expect them to go along. They have to hear it for themselves.
  16. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    Grant said:

    So true.
  17. Clay

    Clay New Member

    Location:
    Saratoga, CA
    OK, I am off to find one of these. I thought I would have one in my collection, yet only could find the MFSL version. I also have the original LP and a fair condition MFSL LP.

    If anyone sees one of these SH masters for sale - Please post the link or send me a PM.

    I am now curious to listen to this one compared to the MFSL CD and the original LP.

    Would the original LP or MFSL LP sound better than this CD?

    Thanks,
    Clay
  18. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    Clay, those LPs versus the Hoffman CD may have been covered here at some point, as Aja has been discussed extensively. Try a search.
  19. Matt

    Matt New Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    Are there any bad Aja's that resemble Steve's version or Roger's flat transfer?

    The 1993 and 1998 remasters should be easy to identify by the MCA logos alone, but what about older CD's that should be avoided? Are there any?
  20. thxdave

    thxdave Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Florida
    I'm with Clay on this one. You'd figure with me having 3 copies of this darn album ('99 Nichols, '84 JVC pressing and a UDII) that ONE of them could have been Steve's, but NOOOOOOOOO! ;-) Seriously, if anybody else has an extra, please email me.

    dave
  21. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    As a point of reference, here is a picture of the Hoffman and Nichols versions of Aja. The Hoffman version is on the left.

    [​IMG]
  22. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    Clay and Dave, just a note about Steve's mastering of Aja. From what has been said on this site many times and is mentioned in Steve's discography, Steve's master was only used for the first 5,000 CDs pressed in Japan. This is the version pressed at the CBS/Sony plant in Japan in 1984. Discs pressed at the JVC plant in Japan in 1985 were made off of the Nichols master. Ditto for the original US pressings made at DADC.

    So, Steve's version is not so easy to find.
  23. Sckott

    Sckott Hand Tighten Only.

    Location:
    Hyannis Ma
    Might there be a timing variation also as a "clue"?
  24. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    Matt asked:

    From what I have read here, the remastered versions released by MCA in 1992 and 1993 are not nearly as good as the original Hoffman or Nichols masters. I've seen a remaster from '92 or '93 that has similar inserts to the original Hoffman and Nichols versions (which share the same inserts). This '92 or '93 remaster I've seen has a barcode on the back insert, and the back insert does not say "DIDX 55".
  25. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialist™

    Location:
    Canada
    So who's mastering do I have which is a US. pressing that has DIDY 55?

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