Another Steely Dan Aja CD test thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by bob2935, Jan 19, 2006.

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  1. bob2935

    bob2935 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oakville, Canada
    I recently bought a copy of Steely Dan's Aja (MCAD-37214) on Ebay and would like to share a clip with you guys on the chance that it might be Steve's master. Yes it sounds very very good and I'm quite satisfied either way. My question is, what would be the best segment to upload? I'll put it up as soon as I hear back from somebody.
    Thanks.
    Bob.
     
  2. bob2935

    bob2935 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oakville, Canada
    Nobody cares? That's alright. Let me say though that if you have been putting off picking up one of these, go ahead. You'll love it.
    Bob.
     
  3. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialistâ„¢

    Location:
    Greater Vancouver
    The first 20 sec of Josie or Black Cow should be sufficent Bob.
     
  4. ACK!

    ACK! Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I now have in my possession all of the original MCA Steely Dan CDs and whether they were mastered by Roger Nichols or Steve Hoffman...THEY'RE ALL GOOD!! Get 'em!! You'll be glad you did! :righton:
     
    George P likes this.
  5. bob2935

    bob2935 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oakville, Canada
    Great! A 6 meg wave of Black Cow is available here for a while. I look forward to your findings.
    Bob.
     
  6. BIG ED

    BIG ED Well-Known Member

    Would you be so kind as to post cat #'s?
    Thanks & congrats!
     
  7. bob2935

    bob2935 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oakville, Canada
    Yes, catalog numbers would be good to know. Aja was obvious because it was mentioned so many times in other related threads here. The 1999 remasters are hard on the ears and my copy of Pretzil Logic is missing an intro.
    Of course one has to wonder if SH Forum members are putting up the Ebay prices on these titles.
    Bob.
     
  8. Andreas

    Andreas Forum Resident

    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany
    Bob,

    I'll test your clips against my CD tonight. But for the interpretation of the result, in the case it is equal, I guess Dave will not agree with me...?
     
  9. Andreas

    Andreas Forum Resident

    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany
    Bob,

    your sample turned out to be 100% identical to my CD (MCD 01745, Made in Germany).
     
  10. Andreas

    Andreas Forum Resident

    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany
    As far as I have heard, this was corrected on later pressings of the remasters.
     
  11. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialistâ„¢

    Location:
    Greater Vancouver
    Ok, from what I can tell from both my crappy computer set-up and the fact there is no comparison clip... It does sound like Steve's mastering. The snare drum sounds equal in the mix whereas in Rogers mastering it is definitely lower in volume and more back in the mix. I can't be 100% certain though.
     
  12. dprokopy

    dprokopy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Near Seattle, WA
    Does anyone here actually own all the different (CD) masterings of this album? As far as I can tell, there are five, and all are presumably from the original master tapes:

    1. Roger Nichols master
    2. Steve's master
    3. MFSL UltraDisc master
    4. Citizen Steely Dan box set master
    5. 1999 remaster

    I own 1, 3 and 4 myself. They're all excellent sounding, in my opinion. Nichols' version edges out the others, if only because when I compared "Peg" (the song I'm most familiar with), the drums sounded much more natural and sharp on that particular version.

    It'd be nice if someone with all five could put up sound clips somewhere for all to compare...
     
  13. Andreas

    Andreas Forum Resident

    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany
    How do you know that you have the Nichols mastering and not Steve's?

    There is at least one more mastering: The one on the US JVC disc wih the 37214 catalogue number. This is comparably bright, and therefore not a candidate for the Nichols mastering (which Dave has described as rather dull).

    Strangely, not one clip ever posted was the Nichols mastering.
    My findings so far: All Japanese 37214 discs were identical to my MCD 01745 and Mal's UK disc (which Steve has recognized as his mastering).
     
    marcfeld69 likes this.
  14. bob2935

    bob2935 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oakville, Canada
    Thanks to all who downloaded the clip and posted. To Andreas, I believe my CD is an American copy and it's good to know that this great-sounding master was also available in Europe. About Pretzel Logic, I remember hearing that too. My copy must have come from old stock. It hardly matters as I intend to get a 1985 CD if I can find one.
    To Dave, if this truly is Steve's master, than perhaps it is easier to find than we used to believe. Does it sound like the master you raved about on another thread in which some suggested that despite its great sound, it wasn't Steve's master? Either way, it's nice to have some dynamics on this album considering that I had only ever heard the 1999 remaster.
    To David, I believe there may have been another round of Steely Dan reissues in between. There was some article about the original CD's being replaced in the late 80's by inferior copies which played too fast. These were apparently followed by remasters in 1991 by Roger Nichols, the 1993 Citizen box by Glen "somebody" who was doing a lot of work for MCA at the time, and finally by the 1999-2000 remasters. The consensis here is that each got progressively worse.
    Bob.
     
  15. PTgraphics

    PTgraphics Forum Resident

    I have a Aja CD that has DIDX-000055 4 on the inner ring along with MCAD-37214 and DIDY 000055 CRC on the CD itself and it seems that it matches the wave sample of Black Cow that was posted. I am on a Mac so I don't have all the goodies that PC users have to compare 2 samples. I put samples into the program "Audacity" and checked it out.

    Pat
     
  16. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialistâ„¢

    Location:
    Greater Vancouver
    That would be the Roger Nichols master I believe Bob. Steve has commented that it is good and I agree. It's just that Steve's is better because it lacks the mid-range hole that Roger's has.
     
  17. namahealani

    namahealani Forum Resident

    My UK clone (Steve's) sounds like your clip. My other 3 early MCAs do not sound like the snare. I was trying to find Steve's original version. I finally got the UK clone on ebay.
     
  18. -Ben

    -Ben Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC Area

    All my discs have "Manufactured in Japan for MCA Records Inc." and NO barcodes anywhere in the art work.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. Bob Lovely

    Bob Lovely Super Gort Staff

    This is the first time I have ever heard Steve's mastering. It sounds good to me...

    Bob- :)
     
  20. dprokopy

    dprokopy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Near Seattle, WA
    Well, I guess I suppose I don't. I assumed I didn't, because I was under the impression that the standard-issue 1984, "Manufactured in U.S.A." MCAD-37214 was the (first) Nichols mastering. The inner-ring on the disc itself just says "MCAD-37214-1T". The back insert has a copyright date of 1977, 1984.

    I thought Steve's mastering was only on the Japanese/UK discs? But I'll be the first to admit that I've kinda lost track! Someone really ought to compile a list of all catalog numbers, places of manufacter, inner-ring numbers, etc., along with some sound clips and just put it up on a site somewhere. That way, anytime this thread comes up, we can just point them to a site somewhere. :righton:
     
  21. dprokopy

    dprokopy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Near Seattle, WA
    Glenn Meadows, Masterfonics, Nashville, Tennessee. He also did the gold Decade of Steely Dan Ultimate MasterDisc ("using today's cutting-edge technology," so says the back of the disc!). To my ears, at least, the two sound different, so I'm thinking it was a seperate mastering job from the box set. (The gold disc came out a couple years later.) I'd give the slight edge to the gold disc, even though apparently it's not universally loved around these parts. (Some people swear they hear NR - I didn't detect any.)
     
  22. dprokopy

    dprokopy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Near Seattle, WA
    FYI, I did an identical 40-second clip from my disc, and it sounds (and looks) identical to this one.
     
  23. Clay

    Clay New Member

    Location:
    Saratoga, CA
    Can someone let me know if one of these (Steve's mastering CD) is available for sale on ebay or anywhere. I must listen. Please send a pm with the auction number or link. Thank you
     
  24. dprokopy

    dprokopy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Near Seattle, WA
    Just for kicks, I did soundclips of all four versions I own of "Black Cow" (the three I mentioned above, plus the one on the Steely Dan Gold CD). I compared them all using the audio editing program I have (Creative WaveStudio), and did screen-captures for all four, plus Bob's version. So what follows is the first second and a half or so from each clip, zoomed up to show the detail.

    1. My standard-issue USA MCAD-37214.
    [​IMG]

    2. Bob's sound clip. (Note, pretty much identical.)
    [​IMG]

    3. MFSL UltraDisc. (Noticably quieter, but similar pattern.)
    [​IMG]

    4. Steely Dan Gold (Expanded Edition) (Very different pattern!)
    [​IMG]

    5. Citizen Steely Dan box set. (Similar, but not quite the same, as 1 & 2.)
    [​IMG]

    If someone has a clip from Steve's version, or the 1999/2000 remaster, or any other version(s), they can send them to me and I can put up similar pics for comparison.
     
  25. bangsezmax

    bangsezmax Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, NC, USA
    Okay, my MCA (manufactured in USA for MCA) is the same as the clip posted. As in, I focused in on a single snare beat and compared them in spectral view. Exactly identical. Inner ring is MCAD-37214-IT and then 21 stamped in.

    Given the mids as Steve described them in one of these threads, it sounds like what he's talking about. The snare is nice and fat. But I could not pretend to say for sure that it's Steve's.
     
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