Steely Dan CDs Different Masterings: Aja

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mdekoning, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. Demolitionman

    Demolitionman Member

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Newbie who thought he did his due diligence in procuring the Aja CD of his desire.

    Bought a version on ebay unfortunately misidentified by un-updated pic by seller.
    Thought I was getting a mastering #3 with:
    MCAD-37214
    DIDY 000055
    CRC
    written on disc (couldn't read matrix)

    but received a CD with only MCAD-37214 on disc, Matrix: MCAD-37214-1 1C15 MFD BY JVC
    which is closest to:
    Mastering 4:
    MCA US MCAD 37214 DIDX 55 (no barcode) / Matrix: MCAD-37214-1 1C15 MFD BY JVC

    Spine and back cover has DIDY 55 instead of DIDX 55 (no barcode), and has CRC under song titles. It also has "tetris" pattern on matrix area that I read may be a 92/93 reissue?

    Haven't done peak levels as of yet, just checking if DIDY indicates a different mastering? hopefully 3 or 6.

    Prepared for disappointment and additional hunting and purchase.

    Thanks
     
  2. David Lowe

    David Lowe Active Member

    Location:
    Southeastern U.S.
    Peg CSR:
    Peg CSR first min.wav

    Peg JVC:
    Peg JVC first min.wav

    And again, they have the same peak levels in EAC.

    Thanks.
     
  3. Andreas

    Andreas Forum Resident

    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany
    I compared the two .wav files. There are some minimal differences within the first second before the music starts, but after that, the two samples you posted above are digitally identical and therefore the same mastering.
     
  4. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialist™

    Location:
    Greater Vancouver
    This one
    [​IMG]
    Or this one?
    [​IMG]
    It is common for club pressings to not have a UPC code.
     
  5. David Lowe

    David Lowe Active Member

    Location:
    Southeastern U.S.
    The extracts were from a SuperDrive vs. where I listen via an NAD CD player. Perhaps the NAD is a liar or my latest headphone amp, which is new. But I'm listening with the same setup, same volume, same ears (with tinnitus, sigh). Before the new headphone amp, #6 was the winner and I had tossed aside the CSR and the other two. Perhaps I'll plug back in the old amp and compare again (sigh). At any rate, I know the response is the digits don't lie, but if my system or ears are lying to me, I'm good with it. Maybe there are pressing differences to explain it or there is mystery in the D-A processes, but I'm going to listen now regardless of what the numbers say. And now I have to seek out a #7 - and compare some more. Thanks for the response.
     
  6. bmoregnr

    bmoregnr Forum Rezident

    Location:
    1060 W. Addison
    If I am reading correctly you doing your comparison via CD. Not to open a can of worms but yes there has been discussion over the ages where different pressings of the same mastering can sound different to some, but those differences are expected to disappear when the ripped files are compared; something to do with how the 1,0s are read by the CD player I guess. I think the only time I have run into this is the Pretenders US vs. Target CD, and I will say it was very subtle if it all wasn't my mind tricking me. I look forward to your thoughts if and when you get a #7.
     
  7. Demolitionman

    Demolitionman Member

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    The pattern is more like the second but has complex shapes like in Tetris, not just squares and rectangles, odd shapes. I read that no barcode (UPC) were the versions to look for. I have to download EAC and get peak levels, just haven't had the opportunity.

    I listened to David Lowe's .wav files via headphones using a Biosciencegeek CMOY headphone amp, I couldn't hear a difference.
     
  8. David Lowe

    David Lowe Active Member

    Location:
    Southeastern U.S.
    Yes, my comparison was via CD listening. After reading your reply, I did look and find the DMCL 1745 one on Discogs and took a chance and ordered from the UK - it will be a while before it arrives and it may or may not be #7. If it is, I'll report back. Thanks.
     
  9. Yost

    Yost Always Wondered How Other People Did This

    I’m not sure which one you ordered, but I can confirm that variant 1 of this release is mastering #7.
     
  10. David Lowe

    David Lowe Active Member

    Location:
    Southeastern U.S.
  11. Yost

    Yost Always Wondered How Other People Did This

  12. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    I'll bump up Mdekoning's list-

    Mastering 1:
    93.8/94.3/94.3/94.3/94.3/94.3/94.2

    MCA Remaster 1999 (Made in EU) 811 745 LC01056 UN899 / Matrix: 50117 811745-2 03/(Made in Germany by Universal M&L)
    Columbia House ?? / Matrix: 088 112 0562R1 01$ Q (Etched on inner ring: MADE IN USA BY EDC / IFPI 0396)
    SHM-CD: UICY-90764 / Matrix: MVCZ-10077-1 5W V IFPI L244

    Mastering 2:
    81.4/99.6/89.1/97.2/100.0/89.1/95.0

    MCA Citizen boxed set MCAD 4-10981 / Matrix: MCAD4109814 Y3C1C MFD BY JVC

    Mastering 3:
    90.8/91.7/90.6/88.7/96.3/86.2/97.6

    MCA Japan for USA 1984 MCAD-37214 DIDX 55 (no barcode) / Matrix: MCAD-37214-T5E21
    MCA US for US MCAD 37214 DIDY 55 (no barcode) / CRC club version (Disc: MCAD-37214 above DIDY 55 above CRC) / Matrix: CI 5650-1 (plus another code that has been scratched out)
    MCA UK MCA DMCL 1745 (disc: MCA US MCAD-37214) / Matrix: MCAD-37214-1T24
    MCA US DIDX 55 / Matrix: DIDX 000055 3
    MCA US DIDX-000055 / Matrix: MCAD-37214 DIDX 55
    MCA US MCAD-37214 DIDX 55 (no barcode) / Matrix: MCAD-37214 3T21 MFD BY JVC
    MCA Germany 250 449-2 (MCAD 37214) / Matrix: 252704-2 TOOLEX ALPHA 03
    MCA Japan for USA 1984 MCAD-37214 DIDX 55 (no barcode) / Matrix: MCAD 37214 M2E14
    MCA US MCAD-37214 DIDX 55 (no barcode) / Matrix: MCAD-37214 U7C14

    Mastering 4:
    81.4/100.0/100.0/97.4/99.8/100.0/90.4

    MCA US MCAD 37214 DIDX 55 (no barcode) / Matrix: MCAD-37214-1 1C15 MFD BY JVC
    MCA Canada MCABD 37214 DIDX 55 ("Price Code I") / Matrix: MFG BY CINRAM #921120H MCA-37214
    MCA Canada MCABD 37214 Cineram / Matrix: LT40 MCABD37214 #40830V04 11
    MCA US MCAD 37214 (no DIDX anywhere on discs)/Matrix: MCAD-37214-1 1C MFD BY JVC
    MCA US MCAD 37214 (no DIDX anywhere on discs)/Matrix: MCAD-37214-1 1J MFD BY JVC

    Mastering 5:
    66.7/62.4/85.8/72.2/79.1/57.6/85.4

    MFSL Ultradisc UDCD 515 / Matrix: MANUFACTURED BY ULTECH UDCD 515 SMF8084-1A

    Mastering 6 (nearly identical to mastering 3):
    90.7/91.7/90.8/88.9/96.3/86.2/97.5

    MCA Germany MCD 01745 DMCL 1745 / Matrix: SONOPRESS I-5627/MCD01745 A1
    MCA Germany MCD 01745 DMCL 1745 / Matrix: Made in Germany MCD 01745 50169033 01 (same artwork, slightly different disc?)

    Mastering 7 (confirmed as Steve Hoffman's mastering, nearly identical to 3 & 6):
    90.7/91.7/90.8/88.9/96.3/86.1/97.5

    MCA UK MCLD 19145 "Mastered by Nimbus" / Matrix: A1388 DMCL 1745 : 1:0 IFPI L123
    MCA UK DMCL 1745 / Matrix: "DMCL 1745 1:2 Mastered by Nimbus"

    Mastering 8:
    100.0/89.5/95.8/100.0/100.0/96.5/97.0

    MCA Japan 1984, VDP-27 / Matrix: VDP 27 1 1
     
  13. David Lowe

    David Lowe Active Member

    Location:
    Southeastern U.S.
    Great - that would be my luck - no wonder I was able to snag it. I suppose I could ask the seller to cancel, but he wouldn't be too happy with me. The DR entries for #7 are different and suggest this one will have different peak levels? Are the DR numbers for this CD good at least? I'm not that familiar with these. I wish I'd asked here - thought I had the info I needed. Thanks for letting me know.
     
  14. Demolitionman

    Demolitionman Member

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Ran EAC test, disappointed but not surprised.
    Matched peak levels of mastering #4: 81.4/100.0/100.0/97.4/99.8/100.0/90.4
    MCA US MCAD 37214 DIDX 55 (no barcode) / Matrix: MCAD-37214-1 1C15 MFD BY JVC
    (DIDY 55 on my artwork, is the same as mastering of DIDX 55 artwork)
     
  15. Yost

    Yost Always Wondered How Other People Did This

    I’m really not sure. It’s listed under mastering #7 in this thread, but there’s also the DR entry I referred to. It could be a good one. Maybe the UK DMCL 1745 was made by multiple pressing plants (like the one I have) and you just need to get the Nimbus one…
     
  16. David Lowe

    David Lowe Active Member

    Location:
    Southeastern U.S.
    I’ll find out then.
     
  17. David Lowe

    David Lowe Active Member

    Location:
    Southeastern U.S.
    The Nimbus one arrived finally and it is a #7 based on the EAC peak levels. It is definitely the best of the five copies I have now - I won't need the other four.

    While waiting for it to arrive, I discovered I wasn't using the best interconnects I had. I had replaced my Mapleshade ribbon ones with mid-priced Audioquest when I was using other inferior equipment. I switched back to the Mapleshades, and a veil was gone. So that meant I needed to go back on re-evaluate what I thought about the #3's where the CSR sounded like a different mastering. Now I'm confident it's not but rather just a better pressing than the JVC. Both have a slight treble harshness and "missing" range to the vocals and drums that makes them less engaging. The #6 has that same harshness to the treble, but it's closer to the Nimbus.

    The Nimbus is very smooth and engaging and the bass is as seductive as a belly dancer. "Could it be that I have found my home at last?" I have. "Home at Last" in particular sounds great and I found myself unable to stop listening to all the songs that I had preferred less, such as "Home at Last". I kind of expected the Nimbus bass to sound "artificially" enhanced but it doesn't. It's just all very natural and Walter Becker should have been able to hear it. I'm glad I bought it and to me it was worth the purchase - and to have the other copies to convince me this Nimbus is the best I've heard. Thanks to Steve for his work - it's a shame this mastering isn't more widely available because it should be.

    I'm glad I finally posted here and it led me to buy another copy of Aja. Thanks to Yost for the encouragement.
     
    Demolitionman, Plan9 and Yost like this.
  18. Yost

    Yost Always Wondered How Other People Did This

    You’re welcome! :righton:

    I often have trouble stopping albums before they are finished. This album in its Steve mastering is definitely one of them. :love:
     
  19. Demolitionman

    Demolitionman Member

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    YEA! SCORE! Finally got a Mastering #3, via ebay, from a Canadian seller for $8 (I was the only bidder), what!
    MCA US for US MCAD 37214 DIDY 55 (no barcode) / CRC club version (Disc: MCAD-37214 above DIDY 55 above CRC) / Matrix: CI 5650-1 (plus another code that has been scratched out), CHECK!

    So freakin' happy, search over, peace and contentment commence.
    Doin' the Snoopy happy dance! (David Lowe sig.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
    bmoregnr and David Lowe like this.
  20. oldbsturgeon

    oldbsturgeon RlrrLrll

    Location:
    USA
    I was able to pick up what appears to be mastering #3 today. Oddly enough just like the poster above mine is coming from Canada as well
     
    Demolitionman likes this.
  21. JoshM

    JoshM Forum Resident

    Hello SHFers,

    I just wanted to let you know that I wrote the third (and longest) edition of my “Best Version Of...” column over at Computer Audiophile (now Audiophile Style) on Aja (link).

    Besides a history of the album, I compare every known digital mastering in detail, objectively and subjectively. I have new interviews with some of the mastering engineers — one of which answers the great Citizen Steely Dan noise reduction debate — and I also answer (I think) some lingering questions about the Hoffman “clones” (check the footnotes).

    I hope you like it and that it’s helpful to everyone looking for a great mastering of this classic!
     
    Yost, Jaap74, mds and 3 others like this.
  22. Glennza

    Glennza Forum Resident

    Might want to fix the "Butt Bacharach" typo!!! :)
     
    mds, JoshM and murrays like this.
  23. Larry B

    Larry B Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood
    Please add my Japan for US to the Mastering #3 list.

    Insert: MCA MCAD-37214/DIDX 55, 1977/1984, No Barcode/ Disc: MCA Japan for USA, 1977 (no DIDX 55 on the disc)/ Matrix:MCAD-37214-U7C23
     
    George P likes this.
  24. JoshM

    JoshM Forum Resident

    Glennza likes this.
  25. Paul P.

    Paul P. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA, USA
    Also - you'll want to clarify your comment about the b-side of Aja being from a Tape Copy. (i.e. Notably, the master tape for the b-side of Aja could not be found, and a tape copy was used for the digital transfer)

    Roger didn't make copies per se. Instead, he recorded to two tape machines at once during the mixdowns - in effect creating two master tapes simultaneously.

    From the same article you quoted: "When the only format for mixing to was analogue tape, I did not mix to a piece of tape then copy it. I had a second tape machine recording in parallel to avoid the generation loss. Now the backup was equal to the original."

    So - his version was not a 2nd generation - it was a first generation equal to the lost tape in quality.

    Cheers,
    Paul
     
    JoshM likes this.

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