Steely Dan CDs Different Masterings: The Summary Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by bmoregnr, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. Lyndon

    Lyndon Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cardiff
    I have this exact same CD with matrix MCLD19145 01 & - IFPI 04B7 - MADE IN THE UK BY UNIVERSAL M&I

    Here are the timings and peak levels from EAC

    5:11.27 - 90.7
    7:58.15 - 91.7
    7:36.20 - 90.8
    3:56.53 - 88.9
    5:34.55 - 96.3
    5:06.17 - 86.1
    4:30.40 - 97.5

    Seems to be a SH master then
     
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  2. Natvecal.

    Natvecal. JUST A LOW- FI GUY WHO LOVES A GREAT MASTERING

    Location:
    Oceanside,CA.
    Thanks Lyndon , I appreciate your input /info that you have on this. I've come across this topic BURIED in some threads with similar questions & answers that seem to support your conclusion about this version. From what the input that this thread has provided , this is a 2000 reissue using ( it would seem ) the Hoffman master. Now what's the difference if it's from CLONED source (vs. the original ) or a DUPLICATE source ? Isn't the ORIGINAL a duplicate as well from the master that's sent to be used by whatever plant that produces that run of cd discs? Forgive my ignorance on this if the answer is painfully obvious to everyone else .My Who's Next seems to be in this category as well ( an attenuated? CLONE) of Hoffman version.
     
  3. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer

    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    The absolute SH original is mastering 7. All CDs containing this mastering 7 would be clones of each other.
    Masterings 3 & 6 are derived from it, with changes that were applied in an unknown manner for an unknown reason.
    A clone would be absolutely bit-perfect identical. Masterings 3 & 6, although extremely close, are not identical, so can't be clones.

    Who's Next is another problem, the changes applied to the original SH mastering for the Canadian CD are much bigger.
     
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  4. bmoregnr

    bmoregnr Forum Rezident Thread Starter

    Location:
    1060 W. Addison
    Are we all in agreement that this apparent reprint should go on the Mastering 7 list? That seems like an interesting find if so.

    I am pretty tied up in the next week or so but I do plan to combine everything into fresh new lists soon. I have been putting it off because A Decade Of needs some more work sorting out the different masterings if anyone gets interested in tackling that.
     
  5. George P

    George P Notable Member

    Location:
    NYC
    I wonder if anyone has compared the EQ on mastering 7 with 3 and 6 to determine if it is simply a level difference between them.

    At any rate, I still say mastering 3 is one of my best sounding CDs.
     
  6. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer

    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    Years ago I first found what I think was mastering 6 on CD and lived with it a while. Then I had the occasion to grab mastering 7 and I jumped on it. At the time I compared them and mastering 7 seemed slightly "clearer" and more "correct", improving an already excellent CD.
    As it was so long ago and I have since sold "mastering 6", I can't compare for sure.
     
  7. George P

    George P Notable Member

    Location:
    NYC
    I actually have 7 and 3. I am going to compare the EQ of both in Audacity and see if they are the same.
     
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  8. George P

    George P Notable Member

    Location:
    NYC
    OK, I just compared the EQ on each of the 7 tracks for mastering 3 and mastering 7 (confirmed as Steve Hoffman's mastering.) For all 7 tracks, the EQ is the same on both masterings!
     
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  9. Natvecal.

    Natvecal. JUST A LOW- FI GUY WHO LOVES A GREAT MASTERING

    Location:
    Oceanside,CA.
    Thanks Plan9, I have the CRC (USA) TWO black rings on cd face (matrix 1AMCD37217 02)Who's Next that (like this Aja version) seems to be a cloned Hoffman but, " Is it or isn't it" is still alive in the opinion (on this forum) rather than a definite yes or no . An " attenuated clone'" was used to define my Who's Next version at one point which led me to wonder if this is the case with this Aja version. Assuming ' attenuated clone " means altered/EQd? Are Lyndon 's EAC levels alone ENOUGH to prove one way or another ? Because some members have run the EAC levels of this WHO's Next version that I mentioned (showing it is a Hoffman source possibly) and yet there's still some question/ debate. Instead of, OK! THAT is indeed a Hoffman version as well. The input from everyone is wonderful don't get me wrong but, just when I think I have a Hoffman the opinion kind of sways back and forth.
     
  10. bmoregnr

    bmoregnr Forum Rezident Thread Starter

    Location:
    1060 W. Addison
    I am by no means the final word on this subject, but if the EAC numbers are exact, then most usually go with it is the same remastering. To truly know however, I believe you would have to null test them, put one against the inverted version of the other and they should cancel each other out completely.

    Beyond exact EAC matches you can have cases where they are level adjusted (this would be my best guess of what someone might call an attenuated clone); in these cases all EAC numbers of one version are equally X% lower than one you are comparing [this is just the level of the peaks being different, no eq or other changes]; here it seems many feel it is essentially the same remastering, or it will sound the same once you adjust the volume knob. Once you head further beyond the first two cases above, say some numbers are X% but then a few are not that same adjustment, then you are getting more and more into it being a different remastering with the issue of the source still being in play, and I think there are even a few cases of that with Who's Next, the Canadian being a possible analog copy, glitches on some and not others, I forget and don't want to remember!

    Finally, it seems to me that by matching the EAC numbers, this MCLD19145 01 & - IFPI 04B7 - MADE IN THE UK BY UNIVERSAL M&I is the same remastering as the UK Made By Nimbus widely believed to be Steve's remastering. Granted I have not been around as long as the original different mastering thread discussions were, but it is interesting that this would not have come up before.
     
  11. Natvecal.

    Natvecal. JUST A LOW- FI GUY WHO LOVES A GREAT MASTERING

    Location:
    Oceanside,CA.
    Appreciate the response bmoregnr, when I first saw this CD on Ebay (last month) I used your summery thread info to compare the info in the front & back pics of the Aja cd being sold and made an educated guess this could be a HoffmanThe price was cheap, from the UK. It wasn't listed as a Hoffman mastered cd like so many others are. I could have asked the the seller for the matrix # for conformation But, the stealth in me didn't want the seller to think they might have a CD that's sought after and price adjust after doing some research. So, I took a chance until I saw the matrix# was different which is why I'm here. Sounds like I lucked out (maybe0
     
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  12. George P

    George P Notable Member

    Location:
    NYC
    In case I wasn't clear, these two are the same mastering, with (for some tracks), slightly different levels. No wonder I always thought my Japan for USA (mastering 3) sounded incredible!
     
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  13. S. P. Honeybunch

    S. P. Honeybunch Presidente de Kokomo, Believe Your Hair and Beard

    Location:
    California
    Did you do a null test?
     
  14. pinkchris1967

    pinkchris1967 Exalted and Revered Member

    Location:
    Avondale, Az.
    My silver disc of "Decade" is

    66.7/82.9/69.0/68.1/63.3/65.0/65.4/67.4/57.7/62.9/37.0/66.7/65.0/70.3

    MCAD-5570 DIDY 000306

    Back cover states: "Remastered by Bob Ludwig and Roger Nichols" Incorrectly states mastered by Gary Katz on the disc

    My disc also says "The Best Of Steely Dan" at the top instead of "A Decade Of Steely Dan"
     
  15. Paul P.

    Paul P. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA, USA
    Yeah - there's a set of discs that have that "The Best Of Steely Dan" misprint, according to this link:
    A Decade of Steely Dan on CD: Mastered by Ludwig/Nichols or Katz?

    Here's what I know - from BartK's hard work:
    Steely Dan CDs Different Masterings: A Decade of Steely Dan

    Mastering 1: (Glenn Meadows remaster)
    97.3/ 84.5/ 89.1/ 89.1/ 93.3/ 80.6/93.2/ 97.2/ 89.7/ 98.8/ 78.7/ 94.8/ 93.4/ 93.9
    MCAD-11214, Ultimate MasterDisc gold, matrix: $MCAD-11214 Y04241 (released March 1995)
    MCAD- 11553 (released November 1996)

    Mastering 2a: (original Ludwig/Nichols)
    94.0/ 100/ 93.4/ 91.0/ 76.1/ 86.3/ 86.2/ 91.0/ 67.8/ 79.2/ 44.4/ 88.8/ 96.4/ 100
    MCAD- 5570 DIDX 306, matrix: MCAD5570 10/88 2DA3, made in USA, Mfd. for BMG Direct Marketing (crackle on BS and cold stop after partial fade on DIA)
    MCAD- 5570 DIDX 306, matrix: DIDX-306 2896 613 03, Mfd. in W. Germany for MCA , no barcode (has crackle at 23s on BS & cold stop after partial fade on DIA)
    MCAD-5570 DIDX 306, matrix: MCAD 5570 M5E21, Made in Japan, no barcode (has crackle on BS)
    MCAD-5570 DIDX 306, matrix: 32XD-149 11A3, Made in Japan

    Mastering 2b: (corrected Ludwig/Nichols; crackle noise on Bad Sneakers removed, all other tracks likely same as 2a)
    94.0/ 100/ 93.4/ 91.0/ 76.1/ 86.3/ 86.2/ 91.0/ 67.8/ 79.2/ 44.4/ 88.8/ 96.4/ 97.7
    MCAD- 5570 DIDX 306, matrix: DIDX - 000306 12, made in USA ("D" for DADC in clear plastic hub), no barcode

    Mastering 3 (Columbia Record Club, likely derived from 2b ; no crackle on Bad Sneakers)
    66.7/ 82.9/ 69.0/ 68.1/ 63.3/ 65.0/ 65.4/ 67.4/ 57.7/ 62.9/ 37.0/ 66.7/ 65.0/ 70.3
    MCAD-5570 DIDY 306 , matrix: DIDY-000306, made in USA (CRC) no barcode


    Info from here:
    Steely Dan CDs Different Masterings: A Decade of Steely Dan
    and
    A Decade of Steely Dan on CD: Mastered by Ludwig/Nichols or Katz?
    and
    Steely Dan - A Decade Of (Glenn Meadows version) vs. Citizen

    Cheers,
    Paul
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2017
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  16. PJayBe

    PJayBe Forum Resident

    So, I only have Citizen for the original albums. Do I need to upgrade, and just how much is missing from Rilli....?

    Philip
     
  17. Paul P.

    Paul P. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA, USA
    Rikki has a 25 (or so) second intro. It's a low sounding rumble - most likely played on a marimba. The way I understand it, this 25 second intro was removed on the single edit, which was incorrectly used on some CD runs of certain titles.

    I have an original '85 Pretzel Logic CD, a Greatest Hits (Canadian) CD, a Decade Of Steely Dan (Nichols) CD, a Citizen Steely Dan box set, a 2000 era Pretzel Logic CD and a Showbiz Kids compilation CD - and none of them are missing the intro on Rikki.

    If you care - you care, I guess. :D

    As for upgrading, it also depends. Not counting the Japanese SHM/SACD/Platnium series discs (which seem to use other sources) - there's three major "waves" of Steely Dan masterings from MCA. That's the original '85 series by Nichols/Hoffman, an early '90s pass by Glenn Meadows, and a final pass in 1999/2000 by Nichols. All of these - as far as we can tell - were taken from the analog master tapes.

    The '85s are pretty close to a flat transfer - warts and all. There's also a few digital glitches on them - a pop at the start of Any Dude Will Tell You, a glitch in the outro of Rikki, a missing frame on Bad Sneakers, and a looped section on Showbiz Kids at about 1:00 minute to remove a glitch. But - for the most part - they're reference. The Canadian CD of Greatest Hits uses this mastering - glitches and all. The original A Decade Of Steely Dan seems to use this mastering for the most part - however some glitches were corrected.

    The Glenn Meadows masters as a hair louder with some additional EQ - making them a bit brighter. There's also been some question of tape wear on these transfers - some albums show it - some don't. It's not massive - it's more like a very slight unfocus to certain tracks, compared to the '85s. The Citizen Steely Dan box uses these transfers as does the Glenn Meadows version of A Decade Of Steely Dan.

    Finally - in 1999/2000 - Roger Nichols remastered all of the core albums from scratch and also added a new 2 disc compilation Showbiz Kids: The Steely Dan Story. These are louder yet with more aggressive EQ. Basically - it seems to me like an attempt to match the sonics of Two Against Nature and Everything Must Go - for better or worse. NOTE: These aren't clipped and brickwalled though.

    So - the big question: Upgrade or no?

    It kind of depends. There's certainly nothing wrong with the Citizen Dan box set. However - it is fun hunting down the original '85s. I found all of them used for about $4.00 to $8.00 in used CD stores around Seattle.

    There are two '85s you may want to consider: The Hoffman versions of Aja and Katy Lied are quite unique and are detailed here:

    Aja: Steely Dan CDs Different Masterings: The Summary Thread

    • Mastering 7 in this list is very smooth - it's my go-to.

    Katy Lied: Steely Dan CDs Different Masterings: The Summary Thread


    Cheers,
    Paul
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
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  18. bmoregnr

    bmoregnr Forum Rezident Thread Starter

    Location:
    1060 W. Addison
    Thanks for the help on Decade Of @Paul P and also @BartK of course. I am pretty sure that is the only compilation album with multiple masterings correct? If so I think I can get everything cleaned up to repost everything with all the edits together this weekend.
     
  19. Paul P.

    Paul P. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA, USA
    I think so. :)

    Has anyone ever found any differences in Gold? I'm pretty sure the Canadian Greatest Hits and Showbiz Kids have been pretty consistent.

    Cheers,
    Paul
     
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  20. BIGGER Dave

    BIGGER Dave Forum Resident

    My Aja mastering is close to the above two but ends differently.

    MCA Japan for USA, 1984 MCAD-37214 DIDX 55 (no barcode) / Matrix MCAD 37214 - T6E11
     
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  21. Paul P.

    Paul P. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA, USA
    Gaucho talk:

    So - I got curious about the statement earlier in this thread that the 2003 SACD was sourced from 16/44 masters. Not doubting it - this album has a weird history - just curious. Did some google searches and found this:

    Steely Dan - GAUCHO [DVD-A/SACD] - Page 3

    Basically, steelydave picked up the Gaucho DVD-A and analyzed it, looking for spectral signatures of DSD to PCM conversion. He found them.

    As steelydave wrote:

    "I did spectral analysis of the LFE track (because it's the easiest to see the ultrasonic noise generated by DSD since there's no legitimate high frequency information in the LFE track) and it's there, starting at around 30k, and then ending around 40k where it looks like it's been low-pass filtered. This is especially disappointing since I read an interview with Elliot Scheiner around the time this disc came out in which he said he outputted his 5.1 mix to both DSD and PCM, as well as 2" analog tape so that it would be 'future proof' for any new formats that come down the pipe. It appears that Universal had other ideas and just used the SACD master as the source for the 5.1 mix."

    "The stereo mix fares even worse here though. In the spectral analysis, the musical frequency response cuts off sharply right around 22kHz and then the ultrasonic noise starts at 30kHz. This leads me to believe that they used the old 44.1kHz/16bit PCM CD master, upsampled it to DSD for the SACD, and then transcoded it back to 24/96 PCM for the DVD-A."

    "[...] in comparison to the CD from which it was (presumably) sourced. The DR value for the DVD-A is 9, in comparison to the 2000 CD remaster, which is a 12. The original 1980 vinyl, the 1984 original CD issue, and 2010 Japanese SHM-SACD are all DR 14."

    "In my opinion, the best digital sources for this album are the 2003 Universal SACD for the 5.1 mix, and the 2010 Japanese SHM-SACD for the stereo mix."

    This does seem to match the listening results as detailed here: Steely Dan's Gaucho SACD vs. DVD-Audio and other posts in this thread.

    Cheers,
    Paul
     
  22. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer

    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    I can confirm all of this, and I also agree with the preference.
     
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  23. Natvecal.

    Natvecal. JUST A LOW- FI GUY WHO LOVES A GREAT MASTERING

    Location:
    Oceanside,CA.
    Does anyone besides myself & Lyndon have or is aware of the AJA CD mastering we've been talking about in POST 101?
     
  24. bmoregnr

    bmoregnr Forum Rezident Thread Starter

    Location:
    1060 W. Addison
    Just checking that you confirmed the EAC numbers matched Mastering 3. If so I'll add it to the list.
     
  25. WiWavelength

    WiWavelength Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
    There is nothing special/unique about that matrix. As with several others listed, it carries the hallmarks of the same JVC Japan for US pressing matrix -- but with a slightly different stamper code. I would not add it to the list. Unless different masterings can be shown to vary per stamper code, all JVC Japan for US pressings of "Aja" are the same. Chasing stamper codes goes too far, running into the tens or hundreds.

    AJ
     
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