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Article: The Best Version Of… Steely Dan’s Aja

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4 hours ago, Sal1950 said:

Very reminiscent of the US marijuana laws. LOL

The laws make no sense but some expect you to respect them anyway.  ;)

This is nothing like those laws. This is about the rights of who has possession of the physical copy. When you sell a CD, you lose the right to have a copy of it.

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21 hours ago, Jud said:

 

I found the Hoffman master of Aja on eBay using the Hoffman forum ID info. (Didn't buy it if anyone wants it - was about $17 as I recall.) I assume you can do the same for Gaucho. Let me know if you think it's better than the SACD, which I have also.

Hey Judd. I have the SACD of Gaucho. Could compare it to the TIDAL CD. 

 

BTW, not having a reference for any other masterings, I would say the one from Amazon I got (1999 remaster) sounds pretty good. 

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15 hours ago, ajyanowitz said:

For what it is worth, when Walter lived in Ward Manner Annex at Bard College, I remember he had a huge set of Klipsch speakers in his relatively small dorm room.  Beyond a vintage tube amp, preamp and TT, he had an oscilliscope.  I do not know which Klipsch he had (it was 50 years ago and I was not into it then),  but they were big, and I would not be surprised if they were corner horns.  Really monstrous in that small dorm room..  A nice guy...I get a kick out of the fact that there is now a street named for him in Queens.  Surprised really, that we are mostly still alive.  Those were strange days.

 

Alan

Neat story.  Would have been interesting if very long time Bard president Leon Botstein (he started as president in 1975 when he was 28 and is still president) had been at Bard when Fagen and Becker were there.  How much influence he might have had with Steely Dan.  I'm guessing, knowing Botstein's track record, he probably has leaned on them for big donations to Bard over the years.  We visited Bard back in the early 2000's to meet with Botstein about the Gates Early College High School Initiative and Simon's Rock College.  He showed us around a little, including the fabulous performing arts center that Frank Gehry designed.  I've got several of Botstein's orchestral recordings.  He is probably the most well known musician who is also a college president!, although Brian May served as Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University about the time he got his PhD in astrophysics in the late 2000's.

 

Larry

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If you are buying a Hoffman CD I would check Discogs before eBay. The prices are generally better. That being said because of this article I would expect a spike in price. True you probably can find one in OK shape for about $20. The 1984 version I would expect around $50. I own three different Hoffman pressings and bought mine maybe a year ago or so.

Oh SAL.........I'll share mine with you........on eBay for $50+ or Discogs..........Reminds me of when I bought the Beatles USB and a "friend" asked if he could "borrow" it so he could rip it to file..........NO!

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19 hours ago, ajyanowitz said:

For what it is worth, when Walter lived in Ward Manner Annex at Bard College, I remember he had a huge set of Klipsch speakers in his relatively small dorm room.  Beyond a vintage tube amp, preamp and TT, he had an oscilliscope.  I do not know which Klipsch he had (it was 50 years ago and I was not into it then),  but they were big, and I would not be surprised if they were corner horns.  Really monstrous in that small dorm room..  A nice guy...I get a kick out of the fact that there is now a street named for him in Queens.  Surprised really, that we are mostly still alive.  Those were strange days.

 

Alan

 

Were you friends at Bard? I’m sure we’d all be interested in any stories you’d be willing to share. It’s neat to know that he was an audiophile even back then!

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On 1/18/2019 at 3:09 AM, Sal1950 said:

What the difference, no loyalties are paid when you buy a used CD to anyone?

Did you ask for a legal letter stating no one ever kept a ripped copy of that CD before buying it?

Like I said, a bunch of sillyness, please don't bother me with this.

 

 

Pardon the OT: If you care to ask folks to do something illegal, however silly you consider the law, it might be polite to look for one friend to ask and communicate outside of our host's website.  Just a suggestion.

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I took a look at the version that's on Spotiy to see if I could determine it's parentage. Only hint I get is they list 2 copyrights

1977 UMG Recordings Inc

1999 MCA Records Inc

Wonder if the second points to a Nichols master?

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Hi Guys - I mainly buy downloads these days or listen via Tidal - any suggestions on where I can buy a download of one of the better versions? Thanks Vincent 

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I have almost every version listed and discussed in this excellent and very detailed article/ post. 

Min my personal opinion and after far too many hours and days spent doing “A/B” testing, I’ve personally concluded that the 2010 Japan SACD is the best sounding version (to my liking/ opinion). 

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Josh, this is the best TBVO so far, and amazing in the amount of detail and the fascinating stories. Many of us have heard plenty of Steely Dan lore, but this is by far the most complete and now favorite piece I've read. It doesn't hurt that you are looking for best/most authentic sound quality and your subject is "The Dan". I don't know how you're paid for this, but it ain't enough. No matter what.

 

Thank you!

Chris V

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On 1/23/2019 at 6:22 PM, christopherv said:

Josh, this is the best TBVO so far, and amazing in the amount of detail and the fascinating stories. Many of us have heard plenty of Steely Dan lore, but this is by far the most complete and now favorite piece I've read. It doesn't hurt that you are looking for best/most authentic sound quality and your subject is "The Dan". I don't know how you're paid for this, but it ain't enough. No matter what.

 

Thank you!

Chris V

 

Thank you so much! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this comment. 

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I just checked the vinyl copy that came my way last year.  It is the AB1006 version.  And it was almost new, cover still shiny, the spine still stiff, sitting in my sister's ex's collection.  She gave his whole collection to me when he said he didn't want them.  There were a few others like that too, but mostly just stuff I'd never bother with.  Graceland is the other that comes to mind, also like new.  

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Wow Josh, I know I'd never consider giving you tips on research, writing, or publishing ... unless we were friends with an understanding. Thanks for your hard work, dedication, and time. It's amazing that one can find an article so rich and unique and freely available.

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Hello all! @EmmettM kindly mailed me the MQA CD, and an update about that mastering will be posted shortly.

 

Also, I was able to confirm that the version available on streaming sites, including Tidal and Qobuz, is the '99 Nichols mastering. 

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BTW, can we look forward to some version comparisons of Pretenders, KOB, The Wall....  ??

 

Again, Thanks Much for your efforts so far!

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22 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

BTW, can we look forward to some version comparisons of Pretenders, KOB, The Wall....  ??

 

Again, Thanks Much for your efforts so far!

 

KOB? Kind of Blue?

 

I'm definitely going to do a Floyd album at some point, but I'm leaning towards Dark Side (despite/because of the unbelievably complex mastering history there). Wish You Were Here is also in the mix. 

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20 hours ago, JoshM said:

 

I'm definitely going to do a Floyd album at some point, but I'm leaning towards Dark Side (despite/because of the unbelievably complex mastering history there). Wish You Were Here is also in the mix. 

Yes, either DSOTM or WYWH ! Both have the Immersion SACD or BluRay available with 2 and 4 channel Alan Parsons mix and 5.1 James Guthrie mix.  I have both on the Russian Blu-Ray clones, and personally prefer the Guthrie 5.1 version. It also works well with DTS Neural X upmixing to some overhead speakers.  YMMV

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