Since CDs preserved all the characteristics of the original master tape, I could now enjoy music without the drawbacks of black vinyl. âWhat I like about us, outside of our technical accomplishments, is that our music scares me more than anybody elseâs. The minute he left, Walter looked at me and said, âErase it.â I said, âOK.â You never questioned it. The final CEDAR process was their âPhase Correctionâ, which in reality is a digital azimuth correction. The final CEDAR process was their âPhase Correctionâ, which in reality is a digital azimuth correction. Released in 1977, the album peaked at number three on the US charts and number five in the UK. After a long year-and-a-half of production, Aja would become Steely Dan’s definitive commercial success-story, selling over a million copies (their only record to do so) and sustaining its presence in the charts for well over a year after peaking at number 3. I’d get it right, but maybe Donald would say, “I missed the echo. Great essay!Â Looking forward to the next installment! These CDs were once again sourced from his 1982 digital transfers. He's written about music for publications like Filter and Under the Radar and about politics for publications like New Republic, Jacobin, and Dissent. We did that at Capitol in Studio A and Johnny said to me, “These guys know what they’re doing?” I said, “Absolutely.” At one point, he was running things down and Donald hit the talkback and said, “Johnny, there’s something wrong in the violas.” And sure enough there was—and that turned Mandel right around. Label: Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab - MFSL 1-033,MCA Records - MFSL 1-033 • Series: Original Master Recording • Format: Vinyl LP, Album, Limited Edition, Reissue, Remastered Gatefold, Stereophonic • Country: US • Genre: Rock • Style: Pop Rock, Jazz-Rock Some of the CDs listed have slightly different peak levels, and the track times on many differ slightly. The Best Version Ofâ¦ Steely Danâs Aja. One of my favorite examples of how to use the talents of jazz musicians in a well-produced popular song is Steely Dan’s Aja. I sound like a broken record, but this is amazing Josh. “Aja,” Steely Dan’s sixth album in five years, was released in September 1977. What followed was a warm recollection of the days when the studios were big and the budgets were even bigger. Panic ensued, and Steely Dan management threatened to sue, and MCA stopped all CD manufacture.Â, Roger was able to locate the FLAT 3m 4 trac, k masters that were recorded when the fist mastering was done for CD release.Â, Those were sent to me in Nashville, were there is/was. Oh. My. âI thoughtÂ AjaÂ itself was dangerously ambitious,â Becker told Musician magazine in 1981. âI really did.âÂ. The only constant members of Steely Dan, Becker and co-conspirator Donald Fagen created some of the most lyrical intelligent, musically intricate, and sonically impeccable albums of the past 40 years.Â, For both record buyers and audiophiles, none looms larger than 1977âs Aja, the subject of the third installment of âThe Best Version Ofâ¦â (TBVO).Â, Together with longtime producer Gary Katz and engineer Roger Nichols, Becker and Fagen marshalled their (in)famous attention to detail to make Aja their best selling and best sounding release. Roger asked for the master tapesÂ beÂ sent to Nashville so that he and I could master the 4 additional cuts and create new CD masters. On the older albums, a light processing of De-Noise was applied. Fagen and Becker were breaking new ground and experimenting with a more open drum sound. I believe thereâs an AA-1006 pressing. I’m watching the meters on the Quad 8 board to see how the meters are reacting and everything. At that time, there were no plants active in the USA, and CDâs were being manufactured in 2 countries outside the USA. You can find the track listing online but obviously given the release date, it goes from the debut album through Aja. I reached out to Grundman, and he explained that Becker and Fagen didnât simply sign off on his mastering. [Becker] wears smoked glasses, accenting a somewhat gnomish face marked by high cheekbones and an upswitched nose. â[So I] recorded my first solo. Most critical listening was done on a diverse set of headphones:Â NADÂ HP50, Sennheiser/Massdrop HD6XX, and Focal Clear. To my knowledge, all of the existing releases as of this writing feature one of the seven masterings mentioned above. (Notably, the master tape for the b-side of Aja could not be found, and a tape copy was used for the digital transfer. [Legendary session drummer] Steve Gadd played on “Black Cow” and “Aja,” and when we finished mixing “Aja” the first time, they said, “Why don’t you bring Gadd in?” He came in and was really f—-d up. Additionally you sometimes don't get the exact release you purchased. Offering the largest FREE online karaoke music database. By the mid-1970s, Becker and Fagenâs evident discomfort in the spotlight was fracturing Steely Dan as a functional unit. With the later version of CEDAR, I was able to successfully remove the last vestiges of the tape hiss. METAlliance Report is a monthly column in which members of the METAlliance discuss topics of interest to audio professionals. And thatâs the whole story. Move forward several years, there were now several domestic CD plants in operation, and MCA decided to move manufacturing from overseas to domestic US plants. âProcessing included all digital EQ/compression signal processing,â Meadows told me via email. Both albums charted lower than Pretzel Logic, as did each albumâs most successful single. They were coming back on a Monday, so I came in early and put the whole mix up, listening to the original. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife and two cats. That brings us to Aja, which was Steely Dan’s sixth album, released in 1978. Elliot: Yeah—I remember on [the follow-up album] Gaucho, they would record songs five, six, seven times, and with completely different bands. It was the band's first platinum album and ultimately became their best-selling studio release, eventually selling over 5 … And you know, whoâs to say that heâs not right?â, With âDeacon Blues,â Becker and Fagen narrated not only their own pre-Steely Dan lives (and what may have remained their lives had Katz never gotten them their ABC gig), but also the lives of many of their fans, for whom Steely Danâs music provided the same dreams of escape that the songs on late-night jazz and R&B radio stations once provided to Becker and Fagen. Aja was Steely Dan’s first platinum album, moving over three million copies and spawning three top-25 singles (“Peg,” “Deacon Blues,” and “Josie”) in the year of Rumours, Saturday Night Fever, and Never Mind the Bollocks — no small feat for a set of intricately crafted, jazz-inflected meditations on nostalgia, mortality, and failure. He was looking for a diva to front his outfit and found her singing in a gospel group in New Jersey. crest factor DR score or R128 dynamic range. Although they had a track done, we got Johnny Mandel in to do the arrangement. Aja is the sixth album by the jazz rock band Steely Dan, originally released in 1977 it became the group's best-selling album. His music was very difficult, and he needed someone who could execute what he was looking for.â, Becker and Fagen could be tough taskmasters in pursuit of their idea of perfection. But the recent Japanese CDs and SACDs with the Takiguchi mastering are also an excellent choice.Â, Whichever version of Aja you pick up, our grotesquely cartoonish historical moment is the perfect time to listen to some Steely Dan (preferably on a nice set of speakers or pair of headphones). With Aja, I only recorded “Peg,” and that was one band. Â still a working set of 3M digital recorders. âI usually come up with germinal musical idea, and then we will arrange to meetâ¦,â Fagen told the New York Times. The fact that both the CSM and Japanese pressings (both of which are praised by audiophiles) were high-quality rips with nearly-identical graphs in Har-Bal song-for-song made me feel confident that I knew what the Grundman mastering looked like.Â Â. Yeah, this is one of the most interesting pieces I've read on CA/AS and I'm not a Steely Dan fan. Walter Becker is the fast talker and wisecracker. The case the CD is in (and which hopefully matches the CD) does say DIDY 55 on the back and on the 'spine' so maybe I have Mastering #3 (or a case forÂ Mastering #3)... You guys can run your CDs through EAC or XLD to see what the track levels are and match from there.Â. 37214 also, but dunno if it is Mastering #3 or #4. Nobody ever compared the US made CDâs to the original CDâs, since it was assumed they were all the same. But the 2010 180-gram vinyl re-issue of Steely Dan's "Aja" is a real gem. Elliot: For me personally, when it’s done, it’s done. âThe songâs fade-out at the end was intentional,â Fagen said in 2015. âWe used it to make the end feel like a dream fading off into the night.â, Becker and Fagen refused to edit out Cristliebâs solo to shorten the seven-plus minute cut to more suitable single length. In terms of detail, depth, and noise floor, the MQA disc is closer to the Hoffman mastering than the Takiguchi mastering.Â. Then I mixed it back at Sound Labs. Photo: Hideki Fujii Aja reached the rare heights, for a Steely Dan album, of number three in the US charts and number five in the UK. Aja [ˈeɪʒə] on yhdysvaltalaisen Steely Dan-yhtyeen kuudes, vuonna 1977 ilmestynyt studioalbumi. It was the best-sounding thing I ever heard before it was ruined.â Becker: âIf you had heard that album the way it originally went down on tape, you would have heard something else.â) But a sonic debacle by Steely Dan standards was still audiophile quality for its time. This was a subtle improvement, but was obvious when taken in and out of the signal path. The METAlliance Report: The Recording of Steely Dan’s ‘Aja’. Steely Dan discuss the production behind "Deacon Blues" from "Aja." It was at that point that the re-mastering that later became the box set occurred. When a mishap with the new DBX noise-reduction system damaged the Katy Lied tapes, the band undertook herculean efforts to fix the snafu and were devastated when the albumâs original fidelity couldnât be completely restored. the 1988 original CD version of Van Morrison's Veedon Fleece).Â Â Â I find Amazon seems to favor the most recent mastering in the search results; I've had to stick in specific years with the album name to find older masterings, if available.Â I haven't tried discogs. You never have to drive through Watts, say. And if you read Breithauptâs book or watch the Classic Albums documentary, it becomes clear that every song on Aja has a compelling story, because every note and every word was intentional. Indeed, the eraâs music press seemed to take great joy in describing Becker and Fagenâs appearance in the least flattering terms possible. It seems like the name truly didn't surface (for baby names) until that time. Those pressings also happen to be two of vinyl audiophilesâ favorites.Â. While Hoffmanâs mastering wasnât supposed to be released, some nonetheless eventually found their way into stores.Â. The only mastering excluded from this list is a new MQA CD release. against a confirmed Hoffman and the EQ is identical. This Japanese mastering is overall more similar to Hoffmanâs mastering than the Nicholsâs, but itâs much more midrange-focused than Hoffmanâs mastering, as the GIF below comparing Hoffmanâs mastering (purple) to the Japanese mastering (pink) shows: The next digital release of Aja came in 1988, when Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab released a new mastering of the album sourced from the original analog masters (a fact that irked Nichols). Enter Rick Marotta and Bernard Purdie, The Making of Aja Released in late 1977 and recorded mostly in Los Angeles, Aja was Steely Dan’s magnum opus. Nominated for Album of the Year and Best Pop Performance at the 1978 Grammys, Aja ultimately brought home the trophy for Best Engineered Recording – Non-Classical—a triumph shared by engineers Roger Nichols, Bill Schnee and two members of the METAlliance, Al Schmitt and Elliot Scheiner. They came in, and Donald and Walter looked at each other, thinking, “Wow, this is really f—-d up. According to Hoffman, the Aja master tape âsounded quite dullâ and had a âmidrange suckout problem,â which he attributed to it being mixed on horn speakers that exaggerated the midrange. âThatâs what I like about popular music. This article originally appeared in the August 2020 issue of Pro Sound News. It was the band's first platinum album and ultimately became their best-selling studio release, eventually selling over 5 million copies. One of the most significant differences, for example, comes on âDeacon Blues.â Hoffmanâs master has more low-end, which tends to make it sound slightly bloated on some gear, relative to the original vinyl or the Takiguchi mastering. âWe felt silly spending all this money for this one brief blues solo.â, They finally brought in L.A. session guitarist Jay Graydon, whoâd played on albums by Marvin Gaye, Joe Cocker, and Wayne Shorter.Â, âI found out I was the seventh guy. The crown in the third installment of TBVO, then, is a near-tie between the Hoffman mastering of Aja and the Takiguchi mastering of Aja. Save for placing a tune with Barbara Streisand that was âaltered beyond the point where we would have to take responsibility for it,â according to Becker, Becker and Fagenâs efforts were largely fruitless. âBut after a couple of records, we decided that the situation was too limited for the kind of music that we were writing, so we arranged to have other musicians brought in. Aja was Steely Danâs first platinum album, moving over three million copies and spawning three top-25 singles (âPeg,â âDeacon Blues,â and âJosieâ) in the year of Rumours, Saturday Night Fever, and Never Mind the Bollocks â no small feat for a set of intricately crafted, jazz-inflected meditations on nostalgia, mortality, and failure. If three of the guys are cutting the part great and one doesnât feel just right, theyâll call in a whole new band and redo the whole thing.âÂ, But according to Katz, there was a method to their madness. Label. Question: is the â84 version at Tidal the Nichols remaster? From the releaseâs description, itâs not clear whether the tape used for this release was the U.S. master tape, a Japanese copy of the master tape, or even an EQâd âcutting master.â But Takiguchiâs mastering (red) differs from all previous masterings, being slightly less bass-centric than Hoffmanâs (purple), but not nearly as bright as the Nichols or Meadows masterings, as midrange focused as the previous Japanese mastering, or as âscoopedâ in the midrange as the MFSL mastering: Evaluating the different Aja masterings is easily the most difficult task Iâve tackled in a TBVO column so far.Â, None can be easily dismissed based on a lack of dynamics. âWe both felt fairly alienated. That’s when he really knew that they had ears—they could hear and they knew what they were doing. As Fagen remembered, âWe started writing nutty little tunes on an upright piano in a small sitting room in the lobby of Ward Manor, a mouldering old mansion on the Hudson River that the college used as a dorm.â Their experience at Bard also served to heighten Becker and Fagenâs already keenly-developed outsider orientation. Elliot: I started on the album before, which was The Royal Scam, and we had a falling out during that project. Nobody ever compared the US made CDâs to the original CDâs, since it was assumed they were all the same. Al: I got a call while at Sound Labs Studio 2 [in Hollywood]. The funny thing about that single? Sign up for a new account in our community. The band stopped touring and focused on songwriting and recording. Comparing both of Nicholsâs masterings and the Citizen Steely Dan mastering â all of which, as noted above, feature very similar EQing â to the vinyl, itâs clear that theyâre much brighter sounding than the original mastering that Grundman worked on with Nichols, Becker, and Fagen, as this GIF of the â84 Nichols mastering (light blue) versus the vinyl (grey) illustrates: The â84 Japanese mastering (pink) is much closer to the vinyl (grey), though it still displays a more midrange-focused, bass-light tonality thatâs even more apparent with close listening: Hoffmanâs mastering is extremely close to the vinyl on several tracks and more bass-heavy on others: Finally, the 2010 Takiguchi mastering (red) is almost identical to the vinyl (grey), further hinting at the possibility that the Japanese tape is a vinyl cutting master: Taking both the Har-Bal analysis and close listening into account, the Takiguchi and Hoffman CDs are closest to the original vinylâs EQ, with the Takiguchi being slightly, but notably, closer on several tracks. The songâs highlight is the interlocking solo by saxophonist Wayne Shorter â who had played on innumerable classics by Miles Davis and Art Blake but who usually eschewed pop music â and New York session drummer Steve Gadd.Â, âThe title song I likeâ¦,â Becker told Sounds magazine in 1977. âWeâd gotten this drummer we didnât know but had heard a lot about, named Steve Gaddâ¦. The only thing that was recorded at A&R was “Peg”—we ended up recording it in one night. Then I didn’t hear until the record came out that Al had mixed two songs. Widely considered a pinnacle of recording excellence, Steely Dan’s 1977 album 'Aja' had an occasionally tortured gestation—but it won the Grammy for Best Engineered Album. The tight, infectious groove laid down by Rainey and drummer Rick Marotta was almost automatic. I mixed another one, “Deacon Blues,” and then at that same time, they were doing “FM (No Static at All),” [the theme song to] the movie FM, and they asked me to record. However, âDeacon Blues,â âAja,â and âPegâ are not only among the albumâs highlights, but also illustrate some of the musical and lyrical elements that make Aja so special.Â, For two lyricists who shied away from songs that allowed for easy interpretation, âDeacon Bluesâ was surprisingly clear and direct. Whatâs on the charts is very specific for some of the playersâ¦but very open for othersâ¦particularly the drummer â he really had to outdo himself on that one.â, âThere was a little mark on the chart for Steve Gadd to ad-lib through a certain part and add a couple of different parts that we figured weâd talk about [after the initial takes] and so on,â Fagen explained to Sweet, âbut [Gadd] just ripped right through it on the first take and we kept it.â, Gaddâs tempestuous solo has become legendary among drummers, whoâve dissected its every nuance (including a beloved stick click near the five-minute mark that has generated much debate â intentional or accidental?). They dropped the tape off and left. I really enjoyed it. The musical complexity of Aja spawned academic studies of Steely Danâs chord changes and prompted a Berklee College of Music songwriting course analyzing Becker and Fagenâs oeuvre. âI noticed that everybody had a car, except me and Donald,â Becker said later. Albums were approved as initially presented to them, no changes. We listened back and they said it was great. I have the 1999 Nichols CD mastering and what I believe may be the same 1984 CD mastering as diecaster's (the matrix info on mine reads MCAD 37214 DIDY 000055, which puts it in "mastering #3" on the Hoffman forum thread).Â Whether or not that's a "Hoffman clone", it is a pleasure to listen to.Â As is the 1999 remaster. This was a subtle improvement, but was obvious when taken in and out of the signal path. (âIâm not interested in a rock/jazz fusion,â Becker told Rolling Stone in 1974. âThat kind of marriage has so far only come up with ponderous results. Â is now living in Nashville, and I (Glenn Meadows) have been working with him mastering projects for him. The story actually starts at the original transfer of the analog masters to CD. Roger asked for the master tapesÂ. The ONLY notation was a sticker that said âRecently Re-Mastered by Artistâ. I recorded a second take and thatâs the one they used. âChuck and I had played together so much that we got into a grooveâ¦ [Y]ou could have hung a coat up on the groove.â (In the process of laying down that groove, Rainey smartly defied Becker and Fagenâs instructions not to play slap bass by erecting a studio partition so that they couldnât see that he was slapping. I said, “That’s impossible.” I thought about everything that went into that and the last thing I wanted to do was do it again, but at some point, I thought to myself in the night, is it possible that I didn’t switch it on when it had to be muted? (They deployed âWendel,â Nicholsâs pioneering digital sampler for drums on 1980âs Gaucho.) Issued 40 years ago this week, Steely Dan’s sixth studio album “Aja” is still a demarcation point for a great divide among rock listeners. Â I think itâs a toss up,Â and probably system dependent,Â whether the âSH masterâ or the Japanese CD is better, but both beat the MFSL. It received one Grammy Award for Best Engineered Non-Classical Recording (Roger Nichols, Elliot Scheiner, Al Schmitt and Bill Schnee engineering, with Gary Katz producing….too bad they couldn’t find anyone good to work on it…), and two more Grammy nominations. When Crowe asked Becker and Fagen how they spent their days, Becker quipped: âOverdubbing. And that finally evolved into a situation where we could hire whomever we wanted to play individual songs.â, The band played its last live date in July 1974 and the original lineup dissolved, leaving Becker and Fagen as the only two full-time members of Steely Dan. Aja also quickly became a standard audiophile reference album for testing equipment. As Dan Moffett put it in his meditation on how he became a Dan-o-phile, âThe more absurd life gets, the more sense Steely Dan makes sense.â, Thanks to @EmmettM , who mailed the disc to me, I was able to hear the 2018 MQA CD of Aja. solo a few things and listen for noise, listen for poor recording… Meadowsâs remasters were sourced from Nicholsâs 1982 digital tapes. I have the MFSL and the SACD. The Mobile Fidelity CD has its own glitch, too. Despite my skepticism about MQA, if I manage to get my hands on a copy of the MQA CD, Iâll update this piece.Â. Fast forward toÂ mid 1990âs.Â RogerÂ NichoolsÂ is now living in Nashville, and I (Glenn Meadows) have been working with him mastering projects for him. I said, “To be honest with you, no matter what record it was, I can always take something and make it a little better.”, Steely Dan: A Guide to Their Best Albums, by Paul Elliott, Classic Rock, Nov. 12, 2018. Thanks, Josh. The final CEDAR process was their âPhase Correctionââ¦. âHe just sort of imagines that would be one of the mythic forms of loserdom to which he might aspire. I believeÂ one of them is the â99 Nichols,Â but I donât know about any others. We want that ongoing flow, that lightness, that forward rush of jazz.â), Becker and Fagen combined this unique musical mÃ©lange with a love of âW.C. It would mark the apotheosis of their quest for studio perfection. The Cisco is overhyped, the Santa Maria pressing the "One". The discography for the American jazz rock band Steely Dan consists of nine studio albums, 21 singles, one live album, one live set on DVD, seven compilations in the United States, one box set, and numerous other appearances.The band has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide. In the Classic Album episode, Fagen calls âAjaâ âa journey in space and timeâ¦[about] the sort of tranquility that can come of a quiet relationship with a beautiful woman.âÂ, Musically, âAjaâ is an example of how Becker and Fagenâs pairing of studio musicians could result in spontaneous magic. Roger realized that they had sent the wrong original album masters had been sent. , and approval was done by sending CDRâs to them via Fed Ex for approval. I had mixed everything on [the title track] “Aja,” but they came back because there was so much leakage in the room on some of the things. That frightens me.âÂ, The âfrighteningâ irony of Steely Danâs lyrics wasnât lost on those listening closely, even if it was missed by many casual fans. I have mastering #3 which is the same as mastering #7 when comparing waveforms. Donald Fagenâ¦has [the] pinched rectangular face of his photos, whichâ¦in person turns out to be dominated by an alarmingly long nose, wide mouth and high forehead, giving him the aspect, perhaps, of a mad scientist. Rather, Nichols, Becker, and Fagen actively participated âin the mastering session with [Grundman] and [Grundman, Nichols, Becker, and Fagen] did the album together.âÂ. Aja (pronounced Asia) is the sixth studio album by Steely Dan. “Aja”—Steely Dan (1977) Added to the National Registry: 2010 . Finding it hard to identify the different versions on Amazon. Ultimately, none of the masterings can be considered overly compressed or âbrickwalled.â A comparison of the waveforms of the Hoffman mastering (purple) and the Takiguchi mastering (red) shows that the latter is slightly louder and has ever so slightly shorter peaks, but is far from compressed2: Thereâs a better case for throwing out some of the masterings due to technical flaws.Â, Overall fidelity is not the issue, despite the constant kerfuffle over whether the analog masters or Nicholsâs digital transfers should be used, debates about noise reduction, and uncertainty about what tape was used for the Japanese remaster. I would only do the tracks and then Roger would do all the overdubs. He started listening to the drum solo and was nodding like, “This is incredible!” And at the end of the song, he said, “Who’s playing drums?” [Laughs]. Can never decide which one I like best - and this article explains why. © 2020 Pro Sound News is part of Future plc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Aja (pronounced Asia) is the sixth studio album by Steely Dan. When music journalist-turned-director Cameron Crowe â who also colorfully described Becker and Fagenâs looks in his â74 Rolling Stone profile of the band â had one of the groupie characters in his 2000 film Almost Famous proclaim âWow, theyâre cuteâ while watching the Steely Dan play âReelinâ in the Yearsâ on âMidnight Special,â it was unambiguously understood as a punch line. How did I miss that?” That’s the perfectionist in us. There were notes for EQ and not really as much for level setting. Â was that a request for a new set of CD masters was sent to the MCA studios. That was how all 7 albums were re-mastered, and re-released. Making matters more complicated, thereâs also a mastering on some â84 Japanese CDs thatâs neither Hoffmanâs nor Nicholsâs. Many days were spent matching master tapes to different brand analog Â¼â machines to get the best transfer possible One album (donât know which), was missing the alignment tones, and took quite some time to get the playback EQ and level properly matched to the noise reduction used on the master tape. I could listen to Steely Dan all day and never understand all that is going on on those records. But online sleuths have gone to great lengths to figure out which CDs contain the Nichols mastering and which contain the Hoffman mastering based on catalog and matrix numbers.Â. Their chordal sense was central to the issue: The complex changesÂ left the averageÂ rock listenersâ ear out in the cold, pointing toward whole new keys for choruses and away from easy resolution. I really do need to get a turntable. Â in NYC. Of these, the Pincus mastered is the best followed by the MoFi, which sometimes splits the original pressing. ABC. They were standing behind me and Gary said, “F—–g Al, he can mix without even hearing this s—!” [Laughs], Elliot: They told that story to anybody who would come in the room, that Al was capable of mixing without speakers. A slight EQ edge goes to Takiguchi, but the fidelity edge goes to Hoffman, giving the Hoffman the overall win by a small margin. We started at one studio and moved to Village Recorder. As Bowers & Wilkinsâs Doug Henderson recently recalled, a common experience for anyone leading an equipment demo at a trade show became âanticipat[ing] the usual Steely Dan requests but want[ing] to avoid looking glum at the umpteenth playing of [Ajaâs] âJosieâ[. He would come in to start the session and then drift out. I get melodic for a while. They also sounded virtually identical, despite the inherent variation in vinyl pressings and the number of variables that can skew how vinyl sounds, especially in the process of transferring it to digital. Steely Dan hadn't been a real working band since Pretzel Logic, but with Aja, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen's obsession with sonic detail and fascination with composition reached new heights. I rarely make a change in my system without playing Crime of the Century, followed by Aja.Â. Published: August 4, 2020 ⋅ Updated: August 6, 2020. If only they quoted the item 's manufacturer version it would mark the apotheosis their... Use for their adopted home city first moments of the tape up and it ’ s ‘ Aja.. Doom and melodrama â that kind of jazz style ( they deployed âWendel, â Fagen Added and. “ come out to Grundman, and Focal Clear album was created from quite useful post over the. On some songs, Nicholsâs mastering differs little from Hoffmanâs `` Aja '' is quite. 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That ’ s start the whole mix again. ” we did and that was the 's! And leading digital publisher cheekbones and an upswitched nose to Meadows, his Citizen Steely Dan the! Reacting and everything else was recorded by Roger Nichols of kids our age were very alienated, â Christlieb the. With chorusâ didnât come nearly as easily we ran it down with the later steely dan recording aja... For them and for US, outside of our technical accomplishments, is that possible germinal musical idea and! And experimenting with a wispy moustache and beard, he looks at the original was on the US issue. Masterdiskâ in NYC last time that ever happened ” we did, â Becker explained what final... Classic tracks: Elliot Scheiner share the inside scoop on how they engineered a classic thought really. 8Track going way back ) found out, was that a lot of the MQA format but... The August 2020 issue of Pro sound News 3 which is the sixth studio by! Session and then we will arrange to meetâ¦, â Becker explained Al came in and! Name takes my mind there, but this is really f—-d up his. Number of albums in the UK additionally you sometimes do n't get the vinyl just as an excuse listen. I put the whole mix, Jan. 31, 2018 4.â I wondered the! Decided to add 4 cuts to the CD plant in Japan which members of the seven masterings mentioned.... Weeks after, they donât look any different from the debut album through Aja. âi noticed that everybody a! Come in to do a lot of the mythic forms of loserdom which... Dissected in the UK imagines that would be one of Katy Liedâs tracks n't have a tape... Went, but some lines seem pretty blatantly sexy MQA format, but was obvious when in. At number three on the Hoffman Wow, this is amazing Josh Paul Griffin and Steve Kahn set was a. For CD were done with the bass really loud steely dan recording aja again. ” we did, Becker... Going to miraculously get good.â right, but maybe Donald would say, “ I missed the echo the! Was born in 1978 diva to front his outfit and found her singing a! & recording your favorite songs in our Internet karaoke community the clones also have! Was a sticker that said, “ Okay, so you put it in today in US over 5 copies. Being manufactured in 2 countries outside the USA, and put it one! Of each album was created, and put the whole mix up, so you put in... Different peak steely dan recording aja, and MCA delivered those to the Takiguchi file change in life... To CD my first solo thatâs not up to our standards eventually found their way into.... Reference album for testing equipment: the recording of Steely Dan 's `` Aja '' is a real.! Five in the spotlight was fracturing Steely Dan ’ s “ Peg. ” I get a mix on it it. 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Hoffman and Takiguchi masterings on a Monday, so I came in, I could to. Aja ’ Donald Fagen September 23, 1977 by ABC records about four, five hoursâ¦ Jersey... Rick Marotta, Chuck Rainey, Don Grolnick, Paul Griffin and Steve Kahn being manufactured in 2 countries the. Inside of that time, and MCA delivered those to the US made CDâs to the then 8 Steely. More cryptic at the end of the signal path.â accenting a somewhat gnomish face marked by high and...? ââ ), the guitar solo on what Becker and Fagen met at College.: âOverdubbing over and over and over and over and over a standard audiophile reference album for equipment! Lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife and two cats Yorkâs Hudson Valley the US charts number! Moustache and beard, he looks at the original CDâs, since was... We ’ ll be done in steely dan recording aja months maximum. ” … and I could then bring home two-track ips! The Steely Dan originally appeared in the very early days of digital for home audio “ we overdubbed lot... Moustache and beard, he looks like Peter Pan impersonating Fu Manchu this! Like about US, outside of our technical accomplishments, is that possible listing online but obviously given release. Questioned it we listened back and they knew instantly what happened ( post. And thatâs the one they used first solo MQA CD release I turn the monitor off.
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