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Steely Dan Aja: production that good? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 26th October 2007
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
Spec's Avatar
Steely Dan Aja: production that good?


always been curious about this record's production given the hype around it. i have never heard it because i do not listen/make that style of music. in fact i have never listen to any steely dan on good monitors/hi-fi

my local record store has a pristine 180 gram vinyl 30th anniversary re-issue of Aja. this re-issue is supposed to be the a great pressing of that album.

so many people on GS rate Aja as one of the greatest sonically produced creations of all time. Its consistently top 3 on all the GS threads that ask the question: “best produced album ever…”

My question: is the production so great on Aja that i should hand over $55 AUD just to listen to the production/engineering/mixing/micing/mastering and hopefully learn something about what makes a great record SOUND great?

is the production that good?

Spek

ps i do not care if i end up liking the music or not.
Old 26th October 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 
bcgood's Avatar
 

yes
Old 26th October 2007
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
Marty J's Avatar
 

Why not just buy the CD?

There's really no need to go nuts. heh
Old 26th October 2007
  #4
Gear Nut
 

i have it on vinyl and have the remastered cd version.

WORTH EVERY PENNY!

ROGER NICHOLLS is a tonmeister! walter beckett is an awesome guitar player, and donald fagen has a unique voice.

aja..........one of the bests songs ever!
Old 26th October 2007
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Gregg Sartiano's Avatar
 

Yes. The old pressing was just fine by me, by the way, so if you're short on $$$, don't think you have to pop for the super-audiophile version just to hear the record. It's awesome in so many ways.
Old 26th October 2007
  #6
Gear Addict
 
JesseJ's Avatar
 

When proper, vinyl has a better resolution than CD, so do get the vinyl!
Old 26th October 2007
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
Marty J's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JesseJ View Post
When proper, vinyl has a better resolution than CD, so do get the vinyl!
If I want to use something for a reference, I want to know how it sounds in the car, on a crappy boombox, or (gasp!) on my iPod. This isn't really practical for vinyl. I guess he could always get both!
Old 26th October 2007
  #8
Gear Nut
 
lazzaro's Avatar
 

Gaucho might be a better fit ...

Having just listened to Deacon Blues and Glamour Profession
back to back ... I'd say that Gaucho is probably more relevant
than Aja to modern production styles. Especially given your comment
that you're not particularly fond of the music itself. Gaucho is prescient
of what followed it, whereas Aja is more reverent to what preceded it.

Although I can't imagine not having both around to reference.
Not to mention listen to. But then again, I really like the music itself.
Old 26th October 2007
  #9
Lives for gear
 
themaidsroom's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spec View Post
always been curious about this record's production given the hype around it. i have never heard it because i do not listen/make that style of music. in fact i have never listen to any steely dan on good monitors/hi-fi

my local record store has a pristine 180 gram vinyl 30th anniversary re-issue of Aja. this re-issue is supposed to be the a great pressing of that album.

so many people on GS rate Aja as one of the greatest sonically produced creations of all time. Its consistently top 3 on all the GS threads that ask the question: “best produced album ever…”

My question: is the production so great on Aja that i should hand over $55 AUD just to listen to the production/engineering/mixing/micing/mastering and hopefully learn something about what makes a great record SOUND great?

is the production that good?

Spek

ps i do not care if i end up liking the music or not.


if you like the record.
if you like vinyl,
it sounds really, really
good.
it is a well done piece
of vinyl


be well

- jack
Old 26th October 2007
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spec View Post
so many people on GS rate Aja as one of the greatest sonically produced creations of all time.
Something like that is impossible to quantify.
Old 26th October 2007
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Maybe you should just listen. You don't know what you were missing.
I was missing a lot myself, too. I was stupid, talking about production of music without knowing anything, but was thinking I knew a lot.
Old 26th October 2007
  #12
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Wow, I just took out this record yesterday and played the whole thing, after seeing it in the favorite album thread. I thought I would see if it was worthy. I date all my records, my latest copy is from September of 1986.

Yes, the production is THAT GOOD. In fact as I was listening I was thinking how this was really the peak of the analog era. And no, Gaucho ain't no Aja.

Aja is the exact opposite of everything we complain about in modern production. Everthing that makes Aja sound so good is being destroyed in the battle to be the loudest kid on the block.

I would probably put this at the top of my list if not for strange lyrical content. Other than Josie, I'm not too sure what they are saying.
Which is why I would go for something like DSOTM instead for my desert island disk. But for pure sonic enjoyment, there is none better than Aja.thumbsup
Old 26th October 2007
  #13
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lazzaro View Post
Having just listened to Deacon Blues and Glamour Profession
back to back ... I'd say that Gaucho is probably more relevant
than Aja to modern production styles. Especially given your comment
that you're not particularly fond of the music itself. Gaucho is prescient
of what followed it, whereas Aja is more reverent to what preceded it.
Nice ... very well put.
Old 26th October 2007
  #14
Lives for gear
 
themaidsroom's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Wow, I just took out this record yesterday and played the whole thing, after seeing it in the favorite album thread. I thought I would see if it was worthy. I date all my records, my latest copy is from September of 1986.

Yes, the production is THAT GOOD. In fact as I was listening I was thinking how this was really the peak of the analog era. And no, Gaucho ain't no Aja.

Aja is the exact opposite of everything we complain about in modern production. Everthing that makes Aja sound so good is being destroyed in the battle to be the loudest kid on the block.

I would probably put this at the top of my list if not for strange lyrical content. Other than Josie, I'm not too sure what they are saying.
Which is why I would go for something like DSOTM instead for my desert island disk. But for pure sonic enjoyment, there is none better than Aja.thumbsup


the thing to note is this rti pressing is THE pressing - it sounds amazing - whatever
they are doing over there at rti - they are making some of the best vinyl
that has ever been produced - i'm not sure if was kevin gray who cut this one,
or someone else, but this is 21st century vinyl - quiet and deep groove, extremely
hi-fi - i played two tracks of this record for a friend the other night, and spatially
it will show you how much can be achieved with vinyl - you can point to
physical spots in the room, knowing there is no digital pan that could ever
get that guitar over there - there is no over there.......

enjoy
be well

check out classic records
roy orbison
100% analog
superb production
3 track early 1960's
all tube consoles
amazing rooms and players
recently recut to 200 gram
vinyl @ rti
stunning


- jack
Old 26th October 2007
  #15
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spec View Post
always been curious about this record's production given the hype around it. i have never heard it because i do not listen/make that style of music.
While you're checking out bands, perhaps you might also enjoy music by some of these other artists as well:

The Beatles
The Rolling Stones
Jimi Hendrix
Led Zeppelin
The Eagles
Stevie Wonder
Fleetwood Mac
Elvis Costello
The Police
Prince
XTC
Pixies
Nirvana
Soundgarden
Radiohead
Chris Whitley

Have you heard any "jazz"?
Old 26th October 2007
  #16
Gear Nut
 

also the Doobies had some nice songs.

Michael McDonald him good singer...

Motown, Memphis, Philly...
Old 26th October 2007
  #17
Gear Addict
 
jkamata's Avatar
 

steely dan - the making of peg

love this track..thumbsup
Old 26th October 2007
  #18
Lives for gear
 
GYang's Avatar
First album I heard from Steely Dan was Royal Scam.
Since than, everything they ever made for me is just classic.
My advice, buy all their CDs and listen.
As much as possible.
Old 26th October 2007
  #19
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Schaap's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazzaro View Post
Having just listened to Deacon Blues .
You mean Deacon Bluefffzz.heh

I have the 4 CD-box with all Steely Dan. Love the tracks and productions. Only niggle is the de-essing of Donald Fagen in some tracks.

Henk
Old 26th October 2007
  #20
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
I was blown away when listening to 'Aja' thru a Tivoli Mono Speaker, a perfect mix balance if there ever was one and clarity that isn't hyped. Donald Fagen's voice and lyrics are the icing on the cake, gritty and wicked enough to keep the whole thing from being too elaborate and 'nice'.

It sounds great on CD but since I just got a turntable again for the first time in about 15 years I guess I will search out the vinyl as well.....
Old 26th October 2007
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
DowntownScience's Avatar
 

-Gasps-

I'm listening to it as I read this (we're on 'Deacon Blues' )

The one thing I find with 'Aja' is you start with 'Black Cow' & don't stop 'till 'Josie'... EVERYTIME.

The album is so good. And for what it's worth, I work in hip-hop (so my listening background would assume me not being partial to this style) but lo & behold...

Enjoy! (It's a slice of history)
Old 26th October 2007
  #22
Lives for gear
 
bunnerabb's Avatar
My two cents, spec: It's a really good record.

If you don't like the music, it may be just another bunch or boring songs.

If you like well recorded music and you like what they do, it's pretty much the benchmark.

Then again, this employs actual musicians playing actual arrangements. There's not a whole lot of menacing, caterwauling, shredding, posturing... or discussions about German cars, shooting people for dissing you, or debating upon the relative quality of women and their offerings of vaginal intercourse. It's music you need a certain level of world weariness to appreciate. You need to be able to discern nuance from complacancy. It's not everybody's cup of tea.
Old 26th October 2007
  #23
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
I haven't heard Steely Dan on vinyl in many years. I really do need to get a turntable. That said, everything about Gaucho and Aja are absolutely perfect. I could listen to Steely Dan all day and never understand all that is going on on those records. If you're like me, you'll get the vinyl just as an excuse to listen to it all over again.
Old 26th October 2007
  #24
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chrispick's Avatar
 

Just for some perspective...

I love Aja. Songs. Performance. Production. The whole nine.

But, it's not the be-all-end-all of modern recording, in my opinion. It's one musical/acoustical approach executed to a very high quality standard.

For example, how does one compare "Aja" to, say, Queen's "A Night at the Opera"? Very different albums, both sonically and musically. But, both stand as tremendous aesthetic and technical achievements.

Aja. It's an album worth having, if only as research and history material. If you come to like or, at the least, appreciate the sophistication and musicality of its tracks, all the better.
Old 26th October 2007
  #25
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88fingerz's Avatar
 

Check out their recent "Everything Must GO"...GREAT Collection of songs/production! Also Don Fagen's "Morph the cat".
Old 26th October 2007
  #26
Gear Addict
 
lane thaw's Avatar
 

It's worth $55 just to hear how Steve Gadd's drums were recorded and how it translates to vinyl. Gaucho is also a masterpiece as is the Nightfly. I don't like how the sound of the drums has evolved on their newer releases. I had a hard time after the funny car name one (Kamkiriad ??).
Old 26th October 2007
  #27
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allencollins's Avatar
 

steve gadd rules
Old 26th October 2007
  #28
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Bob Ross's Avatar
 

fwiw, I hate the tunes on Aja.

(And I would happily go into all the reasons and my justifications for that assesment, but this seems neither the time nor place)

...because, more importantly (and more germane to the OP's question) despite the fact that I hate the tunes, I love the production on Aja.

Yes, it's "that good" ...certainly good enough (and enough of a milestone) that any aspiring recording engineer or producer should be familiar with it.
Old 26th October 2007
  #29
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plexisys's Avatar
 

One of the things that makes an album great to me is the transpareny of the production. The production on this is so superb that at no point does it ever take your mind off the music. Only after the album is done do you say to yourself "FUkk was that amazing". IMHO probably one of the top 5 produced albums of all time.
Old 26th October 2007
  #30
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Beermaster's Avatar
 

I Hope everyone has their copy of the 'Classic Albums' DVD on Aja and its conception recording and performance ? - Its superb !

Gadd only played on the title track didn't he ? - that classic Gadd Samba groove towards the end after Wayne Shorters Impro. - Just the same thing he was doing with an almost identical kit sound on Chic Corea's album The Leprichaun round about the same period.

I think when people describe Aja as being one of the best produced albums I feel they're talking about the musical construction and performance more than the sonic fidelity of the engineering and mastering.
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