What About the $29.95 "Aja" Cut at AA Mastering by Alex Abrash Using BG's Digital Master?
your dime dancing will get you a dime pressing
Only covering the sound here and the news is not good for a few reasons. First, the sound is bass-heavy, generally "thick" and unpleasant and the perspective is flat. If you bought the UHQR or have an original pressing and don't want to spend $150, you are all set.
The 192/24 Qobuz stream sourced from Bernie Grundman's digital file produced using the same tape he used to cut UHQR lacquers sounds far superior in every way to this vinyl edition. The bass is more rhythmically together and appropriate, the midrange is open and transparent and the top end has added air and appropriate sparkle. And, spatially there is no comparison whatsoever. The stream's presentation is three-dimensional and far more involving.
Does this sound familiar? If you read the Swordfishtrombones review it should. That release was mastered from the original tapes to high resolution digital files by Chris Bellman and cut by Alex Abrash. The Qobuz files sounded way better and the record sounded similar to this Steely Dan.
When you listen to a record you are listening to the mastering engineer's "hi-fi in reverse". These are only two samples but I'm starting to think since the streamed files sound pretty good and thee two LPs cut by Abrash sound thick, flat and unpleasant, either we are hearing his unpleasant sounding chain (including his D/A converter), or he's doing some unpleasant EQ and/or compressor manipulation to the files. The consistency between the Swordfishtrombones and Aja is too strong to be accidental. In other news, the recent Who's Next got five enthusiastic stars from a writer at my previous print endeavor. Oy vey! (that's Italian for exasperation).