Steely Dan - Aja

Don't Miss This One! Don't Even THINK About Missing This One!

"…This Cisco reissue is vastly superior to both the original pressing and to Mobile Fidelity's ½ speed mastered reissue…This is sublime ear candy and more importantly magnificent music making. No wonder it retains its attraction 30 years after first being issued. More proof that we're living in the second coming of analog." Music = 10/11; Sound = 10/11 – Michael Fremer,

"If you were an audiophile in the 70s, you owned Aja." – Rolling Stone, 2001, placing it No. 145 of the 500 Greatest Albums Ever Recorded

And now, in commemoration of its 30th anniversary, Aja IS BACK – IN EVEN GREATER GLORY! Remastered by Kevin Gray, cut at AcousTech Mastering, Pressed on virgin 180-gram vinyl at RTI! Aja has now gotten the royal treatment!

This Cisco reissue has been personally approved by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker as well as Aja recording engineer Elliot Scheiner.

"(Aja) is the most perfect thing I have ever heard in my life. It is a religion." – Gareth Jones, renowned record producer/engineer

Long argued as one of the (if not THE) best rock recording ever and a permanent fixture on many a demo system in the late '70s and '80s, Aja was the culmination of everything Donald Fagen and Walter Becker aspired to accomplish in their storied careers. It was the first album certified platinum (eventually selling more than 5 million copies in the U.S.) by the then-new RIAA sales tracking system. It made Steely Dan superstars. It contained three ubiquitous U.S. Top 40 singles in "Peg," "Josie" and "Deacon Blues," though each of the seven tracks are wonderful.

And then there's the sound. Deservedly winning the 1978 Grammy Award for non-classical engineering, Roger "The Immortal" Nichols was helped by a who's-who of the top audio guys in the industry: Bill Schnee, Al Schmitt and Elliot Scheiner. The meticulous recording is almost fetishistic in its attention to detail. Every note of even the densest tracks can be clearly heard, with every instrument perfectly placed.

1. Black Cow
2. Aja
3. Deacon Blues
4. Peg
5. Home At Last
6. I Got The News
7. Josie

Customer Reviews (4.33 Stars) 45 person(s) rated this product.

Those marks on vinyl surfaces...,

posted on 01/07/2014
5 Stars
Reviewer: Barleyps
...'got them too, 3. Regarding the fact they are absolutely at the same emplacement on both sides, as if symetric + quite perpendicular to the vinyl's center, I would easily think that it's grips marks left by turning the record (for labels to be printed ?) ...a bit too early, when it was still warm, as if the company employee was in a hurry to deliver it (or have a coffe pause ;-) ?) to us But... HOPEFULLY can't hear them at all

Over Hyped

posted on 09/07/2013
3 Stars
Reviewer: Steve
Aja was definitely a ground breaking record - content and sonics. I still think Gaucho is sonically superior. Like a lot of folks have already mentioned, this is different, and in some ways an improvement over the original ABC release; but, not worth the $60 I paid for it, let alone the $120 asking price now. I haven't heard the Japanese version.

Not all that!

posted on 02/25/2013
3 Stars
A lot of money for not such a great pressing. For this kind of money you don't expect to get pops and ticks. This one has a couple doozies right out of the jacket. Sound is OK and dynamics are average. My original with all it's noisy overplayed grooves STILL sounds better. You really can't beat EARLY original pressings for dynamics. Unless you don't have an original, I wouldn't spend the coin on this dude. Search the record bins and find a reasonable original

A believer.

posted on 03/02/2012
5 Stars
Yes, it's that good. And Aja isn't even my favorite Dan.

Waaaayyy better than original!

posted on 12/04/2011
5 Stars
Reviewer: Chris
This blows away the original pressing and of course the CD. You can hear the difference most notably on "Home at Last". I rarely even noticed that song before, but it has become my favorite track due to the release of this album. Superior recording. Well done!


posted on 11/01/2011
5 Stars
I've heard the original, the MOFI, and now the Cisco version. To my ears, Cisco is the most pleasing. Very fat and full. I love it.


posted on 09/14/2011
5 Stars
I bought this for a friend for his birthday and it sounded fantastic! A must have if you're a Steely Dan fan.

Great sound; pressing issues

posted on 02/08/2011
4 Stars
I generally don't buy a lot of audiophile pressings, but made an exception for Aja, one of my all time favorite albums. I do prefer this pressing to my original bought when it was first released some 33 years ago. The sound and packaging on this issue are simply gorgeous.

I had issues with the pressing quality of both copies I received, however. The first had a small vinyl burr immediately before the sax solo on the title track which caused skipping and could not be removed. My replacement copy had a bad skip during "Peg" I was able to clean out. This copy also has those strange looking marks on both sides which look as though an iron was laid on the vinyl. These do not seem to affect the sound, though they detract from the appearance of the vinyl.

So overall I'll give it a 4; 5 for sound, but 3 due to apparent quality control issues with some pressings. I'd still recommend getting this while you can, and hope you get a copy free of defects.

Very pleasantly surprised

posted on 01/15/2011
5 Stars
I have been leary of recent heavy vinyl repressings of audiophile classics such as Steely Dan's Aja. A lot of them sounded lifeless and muddled compared to their half speed counterparts. But after reading several reviews of this particular release I decided to give it a shot. I have to say I was impressed with the wide soundstage and the bass which was tight and not overpowering like some reviewers have noted. There were several places in the album where I noted more distinct clarity in the recording - especially the saxophone solo in the title track. Even the MOFI pressing does not sound this clear. Michael McDonald and the backup vocals on I Got the News sounded more forward and present. The pressing was clean and I was amazed at how dead quiet it sounded with little if any background noise. As others have noted I was disappointed with what I would call smudge marks on both sides but thankfully they didn't seem to impact the sound quality. Well done Cisco!

great album, but what's with the surface marks?

posted on 12/23/2010
3 Stars
Great album, pretty good sound. But I almost returned it because it looked like somebody had used an iron on the surface of the lp. A great square of crushed grooves, both sides. Didn't seem to affect the sound too much, but I expect better from a $40 lp. Won't buy from this publisher again.

Sonic Heaven

posted on 09/04/2010
5 Stars
Reviewer: Russ
Just finished listening and couldn't be happier. Words won't do justice to the sound so I won't try. Read all the reviews while awaiting delivery and to those complaining of no highs and weak bass all I can recommend is getting a better turntable, records such as this really demand it. Like some others my pressing displays weird markings on the surface as if the disc was placed on a hot oven rack. Fortunately they appear to be only on the surface and have no sonic impact. Sadly these days many otherwise superb pressings show evidence of sloppy or careless handling during manufacture but usually at least the music seems to survive intact.

Just Different Than The Original

posted on 07/28/2010
5 Stars
Reviewer: Kevin
Not that this album needs another review (33) at the time of my input, but here goes. I find this a nice change of pace from the original version. The entire mastering is fatter and rounder sounding... actually more lifelike. Drum heads sound less compressed, bass is much fatter but not any louder, horns are more lifelike etc. etc. I would guess a lot of the differences might be ascribed to tube mastering vs solid state mastering... only my guess. The front edge of the transients are a little more relaxed in this version. There is NOTHING wrong with the original... its great and so is the Japanese pressing. This one just gives you another option on a modern masterpiece. The hype may be a little over the top, but I do recommend you get this all the same. This one will be gone soon so get movin'.


posted on 06/29/2010
5 Stars
Excellent Classic Stealy Dan must have for your Vinyl collection

Poor Pressing Quality

posted on 06/24/2010
2 Stars
Reviewer: Dale
I bought a copy of this and it arrived with what looked like parallel scuff marks on both sides of the disc. I returned it and my second copy looked just like the first one. I was told that they weren't scuff mark but stains from the sleeve! I returned that one too. Its ridiculous to have blemished records at this price. I also doubt that this was made from the original tapes. If you listen carefully to Peg on the original recording, after the first verse you can heard someone (Becker?) in the background clearly speak the word "Peg". On this pressing you can still hear it but its muffled, not nearly as clear as on my 30 year old copy.

Steely Dan's Aja sparkles!

posted on 06/07/2010
5 Stars
Reviewer: Mike
This review is for the Cisco Music 180 gram pressing; the album has a sticker on the protective outer sleeve that says "30th Anniversary All Analog HQ-180 LP." If I want to "show off" my stereo analog gear, this is my "go-to" record. So far, this pressing has the quietest noise floor tracks I own. You know all the songs by heart, and the mix is very dynamic and full.

Great sound.

posted on 11/26/2009
5 Stars
Fantastic sounding album, much fuller and clearer, if that makes any sense, than my original copy. However, I did need to use the MoFi deep cleaner to get all the mold release compound out of the grooves. It was noisy out of the package, but after 2 deep cleanings, sounds fantastic. Just took a little elbow grease, but well worth it.


posted on 11/04/2009
5 Stars
Reviewer: Simon
If you into Steely Dan and you want a fantastic sounding LP then don't pass this one up. Clean & clear, so well cut / pressed etc... Makes my analogue system sound out of this world.

Exceptional recording

posted on 09/01/2009
5 Stars
Reviewer: Steve Elliot
I already own the MFSL 1-033 copy that I purchased back in the 70's. It was always one of the really good records that I owned. After reading the review of Michael Fremer I was intrigued. Gareth Jones says "It's the most perfect thing I have heard in my Life". Well I had to see for myself. It IS absolutely stunning. It beats out the MFSL copy. I'm playing it on a Rega P1 with a Ortofon 2m Black and an acrylic platter added on. The amp is tube from Red Rose Music as are the preamp and ribbon speakers. If you like Steely Dan it is a must buy. Even the record cover is beautiful with a high gloss black. It feels good just to touch it. Why not impress your friends. It's only $40 bucks and someday you may wish you had bought it just like you wished you had bought all of those MFSL UHQR's. Ha! You won't be disappointed!

Best version I've heard

posted on 01/30/2009
5 Stars
I own the original MCA LP as well as the Mobile Fidelity CD and LP but this pressing blows the others away. There is tight bass, incredible clarity of the vocals, and the cymbals are no longer tinny sounding and distorted during the drum break in Aja. This is truly a pleaurable listening experience.

After almost 30 years it is still great!

posted on 01/08/2009
5 Stars
Reviewer: ron kolbash
I had not heard many of the cuts for quite awhile and was just so pleased to hear them again. The recordings are timeless and the music comes through as soft and smooth. My wife and I sit down with a nice glass of wine and enjoy these fantistics recordings, very relaxing

An amazing recording and a pressing that does it justice!

posted on 11/22/2008
5 Stars
Reviewer: Michael
I have read the varied reviews here, and I fully recommend this pressing over all others I've heard. The fact that Fagen and Becker approved it is further proof that this is the way the album was supposed to sound. I used to have a copy of the MoFi pressing years ago, and got rid of it after several years. As with many of the 70's and 80's era MoFi productions, the high end was too emphasized and brittle. Legend has it that some of the MoFi management (who were older and possibly missing some high end hearing) asked to have highs (and lows) beefed up for the recordings. I remember listening to the title track during the long instrumental part, bracing myself for the hi-hat that just pierced your eardrums with sibilance. On this reissue, the highs are velvety-smooth, present but not overpowering. The bass is full and rich. The vocals, guitars, and horns are so present but not blaring. Everything is balanced so nicely, and there is absolutely no fatigue in loud, loud listening. A+++!!!!

Where the heck have I been?

posted on 04/28/2008
5 Stars
Considering the fact that I purchased my first LP in 1957, The Ventures Walk Don't Run, (actually,my mother bought it after the most undignified display of begging immaginable by your's truly) I find it hard to believe any album by Steely Dan, in any format, was not in my collection. Oh sure I heard their music on FM and Satellite,but they never really floated my boat. But I, like other stereo nuts (that is what we were called before someone invented the lofty term of Audiophile) am always looking for another recording that is capable of showing off the sound machinery. AJA was so highly recomended I thought, why not? But after listening to side one,I could not decide what surprised me more. How good the music was,or how good my system sounded. It is truly a work of recording art in the Rock genre. It is the album to show off your stereo to your friends. But especially your envious friends. But now I must decide which is better, AJA,or Dark Side Of The Moon. To be continued.....


posted on 04/04/2008
5 Stars
I cannot use enough superlatives to describe the sound on this Cisco LP. Kevin Gray did an exemplary job mastering this release and the sound is unmatched by any other release of this title. Also, RTI did a clean 180 gram pressing that does the mastering justice.


posted on 04/02/2008
5 Stars
Reviewer: Tommy
the clarity and subtle sounds make this a classic all over again. definitely one of my favorites.

Outstanding pressing!

posted on 01/08/2008
5 Stars
Reviewer: Jeff
Extremely high quality album/cover. Better than the original. Thanks!


posted on 01/09/2008
4 Stars
Reviewer: Robert Shaw
This version let me hear the complexity of the writing. Very quiet. Does not seem nearly as compressed as the original.

Oh, yes!

posted on 10/19/2007
5 Stars
Reviewer: RiP
A/B comparisons of this vinyl LP recording to a CD of the same will convince even the untrained listener that vinyl playback of recorded music is the better option, given a choice. The advantages of "continuous resolution" over even "high resolution" SCADs is that all of the complex & delicate phase relationships of the original music performance's direct, ambient, fundamental, & harmonic sound waves are retained & presented with their order intact. Liquid sonic texture that is free from false resolution is 1 benefit of not discretizing recorded sound. Life-like "phantom" stage between & beyond the speakers is another. This product is a superbly dynamic & realistic recording of some wonderful music which needs no introduction. If you like this music from this band, you will love this recording of it. RiP

Remaster Blues

posted on 10/18/2007
1 Stars
I just don’t understand the logic. Take a masterpiece, like, say the Mona Lisa. Something universally acclaimed as one of the great artistic works of all time. Critics and observers alike puzzle over the subtleties in composition, choice of color and execution. Now someone comes along and says – “Hey, sure this is a masterpiece – and old Leonardo really outdid himself here but I think it could use a little sprucing up – let’s make the eyes a little brighter, bring the background forward a bit. Just a couple of tweaks, really.” Preposterous, right? Well why, then, are we subjected to these remastered reissues? We all loved the original Aja for a million reasons and mastering can have a profound effect on the finished product.

This is a fatally flawed reissue. The bass which is quite detailed and full at high playback volume is lost at normal listening levels. There is a very unbalanced dynamism where the comping instruments seem to leap from the speakers and assault the listener with each chord. (This is particularly noticeable on the title track.) I find this LP more fatiguing than any CD I own.

Not as good as I expected

posted on 09/26/2007
2 Stars
Reviewer: Andy Schaub
I got this LP eagerly anticipating the ultimate version of "Aja". I have to say, I was a little disappointed. It sounded okay but was very inconsistent. Some tracks reminded me of my original copy from the 70's while others reminded me of the Simply Vinyl release. Overall, I would say I preferred the Simply Vinyl. It sounded much more alive and open. Still, if you don't have access to the Simply Vinyl -- or to an original pressing -- it *might* be worth the money, hard to say.

Whats with all the negativity?

posted on 01/20/2008
5 Stars
Reviewer: Chris W
Absolutely stunning sound. The vinyl was dead quiet. This has to be the best version of Aja ever released. Now just get Steve Hoffman and Kevin Grey to remaster the whole Steely Dan catalog and we'll be all set. :)

Nicely Done

posted on 09/14/2007
5 Stars
Reviewer: Emmett
Holy Toledo!,I like this version better than any other I've heard.Some of the others may have a little better this or that,but the overall presentation is the best on this one.Detail is clear without being too bright.Bass is well defined.Pick up a copy. Highly recommended.

Analog Nirvana

posted on 09/14/2007
5 Stars
This is the definitive AJA album. I own it on regular vinyl and CD and this one is by far the best recording. Bass is tight, mids are clear and the soundstage is amazing. You will hear things on this album you never heard before. Get it before it is gone.

Whats all the hype

posted on 09/12/2007
4 Stars
Reviewer: Tom S
It's a great sounding album. Not nearly as good as the MOFI. It still sounds better than the ABC first pressings. I hope some of the other albums that are hyped like this are worthy of it.

Not wholly convinced.

posted on 09/10/2007
4 Stars
Reviewer: Mikey
Well, after all the hype, I expected heaven and earth with this one. Yep, it's good, especially at the bottom end of audio spectrum but mid and top are no better, in my opinion, to the Jap. MOFI of all those years ago. I'd go as far as to say the top end is inferior. All in all it's not bad but not what I expected.


posted on 09/01/2007
3 Stars
Reviewer: Mandoman
Sorry -- for all the "don't miss this" hype I'm really disappointed! The sound quality on this recording is something akin to listening to the performance at the end of a short piece of ventilation shaft. It's all midrange with highs seriously attenuated and indistinct bass.

Wish I'd waited for the Japanese import -- it couldn't be any worse!

almost as good

posted on 08/20/2007
4 Stars
Reviewer: namotuman
i own a master recording and even w/a few pops and clicks, it still outplays this pressing. don't get me wrong, this pressing is excellent, head and shoulders above the store bought pressing i also possess. it is just not quite as crisp sounding as the master......

changing a classic

posted on 11/09/2007
2 Stars
Reviewer: jay
its worth owning for sure, but compared to the original pressing and the recent japanese mini disc, becker and fagen's approved vinyl is indeed not the same mix as the original. just got the japanese vinyl from acoustic sounds and its the real deal.....a solid five stars!!!!!!!!


posted on 08/13/2007
5 Stars
I have 2 older pressings of this album and this is by far the best. I hear things that I had never heard before. It is one of the few times that was blown away by a recording. Get it, it's a no brainer.


posted on 08/11/2007
5 Stars
Reviewer: Eric Jacobson
Congrats to Elliott!

Another huge triumph for Cisco Music

posted on 08/08/2007
5 Stars
Reviewer: Sckott
There's nothing more satisfying than an audiophile LP done correctly and perfectly. Steely Dan's "Aja" is a selfish pleasure; most people either swoon over the music or hide the fact they own (or bought) 13 copies of it on LP, CD and even other formats. Enough has been written about the music on this record, even a DVD with the "making of" done years ago. Becker and Fagan tracking this album and going through session musicians like cheap tube socks to get what they wanted.

If you've bought 2-3 dollar bin copies, you can put them back to rest. Beautiful heavy constructed jacket, beautiful glossy art coverage. Music comes through with clarity, separation and character I've never heard on this LP previous. Not splashy or bass bloated. It's a real pleasure to hear this record "again, for the first time".

There have been many issues in many countries and there will always be a new company that cuts and presses "Aja". Kevin Gray did a wonderful job cutting it.

You must own this LP.

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