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  Universal (Japan) -
  Steely Dan: Countdown to Ecstasy
  "Countdown to Ecstasy"

Steely Dan
Track listing:
  1. Bodhisattva
2. Razor Boy
3. The Boston Rag
4. Your Gold Teeth
5. Show Biz Kids
6. My Old School
7. Pearl Of The Quarter
8. King Of The World
  Single Layer
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Submitted by maddrocker
Related titles: 4

Steely Dan: Gaucho      

Reviews: 3

Review by analogue August 7, 2014 (21 of 23 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
1973/ 8 tracks/ 41 minutes

I'm sure Steely Dan fans were very happy that the Shm sacd program has continued with the Dan's discography on sacd. We've been waiting for years.

I am not a very good critique of this bands 1972-1980 output. The reason is that I like the music so much I find it difficult to criticize. That said I am ......well......a huge fan of this album. Steely Dan make great recordings and their music sounds great on any music carrier device. There might be the occasional compression problem but all in all they do sound good all the time.

If you own the cd of this album you might want to consider shelving it for the next lifetime. This new shm sacd is so much better.....I can barely mention all the reasons why. Cd's can sound good, they are glossy and embellished at times and never really give you the overall total package of the source tape. This new sacd does spades.

I don't really know where to begin. I was tempted to just write a one sentence review screaming for fans to buy this shm sacd before it goes out of print.

I will start this review with any possible negatives I heard during the many times I played this disc. Human beings can be hard to please. With hi rez.....true hi rez we need to take the good with bad. And if hirez is done the correct way there might be some negatives. If what Ive read previously is correct the tape source might be a digitized one and not of the analogue copy to tape source. I did detect a certain softness from time to time....perhaps a simplistic character to the sound. There might not be the overall warmth usually associated with good tape to dsd transfers. The first time I played this sacd I thought it sounded like a really good dub tape copy. After multiple plays I did not feel that way. It did open up.
I mention these two attributes not in a critical way but in the general overall impressions I received while I listened. Is there such a thing as a perfect transfer? I cant really say. But there must be a certain amount of positives in said transfer to give the listener a feeling of getting closer to the actual tape sound. At least that's the ideology of real audiophiles. Even if this sacd sounds like a dub tape we are so much the better for having it.......because it crushes the cd and lets us hear REAL information and real studio ambience.

That's as negative as I can get. The rest is all gravy. This new sacd is astounding in what it gives the listener. I mention that cd's cant give you the total picture. The cd gives you gloss and some natural musical feeling. This sacd d gives you the living human beings in a live studio environment playing real instruments. Its a world of difference in every way. Depending on your stereo system there might be some shallowing of the sound stage or perhaps that's part of the transfer...but when all is said and done....this sacd is pretty amazing. I liken the sound quality to the shm sacd of Supertramp's Bia shm sacd. Perhaps better.

From the moment the first drums hits are heard coming from one speaker and the music building as more instruments are added.....and the stereo process is being use d the way that stereo is great just gets better and better from there. Guitar notes floating in space, the beautiful layering of instruments, the bass notes being easy to follow song after song. I could go on and on. This sacd continued to surprise me over and over again. Compared to the cd and maybe even some vinyl records...this shm sacd showcases not only a great recording but also a great band that mixed jazz and rock and a little bit of other musical flavors into a cauldron of terrific and fresh music. With real hirez.......when the music builds and gets louder it never flatlines or decreases in can follow every note in concise fashion. Cd's cant do this...they falter and crumble. This sacd highlights the band playing loud and aggressively at times and it never diminishes in sound quality.

In summation I cant say that this is the greatest shm sacd I have ever heard. I can also state that some buyers might be more critical than me. I cant say for certain if the tape source used was digital or if this sacd could have sounded better if there was a real analogue master tape source to be used. Or maybe the sound of this recording was not 100 percent of what the other recordings were to begin with. So many variables to consider.
Regardless.....there should be no worries here. As I said.....I'm not the guy to go to if you want to discuss the merits of every Steely Dan song or album. I love it all. Maybe this is really as good as a dub tape.....I cant know for certain. But my overall feelings whilst I listened was mostly positive and I was truly impressed by the serious studio ambience that was imparted to the new Dsd transfer. The cd only hinted to a possible sound while the sacd gave you the total package in a way that was stunning.

There are no mastering notes as to the tech. I thank him and welcome his work on the other Steely Dan sacd's.

My best endorsement to any prospective buyers.
Play this disc very loud, step back and be in musical bliss.

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Review by Bazzamatazz August 26, 2014 (7 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I am going to completely agree with analogue's review. Not Steely Dan's absolute greatest album (Pretzel Logic eclipses it), but the hi-rez sonics on this re-release need to be heard to be believed. The disc itself indeed needs a few plays or so to 'bed in' and open up completely, a requirement for all these SHM-SACD disc releases it seems. Tape-hiss is here in spades, as it should be. If you are a Steely fan with a good SACD player and hifi this release isn't optional...

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Review by Audio Ed August 5, 2014 (4 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
When I get a Steely Dan SACD my expectation is very high. Countdown is not my favorite from the Dan but any Dan release is superior to 90% of what is out there. I am very pleased to report that I am very happy with this release. The performance is great, like a said better than 90% so that translates to 4.5 stars. I have to give it 4.5 stars as well for SQ. Don't spare the volume knob, it sounds better with a little extra juice, at least on my system. That means only 10% of what I have is better than this and that is about right. I wish every SACD I got was in the top 10% and then I could live on Lake Wobegon.

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