Does Steely Dan sound bright to you?

This is going to sound like a somewhat random question but I’m wondering how many of you find Steely Dan’s recordings to sound a bit bright. I’m particularly thinking of Gaucho, and Aja but some other recent recordings, too, such as Fagen’s Nightfly.

My typical media include streaming (CD and HD quality) and CD’s. I have not played my old vinyl because I’m presently without a turntable.

At first I thought it was my system and it was driving me a little bit mental; eventually, I decided it wasn't my stuff, it was their stuff. Because most other recordings on the same system with no other changes don’t typically have the brightness of Steely Dan.

Whether or not you’re a fan (I am) Steely Dan has often been a go-to for testing out equipment, so I imagine there will be experiences people have had about this.

P.S. Any other recordings which, for you are unnaturally bright?


The Dan are master record-craftsman. Those albums were well produced. Play Aja LOUD!

Happy Listening!
Not that I remember. 
However, I picked up an original vinyl (and a CD) of Billy Cobham’s Spectrum. Sent them both back - they were ear piercing, and my old Kef Reference speakers are not bright per se. 

So no, Dan is above average intelligence, but not bright 😂
Was able to pick up a copy of Katy Lied from

Just a perfect sound and engineered recording; but I find the Dan to be a group that consistently focused on recording quality.  From the LP liner notes:

"This is a high fidelity recording. Steely Dan uses a specially constructed 24 channel tape recorder, a "State of the Art" 36 input computerized mixdown console, and some very expensive German microphones. Individual microphone equalization is frowned upon. The sound created by musicians and singers is reproduced as faithfully as possible......" 
TO the absolute contrary, a clean Original vinyl of Steely Dan's Aja would be many peoples reference.

Matt M