Elton John SACD releases

Some of Elton John's catalog have been re-released as hybrid multi-channel SACDs. They are:

Elton John (1st Album)
Madman Across the Water
Tumbleweed Connection
Honky Chateau
Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy

I was wondering how they sounded. Has anyone out there picked them up? If so, what are your impressions?


I have GBYBR and it sounds amazing, haven't heard the newer ones yet though.
They are all exceptional.
Many listeners have criticized these as being too bright. I have all but "Peachtree Road", but haven't played them as yet. I also received the Clapton SACDs (all from CD Universe) at the same time, and I've listened to "461" and that impressed me.

I guess it's time to try one of the EJs. I'll do that soon and get back to you.

I'm on the second run through his debut album "Elton John".

There is a stunning richness in songs like "Your Song" and "First Episode at Hienton"; Buckmaster's strings are very nice on "Sixty Years On", as is the acoustic guitar.

Elton's voice has a very slight touch of brightness in harder, rockier numbers like "Take Me to the Pilot" and "The Cage". He can push the falsetto up, living in the top end of his range; I can see how this may not work so well on systems that are slightly hard in the treble.

On "Border Song", there doesn't seem to be much weight in his left hand, but there is good mid-bass in the drumming. Once again, his voice is ever so slightly thin, although the backing vocals seem OK.

The cymbals on "The Cage" seem pretty splashy; slightly thin sound here, not much midrange. Once again on "The King must Die", the high-hat is pushy, but the ride cymbal is nice.

This SACD has the same three bonus songs as were on the Rocket reissue.

I can understand now how some have criticized these for being too bright. There is a fair bit of energy up top and if you don't have good control of the treble in your system, this SACD could make you a little unhappy. This SACD is not warm and cozy, but it's pretty exciting and revealing.

I don't have a comparison point here - but for Madman and others I have MFSL UDIs (Japan) to contrast against the SACDs. I'll have another crack at this thread later.

I have YBR and love it. I also have Brown Dirt Cowboy but have not listened to it yet.

Yellow Brick Road came out some time ago and I was very happy with it. I'm not a huge Elton John fan, but I'll likely buy another one or two of the SACD releases, and I'm looking to find which are the concensus favorites.

Well, Yellow Brick Road has some wonderful music on it, but the recording was so-so in my opinion.

Too bright in spots, recessive vocals, shelved up dynamics, etc. etc.

The SACD release (Hybrid) does improve on that, and interestingly enough, the redbook layer on that disc sounds better on my Exemplar 2900 than any other version I've heard short of vinyl. I'd say somebody tweaked it for this release- and for the better.
Just to bring this thread up to date... since my initial posting I've bought 'Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy' and 'Honky Chateau'.
I'd like to stress again that I'm not an EJ fan. Having said that, right now I would say that 'Captain Fantastic' might very well be the best sounding SACD I've ever heard. And 'Honky Chateau' might be second.
Also, I've only listened to the 2 channel versions so far. I'll give multi-channel a spin eventually.

Agreers? Dissenters? You don't care because Elton's a lamo pop weenie now?
I recently bought Madman Across the Water and think it sounds great. Better IMO than GBYBR.

I prefer both of these recording in stereo as opposed to multi-channel. Elton's vocals are still crystal clear and the depth across the front is retained where it thins out a little in multi-channel. As for Madman, the stereo is so enveloping it sounds like it's in surround! An excellent recording and I was very impressed.
I just bought Madmann Across the Water and Elton John. I am listening to Elton John as I right this and I love this album. It ticks(pisses) me off that I have lived this long being an EJ fan and have never heard this album. This SACD Hybrid is simply wonderfull.

I think that the Super Audio Center in Boulder Colorado is doing it right! These discs were mastered there. I read also that the new John Hiatt album is being done there.
Agreed. Captain Fantastic is the gem of this crop.
I finally listened to these discs in multi-channel. Also very nice. I still prefer two-channel, however.