Early Elton CD issues - more comparisons

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by David R. Modny, Oct 25, 2002.

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  1. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Senior Member Thread Starter

    I've been slowly snagging up all the used MCA and Polydor Elton editions I can find as of late, in order to draw some analytical conclusions of these old releases. Here's my latest two findings. First the shocker:

    "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player" is exactly the same tape source for each release! Both measured statistically identical down to the last bit. In addition, I inverted the phase of one of them, lined it up exactly with the other one, and...dead silence from beginning to end. Like I said, same tape (there does appear to be some spurious junk *between* the cuts). What's even funnier is that I could have a sworn, beforehand, that I heard very minor differences between the two -- really weird. Jitter or otherworldly imaginative things?

    On the other hand, "Captain Fantastic" was an entirely different animal. Both releases totally different. Different tape used, everything measuring vastly different, songs drifting (timing-wise) within the same cuts. Heck, the piano intro of "We All Fall In Love Sometime" almost sounded like a different mix to my ears on the MCA -- thought maybe it was some kind of analog compressor phenomenon.
  2. Sckott

    Sckott Hand Tighten Only.

    Sagamore Beach, Ma
    I really liked "Brown Dirt" on Polydor. At times it did seem bright, but I really thought it was an improvement to the MCA. What did you think, David?
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    1980's BRITISH DJM'S!!!!!!!
  4. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Senior Member Thread Starter

    Phew, that's a good question. The Polydor does seem to be the better of the tape sources. Probably most "hi-fi types" would go with that one, IMO.

    But there's still something charming about the MCA to my ears. More distorted perhaps in places, but warm and gushy euphonic distortion. It's pretty easy on the ears.

    I'll have to think on that one a bit more...lol!
  5. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    :o A "DJM" is a..... :confused: :o
  6. HeavyDistortion

    HeavyDistortion Forum Resident

    Baltimore, MD
    I agree with Steve; as I picked up an early to mid '80's DJM CD of "Captain Fantastic..." several weeks ago, and was really impressed with the sound. The acoustic guitars and Elton's vocals sound so natural, not harsh or too bright at all. Find them if you can.

    Ed Hurdle
  7. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Senior Member Thread Starter

    You do this to make my already neurotically compulsive life more complicated...don't you? LOL!;)
  8. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Sorry for those of you who don't know: DJM = Dick James Music; the original issue for the British Elton John stuff on CD (before Elton left to form his own co.). These are the versions to look for. Just a few years ago they were EVERYWHERE; people couldn't wait to get rid of them for the new screechy, compressed remasters!

    Take a look out there; yellow and black CD labels....And get the MoFi CD's as well, "Yellow Brick Road", "Honky", "Tumbleweed", "Madman"...
  9. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Senior Member Thread Starter

    I'll also add that sometime ago, someone elsewhere (not on this board), tried to tell me that there were "differences" between the import Mercury and domestic Rocket remasters.

    Well, the only one that I happened to own of both -- "Empty Sky" -- again, measured identical as identical can. Everything the same.


    being that I missed the thread, for whatever reason, last time...I'm going to bore everyone with my 5 favorite Elton tunes (in no particular order).

    "I Need You To Turn To"
    "Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters"
    "Cage The Songbird" (yay for Crosby and Nash!)
    tie - "Harmony" and "Bad Side Of The Moon"
  10. Sckott

    Sckott Hand Tighten Only.

    Sagamore Beach, Ma
    Yeah, those songs do well for me too. I love "I Need You To Turn To" and "Susie (dramas)".

    The MFSL Honky Chateau, which I play quite often, has quite a bit of tape dropouts in "Honky Cat". Product of the original master?
  11. Beagle

    Beagle Forum Resident

    Absolutely. I have found used British DJM's of everything up to and including Captain Fantastic, with the exception of Madman.

    I never actually heard Captain Fantastic properly until I recently found the mint DJM LP.

    For those who cannot track down a DJM of "Elton John", a Canadian UNI or early Canadian MCA reissue (black/rainbow label) is almost as good. They did not roll off that huge bottom end like they did with the US UNI.

    The MCA CD's of Madman, DSMIOTPP, Caribou sound pretty good. Avoid the MCA CD of Tumbleweed, it is disgraceful, and the channels are reversed to boot.
  12. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    I remember by 1986, MCA was getting digital clones of the British DJM masters for the domestic releases, but I can't remember which ones....
  13. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    The only DJM's I bought were MADMAN, and GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD. After hearing the remaster, I burned it onto one CDR and that's what I listen to. Just something about the sound I always liked; the remaster was 'too clean' to my ears. Hard to explain.

    ED :cool:
  14. joelee

    joelee Senior Member

    I love the sound of the original MCA CDs. I have all versions of Madman and I always go for the cheaply packaged but best sounding MCA disc.

  15. snowman

    snowman Forum Resident

    I have compared the DJM and MCA(Japan pressing) of Don't shoot me.. and prefer the MCA. The DJM is very analogue\warm sounding, but just too 'muddy' to me. I have compared the MCA Madman(USA pressing) to the MFSL and far prefer the MCA.
    I also have an MCA Japan pressing of Captain Fantastic which sounds very good.
    I'm sure a different master tape was used for the MCA's?
  16. oxenholme

    oxenholme High Quality Posts™ a speciality

    I've only got 2 Elton John CDs - the first being The Superior Sound of Elton John on DJM, I think it was one of the earliest Elton John releases, and it is mastered at a VERY low level, though it's very pleasant sonically when cranked up a bit. It is an ADD job, digitally remixed. The other is Reg Dwight Goes Pop, on RPM. It's a bit of a labour of love, very nice sound.
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