- This import pressing is a monster, with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to them, and playing about as quietly as these imports ever do
- Forget the domestic pressings, forget the Nautilus half-speed, forget whatever lame reissues have come or will come down the pike — if you want to hear this album right, a Hot Stamper import pressing is the only way to go
- This album is an absolute classic — it leads off with Don’t Stand So Close To Me and never lets up
- 5 Stars: “Zenyatta contains perhaps the quintessential new wave anthem, the haunting ‘Don’t Stand So Close to Me’… Zenyatta Mondatta remains one of the finest rock albums of all time.”
Finally, a killer copy of Zenyatta Mondatta worthy of the White Hot Stamper designation!
It is brutally difficult to find great copies of this album, which explains why only a handful have gone up since 2006. And given our expanded resources and refined shootout process, not to mention the expertise we’ve gained in the thousands of hours of listening we’ve done since that time, I have to believe that this is one of the best sounding copies we’ve ever found. Police fans, this is the ONE.
This copy was doing pretty much everything we wanted. The vocals are present, the bass is well-defined, the guitars have harmonic texture, and the drums are punchy and lively. I don’t think you could find a better sounding version of this album no matter how hard you tried.
As for the music, the album is an absolute classic — it leads off with Don’t Stand So Close To Me and never lets up.
What the Best Sides of Zenyatta Mondatta Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1980
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
And if all you’ve ever heard are domestic copies or the Nautilus Half-Speed, you are in for a treat with this copy, which is guaranteed to positively lay waste to them both, or your money back.
What We’re Listening For on Zenyatta Mondatta
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Twin Grammy Awards
Nigel Gray engineered this album as well as the first two by The Police. He was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album for Zenyatta Mondatta and also won two Grammys for producer of Best Rock Performance (“Don’t Stand So Close To Me”) and Best Rock Instrumental (“Behind My Camel”).
On 31 July 2016, the members of The Police; Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland reacted on a social network to Gray’s death writing: “Nigel Gray recorded the first three Police albums, the first two in his converted studio above a dairy in Leatherhead in Surrey. Nigel was a qualified medical doctor who followed his passion into music and was able to use his kindly bedside manner to coax three extraordinarily successful records from a band operating at the time on the tiniest of shoestring budgets. We simply couldn’t have done it without him, that’s the truth”.
Don’t Stand So Close to Me
Driven to Tears
When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around
Canary in a Coalmine
Voices Inside My Head
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
Behind My Camel
Man in a Suitcase
Shadows in the Rain
The Other Way of Stopping
AMG 5 Star Review
The stage was set for the Police to become one of the biggest acts of the ’80s, and the band delivered with the 1980 classic Zenyatta Mondatta. The album proved to be the trio’s second straight number one album in the U.K., while peaking at number three in the U.S. Arguably the best Police album, Zenyatta contains perhaps the quintessential new wave anthem, the haunting “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” the story of an older teacher lusting after one of his students… Zenyatta Mondatta remains one of the finest rock albums of all time.