Top Artists – The Police

Sting – The Dream Of The Blue Turtles

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The Dream Of The Blue Turtles

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This album has long been a favorite among audiophiles and it’s pretty easy to see why. What Sting does here with jazz music is very similar to what Paul Simon later did with African music on Graceland. Sting surrounded himself with legitimate jazz musicians and together they’ve created an album that gives you the loose, relaxed feel of jazz mixed with Sting’s distinct pop sensibility. There are elements of worldbeat, reggae and soul here as well, but the album never feels disjointed; Sting managed to pull it all together to create a sound that is somehow unique and familiar at the same time. 

The stamper numbers for this one are all over the map, so it’s ridiculously tough to find The Real Sound for this album. We went through a huge stack of copies and finally managed to find a few winners that broke through the digital grain and hash that we heard on most pressings. (more…)

Sting – Nothing Like The Sun

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Nothing Like The Sun

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Sting’s killer double album from 1987 arrives on the site with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound for sides one and three and outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on sides two and four. The sound here is clearly bigger, richer, fuller, and livelier than any other contender in our recent shootout. Features phenomenal contributions from legendary musicians, including Andy Summers, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, and Hiram Bullock.

Note that this copy won the shootout for side four. No copy earned the full Triple Plus (A+++) sonic grade on that side, which basically means that the first three sides of the album sounded better than the fourth for some reason. If we had had five more pressings to play, it’s likely that one of them would have had sound comparable to the first three sides, but that would have made for one very long afternoon. (more…)

The Police – Synchronicity

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Synchronicity

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  • This stunning pressing of the band’s final studio album boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it throughout
  • Clearly better than every other pressing we played – when you can hear it sound this good you may just come to appreciate how good the music is
  • Every Breath You Take and Wrapped Around Your Finger are amazingly big, rich and Tubey Magical here
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Few other albums from 1983 merged tasteful pop, sophistication, and expert songwriting as well as Synchronicity did, resulting in yet another all-time classic.”

This music can have real Rock and Roll POWER — if you’re lucky enough to own a pressing with all the energy of the master tapes inscribed in its grooves. Some have it and some don’t. Welcome to the world of analog, where no two copies sound the same and most are nothing special. (No two covers of this album look the same either. Get a pile of them out and see if you can find two that match. It’s not easy.) (more…)

Sting – Mercury Falling

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Mercury Falling

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

We had some brand new, long out of print Universal Heavy Vinyl pressings of this Sting title sitting on the shelf and decided that, since this was one of the better pressings they’d remastered, perhaps a shootout was in order for fans of Der Stingle.   

Sure enough no side of any copy sounded the same as the side of any other copy, which just goes to prove that, regardless of how carefully you master and press your records, there will always be sonic variations from copy to copy –if your stereo is capable of revealing them. 

Since you’re on our site I’m guessing that your stereo must be pretty good, which means that our copies of Mercury Falling will be much more enjoyable than you might expect.  (more…)

The Police – Ghost in the Machine

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Ghost in the Machine

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  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both side, this vintage UK pressing sounds rich, smooth and sweet – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Some of the band’s most sophisticated hits: Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Invisible Sun, Spirits In The Material World, and more
  • Hugh Padgham took over engineering duties for Ghost and The Police’s next album, resulting in a dramatic improvement in the quality of their recordings
  • “This album has more variety than the menu in a Bangkok brothel. In particular, Sting’s voice has taken on a new depth and fresh maturity. The opening song, ‘Spirits In The Material World’, may have what sounds like a dumb title, but the song is a dream of close harmonies and nicely understated drums.” Record Mirror

If you’re looking for big hits, this album is for you. I mean, get three tracks in and you’ve already heard Spirits In The Material World, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic and Invisible Sun — not a bad way to get things started!  (more…)

Sting – Bring on the Night

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Bring on the Night

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  • This outstanding copy of Sting’s epic double album boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on all four sides AND exceptionally quiet vinyl
  • Sting and his jazzy pals work through a good portion of his extensive catalog, including both Police songs and solo tracks
  • “Sting really got carried away with the idea that his supporting crew for Dream of the Blue Turtles was a real jazz band, and technically, he was kind of right … the loose, rather infectious performances show what Sting was trying to achieve with his debut.”

Sting said to Bring On The Night and who were we to argue? We finally collected enough of these import pressings to get a proper shootout going, and the best copies really impressed us.

The best copies like this one give you more transparency and separation between the various bandmembers. Many copies had a sterile/dry quality, but this one remains rich throughout with more analog warmth. (more…)

The Police – Outlandos d’Amour

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Outlandos d’Amour

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  • One of the best copies to hit the site in quite a while – Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • Few audiophiles (I’m guessing) know how well recorded this album is – you need just the right UK pressing to show you what’s really on the tape
  • Roxanne, So Lonely, Can’t Stand Losing You all sound amazing on these Shootout Winning (or close to them) sides
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Although Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland were all superb instrumentalists with jazz backgrounds, it was much easier to get a record contract in late-’70s England if you were a punk/new wave artist, so the band decided to mask their instrumental prowess with a set of strong, adrenaline-charged rock, albeit with a reggae tinge. ” 

What’s amazing about this copy? There are SWEET HIGHS and AMBIENCE that we didn’t think were possible – and it ROCKS! Whatever it’s doing, it sure doesn’t take a pair of golden ears to hear it.

Not only does the high end exist, but it sounds sweet and doesn’t rip your ears out of your earsockets (trust me, I’m a doctor). This is vitally important in songs like “Roxanne” where Andy Summers’ reggae influenced guitar can sound squawky and brittle if there is too much compression. (more…)

Sting – Ten Summoner’s Tales

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Ten Summoner’s Tales

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  • This copy of Sting’s fourth solo album boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Engineer/Producer Hugh Padgham once again achieved his trademark sound in the studio – Spacious, Lively and Powerful
  • 4 1/2 stars: “… his best solo record. In places, it’s easily as pretentious as his earlier work, but that’s undercut by writing that hasn’t been this sharp and melodic since the Police, plus his most varied set of songs since Synchronicity… as an album, Ten Summoner’s Tales is more consistently satisfying than anything else in his catalog.”

I was selling new, import vinyl back when this record came out in 1993. Most new Pop and Rock albums were only released on CD and Cassette in America by then, so the only way to get a record like this on vinyl was to buy the import. The problem is that now, looking back, there wasn’t enough demand on either side of the pond for the labels to produce more than a small run of vinyl. With supply having a hard time keeping up with demand, the price naturally goes up, up and away, typically around a hundred bucks for a copy of unknown and often dubious quality  (more…)

The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta – Nautilus Debunked

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Sonic Grade: D

Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked. 

And to think we used to actually like the sound of the Nautilus pressing! It suffers from all the same shortcomings other Nautilus and similar half-speeds suffer from: the kind of pretty but lifeless and oh-so-boring sound that we describe in listing after listing. (More bad Nautilus pressings are discussed below.) 

Three of the Best, Or So We Thought

I just did shootouts with three of the best Nautilus Half-Speeds: Heart, The Police’s Ghost in the Machine, and Little Feat. None of them sound like the real thing, and especially disappointing was one of my former favorites, the Little Feat album.

On the title track the Nautilus is amazingly transparent and sweet sounding. There are no real dynamics or bass on that track, so the “pretty” half-speed does what it does best and shines. But all the other tracks suck in exactly the same way Night and Day does. Cutting the balls off Little Feat is not my idea of hi-fidelity.

We put audiophile beaters up for sale every week. Each and every one of them is a lesson on what makes one record sound better than another. If you want a wall full of good sounding records, we can help you make it happen. In fact it will be our pleasure. Down with audiophile junk and up with Better Records. (more…)

The Police – Reggatta de Blanc


Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2018

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  • With two Triple Plus (A+++) shootout winning sides, this copy took top honors in our recent shootout
  • Only the second White Hot copy to hit the site in years but we think you’ll agree that this superb pressing was worth the wait
  • Sting’s pulsing bass lines and the massive assault of Copeland’s kick really come to life on this pressing
  • “Reggatta de Blanc stands the test of time as one of the greatest albums of the post-punk and new wave era, improving in almost every way upon The Police’s debut album.”

See all of our Police albums in stock

This A&M LP has PUNCHY LOW-END that really drives this rhythmically charged music! Sting’s pulsing bass lines and the massive assault of Stewart Copeland’s kick drum really come to life on this Hot Stamper pressing.

Though it lacks some of the high end extension and midrange “prettiness” of the half-speed, we feel that this copy presents the music much more correctly. This is Reggae-Rock; it needs good tight bass to drive the music and keep up the pace, and half-speed mastered records almost never get the bass to sound deep, solid and punchy the way full-speed-mastered records do.  (more…)