Top Artists – The Police (and Sting)

The Police – Ghost in the Machine – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

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

Ghost In The Machine is a VERY tough album to get to sound right, but this pressing absolutely NAILED IT on side one. I’m talking about A+++, As Good As It Gets, Master Tape Quality Sound — and you Police fanatics are going to flip when you hear it. We’ve been scooping up copies with various stampers that have shown promise in the past, but unfortunately most of them we played did nothing for us.

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…)

The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta and Ghost in the Machine on Nautilus Vinyl

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And to think we used to actually like the sound of the Nautilus pressings! They suffer 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. 

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 – Zenyatta Mondatta – Our Shootout Winner from 2016

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

The first White Hot copy to hit the site in almost TEN YEARS! And it’s a monster, with both sides earning our Top Grade of Triple Plus (A+++). The sound is dramatically bigger, present and livelier than the average pressing. 

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. (more…)

The Police – Synchronicity – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume. 

WHITE HOT STAMPERS on side two! That gives you amazing sound for Every Breath You Take, King Of Pain, and Wrapped Around Your Finger! It’s been about a while since we last found Hot Stampers for this album, mostly because so many copies just plain suck. The sound on this one is meaty and punchy down low.

More remarkable, it also comes without the phony upper midrange boost on Sting’s vocals that would normally have you reaching to back off the volume. The choruses get LOUD and are so POWERFUL on this copy they make a mockery of most pressings you play.

We call it Master Tape Sound when it’s this good! (more…)

The Police – Reggatta de Blanc

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

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 White Hot Stamper domestic pressing.

This and Ghost In The Machine are my two favorite Police albums. Reggatta, like Ghost, is consistently good from start to finish. (Their other albums are much less consistent, the first especially so.) It also has the distinction of being the only Police album that has a real Guitar Solo, heard on the song “It’s Alright For You”. With a seriously blistering guitar break that really kicks the song into high gear, you have to wonder why Andy Summers chose to play that way so rarely.  (more…)

The Police – Outlandos d’Amour – Our Shootout Winner from 2007

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

This Minty A&M LP has TWO AMAZING SIDES on QUIET VINYL! We listened to more than a dozen copies of this album — imports, promos, and domestics — and nothing came close to this copy! 

Halfway through this shootout, our mood here had become somber. We were innundated with dull, overly compressed, harsh sounding copies of a record that’s supposed to be upbeat and fun — especially on Side Two. Muck!! (more…)

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

More Sting / Police

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…)