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The Police: Synchronicity

The Police: Synchronicity

Universal (Japan)  UIGY-15031

Stereo Single Layer

Pop/Rock


"Synchronicity"

Police

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Reviews (1)
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Review by Rick Kosmick - May 12, 2015

The release of "Synchronicity" in 1983 represented the final album of new material from The Police. They went out in style as this album was their best that ended up with massive sales (8 million copies alone just in the USA) and Grammy Award nominations (justly deserved). This Universal Japan SHM SACD is the second pressing UIGY-9605 release from November 26, 2014. There is also a previous 2003 SACD release from A&M Records that I will address a little later in this review.

I begin by stating "Synchronicity" is a superior album based on a number of reasons: it brims with superb material written mostly by Sting; three band members who are extraordinary musicians playing with vitality and style; and, ranking right up there, the outstanding production (and engineering) work from the renown Hugh Pudgham. Quite a recipe that should be handled properly by the right transfer to SACD..... and this SHM SACD is certainly worthy as a high fidelity release.

In listening to the first track entitled "Synchronicity l", it sounded a little closed-in that I attributed to the way it was recorded (for whatever reason). However, after this initial song, all subsequent tracks quite noticeably opened up into a much wider soundstage. The stereo imaging is exceptional and the vocals of Sting are well centred with very clear tones. These Police recordings are uncluttered with instrumentation that allows for wonderful detail in a warm analogue-type sound.

I particularly enjoyed the bass mix with a firm but refined touch from Sting. Just as important to the bottom end was the drums of Stewart Copeland that sound punchy but played with precision fitting perfectly with the bass. As musicians, The Police played very tight as a highly skilled unit but always with tact. And the guitar playing of Andy Summers is always first-rate yet tasteful with no better example than "Every Breathe You Take". This song is one of the all-time great singles and would go on to win the Grammy Award for Song of the Year (1983). It has a gorgeous sound and, on this SACD, it is an absolutely thrilling experience as Summer's guitar playing is impeccable as the driving force, in my estimation, behind this song.

As noted above, the SHM SACD of "Synchronicity" is the second such release on SACD. The Police recordings have undergone two major remasterings. In 1993, the entire Police catalogue was remastered by Dave Collins for the 4 CD Box Set of 'Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings'. The second remastered set (2002) was supervised by the acclaimed Bob Ludwig for the release of six Police albums in 2003 that included SACD versions. I have a copy of the 2003 SACD of Synchronicity that I compared to the SHM SACD for sound quality.

First, I emphasize both the 2003 SACD and the SHM SACD state in the liner notes mastered by Bob Ludwig 2002. I anticipated both SACD's should sound approximately the same but there were subtle differences. The SHM SACD exhibited slightly more brightness with a broader soundstage. Also, the SHM SACD was more open and transparent in the upper range that seemed to have this lilting quality. What do I ascribe to these positive listening differences in the SHM SACD? Well, perhaps the answer lies within a DSD edit and/or DSD transfer of SHM SACD that is not referenced in the liner notes or perhaps it is the SHM manufacturing process itself..... it would be only a guess on my part. Still, to be clear, the 2003 SACD has excellent audio quality but my preference is the Universal Japan SHM SACD release.

Of the ten tracks on "Synchronicity", three single releases ("Every Breathe You Take", "King of Pain", "Wrapped Around You Finger") hit the Top 10 in the charts and the single "Synchronicity ll" entered the Top 20. Quite an accomplished set of recordings. All in all, a great album with great sonics.

Copyright © 2015 Rick Kosmick and HRAudio.net

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Comments (3)
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Comment by Downunderman - July 17, 2018 (1 of 3)

This DSD Master (For UIGY-15031) is NOT the same as the two previous Japanese SACD issues (see 'note'heading below). These used the original 2002 A&M DSD transfer curated by Bob Ludwig.

In the liner notes it states "DSD flat transferred from UK original analogue master tapes by Richard Whitaker at FX Copyroom, London in 2013. Edited in DSD by Manabu Matsumura at Universal Music Studios, Tokyo, in 2013".

As an aside, total disc times are slightly different as well - 44.31 for the original (non Japanese) 2002 A&M disc and 44.34 for UIGY-15031.

This places it within the same Uber Box series as Zenyatta Mondatta and Reggatta De Blanc, which have pretty much the same liner note (Though Zenyatta was done a year later in 2014.

For some reason it was not issued in a box at the time and it took until October 2016 for it to see the light of day.....in a standard jewel case.

Given all this, Ricks review does NOT relate (sonically) to UIGY-15031. Done as it was in May 2015. Wonderful though it is otherwise.

This disc has the same sonic characteristics as the two Police Uber Box issues and does represent a noticeable step up from the 2002 DSD master issued originally by A&M. I don't have either of the previous Japanese SHM-SACD's that were based on the 2002 DSD master, so I can't comment on that aspect. But if you preferred the Uber Box remasters for Zenyatta and/or Reggatta over the 2002 ones, then there is an excellent chance you will want to upgrade.

And welcome back ANALOGUE...….it has been too long.

Comment by analogue - August 2, 2018 (2 of 3)

Hey Dude.

Just a thanks to you for pointing this disc out to me. I didn'tt want to purchase the Ludwig 24/96 pcm transfers. This newer Dsd transfer was a welcome moment. I did get it and it sounds great. It also fits in nicely with the other previous Police Shm Sacd discs that were released in the glorified box sets.
Thanks again for the heads up,
Analogue

Comment by Rick Kosmick - August 4, 2018 (3 of 3)

In response to comments by Downunderman on the SHM SACD release Catalogue no. UIGY-15031:

My review of May 15, 2015 was based on the Catalogue no. UIGY-9605 release of November 26, 2014. This SHM SACD was sourced from the master of Bob Ludwig in 2002 as noted in the liner notes.

For some reason the Catalogue no. for my review was later changed to the SHM SACD release UIGY-15031 dated October 26, 2016. This release, as Downunderman notes, was mastered utilizing a DSD flat transfer from UK original master tapes by Richard Whitaker. It should be a separate entry that is not associated with my review.

I will submit a message to rectify this error that requires two separate SHM SACD releases in the database.

Note
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Previously released as UIGY-9027, UIGY-9605 (NB: both these releases use a different master to the current release)