Sting – The Bridge – Review (Vinyl, Japanese CD, Streaming Amazon Atmos, Qobuz, Tidal)

The Bridge is the 15th studio album as a solo artist de Sting. The album has 10 songs, but has 3 extra songs in the Deluxe version. With an exception for the Japanese version which has 14 songs!

Updated on January 8, 2022 with the Japanese cd and the Tidal streaming release.

You can find the measurements of each edition in the different parts and listen to the samples of these albums here.

This album includes 13* tracks : 

  1. Rushing Water
  2. If It’s Love
  3. The Book Of Numbers
  4. Loving You
  5. Harmony Road
  6. For Her Love
  7. The Hills On The Border
  8. Captain Bateman
  9. The Bells Of St. Thomas
  10. The Bridge
  11. Waters Of Tyne
  12. Captain Bateman’s Basement
  13. (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay
  14. I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City*

*The 14th track “I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City” is a Japanese Exclusive Bonus Track.

We will review 5 editions (Vinyl, japanese CD, Streaming Qobuz, Amazon Atmos Binaural and Tidal) of this album.

First we will analyze each edition in detail (technical and qualitative analysis) then we will compare the successive editions with their dynamics and assign a final score and you will be able to listen some samples.

Review of the editions:

Part 1: Presentation of the editions

Part 2 : Waveform and dynamique comparaison

Parts 3 : Spectrum comparisons

Part 4 : Spectrogram comparaisons

Part 5 : Summary, scoring and Sample

Part 1: presentation of the editions

Ed1 : Vinyl ref 00602438586547 – 2021
Presentation

It is a very nice vinyl Deluxe proposed here in its double black LP version.

LabelA&M Records
Reference00602438586547
Format (speed)Double LP Deluxe at 33.3 RPM
TypeDouble LP
MasterDigital
Mastering/PressingMastered By – Gene Grimaldi
Original recordingDigital 24-44.1kHz
StateEU
Year original2021
Year production2021
Ed2 : Streaming Qobuz Hi-Res – 2021
Presentation

This is the Streaming Qobuz proposed in Hi-Res(24 bits 48kHz).

LabelA&M Records
ReferenceStreaming Qobuz Hi-Res
Format (speed)Streaming Digital
Type24 bits 48 kHz
MasterDigital
Mastering/PressingMastered By – Gene Grimaldi
Original recordingDigital 24-48kHz
StateEU
Year original2021
Year production2021
Ed3 : Streaming Amazon Dolby Atmos binaural – 2021
Presentation

This is the Streaming Amazon Dolby Atmos proposed in Binaural for headphone listening.

LabelA&M Records
ReferenceStreaming Amazon Dolby Atmos
Format (speed)Streaming Dolby Atmos Binaural
TypeStereo binaural
MasterDigital
Mastering/PressingMastered By – Gene Grimaldi
Original recordingDigital
StateEU
Year original2021
Year production2021

Ed4 : Japanese CD ref UICY-79755 – 2021
Presentation

It is a very nice Japanese Bridge Deluxe Limited Edition proposed here with CD and DVD.

The CD includes a bonus track “I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City”. The DVD includes generic and track by track interview, and Music Videos (If its Love, Rushing Water).

The box includes also 2 posters and a little books.

LabelA&M Records
ReferenceUICY-79755
Format (speed)CD SHM-CD + DVD
TypeCD 16 bits 44.1kHz
MasterDigital
Mastering/PressingMastered By – Gene Grimaldi
Original recordingDigital 24-44.1kHz
StateJapan
Year original2021
Year production2021
Ed5 : Streaming Tidal Master – 2021
Presentation

This is the Streaming TIDAL proposed in Master MQA (24 bits 48kHz).

LabelA&M Records
ReferenceStreaming Master MQA
Format (speed)Streaming Digital MQA encoded
Type24 bits 48 kHz decoded in PCM 24 bits 96 kHz by Audirvana
MasterDigital
Mastering/PressingMastered By – Gene Grimaldi
Original recordingDigital 24-48kHz
StateUS
Year original2021
Year production2021

Part 2 : Waveform and dynamic comparaisons

Waveform

The waveform represents all the tracks of the album.

The Ed1 vinyl differs from the digital version stereo (Ed2) by a much more dynamic signal without compression of the maximum levels.

Waveform Ed1 : Vinyl 2021

The wafeforms of Ed2 Qobuz is compressed like Tidal (Ed5) and other streaming services not presented here. Flat areas present the maximum sound levels with compression (yellow zone).

Waveform Ed2 : Qobuz 2021
Waveform Ed4 : Japanese CD 2021 with an additional bonus track
Waveform Ed5 : Tidal 2021

The Ed3 Dolby Atmos Binaural version is the most dynamic of the four digital versions reviewed.

Waveform Ed3 : Amazon Dolby Atmos Binaural 2021

Dynamic

Dynamic represents the ability to reproduce a wide range of sounds from the softest to the loudest.

For our 5 editions we have obtained the following Dynamic Range (DR):

 Ed1: VinylEd2: QobuzEd3: Amazon Atmos BinauralEd4: CD JapanEd5: Tidal
GLOBALDR10DR6DR11DR6DR6
MinDR9DR5DR9DR5DR5
MaxDR12DR9DR12DR9DR9
Rushing WaterDR10DR5DR11DR5DR5
If It’s LoveDR10DR5DR12DR5DR5
The Book Of LoveDR9DR5DR9DR5DR5
Loving YouDR11DR7DR9DR7DR7
Harmony RoadDR10DR6DR11DR6DR6
For Her LoveDR9DR6DR9DR6DR6
The Hills On The BorderDR11DR6DR11DR6DR6
Captain BatemanDR10DR5DR10DR5DR5
The Bells Of St. ThomasDR12DR9DR11DR8DR8
The BridgeDR10DR8DR11DR9DR9
Waters Of TyneDR9DR8DR11DR8DR8
Captain Bateman’s BasementDR10DR6DR12DR6DR6
(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The BayDR10DR6DR11DR6DR6
I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City   DR5 

This is a new hierarchy in the ranking of the most dynamic versions, the Ed3 Dolby Atmos is the most dynamic (DR11), followed by the vinyl (DR10) and in last position, the digital stereo version (Streaming and CD) with a much lower score (DR6).

As a reminder, the scale goes from 0 to more 20, but the dynamics are considered good from 12, quite good between 10 and 11, and deteriorate below 10.

Part 3 : spectrum comparisons

Spectrum

The Spectrum allows to check the tonal balance of the music (balance between treble, medium and bass sounds) and to detect process that may have been carried out during the recording, the mixing, mastering or manufacturing phases. It is also possible to detect frequency interference issues.

The curve represents the average frequency distribution over the sample “The Book Of Numbers”.

The curve of the Ed1 vinyl is similar to that of Qobuz Ed2. There is a small decrease above 5 kHz of 1 or 2 dB (yellow arrow) and almost the same level around 50 Hz.

Spectrum Ed1 Vinyl (white) vs Ed2 Streaming Qobuz (blue)

In the graph below, the curves of the Ed2 Streaming Stereo and Ed4 Japanese CD are strictly identical, with only a difference in the cutoff frequency at 22 kHz for the CD and 24 kHz for the Streaming. This is due to the difference in sampling frequencies of 48 kHz for streaming and 44.1 kHz for CD.

Spectrum Ed4 CD (white) vs Ed2 Streaming Qobuz (blue)

The Ed5 Tidal is identical to the Ed2 Qobuz except above 48 kHz where the MQA decoding generates spectrum aliasing (Red area) due to the decoding of MQA by Audirvana in 96 kHz (imposed by the MQA format) and not 48 kHz. It is the same phenomenon that we found and described in detail for the album 30 of Adele.

Spectrum Ed5 Tidal (white) vs Ed2 Streaming Qobuz (blue)

The Ed3 Atmos Binaural version is similar on almost all the spectrum with however a 2 or 3 dB higher level in the low register (white arrow) compared to the Ed2 Qobuz stereo version. The yellow arrow shows the 20 KHz cutoff of the Ed3 Dolby Atmos Binaural version versus 24 KHz of the Ed2 Qobuz stereo version.

Spectrum Ed3 Streaming Amazon Atmos Binaural (white) vs Ed2 Streaming Qobuz (blue)

Part 4 : Spectrogram comparaisons

Spectrogram

Spectrogram is another representation of frequency versus time of a track. For each channel (right and left), horizontal axis represents time, and the vertical axis represents frequency. The amplitude is represented by the intensity (brightness) of the color of each point in the image.

For the spectrogram of the Ed1 vinyl, the yellow arrow shows the limit is below 20 kHz (the sampling frequency of the master). The white arrow shows the harmonics created by the vinyl playback method.

Spectrogram Ed1 : Vinyl 2021

The streaming Qobuz show the frequency limit at 24 kHz (yellow arrow) . The black area (white arrow) shows that there is no signal above 24 kHz, which is normal for a 48 kHz sampling rate.

Spectrogram Ed2 : Qobuz 2021

Unlike the Ed2 Qobuz, for the Ed4 Tidal, the white arrow shows interfering frequencies due to decoding MQA (in 96 kHz and not 48 kHz) and not a black area indicating an absence of signal that should be normal above 24 kHz (yellow arrow) because of a 48 kHz sampling rate for the original master.

Spectrogram Ed5 : Tidal 2021

The CD show the frequency limit at 22 kHz (yellow arrow) . The black area (white arrow) shows that there is no signal above 22 kHz, which is normal for a 44.1 kHz sampling rate.

Spectrogram Ed4 : CD 2021

The streaming Amazon Dolby Atmos Binaural show the frequency limit at 20 kHz (yellow arrow) . The black area (white arrow) shows that there is no signal above 20 kHz, which is normal for a 48 kHz sampling rate of the Dolby Atmos.

Spectrogram Ed3 : Amazon Dolby Atmos Binaural 2021

Part 5 : Summary, scoring and Samples

Ed1 : Vinyl ref 00602438586547 – 2021

The vinyl pressing is good with reduced surface noise.
The vinyl version is much more open and detailed than the digital stereo version. The voices are more natural and there is more dynamics. This is particularly evident in the second half of the sample, where there are more dynamics and better attacks.

  • Rating:
    • Dynamic: ●●●oo (3/5)
    • Bandwidth: ●●●●o (4/5)
    • Surface Noise: ●●●●o (4/5)
    • Restitution: ●●●●o (4/5)
  • Sample : “The Book Of Numbers” vinyl 24 bits 88.2 kHz :
Sample “The Book Of Numbers” vinyl
Ed2 : Streaming Qobuz Hi-Res – 2021

The Streaming version is really very compressed. It is as obvious on listening as on measurements. This version lacks finesse and openness.

  • Rating:
    • Dynamic: ●oooo (1/5)
    • Bandwidth: ●●●●o (4/5)
    • Restitution: ●●●oo (3/5)
  • Sample : “The Book Of Numbers” Streaming Qobuz 24 bits 48 kHz :
Sample “The Book Of Numbers” Streaming Qobuz
Ed3 : Streaming Amazon Dolby Atmos binaural – 2021

Here is the version in Dolby Atmos Binaural. This version marks immediately by its dynamics, its opening and the separation of the instruments. This binaural version is made for a listening to the headphones, and brings a more pleasant rendering than the stereo versions. But, it is necessary to get accustomed to these new Atmos mixes.

  • Rating:
    • Dynamic: ●●●oo (3.5/5)
    • Bandwidth: ●●●●o (4/5)
    • Restitution: ●●●●o (4/5)
  • Sample : “The Book Of Numbers” Streaming Amazon Dolby Atmos Binaural :
Sample “The Book Of Numbers” Streaming Atmos Binaural
Ed4 : CD Japan ref UICY-79755 – 2021

The CD version like the streaming is really very compressed. We find a similar sound to the streaming.
The packaging is superb for this CD edition which would have deserved a level of audio quality equal to the quality of the presentation.

  • Rating:
    • Dynamic: ●oooo (1/5)
    • Bandwidth: ●●●●o (4/5)
    • Restitution: ●●●oo (3/5)
  • Sample : “The Book Of Numbers” Streaming CD 16 bits 44.1kHz :
Sample “The Book Of Numbers” CD
Ed5 : Streaming Tidal Master – 2021

Like Qobuz Streaming (Ed2), the Tidal Streaming MQA version is also highly compressed. We are in full loudness war with this ultra compressed master.

  • Rating:
    • Dynamic: ●oooo (1/5)
    • Bandwidth: ●●●●o (4/5)
    • Restitution: ●●●oo (3/5)
  • Sample : “The Book Of Numbers” Streaming Tidal 24 bits 96 kHz :
Sample “The Book Of Numbers” Streaming Tidal

Very beautiful album, which for a listening in stereo gives the best result with vinyl with a more alive and natural rendering. It is the version to be privileged compared to the digital stereo compressed version (Streaming Qobuz ,Tidal and CD). For headphone listening, the Dolby Atmos Binaural version which brings more openness and precision, is the version to be preferred with its mix slightly different from the stereo version.

Detail of the ratings :

  • Dynamic :
    1. Significant dynamic compression, DR less than 7
    2. Compression of the present dynamics, DR between 7 and 9.
    3. Correct piece DR >=10
    4. No dynamic compression (DR >12), dynamic rendering
    5. No dynamic compression, high DR and very dynamic sound rendering
  • Spectrum :
    1. Spectrum cut and less than 15 khz
    2. Spectrum cut at 15 khz
    3. Spectrum not conforming to the original and cut (not HD) or original but limited bandwidth (but less than 20 kHz)
    4. Spectrum conforming to the original (but not HD)
    5. Spectrum conforming to the original with HD resolution (higher than 24kHz)
  • Surface noise (only for vinyl):
    1. Continuous audible noise
    2. Audible surface noise except on passages with a high level of noise
    3. Reduced surface noise, barely audible on low level crossings
    4. Low surface noise, very good quality
    5. Very low surface noise, no defects, almost inaudible on the quiet passages (exceptional disc)
  • Restitution :
    1. Low quality of the restitution mixing dynamics, clarity, separation of voices and instruments.
    2. Average quality of the restitution mixing dynamics, clarity, separation of voices and instruments.
    3. Quality of the restitution mixing dynamics, clarity, separation of voices and instruments. Good record.
    4. High quality of the restitution mixing dynamics, clarity, separation of voices and instruments. Very high level disc.
    5. Maximum quality of the restitution mixing dynamics, clarity, separation of voices and instruments. Exceptional disc.

2 thoughts on “Sting – The Bridge – Review (Vinyl, Japanese CD, Streaming Amazon Atmos, Qobuz, Tidal)

  1. Sting – The Bridge – Review
    Bonjour Jean-François,
    Merci pour tout ce travail.
    De fait, l’arrivée du Dolby Atmos entamerait il l’une des révolutions les plus fulgurantes de l’univers musical depuis la stéréo?
    Juste une petite remarque, la track list citée est celle de l’album Nevermind de Nivarna, de même, le titre du morceau en exemple est “The book of numbers” et non ‘Come as you are’.
    Au plaisir de vous lire,
    FP

    Like

    1. Boujour François,
      Très bonne question concernant le Dolby Atmos, en tout cas c’est une nouvelle manière de mixer et de retranscrire la musique, et cela semble plus suivi que la music en 5.1 (SACD, DVD-A) .
      Merci pour la remarque, j’ai mis à jour le test. Et effectivement, Nevermind de Nivarna sera l’un des prochains tests.

      Like

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