Sting – The Bridge – Review (Vinyl, Streaming Amazon Music, Qobuz)

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!

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

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

We will review 3 editions (Vinyl, Streaming Qobuz and Amazon Atmos Binaural) 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

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 other streaming services not presented here. Flat areas present the maximum sound levels.

Waveform Ed2 : Qobuz 2021

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

Waveform Ed3 : Amazion Dolby Atmos Binaural 2021

Dynamic

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

For our 3 editions we have obtained the following Dynamic Range (DR):

 Ed1: VinylEd2: QobuzEd3: Amazon Atmos Binaural
GLOBALDR10DR6DR11
MinDR9DR5DR9
MaxDR12DR9DR12
Smells Like Teen SpiritDR10DR5DR11
In BloomDR10DR5DR12
Come As You AreDR9DR5DR9
BreedDR11DR7DR9
LithiumDR10DR6DR11
PollyDR9DR6DR9
Territorial PissingsDR11DR6DR11
Drain YouDR10DR5DR10
Lounge ActDR12DR9DR11
Stay AwayDR10DR8DR11
On A PlainDR9DR8DR11
Something In The WayDR10DR6DR12
Endless, NamelessDR10DR6DR11

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 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)

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

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 88.4 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. It is not presented in this review, but the other providers of streaming also propose a compressed stereo version.

  • 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

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. 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.

4 thoughts on “Sting – The Bridge – Review (Vinyl, Streaming Amazon Music, Qobuz)

  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

  2. Listening this album via Spotify on cheap headphones I immediately heard something is wrong with how it was mixed. Flat and brickwalled. How can they reduce 16-bit 96dB dynamics into 6dB is beyond words. Sting should know better.

    PS. Why Nirvana songs on the list? 😉

    Like

    1. It’s a paradox, when the CD arrived, one of the arguments to sell it was the dynamic range of the CD (96 dB) compared to the vinyl (~65 dB).
      Today, with the loudness war, vinyl is the most dynamic. It’s the world upside down.

      PS: there was a publishing error, it is corrected now. As you have guessed, one of the next test will be Nevermind.

      Like

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