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  A&M Records -
  The Police: Every Breath You Take
  "Every Breath You Take: The Classics"

The Police
Track listing:
  1. Roxanne
2. Can't Stand Losing You
3. Message in a Bottle
4. Walking on the Moon
5. Don't Stand So Close to Me '86
6. De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
7. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
8. Invisible Sun
9. Spirits in the Material World
10. Every Breath You Take
11. King of Pain
12. Wrapped Around Your Finger
13. Don't Stand so close to me '86
14. Message in a bottle (new classic rock mix)
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 6 show all

Reviews: 20 show all

Review by 24-96 Mastering January 11, 2005 (20 of 35 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I'm shocked to see this disc being rated so high. When I first listened to the disc, I thought it displays the worst in taste regarding surround mixing. Every nasty no-no in mixing (be it stereo or surround) has a firm place on this disc.

(The following review was posted on an audio engineer forum, so please excuse the technical lingo.)

Before I get into the details of what makes this disc so unbelievably bad, let me first say that normally I'm a huge fan of surround reissues / remixes as it gives able engineers not only the creative possibilities of surround but also enables them to enhance the original mix using equipment and techniques that simply weren't available at the time of the original mix.
I was looking forward very much to this release, as the original Police recordings all leave much to be desired in terms of sonic clarity. But oh, how I was disappointed.

The list of surround mixing no-nos in detail:

1. Don't feed a stereo sum to a stereo reverb unit and route the wet signal to the surrounds ONLY at a ridiculous level. (Track 1, 'roxanne')

2. Don't add a long and irritating dub-delay to single snare hits. This would be a bad mixing choice, it is even more ridiculous when it hasn't been there in the original and you're producing a new format remix. And I won't even go into the ridiculous panning choices for the guitar... (Track 2, 'can't stand losing you')

3. Applying a surround reverb on a snare drum with an reverb-tail-delay of more than 100ms. This is especially true if the reverb is so loud it completely drowns the rest of the track. (Track 3, 'message in a bottle')

4. NEVER EVER set your stereo reverb to a PRE-DELAY of 250 ms, apply it to an otherwise totally dry cross-click and move it from surround-only to stereo-only. And for god's sake don't move it back and forth and round and round. This is so unbelievably bad, you have to hear it to believe it. (Track 4, 'walking on the moon')

5. If you're going to put a plate reverb on the vocals that accents and carries the esses for 3 seconds, make sure you don't delay the rear speakers too much or you'll have them flying by your head. This is especially true if the song opens with the line: 'young teaCHer, the SubJect of School GirlS' fanTaSy'. (Track 5, 'don't stand so close to me' Other than that, this mix is actually pretty OK, surprisingly.)

6. If you have a shaker on every semi-quaver and a hihat on every second semi-demi-quaver in a song that's more than 120 bpm, don't pan one to right-surround and the other one to front-left.The listener might sue you for damages regarding substantial loss of mental health; Especially if there are vibratos, surround delays and pan moves on every guitar. Generally, if dynamic panning of single instruments on one track takes you more than 3 days to program, you know that you've overdone it. (Track 6, 'de do do do, de da da da')

7. Don't pan the hi-hat from left surround to left front and back and forth. (Track 7, 'every little thing she does is magic')

8. Don't mix all vocals mono (only in the center speaker), lay a mono reverb on them (only in the center) when the rest of the track is spaced wide over all surround.(Track 9, 'spirits in the material world'. This mix could have been really good if the keys and the snare reverb were down a few dB on the rears and the vocals weren't crammed into an acoustic space the size of a coin.)

9. Don't pan the kick drum to the left when the snare drum is in the center. (Track 11, 'king of pain', chorus)

The mastering of the album leaves some room for improvement too. It is rather middy, but I gues that's being true to the original recordings.

To be fair, I don't know if all the tracks were remixed from individual tracks or from stems or some even from a sum, but regardless of this most of the mixes are simply tasteless. Even when working with a sum, one could do much better than this.

Lastly, it should be said that a few of the tracks are mixed pretty decently. In light of the other disasters that make up the rest of the disc, this is not too signifficant though.

Out of my 100 (or so) surround recordings I have acquired so far, this one stands out as one of the best examples of what not to do with surround. I honestly (no sarcasm here) believe that this disc can teach us how to make better surround mixes. Buy it - it's worth it.

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Review by monica April 11, 2009 (7 of 11 found this review helpful)
24-96 Mastering:

This is the first time I have ever signed up to an online forum of any sort. The comments that you made about the production and engineering of The Police's Greatest Hits album were enough to make me take time and effort to join such a discussion.

I'm not going to go into details concerning various reverb times, panning of semi-demi quavers and dry cross kicks as you did.

In fact, in my opinion, the above examples of experimentalism provide the signature sound of this significant and memorable album.

If there were rules that people had to absolutely adhere to whilst composing and producing music then the process of it's creation would have been the same since it's beginning. In most cases, I think that this principle of rules and guidelines is a foolish and introvert attitude to approaching music.

Although I think that some techniques that you mentioned are relevant, it is obvious to me that they complemented all of the Police's songs in the album.



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Review by emilsjr March 7, 2003 (5 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is a simply stunning disc. In both stereo and multi-channel, the sonics and perfomance are both top notch. In stereo, just listen to the beauty of "King of Pain" and the power of the bass on "Wrapped around Your Finger". In multi-channel, relish the joy found in "Don't Stand So Close To Me" and the world created by "Every Breathe You Take". Bravo to all involved.

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