Top Artists – Dire Straits

Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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

Get your Money For Nothing and your chicks for free on this White Hot Stamper, sure to be the best sounding copy you’ve ever heard of this ’80s classic! Here’s a knockout pressing that finished right up at the top for BOTH sides. We played a ton of copies this week; most of them sounded like CDs, but not this one! I can’t explain why this copy has such warm, sweet, analog sound, but it sure blew me away. The huge three-dimensional soundfield on both sides allows you to hear right INTO the music. 

Of course no two copies sound alike, but there are some fairly consistent traits to both the British copies and the American ones. The best Brit imports are very rich, warm, and sweet, but most of them are dead and veiled. The Hot Stamper domestic copies (mastered by Robert Ludwig) have more meat on the bones down low and rock like you wouldn’t believe. We’re calling this one a draw — there are amazing domestic pressings and amazing import pressings, but the average copy of either is hardly worth the vinyl it was pressed on.

Surprisingly Analog Master Tape Sound

Both sides of this bad boy are SUPERB. Drop the needle on So Far Away — it’s airy, open, and spacious, yet incredibly rich and full-bodied. The bottom end really delivers the goods — it is punchy and meaty with lots of deep, tight bass. The vocals are Right On The Money — breathy and full with lots of texture and ambience. The 3-D quality to the soundfield here is something that you just won’t hear on most copies. The overall sound is lively, dynamic, and very natural. (more…)

Dire Straits – Dire Straits – Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2011


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

The best side one we’ve ever heard, so freakishly impressive that we awarded it the rare A++++ (Four Plus) grade! On top of that, side two earned an A++ grade and the vinyl plays unusually quietly — solid Mint Minus throughout. This is probably the best Dire Straits album (certainly our favorite) and definitely their best sounding album; on a copy like this one it has the power to BLOW YOUR MIND. Water Of Love, Down To The Waterline and Six Blade Knife are all STUNNING on this pressing.  (more…)

Letter of the Week – Love Over Gold, The Hunter and One Flight Up

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom,  

Wow! Were you ever right when you said the Aurios MIBs are “Quite Possibly the Biggest Analog Upgrade Out There”. After listening with the MIBs in place for about 3 hours, there’s no doubt they make a huge difference. Every record/track I heard on LPs I know very well sounded more dynamic. I don’t want to use the worn phrase “on steroids”. The music had much better pace and sounded more real and natural. The contrasts from high to low across the bandwidth were more apparent. The timbre of the instruments also sounded more real and natural. Soundstage became more dimensional in all directions. I heard details that previously were not as audible or were not audible at all.

One thing that was most impressive is that the Aurios actually seem to enlarge the scale of the music; it sounder bigger. LPs I listened to: Love Over Gold (Dire Straits); Slow Train Coming (Bob Dylan); The Hunter (Jennifer Warnes); One Flight Up (Dexter Gordon). All of these sounded significantly better than I had ever heard before adding the MIBs. Love Over Gold was just incredible! It simply was not the same record without the Aurios MIBs. It blew me away. After listening to both sides, I had to listen again and asked my wife to join me. She was as impressed as I was. So your string of satisfied customers remains intact. I will not let these out of my sight!

John A.


Love Over Gold

One Flight Up

Letter of the Week – Dire Straits

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

I’ve got to admit that I was skeptical when I purchased your Hot Stamper Dire Straits album. I told my brother I just paid $400 CAD (shipping and duties included) for a used record. Of course he thought I was nuts! I have an original Mercury copy that I bought in 1978 plus an audiophile copy mastered by Bernie Grundman from the original analogue tapes and plated and pressed at Pallas, Germany.

I finally got the chance to do the shootout between all copies. The original totally sounded like shit. It was bright sounding, noisy and lacked bottom end and dynamics. The Grundman mastered copy was much quieter, it was much smoother and more dynamic but it didn’t sound great. When I put on the Hot Stamper, within a few notes I knew it was far superior. It was far more dynamic as if I turned up the volume. It was also quiet and far more transparent but had that great bottom end.

My brother came to visit me a few days ago and I did the shootout between all the copies again. The differences between all the copies was even far more obvious the second time I did the shootout. I can tell you that my brother doesn’t think I’m nuts any more. I hope I can purchase more albums from you in the future. (more…)

Dire Straits – Alchemy: Dire Straits Live – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

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More Alchemy: Dire Straits Live


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

Two of the sides of this original Vertigo British pressing are two of the best we played in our recent shootout, with transparency and spaciousness only hinted at by most of the copies we auditioned. 

Of course, this being a live rock album, clarity and detail are not at the top of the list of qualities were looking for. We’re after ROCK AND ROLL ENERGY more than anything else, and that means vocal presence, a solid bass foundation and plenty of dynamics. We want this music to come alive in your listening room and this is the copy that can do it! (more…)

Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms – Simply Vinyl Reviewed

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Sonic Grade: B

This older Simply Vinyl pressing (with the gold SVLP sticker) actually sounds pretty good. It certainly is one of the most ANALOG sounding versions I’ve heard, high praise in my book.

We’ve recommended it in the past. It’s a nice record (if you can get your hands on one) but it’s not really a match for our Hot Stamper pressings. The multiple copies we auditioned did darn good for a Heavy Vinyl reissue and substantially better than the average pressing, hence the “B” grade. Simply Vinyl seems to have done a good job here.

Correction: an unnamed mastering engineer at the label did a superb job. Simply Vinyl isn’t in the business of mastering ANYTHING. They leave that up to the pros at the record labels. Sometimes those guys screw it up and sometimes they get it right. (more…)

Letter of the Week – Brothers In Arms

Brothers In Arms


A good customer asks: “How would you compare the Brothers in Arms SHS to the Mobile Fidelity 45 rpm copy?”

Dear Sir,

We have never bothered to play their remaster, and why would we? Every MoFi pressing made by the current regime has had major sound problems when in a head to head comparison with the “real” records we sell, and it’s simply not worth our time to find out exactly what is wrong with the sound of any new reissue, theirs included.

Half-speed mastering is a bad idea — at the very least it results in sloppy bass. This is very obvious to us but it seems most audiophiles and reviewers don’t notice this shortcoming. We find listening to the sound of these veiled, compressed, strangely-eq’d remastered records painful, so we avoid playing them unless one comes our way for free, which does happen from time to time. (more…)

Dire Straits – Communique

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  • This stunning sounding copy of the band’s sophomore release earned shootout winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades or close to them on both sides
  • Simply bigger and fuller than the competition, this vintage pressing has massive amounts of energy and rich punchy bass 
  • If you’re a fan of the band’s debut release, you’ll find much to like on this underappreciated follow up
  • It is insanely difficult to find good copies of this album, which is why we’ve only had a handful of Hot Stampers hit the site in all these years
  • “…an album full of the delicate subtleties that make Mark Knopfler shimmer — that deep tobacco-soaked voice, the quick, fluid guitar, and the wit behind many of his lyrics… a rich, abundant source of beauty.”


Dire Straits – Love Over Gold

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  • A stunning UK import copy with Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from beginning to end 
  • Incredibly big, punchy, dynamic, transparent and musical throughout – you won’t believe it
  • These top quality copies of Love Over Gold are far more natural than the any pressing you have ever heard
  • “Certainly a quantum leap from the organic R&B impressionism of the band’s early LPs and the gripping short stories of Making Movies, Love Over Gold is an ambitious, sometimes difficult record that is exhilarating in its successes and, at the very least, fascinating in its indulgences.” – Rolling Stone

We pick up every clean copy we see of this album, domestic or import, because we know from experience just how good the best pressings can sound. What do the best copies have? REAL dynamics for one. And with those dynamics you need rock solid bass. Otherwise the loud portions simply become irritating. A lack of grain is always nice — many of the pressings we played were gritty or grainy. Other copies that were quite good in most ways lacked immediacy and we took serious points off for that. (more…)

Letter of the Week – Hall and Oates, Love Over Gold and Face Value

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

I want to thank you once again.

Quite a few years ago now I contacted you and talked about this concept called “Hot Stampers”. It ended up both saving me a lot of misdirection and foolishly trying to rebuild my vinyl collection with new vinyl re-releases often called “audiophile” and “half-speed” issues.

After a few confirmations of what you said I quickly sold all those copies and began building a real world class collection of vinyl “original” Hot Stamper level records. A good number came from your business and I also made a hobby of trying to do what you do in finding “Hot Stampers”. Fortunately Philadelphia has a reasonable number of used record stores but unfortunately, as you well know, this is a rigorous and costly endeavor, but it can be rewarding at times and at other times requires that I rely on you.

So today I’m snowed in here and I fired up the rig and decided to do some small scale shoot outs and find the true great copies from my already culled collection. Put on several Hall and Oates and focused on “She’s Gone”. One was just clearly dynamic, clear and present. Then I put on several Dire Straits “Love Over Gold” and ended up with 3 killer copies (such a good lp). I then put on about 5 copies of Phil Collins “Face Value” with “If Leaving Me is Hard”. What a great love song, and narrowed it to 2. (more…)