Top Artists – Dire Straits

The Notting Hillbillies – Missing…

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  • A superb sounding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • These sides get the sound of the plucked instruments with all the speed. body and harmonic information they need to sound their best
  • 4 stars: “… a low-key, joyous run-through of mostly traditional, blues-based songs with a handful of originals… Despite the high-profile presence of Knopfler, the Notting Hillbillies succeed in sounding like a band with Knopfler often taking a backseat to his bandmates… a delightful record that doesn’t overstay its welcome.”

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Letter of the Week – Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

 

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

Hey Tom, 

I’ve bought several LPs from you guys and have been exceptionally impressed. The eponymous Dire Straits plus Breakfast in America arrived yesterday, and are excellent.

The best one from you guys that I’ve bought is easily Wish You Were Here. That is an album meant to be played at full volume from start to finish, loving every minute. Listening with Vinnie Rossi LIO, Acoustic Signature WOW xxl and Hana Shibata MC cart into Joseph Audio Perspectives.

Keep up the good work! 

Anyway, thanks from a very satisfied customer.

Dire Straits Brothers In Arms – Not Bad When It’s Properly Mastered and Pressed!



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  • This killer domestic pressing gives you a Triple Plus (A+++) side one and a side two that’s not far behind (A++)
  • Fully extended from top to bottom with a wide-open soundstage, for this music this is the right sound.
  • So Far Away, Money For Nothing and Walk Of Life all sound great on this Triple Plus side one!
  • “One of their most focused and accomplished albums … Dire Straits had never been so concise or pop-oriented, and it wore well on them.” — Allmusic, 4 stars

Fully extended from top to bottom with a wide-open soundstage, this is exactly the right sound for this music. There’s plenty of richness and fullness here as well — traits that are really crucial to getting the most out of a mid-’80s recording like this!

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’s punchy and meaty with healthy amounts of deep, tight bass.

The vocals are Right On The Money — full-bodied, with breathy texture, surrounded by the lovely ambience of the studio.

The 3-D quality to the soundfield here is something that most copies simply cannot reproduce.

The overall sound is lively, dynamic, and relatively natural. (more…)

Mark Knopfler – Local Hero

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  • A KILLER Warner Brothers pressing of Knopfler’s 1983 soundtrack album, with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side and a solid Double Plus (A++) side one
  • This one is doing everything right– it’s bigger, bolder, richer and more clean, clear and open than anything else we played
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Dire Straits leader Mark Knopfler’s intricate, introspective finger-picked guitar stylings make a perfect musical complement to the wistful tone of Bill Forsyth’s comedy film, Local Hero… The low-key music picks up traces of Scottish music, but most of it just sounds like Dire Straits doing instrumentals, especially the recurring theme, one of Knopfler’s more memorable melodies.”

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

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More Brothers in Arms

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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

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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

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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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More Brothers in Arms

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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…)