Top Artists – Dire Straits

Letter of the Week – Dire Straits, Boston and Rumours

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

Hey Tom,   

Just some feedback. I know its been a long time. Just always busy. Anyways, All the albums were great. The Dire Straits I thought was the best. FM was next. Boston is hard for me to listen to nowadays. I used to really be a big Boston fan, played it all the time in the car cassette deck. In fact I first heard album #1 in a friends car deck. Now, I’m not so much a big fan, but The hot stamper was great. When I first contacted you about your hot stampers you mentioned that I might not be able to notice a big difference with my setup. But I could tell the difference right away. I frequent your site at least once a week looking for something of interest and within my price range. It’s amazing what you guys do.

Anyways, I’ll keep looking and thanks for the awesome hot stampers. (more…)

Dire Straits – Dire Straits

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  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides of this UK pressing of the band’s brilliant debut
  • One of the best sounding rock records ever made, with rich, sweet, smooth mids; prodigious amounts of bass; superb transparency and clarity; and a freedom from hi-fi-ishness and a lack of distortion like very few rock records we have ever heard
  • Rhett Davies knocked this one out of the park – it’s a Top 100 title, a member of the Tubey Magical Top Ten, and our favorite by the band for both sound and music
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Knopfler also shows an inclination toward Dylanesque imagery, which enhances the smoky, low-key atmosphere of the album… the album is remarkably accomplished for a debut, and Dire Straits had difficulty surpassing it throughout their career.”

*NOTE: On side one, a mark makes 3 moderate pops followed by 8 light ticks at the beginning of Track 1, Down to the Waterline. On side two, a mark makes 11 light ticks on Track 1, Sultans of Swing.

Rhett Davies is one of our favorite engineers. He’s the man behind Taking Tiger Mountain, 801 Live and Avalon to name just a few of his most famous recordings, all favorites of ours of course.

The man may be famous for some fairly artificial sounding recordings — Eno’s, Roxy Music’s and The Talking Heads’ albums come to mind — but it’s obvious to us now, if it wasn’t before, that those are entirely artistic choices, not engineering shortcomings.

Rhett Davies, by virtue of the existence of this album alone, has proven that he belongs in the company of the greatest engineers of all time, right up there with the likes of Bill Porter, Ken Scott, Stephen Barncard, Geoff Emerick, Glyn Johns and others we could mention. (more…)

Brothers in Arms – Half-Speed Mastered, But Why?

Half-Speed Masters – The Complete List

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Sonic Grade: D

The Warner Brothers 180g Double LP pictured above was mastered by Stan Ricker at half-speed.

Most of the time Stan Ricker’s approach to half-speed mastering results in a record that is too bright, with sloppy bass.

And what do you know, it IS too bright and the bass IS sloppy. Imagine that!

We often discuss the unpredictability of records, but when it comes to Half-Speed Mastered pressings their faults are fairly consistent and easy to spot once you know what to listen for.      

Half-Speed Mastered Disasters

Half-Speed Mastered Mediocrities

Half-Speed Mastered Winners

Dire Straits – Making Movies

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  • An outstanding UK early pressing, with Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides – – exceptionally quiet vinyl too, the last clean copy we have in stock
  • Guaranteed to be a huge improvement over anything you’ve heard, this Brit is big, punchy, and full-bodied with excellent presence – Mark Knopfler’s leads really soar
  • Romeo and Juliet comes to life the way you want it to here, and the song Solid Rock lives up to its title
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Making Movies is helped by a new wave-tinged pop production, which actually helps Knopfler’s jazzy inclinations take hold … ranks among the band’s finest work.”

The music really comes together, especially if you’ve been playing a sub-generation domestic pressing, which is the only kind Warners made as far as we know. (The first album is the same way of course.) Here you will find richer mids, sweeter highs, more energy and some real punch down low. (more…)

Dire Straits / Alchemy: Dire Straits Live – How Good Are the Robert Ludwig Pressings?

More Dire Straits

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The best domestic pressings we heard, the ones cut by Robert Ludwig at Masterdisk, were simply not competitive with the original British LPs. The evidence is pretty clear that the master tapes stayed in England and that only the British pressings are made from them.

(more…)

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.”

(more…)

Letter of the Week – Wish You Were Here

Hot Stamper Pressings of Wish You Were Here Available Now

Letters and Commentaries for 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.”

(more…)

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

More Dire Straits

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…)