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Reviews: Dire Straits: Dire Straits

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Reviews: 26

Review by sonnysin168 August 26, 2010 (15 of 18 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
My copy was delivered to my office in Manila very late in the afternoon yesterday by EMS Int'l after the plane carrying it arrived from Tokyo in the morning. The packaging is similar to other shm-sacd earlier issued. But this sure sounds different from the shm-cd version of the same album that I have. Much, much better!

From the opening song Down To The Waterline, I was impressed with the very quiet background, crisp and smooth highs and big, deep bass. My very favorite Sultans Of Swing never sounded as good as this version's (I also have this cut in the HDCD encoded The Very Best of Dire Straits). The details were near perfect: brilliant and sparkling guitar work without being bright. Check out the sound of the Dobro: vibrant and resonating! Mark Knofler's voice is smoother yet fuller. The rest of the other cuts were just as impressive: they all sounded quite good. Maybe I can qualify this IMO as another demonstration quality sacd.

This is quite an expensive disc compared to others just released and not yet out-of-print. Actually this is my 2nd shm-sacd (Aja being the 1st). I guess we have to shell out a lot for quality sacd these days. But in my opinion the expense for this disc is really worth it.

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Review by JimiDiscs September 3, 2010 (13 of 17 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
With the rather long lead time for this release, my assumptions about its quality wavered. But why should I worry? There was a Winwood involved in the production, Steve's brother Muff produced, so it had to come out well. I think I may have underestimated what they could do with this album sonically.

It sounds superb. Of course, the quality of the material and the playing have long kept this album actively played on my sound system. But it never sounded like this. I never imagined it could sound like this. The vinyl can be a bit murky by comparison and the CDs, in their various re-mastering states, never hinted at the warmth and cohesive tone this version displays.

To get it out of the way, this is one of my all-time favorite albums. It is the best Bob Dylan album Bob Dylan never did. The lyrics are flavored by a proud son of Britain, and they flow so well with a musical accompaniment that is at once distinctive and unique yet delicate and full bodied. It is one of those rare albums that if the songs were stripped to bare bones, they would still excel and the music could stand on its own if it were an instrumental only work. If put together they propel the listener to a world Knopfler and company build for them.

As for the sound, this presentation is one of the finest recorded works I have ever heard. The lows are full, extended and natural. The highs are clear and smooth. The mids give each instrument the space it deserves. The stereo mix is well balanced. The imaging from front to back is well maintained. They even seem to get you to feel it as Knopfler moves his guitar to 'squeeze' out the the ringing tomes on his guitar.

If you favor Dire Straits, this is their best album at its best sounding. If you are unfamiliar with the band, what a great place to start. If you do not like the band, you will after you hear this version.

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Review by sammyh September 24, 2010 (4 of 28 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Cold,harsh,thin digital sound.Don't sound like analog at all.Avoid it.

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Review by Espen R September 30, 2010 (14 of 19 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
A definitive "master tape sound" of this classic album. Very warm sounding in a natural way and crystal clear sound with no harshness in sound. Very, very analogue sounding with splendid body and weight to voices and instruments. Great resolution and "speed" on transients. I have never heard the track "Sultans of swing" with such "fastness" in sound.

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Review by analogue October 5, 2010 (11 of 17 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Short and Sweet Review:


Anyone interested in buying this new shm-sacd and reading all the reviews, not just here but elsewhere all over the net, would be extremely confused.

It seems that this title and Steely Dan's Aja sacd have sparked some tremendously varied opinions. I would only ask what kind of hardware they listen with. These shm-sacd;s sound good even in the cheapest of players as long as there is no truncating or conversion of the output signal. Shm-sacd's are green in colour for a reason. This allows for the laser to relax while reading the information encoded on the disc. Shm-sacd's use lcd plastic that allows the laser a more fixed point of reading the info. This is why they will sound great in any player. And lastly they are remastered using the best tapes and recording equipment made available.

Then again if you hate the sound.....perhaps its just a personal taste issue and this is always subjective.

And to those who say the cd sounds better....I just cant even quantify that staement. Sacd and dsd is so much better that it's ridiculous to even compare the two.

This sacd sounds awesome. Its simply gorgeous sounding. It is immediate sounding, has nice layering of instruments and the voices are great. The sound is very lifelike and realistic.

There I said it. Call your lawyer.....scream for the audio-police...whatever.

There is a beautiful steadiness and naturalness of sound to these shm-sacds when they are transferred from the tapes to the latest dsd converters. The sound of the tape comes through.



Highly recommended. A terrific title.

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Review by FullRangeMan October 5, 2010 (4 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I will agree with all previous posters, this is a great sound quality SACD and great music too. I was surprised by so good sound as this recording is a analogue tape from 1978 and the regular CD I bought in the 90s have awfull close-up and compressed sound. In fact I was afraid until the first listening.

So a very good mastering job + the green label + the SHM plastic have contribute to this sucess, the sound is very analogue like or as a tube amp like, very better sound quality than a vinyl, with huge bass and huge treble extension, with none of the usual noises and wear of the vinyl LP, the virtual space this SACD let gentle flow are very large, Iam impressed.

If you are audiophile and like this music you have to buy this SHM-SACD, looks to me will not appear other better sound disc(DVD-Audio or BluRay) of this music.
Barcode 4988005623379 Time 41:59 the extensive booklet have the music lyrics, no bonus tracks on this SACD though.

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Review by Lucabeer October 9, 2010 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Well, what more to add to what others have said?

There is some evident tape hiss (it was a deliberate choice: no digital noise reduction, no tinkering with the original materials), but clarity, dynamics, soundstage and depth of the final result is breathtaking. It really doesn't sound like it was recorded 32 years ago... more like last week!

A very good disc, although expensive...

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Review by Tim-sacd October 23, 2010 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Another masterpiece coming from Universal Japan. This is one of my favourite shm-sacd's next to The Who (Who's Next) and 10cc (Original Soundtrack). This is reference-quality material. Again, some people were writing down negative reviews at some forums. There was a thread at Steve Hoffman's forum were they talked about much "tape hiss" on this record. Well, they must have a different disc. I don't hear any "irritating" tape hiss at all! One of the best sounding recordings I've ever heard. A must have for every sacd-collection.

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Review by dobyblue November 5, 2010 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I only have two complaints about this release.
1) The price
2) No multi-channel mix

That's it. What else could you complain about? I have never heard S/T sound so good, from the opening track right through, this SHM-SACD delivers. Brilliantly open and natural highs particularly in the cymbals and hi-hat, defined and precise lows, Mark's guitar sounds simply incredible and the vocals are more cohesive than the SACD of Brothers In Arms, perhaps because the source material is on a better medium?

I wish North America had these releases domestically, because everyone deserves the chance to hear how good this SACD is but at $55+ it will not help high resolution adoption at all.

If you are on the fence about the SHM-SACD's because you're not sure about the cost and the fidelity, this isn't a bad option to take a chance on. These aren't priced in a range where I could order a few a month, but I definitely don't regret having this one in my collection.

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Review by MacClaus December 18, 2010 (0 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Great sonics.

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Review by Discspinner December 19, 2010
Performance:   Sonics:
I like the sound of this release. The SHM SACD release has a warm sound though it doesn't sound as if every instrument has been polished and updated. That works for this material. Nothing to shout about but it does sound good. Is it really worth the higher import price (I think I paid around $50)? Probably not if you already have a version of this somewhere.

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Review by MattMan657 February 28, 2011 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I was kind of annoyed when Down to The Waterline began, you can hear the hiss easily. I decided to just jump to one of my favorite songs, Sultans of Swing, and I have to say I was blown away. Although there is hiss the sound is absolutely awesome. I put Waterline back on and gave it a chance and it really is a great recording. The whole SACD is awesome. Don't forget vinyl had a lot of hiss as well. I would love to compare this SACD to a vinyl recording at some point.

I tried listening to it on PLII Music at first, didnt even mean to the receiver was just set at it. Sounded really good, then I tried listening to it on Stereo and I have to say I liked it FAR better on 2 channel.

I have the Aja SHM-SACD which I love as well. I think that one however is one of the ones you kind of need to break in and play like 10 times until it really gets going. But it is also a great great recording. I have to say I like this one more overall. I like how it sounds on Stereo a bit more than on Aja. So far SHM-SACDs have not steered me wrong. If you like Dire Straits this is a great

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Review by Quint June 9, 2011 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Aside from "Making Movies," this is my favorite Dire Straits album. Iíve long waited for a definitive version of this classic debut, and with this SHM-SACD, I think Iíve finally gotten it.

Compared with the Japanese SHM-CD I have, this SACD is so sonically superior, itís not funny. Much smoother highs, creamier but clearer midrange, tighter and punchier bass, better dynamicsóyou name the category, the SACD is far superior. I had the original Japanese vinyl, and not even that could touch this SACD.

I have about 12 SHM-SACDs, and this is one of the best. Itís sooo easy to listen to, you almost fall into the recording. Thereís ZERO fatigue and no digital grain whatsoever. Whoever mastered this thing knows his audio.

If youíre on the fence about this SHM-SACD, I recommend you get off it before this thing goes out of print and winds up commanding three digits on eBay! Awesome recording.

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Review by pjg12345 August 30, 2011
Performance:   Sonics:
My favorite Dire Straits album. Not a bad cut on it.

The transfer to SACD is really good. Bass is deep and powerful and the overall sound is warm. Great soundstaging and air around MK's guitar!

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Review by Biggy November 13, 2011 (1 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I really LOVE the SACD format, but with "Dire Straits" it's the first time I think the CD sounds better.
This SHM-SACD sounds too much bright, harsh, un-musical.
No other SACD I have sounds this way.

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Review by Croc December 18, 2011
Performance:   Sonics:
i never heard Dire Straits with such quality.
Very natural and balanced.
Bass is not emphasized (unlike on all their RBCD) but has a very good and right weight.

The sound is just stupendous.

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Review by Khorn January 24, 2012 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I first heard some of this recording on master dupes while it was being promoted around its release time back in the 70's. At that time I was immediately struck by not just the quality of the performance but also the fantastic sound reproduction. Among other things the quality bottom end reproduction really caught our attention. This immediately became one of my favourite albums.

Over the years since I have had many copies of this title on different formats but always felt them lacking compared to what I originally heard even though it was so long ago. It's the kind of impression that somehow I didn't forget. I waited a long time for the SA-CD and I must say that I was ecstatic upon first listening back when I first got it as it revived memories of way back. I remember telling myself "This is what its supposed to sound like".

Its recording reproduction like this that makes it all worthwhile and I hope others can enjoy it as much as I do. Enjoy!

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Review by cooksta June 1, 2012 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
One of the best sacd's I have in my small collection, smooth, silky without a hint of harshness.
I listened to this at high levels as soon as I received the disc (-5 from reference) and could have done so for hours.
There us noticeable tape hiss in quiet passages, however this does not distract from the quality of the sacd.

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Review by Digitalman December 8, 2012 (0 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Fantastic quality sound. Five stars !!!

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Review by pvcmusiclover January 16, 2013 (0 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
A great mix overall - plenty of space, detail and punch. You'll probably running for the treble control, because this whole album is bight (and the midrange is a bit recessed, as well). While it's bright, it's that nice kind of "sharp" bright you get with DSD/analog, not the characteristic ringy bright sound you get with PCM.

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Review by Sergey June 6, 2013 (0 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Etalon recording. But we must take into account the fact that this album was originally recorded very healthy. SAСD-SHM added a silver in the air and a string guitars. The feed rate of the material is simply mesmerizing.

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Review by DSanchez July 1, 2013 (6 of 20 found this review helpful)
Sonics:
Source from crappy Japanese dub tapes, this release is ear piercing, horribly EQ'd. These SHM discs are a joke except for a select few sourced in the UK. One of the biggest ripoffs I have ever seen considering the prices they charge.

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Review by scotty January 2, 2014 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This was my first cd in this format. I always liked the album a lot, but had really not listened to it fully in years. This has got to be one of the first titles on this format that I would turn people on to. So after repeated listens, this baby opens up and just amazes one senses. I will not linger on long since there are so many reviews already on this masterpiece of an SA-CD SHM release! MN sounds as if he is live in your room from the opening chords of Six Blade Knife as well as many others on this album. One song that I honestly never cared much for was Sultans, which I now love and it actually sounds a little more upbeat here. This one is pure sonic bliss!!! Enough said! I could not recommend this any higher!

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Review by audiogirl April 9, 2014 (8 of 20 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Another bleeder which belongs in the trash bin. Fatiguing sound.

The original LP and CD sound natural and untweaked.

EDIT: Universal re-remastered this for SHM-CD in 2013 from the orig. tapes, so someone must have agreed this SACD was poorly mastered.

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Review by dmonds May 3, 2014 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I bought the LP when it came out in 1978 and liked it then (I didn't "love it")
I have to admit I hadn't listened to this album since upgrading my Hi-Fi some 20 years ago, focussing on CD and not connecting the phono as all my vinyl had been heat damaged after storage.

Cutting a long story short, I upgraded my system last year and it includes the excellent Cambridge Audio CA-751BD Universal player. I have been slowly collecting SACDs ever since.
(starting with Brothers in Arms, followed by Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here)

Last week, I stumbled across a second hand SHM-SACD version of this album at a local music store here in NZ.
First chance I got (ridding the house from kids and wife), I put this on and turned up the volume.

Yes, there's the tape hiss during quiet sections but oh the clarity, quality and arrangement of this music is bloody awesome!

As others have said, Sultans of Swing is a very good track to showcase this album, but I feel so too are Down to the Waterline (despite the evident hiss right at the start), Six Blade Knife and In the Gallery.

As I've gotten older, I've been able to spend a little more money on my system and as a result, my appreciation of good quality music has matured. I now really love this album and heartily recommend it.

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Review by newtodsd May 15, 2014 (0 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Not good. 2013 Platinum SHM-CD is the best digital version much better than the "target cd".

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