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Discussion: Dire Straits: Alchemy

Posts: 25
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Post by MattMan657 May 31, 2012 (1 of 25)
Anyone give this a listen yet? Very anxious to hear a review.

Post by lennyw June 1, 2012 (2 of 25)
Brief listen. Have been v. busy, but will do proper comparison next week...

Post by lennyw June 4, 2012 (3 of 25)
I shall write a short review here, as opposed to one in the reviews section, as the last time I wrote a short review only 1 of 8 found it useful...

This is an album I grew up with and must have listened to hundreds of times in my teens, so I have a personal affection for it which transcends any kind of musicological analysis, and in this case, I will not comment on the "quality" of the music, only that I still love it! So, its imminent arrival on SACD was something I was very excited about.

The immediate disappointment was that the track "Love over Gold" is not on this SACD. I can't imagine that it was a space problem, it being only 2.0, I guess more the desire to retain the original album sequence (LoG is not on the original album), though it is debatable that this was the actual live sequence -- more an attempt to fit the long tracks with the short ones so that each side has a normal length; either way the absence of LoG is a shame.

I compared the original CD release with the SACD and the SACD has a much warmer and fuller sound. It is definitely an improvement and sounds much less digital. It does still have the feeling of being a live recording, with associated anti-audiophile issues, but that's what it is!

It's difficult to say whether the improvement is due to improved SQ from DSD, some kind of remastering to the analogue mix to suit SACD (not claimed on the SACD), or just better ADCs, but there is an improvement.

According to this site, the 1995 remaster has suffered loudness wars problems: http://dr.loudness-war.info/index.php?search_artist=Dire+Straits&search_album=

I don't have it, so can't use it in this comparison.

The LP (of course completely different source) has some of the advantages of the SACD in tems of warmth, but the SACD is still preferable.

Hope that helps.

Post by MattMan657 June 4, 2012 (4 of 25)
Thanks. I have the LP and I think it does sound quite good. I also have the Blu-Ray with the 5.1 DTS-HDMA and the LPCM stereo. I think both tracks sound excellent. I might get the SACD just to have cause I too love this album.

Post by volcati June 4, 2012 (5 of 25)
I have the Vertigo LP and this doesn't even come close to it, IMHO. I still have it, as I think I have 2-3 formats and copies of all Dire Straits albums.

Flat compared to the LP from Vertigo.

Post by MattMan657 June 5, 2012 (6 of 25)
volcati said:

I have the Vertigo LP and this doesn't even come close to it, IMHO. I still have it, as I think I have 2-3 formats and copies of all Dire Straits albums.

Flat compared to the LP from Vertigo.

What is your favorite release of their debut album? I have the SHM-SACD of it and love it. I have one LP of it, not sure the pressing, and it does sound very good but the LP itself is not in good enough condition to make it a fair comparison to the SACD.

Really doesn't sound like the Alchemy SACD is outing the LP and the Blu-Ray (the Blu-ray has the complete set list)

Post by lennyw June 6, 2012 (7 of 25)
Of course, it's difficult to make a true comparison as the front ends are different (ie one's an SACD player the other a TT). At 60 it's certainly an indulgence.

Post by windhoek June 7, 2013 (8 of 25)
Has anyone heard both the SACD and Blu ray versions of this album? I just bought the blu ray and wonder if it's worth paying the extra for the SHM edition.

Post by beverleyonian July 29, 2015 (9 of 25)
windhoek said:

Has anyone heard both the SACD and Blu ray versions of this album? I just bought the blu ray and wonder if it's worth paying the extra for the SHM edition.

Hi,

I have both and I far prefer the Blu-ray for the following reasons. I listen to the 5.1 DTS Master Audio version.

- It has video and the Saturday Night at the Movies short film with the band.
- The set is shown all the way through without cuts, or at least fewer than there are on the CD or SACD versions. These both miss out some of the bits in between songs where Knopfler is talking. I never realised this until I saw the Blu-ray because the cuts are well hidden.
- Some of the more touching moments where the band respond to cries from the audience can be seen and heard more clearly.
- I think the sound is less muddy than it is either on the CD or SACD. The SACD is closer the original CD version and hard to tell the difference at times.
- It is more exciting to listen to and I think there is more dynamic range. There are various moments, an example being the part after Two Young Lovers and before Tunnel of Love, where Knopfler's guitar has more impact.

In short I think the Blu-ray is a better produced disc and the SACD was not a good buy.

Post by windhoek July 29, 2015 (10 of 25)
I had a stereo only setup at the time and was concerned with getting the best stereo sound, but I've now got a 4.0 surround setup and although I haven't played the BDV in multichannel since adding a pair of rear speakers, I'll give it play later.

p.s. thanks for posting a reply to my question from 2013 :)

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