Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs believes that mastering systems should be neutral and transparent. The essential idea is to unveil all the detailed musical information on the original master recording without adding deterioration, coloration or other sonic artefacts.
With proprietary innovations such as GAIN 2™, general music enthusiasts and audiophiles alike have reaped the benefit of a higher consumer audio standard without investing in costly new hardware.
A1: So Far Away
A2: Money For Nothing
B1: Walk Of Life
B2: Your Latest Trick
C1: Why Worry
C2: Ride Across The River
D1: The Man's Too Strong
D2: One World
D3: Brothers In Arms
There are hit records. And then there are blockbusters. One of the world's best-selling records, a winner of two Grammy Awards, an era-defining reference statement, an MTV favourite, and a set that catapulted an already-acclaimed band to arena status, Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms is the kind of epic spectacular that comes around only once or twice a decade. Surpassed only in fame and visibility during the period by Michael Jackson's Thriller, the 1985 album remains idiosyncratic for its covetable combination of adventurous songwriting, precision-based performances, and reference-calibre fidelity.
The sense of realism this edition delivers will leave slack-jawed even the most hard-to-please audiophiles. As the recipient of the Grammy for Best-Engineered Recording, the album has always been a go-to sonic standard, but never has it sounded so reach-out-and-touch-it realistic as it does on this analog pressing. All of the hallmark characteristics - ample spaciousness, ideal balances, widescreen dynamics, immersive depth, lush production - are here in spades. As is music-making of enviable proportions.
While it's easy to speculate that the colossal success of Brothers in Arms relates to its timing - its release during an era obsessed with catchy singles, flashy MTV videos, and whistle-friendly melodies - reasons for the album's chart-busting success primarily owe to the expertly crafted songs and memorable playing turned in by a group hitting its creative peak. Not to mention the spatial dimensions that cause instruments and vocals to naturally float in a fixed area.
Anchored by "Money for Nothing," a caustically themed smash immediately identifiable via Mark Knopfler's resonant finger-picked guitar riff and Sting's "I want my MTV" vocal refrain, Dire Straits' fifth album is stuffed with bluesy signatures, jazz-rock motifs, clever lyrics, and organic accents. Diversity and consistency also extend to the songs' moods. Singing with his trademark light-to-the-touch timbre, Knopfler conjures feelings of poignancy, peacefulness, and mellowness, channelling wistfulness on the Top 10 single "So Far Away" and sombre assurance on "Why Worry."
Perfection abounds, not only in the manner in which the band nails its pop hooks and uptempo boogies with debonair flair - but also in the control room. Iconic session jazz drummer Omar Hakim supplies fluid beats and solid rhythmic foundations while Knopfler and Co. comb over grooves so smooth it seems that they're made of honey butter. Dire Straits would never play with such effortless again.
GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ is a proprietary cutting system built and designed by legendary design genius Tim De Paravicini, with consultation from one of Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab's founding fathers - Stan Ricker, an audio engineer responsible for many of MFSL's most heralded past releases.
The GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system is comprised of a Studer™ tape machine with customised reproduction electronics* and handcrafted cutting amps that drive an Ortofon cutting head on a restored Neumann VMS-70 lathe. (*It is worth noting that independent studies have confirmed that the GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system can unveil sonic information all the way up to 122kHz!)
First and foremost, Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs only utilise first generation original master recordings as source material for their releases. MFSL then play back master tapes at half speed enabling the GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system to fully extract the master's sonic information. The lacquers are then plated in a specialised process that protects transients in the musical signal. (Due to this process, there may be occasional pops or ticks inherent in initial play back, but as the disc is played more, a high quality stylus will actually polish the grooves and improve the sound). MFSL further ensure optimum sound quality by strictly limiting the number of pressings printed for each release. These limited editions, in addition to being collectors' items, ensure that the quality of the last pressing matches the quality of the first.
Produced by Neil Dorfsman
Engineered by Neil Dorfsman
Assistant Engineers: Bruce Lampcov, Dave Greenberg, Steve Jackson (2)
Recorded at AIR Studios, Montserrat
Mastered from the Original Master Tapes by Krieg Wunderlich at Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, Sebastopol, CA on the GAIN 2 ULTRA ANALOG SYSTEM.
Label: Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, MFSL 2-441
Series: Original Master Recording, Gain 2™ Ultra Analog, 45RPM 180g Series
Format: 2 x Vinyl LP, 45RPM, Limited Edition, Numbered, Remastered, Gatefold
Released: 25 Feb 2015
Genre: Classic Rock