Dire Straits Debut Delivered as a 45rpm Sonic Spectacular

When first released in America in 1978 Dire Straits’ debut was an immediate sensation, though cautious record labels at first rejected signing the group until Warner Brothers bit. The original Vertigo release hit the U.K. earlier. Eventually, propelled by the catchy single “Sultans of Swing”, the album was Top Ten throughout Europe and much of the world.

Some listeners thought Mark Knopfler sounded like Dylan. Two things were sure: the level of musicianship was exceptional, and the sound was “audiophile quality”. All of Mr. Knopfler’s albums sound great. The sonics and production are attractions on all Dire Straits and Knopfler productions. Clearly to him sound matters.

I remember hearing the hype related to this record before actually listening to it, and I bought a U.K. Vertigo copy when it became available, I think before the inferior sounding Warner Brothers edition hit the shelves.

I played it for a while impressed by the sonics engineered by the great Rhett Davies, but bored by the “old style” music and Knopfler’s gruff, Dylaneseque emotionally detached vocals in the age of punk and other more adventurous and hyper-emotional outings, to where I traded the record in at Aaron’s on Melrose.

Now comes this reissue and how times have changed! Starved as we are today for actual musicianship and craft in popular music, this record becomes musically attractive and enjoyable, aided by a stellar remastering job at 45rpm. The record sounds amazing.

If you are a fan, you’ll want to upgrade to this. If you’re not, it’s still worth considering if just as a demo test record to help determine your system’s transient precision and clarity and especially its bass and mid-bass performance. You might even start to enjoy the music. Much to my surprise I did.

Music Direct Buy It Now

mraudioguru's picture

I pre-ordered all (4) of them almost 3 years ago. I've had them for a few weeks now and have listened to all of them. They are spectacular.

I have first pressing from the US, UK, Germany and Japan. I have always liked the German pressing the best, (followed closely by the UK version).

This new 45RPM reissue is simply the BEST! Highly recommended!!

azmoon's picture

This album has fantastic music and deserves a 10. Especially based on your prior doling out of 10s. This is a great release and the sonics are indeed a well deserved 10! Very quiet vinyl also.

AnalogJ's picture

Going from US originals of the first three albums to original UKs, the music became much more impactful. The performances became more alive.

I have an RL Quiex promo of Love Over Gold and it's so good, I haven't felt the need to upgrade. And then I actually prefer the US and UK originals of Brothers In Arms over the MoFi 45 (which has been out for years).

I might try picking up the first two albums on MoFi, though.

gMRfk6LMHn's picture

The problem I have with these Mobile Fidelity double 45rpm LPs is that they are so expensive over this side of the pond. £66 ($88) for a single LP I don't think so. I have never lost sight of the fact that I am only listening to an LP, not the Holy Grail! So it is a pass for me!

James,Dublin, Ireland

PS: My UK original sounds stupendous!

DigitalIsDead's picture

the DS 45rpm reissues are selling like hotcakes... get them now while they are available without substantial mark ups on secondary sites.

Chemguy's picture

But I was fortunate, and ordered from Amazon the minute it came up for sale. It's still not coming for another month, but I'm sure it will be worth the wait.

Chemguy's picture

Amazon cancelled my order today. You can’t find this one anywhere at present.

sckott's picture

I got them all and was lucky to. What makes Communique' so interesting in the 4, was the fact that it stands above the rest when this title is usually dry and dull sounding on every front...CD, Vinyl, etc. All of them are great but Communique' ironically sounds best.

DigitalIsDead's picture

I pre-ordered 2 of each including Brother in Arms from Acoustic Sounds...everything arrived except for their first album which they tell me IS coming... their initial shipment from MoFi did not include them. So far I am only seeing available titles in Europe where they are far more expensive.

sdecker's picture

This LP was one of the many well-received WB remasters of their back catalog about a decade ago. I bought a number of them and find them to be consistently well-done, very much including this album. Aside from the advantages of 45rpm, has anyone compared the '09 WB 47769 with this MoFi?

DigitalIsDead's picture

This set of remasters, which are the same as the EU Back to Black boxset, are fantastic. The remastering was done by a who's who...Ludwig, Grundman, and Chris Bellman. a MUST own for the Dire Strait lover in your family.

mtemur's picture

I can not say I'm a fan of MOFI reissues. especially the ones mastered by Krieg Wunderlich. they sound a little bit too soft with a bloated midbass. not as bad as early MOFI releases (which sound thin and compressed) but still doesn't deserve the price tag. on the other hand Acoustech, Cohearent Audio, Bernie Grundman or Sterling Sound masterings are much better sounding. Kevin Gray or Ryan K. Smith masterings have better overall balance and dynamics. they are very close to late Douglas Sax masterings. Bernie Grundman masterings are just a little bit soft but still sound amazing with great dynamics.

kelossus's picture

Will you be reviewing the other Dire Straits reissues?

hi-fivinyljunkie's picture

The Mo-Fi is better than both the Uk original and the 2009 WB. Music deserves a 10.

Trevor_Bartram's picture

After having come thru the punk period in the U.K., when recording quality was not a priority, it was kinda refreshing to discover the first Dire Straits album, unconventional music with great sound. Eventually it became a little over exposed, it was played at every Hi-Fi show, but still holds up to this day.

robert r dawson's picture

what a great, GREAT summer of music! I was 23 years old, lived in a bachelor pad with my best friend and it seemed like the music was non-stop! Debut albums by the Cars, the Police, Van Halen (and Dire Straits) and new music from the Stones, Elvis Costello, Blondie, Warren Zevon, Springsteen, the Who et al...the world was ours for the taking!
4 years later I was married. As Seger sang..."turn the page"

DrJB's picture

One of London's legendary studios: Aqualung, Zep IV, Stones, King Crimson, Queen, Roxy Music, Genesis...you get the picture. The Helios console was the star of the show, a real rock and roll desk that was anything but transparent. The Helios exists today in the form of an amazing Universal Audio Powered Plugin. I found a ½ speed master of Dire Straits way back in the early '80's that sounds very good. In fact, it's one of the records that I use to test my turntable setup. If I can get the sibilants on Knopfler's vocals to sound clean, I'm in the ballpark. Canary in a coal mine and all of that. Good album that opened to door to the real star of the Dire Straits catalog, Love Over Gold. Obviously, the ½ speed version done in England is AAA, and even though it's a bit on the, shall we say, flexible side, it's a keeper. Probably will skip the 45. Long Play 33 ⅓ albums are more enjoyable for me, even if the sonics are less perfect. The flow of the album is important, and 45's kill that vibe which, IMO, is part of the experience.

EdAInWestOC's picture

I have owned an early US pressing of this title since it was first released. This reissue is much better than any pressing of this title I have ever heard.

Please ignore MoFi haters and accept that MoFi is responsible for many great reissues. No matter what MoFi haters say they cannot explain away the love people have for these pressings.

This 45RPM reissue is a winner and worth every penny but keep in mind that it is a heavy weight pressing and requires a different VTA setting to get optimal playback. This is especially true if you are using a cartridge with a line contact, shibata or similar tall and thin stylus profile.

Not all 45RPM reissues are significantly better than the originals but this one is mastered from a dammed fine sounding master tape. Highly recommended.

warpig's picture

I see everywhere that they are awaiting repress. Will they get repressed?

Macman007's picture

Will this and the other 45 DS titles ever see the light of day again? It's coming up on a year since these sold out, with no sign of more coming. Mike if you are reading this, could you shake the tree a little, see what falls out? Perhaps if the pressing plants and powers that be concentrated a little more on shall we say pressings that matter to us folks who have been into vinyl longer than 2 minutes. 2 of the 3 RSD drops (John Prine release not withstanding) have been nothing but garbage, situation normal. Perhaps less focus on shitty little RSD releases, no one wants and more focus on stuff that matters to those of us actually keeping this whole vinyl thing alive, and have been since records started their decline in the 80's..

I'm very upset that I have to wait an eternity for MOFI to begin with, then for someone to repress them. What's the issue? They'll obviously sell, not going to get stuck with unsold pressings. I'm so tired of this Bullshit waiting and waiting. MOFI if you are listening, you charge a lot for your product and that's OK, but waiting year after year because you overpromise, isn't. Perhaps a little less hype on the marketing and a little more action getting your titles pressed so we can actualy have a shot at buying a copy THIS CENTURY! I'm Out.. Oh one more thing, reviews are a great thing but useless to the folks at home if we cant buy what is being reviewed to enjoy as well...