Dire Straits: Love Over Gold

Dire Straits: Love Over Gold

Mobile Fidelity  UDSACD 2187

Stereo Hybrid


Dire Straits

Unsurpassed Spaciousness, Imaging, and Transparency: Mastered from the Original Tapes, Music Emerges with New Details and Tones

Love Over Gold is all about contrast, tension, and crafty composition. Dire Straits' fourth album finds the band continuing to evolve by welcoming increasingly bold arrangements and exploring moody variations. Parts edgy and sharp, and part seductive and relaxed, the five lengthy songs on Love Over Gold sprawl out like a long, winding road cutting through a pastoral landscape. The addition of a new rhythm guitarist, Hal Lindes, encourages deeper atmospheric interplay while the presence of engineer Neil Dorfsman – his first appearance in what would be a long string of collaborations with Mark Knopfler – ensures stunning sonic properties that now come to life like never before.

Mastered from the original master tapes, Mobile Fidelity's hybrid SACD of Love Over Gold teems with superb balances, front-to-back soundstages, and crystalline purity. It brings forward previously obscured details, extra information, and mastering-studio-quality transients. The distinctive textures of a host of instruments – marimbas, acoustic and electric guitars, vibes, synthesizers – further enhance the ambitiousness of the 1982 album.

On this audiophile disc, everything Knopfler does seemingly turn to gold. Gearheads will hear the unique characteristics afforded by his use of a Mesa Boogie Mark II guitar amplifier (soon again employed on Brothers in Arms) and carefully chosen selection of Schecter Stratocasters, 1937 National steel guitar, and Ovation six- and twelve-string models. Reference-level separation and lifelike imaging place Knopfler and company in your room, while tube-like warmth, spaciousness, and airiness causes the music to breathe anew. This SACD will be in your rotation for months.

It doesn't take long to realize Love Over Gold is like no other Dire Straits album – and a staunch proclamation of independence from a band that continued to take longer creative strides with each successive project. Fearlessly extending over metaphoric hills, valleys, and plains for nearly 14-and-a-half minutes, the opening "Telegraph Road" is a guitar hero's dream and exhilarating showcase for Lindes' give-and-take capabilities. In tandem with keyboardist Alan Clark, Lindes provides the ideal foil for not only Knopfler but the long-time rhythm section of bassist John Illsley and drummer Pick Withers.

Taking its time to arrive at destinations, the quintet paints evocative musical and lyrical portraits steeped in patience, drama, and, often times, sadness. Desolate emotions color the sweeping "Telegraph Road" and barren "Private Investigations," which finds Knopfler in the role of a tired private eye contemplating the emptiness and scars of his profession. Vocally, the Dire Straits leader remains in top form throughout, his whiskey-coated rasp conveying romantic ache, ongoing frustration, and what Rolling Stone beautifully deemed "wracking schizophrenia between the heart and the heartless, the loving and the pain."

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6 of 6 recommend this, would you recommend it?  yes | no

1. Telegraph Road
2. Private Investigations
3. Industrial Disease
4. Love Over Gold
5. It Never Rains
Comments (5)

Comment by Downunderman - February 10, 2020 (1 of 5)

Just like it used to be!

The JSACD was based on the Japanese master (Dub) tape. This one is an OMR, so one less step.

Interestingly MoFi used the 'Plangent Process' as a component of their work on this title. If I understand it correctly, this is a process that corrects tape machine induced wow and flutter that has been embedded on the master tape during the recording of the album. This process was not used on the other 3 Dire Straits titles that MoFi have just done.

Not as bright as the JSACD, nor as clinical sounding, but just a little bit recessed in the mids compared to the JSACD. It is nonetheless Beautifully balanced and natural sounding.

The most noticeable thing for me is that the indefinable emotional ambience of the album has been restored.

Comment by Shane Jack - February 21, 2020 (2 of 5)

Thanks for the info and concise review Downunderman. I was wondering how these new Dire Straits versions would compare to the Japanese SACDs, and have been surprised there haven’t been any full reviews yet, but guess the reviewers focus more on Classical releases. I have now purchased Love Over Gold (using the Hraudio link so hopefully the site gets some kickback) based on your favourable comments. I am interested in how the new “Making Movies” has turned out as it is a personal favourite (if anyone can comment).

Comment by Downunderman - February 22, 2020 (3 of 5)

There is a good chance you will think the MoFi restoration is worth the coin Shane.

A word of warning though; It very much rewards higher volume levels......and that may give you a surprise when the crescendos arrive!

In the next month MM is on my buy list, along with the debut - So if no one has ventured an opinion in the interim, I will down the road.

Comment by Kveld-Úlfr - January 30, 2021 (4 of 5)

"The JSACD was based on the Japanese master (Dub) tape" : source of that ibformation please ?
I own both versions and to my ears differences between these two are very subtle to the ears. I believe a 2nd generation tape would have produced way more differences.

Comment by Downunderman - January 31, 2021 (5 of 5)

No smoking gun Kveld-Ulfr, just tea leaves....

The original JSACD disc that I have (Issued 2011) the jacket discloses : "DSD Transferred from analogue master tapes by Manabu Matsumura (Unversal Mastering Studios)" which could mean many things. The CD Japan site blurb for the disk is silent on the mastering, simply calling it a "reissue"

Then for a subsequent SHM-CD issued in 2013 the CD Japan website states : " HR cutting from the DSD master which was flat transferred from UK original analogue master tapes in 2013."

So the question is - Why would you do a new DSD master from the master tapes to issue a CD in 2013, unless there were different master tapes being used?

At a slight tangent another thing to consider are the CD Japan descriptions for the S/T SACD disc from 2010 : "the latest DSD mastering in 2010 based on Japanese original analog tape (subject to change)".
In the middle is the 2013 SHM-CD which is stated as: "HR cutting from the DSD master which was newly flat transferred from UK original analogue master tapes in 2013."
Then there is the subsequent reissue of the S/T SACD in 2014 which states "Uses the 2010 DSD master based on Japanese original analog tape (subject to change)."

So all this is suggestive of Japanese tapes also being used for the original JSACD LOG, but as you say that does not mean it is true. They may well have used non Japanese tapes for the for the titles other than the S/T, especially since we are looking at a (albeit fairly small) gap between the S/T and the other titles year of issue.

It sure would be great to know the answer with certainty.