Dire Straits: Making Movies
Universal (Japan) UIGY-9636
Stereo Single Layer
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Review by Rick Kosmick - March 17, 2015
Dire Straits really hit their full stride on their third release, "Making Movies", in 1980. First and foremost, it is a hard-edged rock and roll album full of remarkable songs that put this Band on the road to greater glory based on the songwriting and guitar skills of Mark Knopfler. This SHM SACD does not disappoint with respect to the sound quality: it is a first rate release.
The review is based on the Universal Japan SHM SACD UIGY-9636 re-release (November 26, 2014).
In 1996 the entire Dire Straits catalogue was remastered by the award-winning mastering engineer, Bob Ludwig. Although the liner notes to not specifically reference Mr. Ludwig, this SHM SACD of Making Movies utilized the 1996 remaster as the source tape and it shows in the audio quality. The liner notes do confirm DSD transferred from analogue master tapes by Manabu Matsumura. But it is important to mention the original recording process and excellent production from Jimmy Iovine and Mark Knopfler. All are factors that contribute to superb sound of this SACD.
"Making Movies" utilized the basic format of a rock and roll band with guitars, bass and drums for the recording sessions. And there would be the inclusion of keyboards that proved to be a pivotal addition to the recorded tracks. The keyboard player was Roy Bittan (Bruce Springsteen's E Steet Band) who provided impeccable playing for these sessions. It was Mark Knopfler's guitar and Bittan's keyboards that were the prominent and distinctive instruments for the song cycle on this album.
The audio on this SACD has a warm, analogue sense and the dynamic range is excellent reaching from a deep, bottom end to the upper range with nice, subdued brightness. The detail is just superb with wonderful clarity that is quite noticeable in the separation of instruments (I stress extraordinary separation). The bass is very pronounced and smooth (as opposed to firm or tight) with generally a fat-type sound. The drums are often bold with a fair amount of punch. The guitars and keyboards are both notably distinguished with a very crisp yet clean sound. Knopfler's vocals are very slightly upfront in the mix with crystal clear tones. And to experience this outstanding audio..... it is best exemplified by the track "Skateaway" where everything aforementioned shines within the 'full and broad' sound that is just gorgeous!
"Making Movies" is a fabulous rock and roll album so please consider playing it loud. The transcendent sonics of the SHM SACD deliver high quality audio big-time. There really is nothing more you could ask for..... a very impressive release from Universal Japan.
Copyright © 2015 Rick Kosmick and HRAudio.net