Dire Straits—Brothers in Arms 20th Anniversary Edition (Warner Brothers) [DualDisc]

Brothers in Arms was a monster seller of the 1980s and yielded Dire Straits' MTV anthem, "Money for Nothing." Beyond the pop successes, the band's music was coveted by audiophiles for its sweet sound; back in the day, I wore out countless Brothers in Arms LPs at my job selling high-end audio gear. Reconnecting with the music in this new 20th Anniversary Edition, remastered to DualDisc, was a total pleasure.

The main attraction was the DVD side's 96/24 surround mix, which keeps the band mostly up front, with Mark Knopfler's vocals solidly in the center channel and the surround channels supplying the keyboards, percussive accents, and spacey guitar licks. The spacious mix will raise goose bumps, but it's craftily executed to maintain the integrity of the original stereo version. Don't have a DVD-Audio player? No problem—you're still in the game with the DualDisc's Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.

At first, I didn't bother listening to the CD side, but I felt duty bound to report whether the 48/24 stereo mix really added anything to the sound; and, sure enough, it did. The CD side is more than respectable on its own, but it pales beside the richness of the high-rez mix that bests even the original LP! I bet this DualDisc will sell its fair share of speakers and maybe win a few converts to multichannel audio.

Addendum: Dire Straits' guitarist/vocalist Mark Knopfler has two solo efforts out on DVD-Audio: Sailing to Philadelphia and Shangri-La. They sound just as amazing as Brothers.

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