Brothers In Arms – Dire Straits (Abbey Road vs. Mobile Fidelity)

Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits is available on vinyl from Mobile Fidelity and as an Abbey Road remaster. Our comparison shows a lot of good on both sides. But one of them sounds better.

Which versions of Brothers In Arms are we comparing?

Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, MoFi 45 RPM 2015
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity 2015
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2020
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2020

Brothers in Arms was released in 1985 as the fifth studio album by Dire Straits and helped the then new medium of compact discs to achieve a breakthrough. It is all the more remarkable that several vinyl reissues with audiophile standards have appeared in the recent past.

We had previously reviewed the Mobile Fildelity Sound Lab edition at uebervinyl.de in comparison to the original LP from 1985. And in another article we had compared the Abbey Road version with the current Back-To-Black version. Now it comes to the summit meeting of the two pressings, each of which left the field as the sonic winner after their duels.

Pressing 1: The MoFi release was released as an Original Master Recording, which usually means that the original master tape was used. Is there even a “master tape” in a completely digital production? No. But there are analogue recordings from the digital tape that were apparently used like a master tape. Each of the two LPs weighs more than 200g and comes in a gatefold cover made of extra heavy cardboard. The records received antistatic MoFi inner sleeves and were additionally protected by stiffeners. Inside the gatefold you will find the lyrics on the well-known rosawolk design.

Pressing 2: The comparative pressing of Brothers In Arms was released in 2021 on Vertigo and is part of the Abbey Road Remasters series. As is well known, not only the Beatles recorded classics such as Revolver or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in the legendary recording studios on London’s Abbey Road, but also Pink Floyd albums such as Wish You Were Here or The Dark Side Of The Moon. More recently, classic rock albums such as something Seconds Out by Genesis, Regatta De Blanc by The Police or Local Hero by Mark Knopfler have also been remastered there and recut by Miles Showell using half-speed mastering.

Our version of Brothers In Arms also belongs to this series. From the outside, all releases of the series can be recognised by a kind of OBI. Both records, weighing more than 200g, are in a single sleeve and received printed but unlined inner sleeves in a pink cloud design. Like MoFi, Brothers In Arms from Abbey Road runs at 45 rpm and the songs in the longer CD versions were spread over two LPs.

How do the levels and dynamics of the two pressings differ?

Waveform diagram for Dire Straits – So Far Away
Waveform diagram for Dire Straits – So Far Away

The two waveforms for So Far Away are similar in both cases. Even with a magnifying glass, no substantial differences in level and dynamics can be detected.

Waveform diagram for Dire Straits – Money For Nothing
Waveform diagram for Dire Straits – Money For Nothing

In the diagram for Money For Nothing, too, we see no significant deviations. In the intro, both versions take a step back so that the dynamic effect comes into its own. The main part of the song continues at about the same level in both versions until the fade at the end of the piece. And here, too, the diagrams show the same picture.

Waveform diagram for Dire Straits – The Man’s Too Strong
Waveform diagram for Dire Straits – The Man’s Too Strong

Of all the songs compared, The Man’s Too Strong has the greatest dynamic range. But here, too, the diagrams for both pressings show themselves from their best side. Both waves appear largely uncompressed and depict many dynamic nuances.

How does the loudness of the MoFi and Abbey Road pressings differ?

Loudness measurement for Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab 2015, side 1
Loudness measurement for Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab 2015, side 1
Loudness measurement for Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2021, side 1
Loudness measurement for Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2021, side 1
Loudness measurement for Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab 2015, side 2
Loudness measurement for Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab 2015, side 2
Loudness measurement for Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2021, side 2
Loudness measurement for Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2021, side 2

The similarities end with the loudness measurement with the Youlean Loudness Meter. Sound engineers use the tool to determine and compare the relative loudness of sound signals. From an audiophile point of view, low loudness values are desirable because this leaves more room for musical dynamics. Loudness is measured in the unit Loudness Units relative to Full Scale (LUFS). The addition “integrated” means that the value refers to the entire period examined from the beginning to the end.

For a better overview, here are the measured values:

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab

  • side 1: -20,2 LUFS integrated  (0,4 dB louder)
  • side 2: -18,6 LUFS integrated  (1,4 dB louder)
  • side 3: -22,2 LUFS integrated  (0,4 dB louder)
  • side 4: -21,7 LUFS integrated

Abbey Road Remaster

  • side 1: -20,6 LUFS integrated 
  • side 2: -20,0 LUFS integrated
  • side 3: -22,6 LUFS integrated 
  • side 4: -20,5 LUFS integrated  (1,2 dB louder)

So in terms of loudness, the Abbey Road performs slightly better. Album sides 1,2 and 3 are somewhat quieter in the Abbey Road pressing. The differences here are between a proud 1.4 dB (side 2) and an almost negligible 0.4 dB (sides 1 and 2).

On page 4 the tide turns. Now the Abbey Road is suddenly louder than the MoFi. By 1.2 dB, in fact.  Nevertheless, the Abbey Road wins the loudness measurement with the overall better values.

For classification purposes, however, it should be mentioned that the loudness values for both pressings are in the uncritical range from an audiophile point of view.

Loudness measurement for Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab 2015, side 3
Loudness measurement for Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab 2015, side 3
Loudness measurement for Loudness- Messung für Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2021, side 3
Loudness measurement for Loudness- Messung für Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2021, side 3
Loudness measurement for Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab 2015, side 4
Loudness measurement for Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab 2015, side 4
Loudness measurement for Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2021, side 4
Loudness measurement for Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2021, side 4

How do the frequency spectra of the two pressings differ?

Frequency spectrogram (linear scaling) for Dire Straits - So Far Away
Frequency spectrogram (linear scaling) for Dire Straits – So Far Away

The spectrogram for So Far Away does not reveal much. The MoFi shows a trace more energy in the range of the highest frequencies between about 12,000 and 17,000 hertz (recognisable by the red areas).

Frequency spectrogram (linear scaling) for Dire Straits - Money For Nothing
Frequency spectrogram (linear scaling) for Dire Straits – Money For Nothing

The spectrogram for Money For Nothing shows a more visible difference in the range between about 12,000 and 18,000 hertz. Here, mainly sound-shaping overtones can be found. And the MoFi has these somewhat louder in its repertoire.

Frequency spectrogram (linear scaling) for Dire Straits - The Man's Too Strong
Frequency spectrogram (linear scaling) for Dire Straits – The Man’s Too Strong

The same picture appears again in the spectrogram for The Man’s Too Strong. Once again, the MoFi has a little more energy to offer in the region above 12,000 hertz.

Frequency spectrogram (logarithmic scaling) for Dire Straits - Money For Nothing
Frequency spectrogram (logarithmic scaling) for Dire Straits – Money For Nothing

Spectrograms with a linear scale mainly illuminate the high frequencies. In spectrograms with a logarithmic scale, the differences in the bass and fundamental range stand out better. In this case, you have to look very closely to see the difference. But on closer inspection, the violet areas, which represent the highest energy, are slightly larger in the spectrogram for Money For Nothing on the MoFi than on the Abbey Road.

How good does the Mobile Fidelity pressing of Brothers In Arms sound?

To make the auditory impression more comprehensible, we have structured our results according to frequency ranges.

Highs: Brothers In Arms has always excelled in the highs. The MoFi impresses with great spatial and temporal imaging. Everything sounds natural and just right. No harshness can be detected in the reverb.

Mids: Guitars and voices dominate the sound on Brothers In Arms. And the MoFi doesn’t show any weakness. None of the instruments was reproduced too harshly or with too much presence.

Bass: At the bottom of the cellar, the MoFi has a bit more to offer. The bass remains tight and contoured in both pressings. But the MoFi gives the lower frequencies a small but noticeable boost without fattening them up too much.

Smoothness: Mobile Fidelity uses “Super Vinyl”, i.e. vinyl with a particularly low-noise mixture. And that pays off. The MoFi runs practically inaudibly in the quiet passages.

How good does the Abbey Road pressing of Brothers In Arms sound?

Highs: The Abbey Road version of Brothers In Arms also shines with fantastic highs. The differences from the frequency spectrograms no longer play a role in listening tests.

Mids: Abbey Road has everything under control in the midrange. Everything quite unspectacular. But everything exactly as it should be. And Mark Knopfler’s voice? Sounds like Mark Knopfler’s voice.

Bass: The bass of the Abbey Road pressing always remains controlled and contoured. Om principle nothing is missing. Only the MoFi has a little more balls (Olli Kahn voice).

Smoothness: In terms of quietness, the Abbey Road cannot quite keep up with the MoFi. It also runs relatively quietly, but the noise carpet between the pieces is somewhat louder.

Which Brothers In Arms pressing sounds better?

Both sound excellent. The differences are really only noticeable in direct comparison and in no case really dramatic. It is only a matter of nuances. In dynamics, we measured small advantages for the Abbey Road. In the bass and in smoothness, the Mobile Fidelity scores. In all other important areas, both pressings don’t show any weakness. In the end, the MoFi is only just ahead of the Abbey Road.

Title list

Side 1

  • So Far Away
  • Money For Nothing

Side 2

  • Walk Of Life
  • Your Latest Trick

Side 3

  • Why Worry
  • Ride Across The River

Side 4

  • The Man’s Too Strong
  • One World
  • Brothers In Arms
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, MoFi 45 RPM 2015
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity 2015
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, MoFi 45 RPM 2015
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity 2015
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity 2015, Gatefold
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity 2015, Gatefold
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity 2015, Gatefold
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity 2015, Gatefold
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity 2015, S. 1
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity 2015, S1
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity 2015, S2
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity 2015, S2
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity 2015, S3
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity 2015, S3
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity 2015, S4
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity 2015, S4
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2020
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2020
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2020
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2020
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2020, Inner sleeve
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2020, Inner sleeve
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2020, Inner sleeve
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2020, Inner sleeve
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2020, Inner sleeve
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2020, Inner sleeve
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2020, Inner sleeve
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road Remaster 2020, Inner sleeve
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road 2020, S1
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road 2020, S1
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road 2020, S2
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road 2020, S2
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road 2020, S2
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road 2020, S3
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road 2020, S4
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms, Abbey Road 2020, S4
ArtistDire Straits
TitleBrothers In Arms
LabelMobile Fidelity Sound LabVertigo
Catalogue numberMFSL 2-441ARHSDLP004
Released20152021
Format2×12”2×12”
Revolutions/minute4545
CoverGatefoldSingle Sleeve
Add-onsStiffenerPrinted inner sleeve, Abbey Road Certificate
Lacquer cut by Krieg WunderlichMiles Showell
Pressing plantRTIOptimal Media
Matrix-RunoutMFSL 2-441 A1 22677.1(3)… kw@MoFi MFSL 2-441 B2 22754.2(3)… kw@MoFi MFSL 2-441 C1 22677.3(3)… kw@MoFi MFSL 2-441 D1 22677.4(3)… kw@MoFiBK03595-01 A1 0865301 MILES ABBEY ROAD ½ SPEED ROOM 30 BK03595-01 B1 0865301 MILES ABBEY ROAD ½ SPEED ROOM 30  BK03595-02 C1 0865302 MILES ABBEY ROAD ½ SPEED ROOM 30 BK03595-02 D1 0865302 MILES ABBEY ROAD ½ SPEED ROOM 30
Edition/LimitationNot specifiedNot specified
Consecutive Nummer20.035
Country of manufacture USAEurope

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