Rumours say that an Dan Armstrong Orange
Squeezer (compressor) and an Aphex Exciter were used on
album one. Obviously compression was used extensively on
album one and Communique, but it is hard to tell if it was compressed in
the mix or with a guitar pedal.
The engineer of album one,
Rhett Davies, "was in love with Roland Chorus
devices". You can hear some chorus on Lions, and
slightly on some of the other songs.
Live Knopfler played a Morley Volume
pedal and a MXR analog delay (green box). The Morley was
used to create the violin sound, f.e. in the intro of Lions
or on News.
On stage Knopfler used a Nady guitar transmitter
from late 1979 on.
articles from my blog about
Knopfler’s Morley Volume Pedal
Knopfler’s Ernie Ball Volume Pedal - and how I use mine
Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer compressor - Did Mark Knopfler really
Some notes concerning sound in the early years
The Morley changes the tone even
when it is full way down, due to its extremely low input impedance.
It makes a Strat sound smoother, less harsh, because the
resistance dampens the frequency peak of the pick up.
The MXR delay has an unique
bypass, which means when it is switched off, it does not
convert the impedance of the guitar signal, like nearly
all other effect boxes do, even when switched off. This
means that the capacity of the cable between effect and
amp influences the signal of the guitar (all cables do,
compare the sound with an extreme short ( = low capacity)
and a long ( = high capacity)cable !!). The more capacity
a cable has, the more it shifts down the frequency peak
of a pick up. With a cable of only some centimetres this
peak is about 6kHz, with long cables (total length of all
cables before and after the effect boxes) it is easily
down to 2 - 3kHz, which gives you a much darker sound.
Usually the capacity of the
cable behind an effect box does not play a role, but with
the MXR it does. This is why the guitar sound on live
recordings from this period is much darker than on the
When Mark started to use a
guitar transmitter in late 1979, this again had an effect
on the sound. As you have only a very short cable between
guitar and transmitter, the frequency peak is much
higher. As the receiver converts the signal to low
impedance, the length of the following cables does not
matter. This is why the sound on recordings from late
1979 (on the CD live in Boston or on the Arena BBC
documentary) is much brighter again.