I work with Brad on WP Migrate DB and thought I'd chime in here to try to figure out what might be happening.
Brad has provided me with a few of the dumps that you guys have provided for testing purposes. This is what I've tried so far:
- Import the original dumps into my local environment
- Get the website running (by changing admin password / home & site urls / etc )
- Dump the website data via phpMyAdmin ( i.e. dump-1 )
- Dump the website data via WPMDB
- Import the WPMDB dump into the same installation
- Dump the website data via phpMyAdmin ( i.e. dump-2 )
I then ran a diff tool across the phpMyAdmin dumps dump-1 and dump-2. Unfortunately they appear to be identical. So WPMDB appears to be doing it's job in that the data is exactly the same before and after the import.
It sounds like you guys are seeing odd characters in the dumps but is this actually affecting the content at all? That is, are you seeing weird characters on the front end of the website when you import the WPMDB dumps?