Establishing the quality of audio gear is not an easy task. The mesurements could give you some information, but only the listening test gives the real insight into the degree of fidelity at which the tested device reproduces recorded music. It is self understood that the audio equipment reviewers should have abundant experience and constant contact with the live acoustic music, in order to be able to compare the high quality recorded music with the original. Very good or exceptional recordings of unamplified instruments are not common on the market. The quality of the available, so called, digital studio masters varies vastly, but the album of the Norwegian Helge Lien Trio, titled Natsukashii, downloadable in 24/192 kHz surpasses in quality almost all recordings of the jazz trio (piano, bass, drums) I have ever heard.
Natsukashii is not a simple Japanese word. Its meaning escapes standard translations and it cannot be described in one or two English sentences. If your understanding of music has not been blurred by tragic and ever increasing tsunami of the banal, mainstream musical hits, the short Norwegian musical contemplation could become quite a surprise for you. You will glean the possible translations of the semantically complex Japanese title only after you have played the Natsukashii a few times on your stereo system. You must hear Natsukashii to revive your own nostalgic memories. And for every listener this will be a deeply personal experience. This is the magic of Natsukashii.
The spectacular recording of three acoustic instruments makes Natsukashii an audiophile delicacy. The original recording is 24bit/192 kHz PCM, so please do not listen to the dumbsampled version on CD. Everything I always wanted to hear on digital recordings is here. The magic of listening to the live instruments combined with the feeling that you actually share the stage with the performers, engulfs your senses and it is simply not possible to think about anything else but the music. It would be a massive understatement to say that all parts of the sound spectrum have been recorded accurately. The recording is so magically mellow and involving that any quantification of it’s features represent a total lack of musical and audiophile experience.
AP-Linux operating system, Audacuious player with Jack audio plug in and Jack audio connection kit configured for 192 kHz sample rate, enable tremendously realistic playback of this exceptional jazz trio. I do not want to fall into the trap of the usual l’art pour l’art descriptions of the recorded music, so I simply suggest a high resolution, digital studio master experience with Audiophile Linux operating system and one of the best high resolution jazz recordings.
A musical feast is about to begin….
So I was under the impression that the benfits of hi-res audio for consumer use was impracticle. Is this not just a way for “The Industry” to resell us the music we already own?
There have been numerous controlled tests such as the one done by the Boston Audio Society where over 500 listens where subjected to 16/44.1 and hi-res music and not one person was able to tell the difference 100% of the time. It is even suggested thatt 192kHz sampling rates may harm the playback as an amplifier tries to handle the ultrasonic frequencies.
For those interested in this subject please refer to the following articule at xiph.org.
“The Industry” has been selling us the downsampled version of the original digital files for years. Now we have computers with USB DAC’s that can finally play the digital originals. There are, however, high resolution recordings, unlike Natsukashii, that sound the same or even worse then the sophisticated red book album. But generally, all red book albums sound better when ripped on HDD.
And yes, I also heard that the high resolution photography can harm
the digital cameras……….(?)
“And yes, I also heard that the high resolution photography can harm
the digital cameras……….(?)”
The theory I was refering to is not suggesting that these files are harmful to the equipment.
Quoted from Monty’s paper:
“192kHz digital music files offer no benefits. They’re not quite neutral either; practical fidelity is slightly worse. The ultrasonics are a liability during playback.
Neither audio transducers nor power amplifiers are free of distortion, and distortion tends to increase rapidly at the lowest and highest frequencies. If the same transducer reproduces ultrasonics along with audible content, any nonlinearity will shift some of the ultrasonic content down into the audible range as an uncontrolled spray of intermodulation distortion products covering the entire audible spectrum. Nonlinearity in a power amplifier will produce the same effect. The effect is very slight, but listening tests have confirmed that both effects can be audible.”
Please read the paper. It introduces some compelling theories.
Monty’s blog is sensationalistic. He does it for the impact. Even stating there is no staircase effect from digitization of an analog waveform. His presentation deliberately obfuscates and should not be interpreted as anything but media baiting. He is as “Fox News” is to News.
You have got to be a newbie just like the 500 listeners in the test you have described. People that call themselves an “Audiophile” get sick of your armature knowledge and skill when you talk about audio. You forgot to mention most of the random people would actually say an mp3 is better sounding than a 24/96 track. If you cant hear the difference in these type of tracks then keep filling your iPod with mp3’s and don’t judge audio like you actually know what your listening to.