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….