Various - Linn Super Audio Surround Collection Volume 7 Sampler - Audiophile Audition

Linn is known for two things. Very high end audio components and a superb catalog of fine recording, mostly classical and some jazz. For some years, Linn has been issuing sampler CDs which are basically teasers for the full recordings.

I've just listened to volume 7, which features 18 tracks drawn from the Linn catalog. This is a demo disc in the sense you get an idea what Linn offers, and you do get an excellent window into the company's recording philosophy, which is natural with a capital N. I don't think people will find this a demo disc to wow your friends the way a Telarc CD used to. The dynamic range is not out-sized. No cannons, no super-extended highs or chest-crushing bass. What we have are excellent and well thought-out recordings that sound real, and will bring out the best in your system. No large orchestral forces. Just small to midsize ensembles with the best sound that modern recording techniques can render.

There are Bach, Berlioz, Corelli, Mozart, Brahms and more. There are also four jazz selections. I'm not sure this is a recording to put on and have as background music, as the program is so varied, especially mixing jazz with classical. Where I find it valuable is giving my ears a sense of the sound of real musicians in a 3D space. In a world of often over-processed and over-hyped sound, the Linn sampler is ever so appropriate to just sit back and listen to.

One of the most engaging works on the disc is the Rouse Flute Concerto Scherzo by Katherine Bryan, Jac van Steen played by the Royal National Orchestra. It is a ‘bigger' work, and the quality of the recording serves it well.

Without exception, the SACD sound is very good and extended. On my system the CD layer is just ever so slightly constricted, but that could be a matter of expectations rather than frequency response. It is a subtle difference.

The tracks are mostly available from Linn online as high-res downloads, SACD discs, or CDs without the high resolution layer. You won't be disappointed in the recording or the performances if what you are seeking is realism. These samplers are popular for a reason. Listen and you will hear why.

Audiophile Audition
11 August 2014