This disc from FIM represents yet another incarnation that this venerable audiophile classic from Proprius Records has been presented in – this time in a relatively new format, FIM’s K2 HD CD, which seems to me to be pretty closely akin to JVC’s XRCDs. The format is basically a Red Book CD, with a new coding that essentially allows 24-bit resolution to be packed into a 16-bit format. Hey, the proof is in the listening – this is probably one of the best sounding Red Book CDs I’ve ever heard! The source material documents the movement in Swedish churches in the seventies to present their services in more of a folk-mass approach versus the strictly liturgical mass approach. The songs are, quite simply, religious songs and hymns that are intended to broaden the appeal of religious services to contemporary audiences. Many of the tunes have English or western equivalents, and so will seem instantly familiar to most listeners.
This disc sounds incredible, so it was only prudent to compare it to the Proprius Records SACD issue. To be quite honest with you, it was almost a toss-up – this is my first experience with FIM’s K2 HD, and I was mightily impressed – the SACD from Proprius won out by the smallest of margins, on the basis of sound alone. I felt that, in comparison with the two-channel SACD layer of the Proprius disc, the SACD had ultimately higher resolution than the FIM disc could offer. It was close, and the FIMs definitely are a force to be reckoned with. But when you consider that the Proprius disc contains not only a CD layer, but stereo and surround SACD layers, and also includes an additional 14 minutes of music from the original dates – and at $10 less than the FIM disc, that makes for a really tough decision.
This disc was excellent, mark my word, but in terms of ultimate value, I’d have to go with the Proprius SACD, providing that your system is SACD-capable. That’s the only thing keeping this selection from five stars, otherwise, it’s pretty much a no-brainer, and I’d get as many of these FIM discs as my budget would allow! Highly recommended!
— Tom Gibbs