AUDIO SHOWS Dr. AIX's POSTS — 03 November 2013


The third annual TAVES (Toronto Audio/Video Entertainment Show) wraps up this afternoon at the Kind Edward Hotel. I attended last year and was very pleased with both the organization and the number and quality of the attendees. Although, I was not really looking forward to hauling 150 lbs of equipment and discs from Los Angeles to Toronto via Buffalo, I must say it’s been a very successful show for AIX Records. There’s something about this show that just feels right.

The TAVES show is a regional show. The focus is on Canadian high-end audio designers and manufacturers. I sat last night with Brian Russell of Bryston at the vendor party and had a nice conversation with George Klissarov of exaSound, a local maker of very high-end DACs (including the first multichannel DSD DACs…the e28). Both of these companies are based in the Toronto area. It’s also not as big and overwhelming as some of the other shows. Attendees can actually get through virtually of the demo rooms in a day. There’s live music, numerous seminars and a few tables selling software. It is also interesting that you don’t see the usual high-end audio mafia press cruising the halls…although Positive Feedback Online did have a reviewer at the show.

My college friend Todd Garfinkle, proprietor of MA Recordings, had his sales tables set up 20 feet across from my area just outside the Vanity Ballroom on the second floor. Traffic was heavy and steady throughout Friday and Saturday. But it was the quality of the attendees that stood out for me. Maybe it’s the weather or the Canadian national sentiment but I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the folks that stopped by the booth. They were interested, informed, curious and many made a special effort to come by the AIX table this year after having purchased some products last year. It was also noteworthy that there were a lot of young people and women walking the hotel. This was not the typical demographic for an audio trade show. Sure, there were lots of “my people” there, but it was very refreshing to meet and talk to such a diverse group of audio fans.

I gave a seminar on all three days entitled, “High-End Audio: From Production to Playback” in a space just around the corner from my sales area. I usually don’t get through all of my Power Point slides and these presentations were no different. I enjoy getting up in front of a group of audiophiles and explaining the importance of good engineering during the making of a record. I’ve talked about this in these posts a lot over the past 6 months. It seems to come as a surprise to audio enthusiasts that the fidelity of a record is almost entirely determined by the production process and the choices that the producer and engineer make through the creation of the recording. It’s not about boa constrictor sized power cords or disc carving machines!

Of course, I showed the relative merits and history of analog tape, vinyl LPs, compact discs, SACDs and DVD-Audio before concentrating on the new world of downloads in both DSD and PCM. I had to crack out the various spectragrams that I’ve displayed on these pages and explain to the group how and why the ultrasonic area of the spectrum can either possess upper partials or noise depending on the format. Eyes, ears and some minds were opened up during the seminars…I hope.

Today, I will be packing up a little early so that I can give my seminar at 1 pm, load the $9 dollar a day rent a car (amazing!) and speed back to Buffalo for a 6 pm flight home. I’ve still got a few midterm exams to grade on the plane and my university commitment early in the morning. I’ve enjoyed the weekend and look forward to coming back next year. However, I am looking for a couple of months of no traveling.

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About Author


Mark Waldrep, aka Dr. AIX, has been producing and engineering music for over 40 years. He learned electronics as a teenager from his HAM radio father while learning to play the guitar. Mark received the first doctorate in music composition from UCLA in 1986 for a "binaural" electronic music composition. Other advanced degrees include an MS in computer science, an MFA/MA in music, BM in music and a BA in art. As an engineer and producer, Mark has worked on projects for the Rolling Stones, 311, Tool, KISS, Blink 182, Blues Traveler, Britney Spears, the San Francisco Symphony, The Dover Quartet, Willie Nelson, Paul Williams, The Allman Brothers, Bad Company and many more. Dr. Waldrep has been an innovator when it comes to multimedia and music. He created the first enhanced CDs in the 90s, the first DVD-Videos released in the U.S., the first web-connected DVD, the first DVD-Audio title, the first music Blu-ray disc and the first 3D Music Album. Additionally, he launched the first High Definition Music Download site in 2007 called A frequency speaker at audio events, author of numerous articles, Dr. Waldrep is currently writing a book on the production and reproduction of high-end music called, "High-End Audio: A Practical Guide to Production and Playback". The book should be completed in the fall of 2013.

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