Dr. AIX's POSTS HD-AUDIO — 25 August 2014

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I was standing at my product tables in San Francisco at the California Audio Show and one of the members of the newly formed (or reformed following the demise of the Bay Area Audio Society) SF Audio Society came up and urged me to get to a seminar that was about to start. On Saturday, between 1-2 pm John Mingo founder and CEO of Baetis Audio gave a presentation called “New Directions In Computer Audio”. The attendee told me that John and his company are doing some revolutionary things by deriving digital audio signals from the “motherboard” of a PC rather than through the normal outputs from a sound card. I was intrigued…but too busy at the tables and I opted to pass.

Then I started reading posts here and there about the company, their products and about the gentleman that founded the company. I was particularly interested in a comment that I read at Audiogon back in June. Here’s the comment:

John Mingo at Baetis Audio states, “the very best quality audio can only be found on blu-ray discs — in the form of 48/32, 96/32, and 96/24 concerts. Furthermore, the ear and the eye work together — the sound is improved by listening to the music while watching the players. This is NOT just psychological but a natural part of the body’s functions. Essentially, the sound of a concert, especially that of a small ensemble, SOUNDS far better when you can watch the players play. And listening to the sound on a truly good 2-channel setup is far better than on even a very good 5.1 channel setup. Unfortunately, you simply CANNOT get 48/32 files or 96/24 files unless you either download them from a website, rip them from a blu-ray disc, or play the blu-ray on a player.”

Before making any comments on this highly flawed paragraph, I should let you know that I have read a lot about the company and people behind this small Montana based operation. The brains behind Beatis is long time audiophile John Mingo, a Ph.D. in economics who worked in Washington D.C. as an expert on the Federal Reserve…at least according to a paragraph from the TAS website. He admits to having no background in either electrical engineering or computer science. This is a guy that loves music and judges the quality of everything involved in the delivery of music empirically [Note: Empirical evidence is a source of knowledge acquired by means of observation or experimentation. He credits Chris Connaker the guru at Computer Audiophle and Adam and Ben Lye, the principals at Assassin HTPC, as his mentors.

He prepared a very long Powerpoint presentation for the CAS. You can read it by visiting their website and clicking on “New Directions in Audiophile Computers“. I will make some comments on the specifics contained in that document…but my favorite is essentially don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. That’s a great place to start.

John states that the “very best quality audio can only be found on Blu-ray discs – in the form of 48/32, 96/32, and 96/24 concerts” As the producer of almost 30 Blu-ray audio products AND ones with complete HD-Video of the performances, I should be in full endorsement of this comments. But they’re just not true…they’re his opinions. I get the same great sound from the files I record, mix, master, and play prior to them being encoded to Dolby TrueHD…a lossless format. And guess what? The audio specifications for ALL Blu-ray discs don’t include 32-bit words. There is no such thing as a 32-bit audio file on Blu-ray title. In fact, 32-bit PCM digital word lengths are extremely rare in any format outside of production environment…and then they’re only on hard drives.

This is where having a background as an engineer AND computer scientist might come in handy. I’ll get back to Beatis tomorrow…but I suggest you consider the source. Although I also have a Ph.D. (in music…as well as an MS degree in computer science and several other degrees), I won’t be making any pronouncements on the economics of the Federal Reserve or anything else to do with high finance. I like to stick to what I know. Of course, everyone is entitled to write and post anything they want on the web but I would take John’s advice and “don’t believe everything you read on the web”.

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About Author

Dr. AIX

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 iTrax.com. 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.

(3) Readers Comments

  1. This “New Directions in Audiophile Computers“ article is such a golden one.

    Let’s see… the file must be played on RAM. EMI effect from harddrive/SSD…. hmm… all typical nonsense are included.

    But this part really boggles my mind.

    [Fan-less is not absolutely quiet – the heat pipes send the heat to the fins, and this heat moves air. This can be measured on a digital sound pressure meter.]

    This is such a sad comedy.

    • I wrote about the Beatis servers previously…there is nothing there of value.

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