Dr. AIX's POSTS — 20 September 2014

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The adoption of the JAS Hi-Res Audio logo by the CEA may or may not happen. As I noted, there is just no way that the minimum specifications outlined in the JAS (originally Sony) document can be reconciled with the DEG, CEA, NARAS, major label definition that was issued in June. But it occurs to me that it doesn’t have to. It may that the JAS organization is offering the CEA the graphic without the qualifications that accompany it. That could allow the CEA to apply the Hi-Res Audio logo to their definition and make it available to virtually anyone that is interested. Why else would the logo proposal be brought to the CEA board?

It’s all a sales job. Advocates for the definition worked very hard to bring all of the interested parties to a consistent message and wording, which was ultimately “approved” by teams of lawyers at the labels. The result is a definition that conveys a consistent message. But the message that it conveys throws a big net around every recording ever produced. It fails miserably to “convey a clear message”, as the press release states. It does nothing to advance the fidelity of recording. It doesn’t advance transparency and provenance about tracks/albums. It does allow the labels and their licensees to resell all of their old recordings at premium prices.

The JAS chart states the minimum specifications for use of the logo. As many have pointed out in the comments to yesterday’s post, the specifications are very broad…too broad. When it speaks about 40 kHz frequencies being required for the microphones or speakers, it avoids the usual additional specifications that give us how much energy is present at that frequency. If a speaker is down 30 dB, does that fit within the minimum? We would prefer that it doesn’t but the document doesn’t specify one way or the other. So there’s lots of rigor that still needs to be included in the fine print. Maybe the JAS has such a document. I’ll try to find out.

Then there’s the whole issue of policing any set of minimum specifications. I can tell you that neither the DEG, CEA, NARAS, nor the major labels are going to review and recommend the use of the logo. If company x decides that their equipment or software deserves the Hi-Res Audio logo then they’re going to use it. There was some discussion of an annual fee mentioned on the phone the other day. If the JAS is going to try and collect anything but a token fee, the logo isn’t going to appear anywhere.

So what are we left with? It’s my guess that the CEA will accept the offer from the JAS to use the logo. There will be some discussion and a board vote. Since the existing definition has already left the station and is unlikely to be altered, the new logo and its minimum specifications will be divorced in the U.S. The logo will be used by CE manufacturers but not by any labels. The various download sites are already on board with calling everything Hi-Res, so we’ll keep on heading down the same path.

Finding and enjoying real high-resolution audio will be like discovering a great restaurant or terrific bottle of wine…they will be rare, expensive, and cherished.

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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.

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