Dr. AIX's POSTS — 31 January 2015

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Today’s post is a continuation of yesterday discussion of vinyl LPs and why they can’t match the fidelity of PCM digital. There is an article in the LA Weekly…check it out.

I cringe a little bit because I heard the same recording in the same playback environment. I wrote about how wonderful it sounded in a recent post. But it wasn’t anywhere close to the sound of John Gorka singing “I Saw A Stranger With Your Hair” from his album “They Gypsy Life”. And listening to the vinyl LP version would pale in comparison to both the analog transfer and a native 96 kHz/24-bit track. The vinyl LP advocates needs to read the LA Weekly article.

Sales of CDs have diminished while sales of vinyl LPs have increased. But vinyl LP sales still account for less than 2% of the record company revenue. It’s a nice enough format but as the article illustrates, it’s as much about the experience and the nostalgia of vinyl…the big packaging, turning the record over etc…as it is about sound quality.

Read about the frustration of Bob Ludwig and Bob Clearmountain as they tried…unsuccessfully…to get vinyl LP reference copies that matched, or even came close, to the mixes they prepared in the studio.

It is a myth to believe that CDs cannot exceed the fidelity of vinyl LPs. The whole discussion of bad filters in this day and age, pre and post ringing (which happens just below the maximum recorded frequency at very low levels), and the rest of the assault that is directed at digital is misplaced and just plain wrong.

Vinylophiles can lust after the distortion, the “warmth”, the lack of low end, the folded mono below 500 Hz, and the rest of the obvious imperfections of vinyl LPs. I have absolutely no problem with that. One of the tenants in my building brought in stacks of pristine classic vinyl LPs and I couldn’t help but be curious. I had a throw back moment. Does that mean that I’m going to go out and purchase a turntable and suffer through the clicks and pops in search of the “best” reproduction of audio? Absolutely not! I’m getting better fidelity, surround sound, HD-Video, mix choices without the hassle and fragility of 12” plastic discs.

It would have been nice to have Michael acknowledge the amazing fidelity of the recordings that heard from my catalog instead of having a “first ever” digital experience from an analog tape transfer.

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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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