Dr. AIX's POSTS — 14 March 2015

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The AXPONA show is not far away. I have good news on our demonstration room. My good friends at JBL/Harman have come through with a complete set of Revel Salon 2 speakers for our demo room. I couldn’t be happier. I’ve heard these speakers only a few times but was very impressed. I can’t wait to them at the delivery end of our JAS HRA logo deserving, high-resolution audio, surround music presentations in the Landmark room of the Westin Hotel at O’Hare International airport at the end of April.

I believe our room will be the first time that a partnership of high-end audio companies and a software provider has ever achieved real high-resolution audio. I have a great deal of experience in setting up high-end demo rooms and there’s always a component or bottleneck somewhere along the signal path. Last year, we had an amazing system that included a Bryston SP-3 processor for converting the output from an Oppo BDP-95 feeding a great set of amplifiers and speakers. Sadly, I discovered that the analog output of the Bryston was passed to a room tuning box that could only run at 48 kHz and subjected the sound to two additional conversions from analog to digital and back again. Very disappointing…although the room did deliver very good sound.

This year things will be different. We’ll have 96 kHz/24-bit PCM audio coming digitally out of a specially modified Oppo deck into three of the latest Benchmark DACs (the DAC2 HGC) and then through a bunch of AHB2 Amplifiers on to the Revel Salon 2 speakers. We’ll be capable of meeting the rigorous JAS requirements for high-resolution audio…meaning 40 kHz/24-bits from end to end. Can anyone else claim the same thing? The vinyl LPs room can’t, the analog tape rooms can’t, the CD rooms can’t, and even the high-end file servers can’t unless they have similar hardware. This is the kind of room the David Pogue and Wilson Rothman need to visit.

I’ve also informed the folks at AXPONA that I will be doing an abbreviated version of my “High-Resolution Audio Demystified” seminar after the show closes on Friday and Saturday evening, April 24th and 25th. I’ll be discussing high res from 6:30 to 8 pm and possibly longer. The seminar organizers apparently didn’t have a slot in their normal tech sessions for a presentation on high-resolution audio (although they made room for multiple turntable alignment seminars?), so I’m setting up my own “special event” on HRA to demonstrate and educate attendees on the latest information. You can check it out by clicking here.

If you’re going to be in Chicago for the AXPONA event, please include a visit to our demo room and stay after hours for an engaging and straightforward seminar on high-resolution audio. Just by stopping by, you’ll get a free AIX Records sampler…a $25 value.

Speaking of the High-Resolution Audio Demystified even scheduled for April 4th, I have only one more slot available. If you’re interested in participating in this unique and inaugural event at the AIX Records Studio, please contact me immediately. For additional information, you can click on the original posting here.

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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.

(17) Readers Comments

  1. Hi Mark, was wondering if there was any way that your seminar could be video taped or captured so that we that are not able to attend could also be informed by you discussion that would be great.

    • I will try to document the event in some ways but it will last 5 hours or more and that makes it difficult to provide.

  2. Hi Mark,
    you did write:
    ‘JAS requirements for high-resolution audio…meaning 40 kHz/24-bits from end to end.’
    40/24 – was that a typo?

  3. I would hope you provide comparisons of your music with different bit rates to determine whether or not HI-Rez is worth it. I find it hard to justify the added 80% price increase for Hi-Rez files from various sites where my ears can not really tell that much of a difference. I rather pay 20 bucks a month for 25 million tunes to Tidal.

    • You’re absolutely right, it’s not worth the extra money if they are the same files as you can get on CD. And virtually 99.99% of every download you purchase are CD rips.

      • Mark,
        With all due respect, I think you are missing my point. I know Tidal has CD rips and I know most music downloaded are just CD rips, I just cannot really tell the difference between the same tracks on Tidal and the Hi-Rez downloads at higher bit rates from HDtracks, It would be worthwhile if you provided a CD bit rate version along with your HI-Rez files to see if your audience can hear the difference on your equipment.

        • I’m not going to offer CD resolution versions of all of the tracks on iTrax…that’s way too much effort. But I have done what you ask on some files on the FTP site. You can experience CD res and HD res on the same high-resolution source. Check out “Mosaic” by Laurence Juber that way.

  4. I will be there on Saturday. I look forward to hearing your room Mark. Should be fun!

    • Bring some drinks Joe…it’s going to be a great time.

  5. Hi Mark,
    In checking I see the Revel Salon 2 speakers run at 86.4 db efficiency. In the light of this and your comment bunch of AHB2 Benchmark amplifiers. Are you planning to run two AHB2 amplifiers per main speaker minimum so four on a stereo setup. As it would seem going by some audio reviews these speakers require power well beyond one AHB2 per speaker let alone one per pair. I recognise these are retail speakers and can be added to with rears and centre. I thought you were going for the JBL M2 Monitors?

    Robert

    • I’ve been talking to my friends at Benchmark and yes, we’ll be double amping the system. The M2 were just not available.

  6. Hi Mark,

    Congrats on the Revel Salon 2 speakers! It sounds like you’re gonna have the best sounding rig at Axpona, and I would certainly like to hear it. I’m pretty sure you have considered a bi-Amped configuration, but I don’t understand how that’s gonna work with the three Benchmark DAC2 converters. I won’t make it to the show, but I would love to see some nice pics on the rear of the setup to get a glimpse of the connections and how you set up the system.

    Are you also going to have headphone rigs that can deliver HRA?

    Best of lucks with the show, you have certainly gone all the way to make a REAL HD-AUDIO presentation.

    Cheers!

  7. Mark, I would really appreciate hearing more about the specially modified Oppo BDP-95 which allows digital output of 96 kHz/24-bit PCM audio into three external DACs. I stream 96/24 multichannel material to my standard Oppo BDP-95 from which I can route the front (stereo) channels (presumably still in 96/24?) to my high-end external DAC, but for the other channels I am limited to using the Oppo’s internal DACs and their resultant analogue outputs. Is your modification generally available? Would you mind letting me know the supplier/modifier as I would like to get mine modified – although it lives with me in Australia.

    • I spoke with them today…and I should be able to give some additional information soon. It’s something that’s being done custom by Oppo and won’t be available to customers.

  8. “We’ll have 96 kHz/24-bit PCM audio coming digitally out of a specially modified Oppo deck into three of the latest Benchmark DACs (the DAC2 HGC) and then through a bunch of AHB2 Amplifiers on to the Revel Salon 2 speakers”

    I demand to see pics of this Oppo abomination.. LOL.. sound interesting..

    • I’ll take lots of photos.

  9. Mark, I am so looking forward to seeing you at AXPONA. Really tried to make it last year but failed. I am planning on being there on Friday since my grandson’s birthday party is Saturday.

    Should be a great time for all.

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