Dr. AIX's POSTS — 21 March 2015

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It’s a special day today…it’s the birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach (March 21, 1685), my favorite composer by far. There’s just something about the linear motion of his music, the counterpoint, and the fact that his music doesn’t stop until it’s over that enthralls my heart and soul. It also just happens to be my special day as well…and when I learned that Bach and I share the same birthday (a couple hundred years apart) I was thrilled…in some very small way we’re connected. I’m 62 years old today and feeling it. I haven’t managed to shake the lung thing since January and am pretty tired of the irritating cough. I went to a pulmonary specialist the other day (very entertaining guy…it turns out he treated Ringo for Bronchitis!) and he thinks maybe I’ve got more than just pneumonia. I left a couple of vials of blood and will be headed back soon to learn what’s going on at the bottom of my right lung.

My back is giving me discomfort today as well. I ran 4 miles on Friday morning with Charlie and must not have stretched enough before launching myself along the beach path. I did sign up for next years L.A. Marathon though…so I guess I’m figuring all of this old man stuff is going to clear up soon. The race will be on Valentine’s Day next February. Hopefully, the temperature will be manageable. The last two years have been too hot.

Here’s the audio question of the day: Can sending your tired CDs to a company that copies them to Gold CD-Rs elevate your enjoyment of those CDs? That’s the business proposition being pitched at CD Illumination. They claim to be able to “vivify” your CD sound. In case you don’t know the word vivify, they included the definition. It means to give life to; animate, enliven, brighten, sharpen; clarify. And it only costs $25 per CD!

Here’s their pitch:

“CD Illumination is a company dedicated to vivifying your invaluable CD collection and providing an enduring backup of your treasured music. CD Illumination duplication will greatly increase and extend your listening pleasure by maximizing fidelity…meaning:

Musicality: Lower distortion and sweeter sound
Tonality: Less boxy congested sound with improved timbre and texture
Dynamic range: Less compression and better micro-dynamics
Soundstaging: The architecture of the soundscape is more holographic
Imaging: Improved localization of voices and instruments
Clarity: Enhanced
Listener fatigue: Diminished

Irrespective of the amount spent on your equipment, CDs optimized by CD Illumination technology, will provide a greatly improved resultant sound.

The moderate cost of a CD Illumination duplication will give an improvement in sound that surpasses expensive upgrades in CD player, DAC, amp or cable.”

The website goes on to talk about jitter and other mysterious factors that negatively contribute to that “CD sound”. They believe that jitter is an inherent part of the CD disc. It’s not. Jitter can be reduced to zero by using high quality clocking and applying it at the final output by the DAC.

None of the things they list are going to change by making a copy of a CD onto a Gold CD-R. I’m know I’m stuck on the “bit is bits” debate but that anyone would pay $25 for a copy of their CD in the hopes of increasing the fidelity is chasing rainbows.

Another website and associated belief system to be avoided.

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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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