HD-AUDIO — 30 May 2015

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I left the house at 6 am, wrote the day’s blog, packed up the car, filled the tank with gas, and drove to Irvine in rush hour traffic. The Hotel Irvine is hosting the Newport event this year and it’s a major set up from the two hotels that were used in the past. I swung around to the front of the hotel and parked. The valet told me I could unload my stuff and return within 5-10 minutes and continue to the parking lot. I found the marketplace and my tables before taking my car to the visitor parking area around back.

The AIX Records tables are located immediately inside the Marketplace Ballroom. I did a little rearranging but have much more space than usual. Richard Beers was very kind to lock down a prime location for me. Thanks.

The Newport Show officially opened at 10 am, although there were a few people drifting around earlier. I was there when the “cutting of the ribbon” ceremony happens. The group of VIPs included Richard, Bob Levi of the LA & OC Audio Society, Steve Rochlin, Michael Fremer, Robert Harley, Dr. David Robinson, and Dave Clark. They had a couple of trumpet players playing triumphant brass music to cap the festivities. Someday maybe I’ll be a VIP.

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Figure 1 – The cutting of the ribbon for the Newport Show 2015.

Just after 10 o’clock I made my way to the Audio University section of the large ballroom to check in and see how the tech was coming along. Being the keynote speaker means that no one has gone before and the likelihood that something wasn’t completely ready is quite high. Sure enough, the projector was so close to the screen that the image it was projecting occupied about a quarter of the screen. So I grabbed the cardboard trash container at the back of the hall, turned it upside down, and planted the projector on it. Problem solved. I also needed to make a quick tweak to the audio system.

I made a quick trip back to the entry area of the show to pick up my badge (which still wasn’t ready…I think I forgot to register online) and saw two long, twisting lines of attendees working their way through registration. It was doubtful that they would make it into the show in time to attend my presentation. I did take advantage of the captive audience and handed out postcards for this site to everyone that would accept one.

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Figure 2 – The HRA Demystified keynote address

The keynote address started promptly at 10:30. Douglas, the producer of my session, introduced me and I launched into my High-Resolution Audio Demystified presentation. There were a few notable individuals in the audience. I noticed my friend Ray Kimber enter just after I got started. There was a prominent member of the DEG off to the left side and a new friend…the President and CEO…of a large audio manufacturer. The rest of hall was pretty much full of show attendees and some board members of the LA & OC Audio Society.

As you might expect, I laid out my case for properly identifying high-resolution audio. I went through each of the various definitions including the misguided DEG, CEA, NARAS and labels definition, the JAS dual track requirements and my own “meet the fidelity of human hearing”. I shared some reflections on the new Pono device I have and my disappointment that 1.9 million CDs rips are being labeled “high-res”, I talked about which formats are high-res and which aren’t, and I concluded with a quick discussion of MQA and the future of high-resolution audio in the world of streaming.

I think it went very well. A large number of attendees came up to me following the presentation and expressed thanks for the compelling information. I think I opened some eyes and I shut others.

Then it was back to the table where AIX Records had a very robust sales day. In fact, I’m at the studio this morning stocking up on copies of Laurence Juber and Carl Verheyen. Got to head south once again. See you tomorrow.

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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.

(7) Readers Comments

  1. At least you weren’t stoned:-)
    So I take it no members of the audio golden eared press were there?

    • Nope

  2. Thanks, Mark Waldrep, for your blow-by-blow account of a morning at The Home Entertainment Show! Vivid! Your contribution to our quest (emotionally moving recorded music) grows ever more important. I appreciate very much your energy in keeping your daily blog going. A genuine service and achievement.

  3. thank you,
    Nice seeing you today

  4. Hello again Dr. Mark. Having arrived at the hotel just after 9:00 AM (so as not to have to wait in lines to pick up my badge or get into your presentation), I was your first attendee sitting front and center-right wiping sweat when you arrived. (Due to some poor health issues, it is a big challenge for me to walk or stand for any period). I reminded you that, in a prior comment, I had promised to shake your hand for saving me a bit of money by not buying any “high res” downloads. Resisting the high res craze for years, I had decided to purchase a DAC (Musical Fidelity V90) at T.H.E. SHOW, if they were being sold and start downloading a few high res files on my computer – until I came to the AIX Records site and discovered your views on this industry wide farce just the prior week ago. I spent all week Googling and YouTubeing all I could find about you and your views on how the hi-fi industry as a whole has been hoodwinking, and bamboozling audiophiles into thinking that all of their favorite music from the past could now be reborn as high res sound when the technology (and, I don’t think, the INTEREST) to produce high res recordings was not even invented yet! How could this happen! It is only because I do not yet have my complete “dream” stereo system together that I too am not wasting my dollars on this hazing of the truth! The High-End Music Industry teaches us how to remove the “veil” from our music reproduction – while they put a veil over our minds as to the truth about this very music!

    I enjoyed your presentation and even though I need to lean how to follow your sound graphs and wave forms (even though I follow wave forms closely while I volunteer recording audio books for a Hollywood based studio that provides audio books for people with dyslexia and the blind). Still, I knew intuitively that what you present makes absolute sense!

    I must say that when I arrived at your table in the “market” that I was a bit disappointed of only being familiar with two artist – Wallace Roney and Luis Conte. Jazz and Salsa being my favorite music, I was hoping to find more of that genre amongst your DVDs…. After you let me listen to a sample of your selections (what was that awesome set of headphones I was listening through?), I purchased Nicci Gilbert and the Soul Kittens and The Latin Jazz Trio and got your free HD Audio Sampler.

    I popped open the sampler today to give it a try (on my humble Logitech Z680 5.1 system) – and damn! Even with my system, my ears – and eyes stood up and took notice of the first couple of samples. When I went to the instrumental listings – I mentally checked off a full DOZEN of the samples that I knew I would buy! Dr. “M” – I have to take my hand shake back….you are NOT saving me any money at all! : ) Even not having the ability to bring out the resolution that I know is there, the HD video is amazing! You are right there on stage watching the musical magic happen! When the resolution is high enough – I enjoy ANY great music – the picking of banjos and mandolins, and classical. I’m hooked because I know when I purchase my DAC this or next week, and when I get the rest of my system (B&W Nautilus 805s, Sound Anchor stands, Pioneer PL 560 TT, AVA Transcendence 7 pre-amp and power amp, Marantz CD changer) from storage in Texas – I will be a very happy camper! (Alright Earl, getting long winded)…..Thanks for your great courage in sharing your great knowledge and experience, especially with us who struggle to put our dream systems together and can’t afford to be throwing $$$ away on trickery.

    • Thanks Earl, I remember our conversation very well. In fact, I just happened across your card as I sat down to check my morning emails. I’ll be in touch.

  5. Hello Mark,
    I happened to find your video session on YouTube the T.H.E. show and watched it from the beginning to the end. To be honest quite true all you said during the session and I perfectly understand that to be legit high resolution audio it must be done throughout the whole chain in high resolution starting from the recording/mixing, mastering and converting.

    However you said, that remastering does not improve the situation, I hope you meant that remastering of the source material which is not captured in high resolution and selling it in bigger bit bucket does not improve the situation to be named high resolution, right?

    If so, I agree, but usually – not always – new bigger bit buckets with new remasters are better sounding that the older one – I guess that if those were remastered from the analogue tape, they could be also sell as the redbook res, but instead they are “high resolution” to get more money from us – consumers. What do you think?

    Take a look at the mid 70’s Keith Jarrett albums like My Song or Belonging. Those were recorded to tape and recently ECM released them as the digitally remastered for download in 24/96. To me they sound amazing, just amazing and if you look at the graph, they contain audio content above the redbook spec – how is it possible from the audio engineer perspective – 24/48 tape transfer or what?

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/616481/graph/01%20Spiral%20Dance.flac_report.png

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