What’s the best way to get convince someone there are real benefits to high-resolution audio? Is it a well-designed infographic that has specifications and bright colors tied to the various audio formats, their specifications, and production types? Maybe a video communicates the message better…or a panel discussion with a group of acknowledged experts contributing a few minutes to the topic.
I’m convinced that all it takes is a compelling audio demonstration…with the right content. AIX Records and our partners (Dolby Labs, Oppo, Benchmark, DH Labs, JVC, and Harman) assembled the finest high-resolution audio system ever for attendees of the AXPONA 2015 show…that worked. But only about a thousand people got the chance to hear it (and many of those people came back two or even three times!).
AIX Records is distributed by NAXOS. The company takes great pride in making available thousands of self produced classical albums and others by independent labels such as mine. They’ve been actively distributing “High Definition” music for at least 10 years. And they are very good at sharing the “provenance” of their products. The release titles on Blu-ray discs with a “DISC INFO” box on the back of the printed sleeve. I do the same with my titles…however, most companies don’t. The NAXOS box says, “AUDIO Recorded and edited in HIGH DEFINITION 24-bits, 96 kHz PCM Surround – Presented in HIGH DEFINITION 24-bit, 96 kHz.” This is very helpful to potential customers. My hat is off to the production people at NAXOS.
So I was particularly interested in what today’s email newsletter had to say. The subject line tipped off the content of the document. It reads, “Digital Newsletter: HD Audio & Upsampling”.
For starters, I don’t why the people at NAXOS haven’t gotten the memo on what the industry has decided to call new “higher fidelity” audio albums. I fought hard for HD-Audio…but I lost that fight. The industry is not entirely on board with HRA or High-Resolution Audio, but that’s what the big boys decided to call it so we need to get with the “consistent message” agenda.
I read the few pages of the document as soon as it arrived. The opening paragraph states:
HD audio continues to be a significant growth area for classical music. As such we want to provide some background and insight into this digital format. Consumers of High Definition audio tend to be audiophiles with substantial audio and technical expertise. They listen to, and often analyze the files they recently purchase to assess the quality.
It is of utmost importance that our labels do not send us up-sampled audio files. We have had several complaints from HD sites receiving claims of up sampling from their customers. This, of course, is concerning to us and problematic for our business.
The objective of this newsletter is to not only bring awareness to High Definition audio but what upsampling is and why it is discouraged among the audiophile community.”
Wow. Maybe there is hope for real high-resolution audio releases. If a company as large as NAXOS is reaching out to its content providers and telling them what’s what with regards to HD-Audio, then maybe more people should be complaining to other labels.
However, as I read on and reviewed the illustrations that were included in the newsletter, I felt my elation begin to diminish. A large portion of the document contained inaccurate information. What was supposed to inform and inspire NAXOS’ distribution partners is full of mistakes and misstatements. I wrote to the individuals that created the charts and text with the hope that I can contribute to a revised edition of the newsletter.
The chances are slim that they will respond. I know egos get in the way. No one likes to be told they’ve screwed up…including me. But it happens and we all need to accept it when it does.
More to follow…