AUDIO SHOWS Dr. AIX's POSTS — 26 September 2015

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I missed the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest last year. The Audio Engineering Convention was in LA and I opted to stay home and enjoy the company of professionals like myself and hear the papers. But I’m headed to Denver on Wednesday and will be standing behind my booth selling my DVD-A/Vs and Blu-ray titles. I’ll also be promoting the “Music and Audio: A User Guide To Better Sound” book and Blu-ray. If you’re going to the show, please come by and say hello. My table is in the back of the lobby area. I can’t say that I have anything new in the catalog, but I’m sure there’s something that will interest you.

Years ago, I had lunch with Al Stiefel during one of my visits to my sister who lives in Boulder. I had sent a copy of my most recent sampler disc to Al hoping that he might have a moment to audition some real HD-Audio tracks. He did. He brought the disc to lunch and made a special point to ask me how I managed to capture the sound of the instruments so convincingly. Al was knocked out by the disc. He asked, “Mark, this is audio fidelity at a whole new level, isn’t it?” You have to remember that high-resolution music had just started being released and it’s likely that Al hadn’t yet heard a DVD-Audio disc. Maybe it was the 5.1 surround sound, although I don’t think he had access to a surround sound system. I think it was the intimacy of the sound, the nature sound of the instruments, the absence of any noise, and the lack of equalization and mastering that grabbed him.

I was very sorry to hear of his passing.

The show has continued under the able leadership of his widow Marjorie. I’ve been a regular participant and panelist or speaker over the subsequent years. But when I inquired about presenting “High-Resolution Demystified” this year, I was told that there were no times left. Marjorie told me that the Colorado Audio Society has a committee that sorts things out with regards to the seminars. Apparently, my topic was not compelling enough to make the grade…although it was for the Newport Show as the keynote address.

So what is going to be offered during the limited number of seminar slots? There’s the very popular and oft repeated “Michael Fremer’s Internationally Renowned Turntable Set-up Seminar”, “Affordability: How Low Can You Go?” moderated by John Darko of Digital Audio Review, and “Streaming Audio: Preserving the Past, Protecting the Future” moderated by Chris Connaker of Computer Audiophile and featuring Bob Stuart talking about MQA…that will be interesting…on Friday.

On Saturday, you can listen to Jonathan Novick from Audio Precision talk about audio specifications and the relevance to high-end audio in the morning. Steve Silberman of Audioquest will be giving his take on computer audio followed by a session on ripping vinyl LPs by Dr. David Robinson, Director of Engineering at Channel D. The description of that panel pushes into hyperbole when describing the “stunning, transparent playback quality of analog vinyl LPs”. What happened to warm and euphonic?

At the end of the day and lasting for 2 hours Dr. David Robinson of Positive Feedback Online brings together the DSD crowd once again to update attendees on the merits of the 1-bit format and how they’re using the technology to advance music fidelity. Included on the panel are the usual suspects, Ray Kimber, Cookie Marenco, and Gus Skinas of the Super Audio Center. There always seems to be room for a robust DSD session but nothing about the myths of high-resolution or an equivalent session focusing on the format the rest of the world uses. Oh well, maybe next year.

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The Kickstarter campaign is still attracting backers. We’ve topped 400 backers…next stop 500! I’ve added a stretch goal and a couple of new rewards. Stop by and check it out. Music and Audio Guide KS page

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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.

(6) Readers Comments

  1. It is funny about the vinyl lssue. I have a nice VPI table with a few hundred LPs but rarely play them. My computer based digital system just sounds better to these ears. I was at the recent Capital Audio Fest which seemed to be flooded with VPI tables. I think VPI had their entire stock at the show. They even brought Harry’s personal system with them. The funny thing, despite all the tables, all the best so8nding rooms were playing digital, at least to these ears. The vinyl all sounded too bright, dare I say it, analytical? The 2 best rooms used a Brisasti DAC. one a CD player and the other, the Lampizator Big & while was a bit too smoothed over for my taste. However, overall, the digital was warmer, more detailed and less fatiguing. I found that really interesting.

    • Thanks Joe…I have no problem with vinyl LPs and turntables as an appealing format. However, a well done High-Resolution PCM digital recording done well can be better on every measurement…including how it sounds.

      • IMHO, an equally well recorded 16/44 CD also beats out vinyl. For any number of unsubstantiated claims the CD acquired a bad reputation in the audiophile world over the years., HDA can be better definitely, but the CD when done properly is very very good.

        • No doubt.

  2. Hey Mark,
    I’ll be heading to RMAF for the first time this year. I’ll make a point of stopping by and saying hello. Safe travels out there.

    Best….Carlo

    • See you there.

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