Dr. AIX's POSTS — 04 March 2016

By

This morning I head about a new Kickstarter campaign that is offering a wireless transmitter and receiver (with amplifier option) that purports to go beyond the limitations of WiFi and Bluetooth. Their innovative approach is called Dual Uncompressed Audio Link technology and it “truly delivers lossless 384KHz/32bit audio quality to as many speakers as you can possibly imagine”. And once the signal is sent from one room to another, they needed an amplifier capable of “matching its muscle”. The associated amplifier delivers “true 5Hz ~ 200KHz sound quality that is absolutely perfect for vinyl”. These are real quotes from their project description. “Audiophiles everywhere rejoice! For the time has come for truly lossless high quality streaming audio”.

I understand the need to get people excited about your new crowdsourcing campaign, but throwing about ridiculously high numbers is reaching a bit. Does anyone really think that they need an amplifier that claims a 5 Hz to 200 kHz frequency range is “perfect for vinyl?” The hype is excessive and unnecessary. But it dominates their promotional video and every paragraph of their written materials.

The technical specifications include mention of the chips used which run up to 384 kHz and 32-bits. So I send along a question asking where I could find audio recordings made at that rate. To my surprise I received a KS message back from the company within a couple of hours directing me to the usual “high-resolution” digital music sites including HDtracks, PonoMusic, HighResAudio etc. When I pointed out that none of the tracks on these sites were recorded at 384 kHz/32-bit, they didn’t respond. No big surprise there.

Maybe a picture is worth a thousand words. Take a look at the following graphic that I pulled from their Kickstarter page:

160302_bacon_ks

Figure 1 – AN illustration purporting to show the inherent benefits of 384 kHz/32-bit digital audio. Everything in this image is misleading or wrong.

How are we supposed to get behind their wireless strategy when they fail to understand the way PCM digital audio functions? The waveform at 384/32 is virtually the same as the original smooth analog waveform. What happened to the conversion to a digital data stream? And then they proceed to show the stair steps of a CD, which doesn’t happen either. But the frequency plot is beyond imaginable. If we were to believe their graphics, we’ve been missing out on all of that fidelity above 20 kHz.

“As you can see from this image, the difference of quality between CD and HRA is immense. Compression is to blame in the huge loss of detail.”

The image is completely wrong. They’re wrong about the “immense” difference between a CD and a high-res music file and mentioning “compression” has no relevance.

This company is trying to raise $200K over the next 43 days. 4 days into their campaign, they’ve managed to convince 20 people to back them…and 8 of them have pledged a dollar. It’s almost as if all you have to do is assemble a nice video, create some nice graphics, and spew a bunch of big numbers and then site back an watch the backers throw money at you.

The only good thing I can say about this campaign is that I like the industrial design. Otherwise, I hope people will see past the hyperbole and avoid this product. I have purposely not provided a link, I don’t want to encourage visitors.

Forward this post to a friend and help us spread the word about HD-Audio Forward this post to a friend and help us spread the word about HD-Audio

Share

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.

(24) Readers Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 + ten =