Dr. AIX's POSTS NEWS — 06 July 2016

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Scott Wilker, the founder and CEO of Sonic Blocks, has been a very close friend of mine for almost 20 years. Our beginnings go back to the early days of the DVD format when AIX Media Group was among the first DVD authoring and compression houses. Scott worked for Sonopress, a Bertelsmann company involved in replicating optical discs…including DVDs. We were introduced at a DVD conference and have done business and remained friends ever since.

It was a call from Scott in late 2007 that ultimately gave me a taste of megabuck, start up, mania in the formation of Yoostar, a New York-based game company. I won’t go into the gory details but this was the first “corporate” V.P. position I ever held…while still maintaining my teaching and label responsibilities. I was there at the founding of the company and rode it through to the bitter end when one day, after Scott had long since departed the company, the NY head of human resources came to California for “discussions”. She had me fire my entire production team in the morning before turning to me with a severance package after lunch. So it goes.

Scott and his son Jordan have come up with a very interesting concept for a “modular” music system complete with wireless connectivity, replaceable speaker drivers, articulating arms, extensibility, and a whole lot more. Their ideas (it’s much more than just a music system – think technology hub & IoT)) and the resulting design (refined over the course the last two years) is just about ready for its debut…via the crowdsourcing site Indiegogo. Later this month, Scott and his team (which includes myself) are planning to launch a crowdsourcing campaign to bring Sonic Blocks to reality. Please take a look at sonicblocks.com for a sneak preview, add your name to the VIP list, and read about the features of this unique system.

So why would an audiophile like me be interested in a project like Sonic Blocks? Because I think it’s an affordable, high-fidelity, way to incrementally move from good sound to great sound…and because it’s really cool to look at. The era of disposable, dedicated, one size fits all, wireless audio boxes is pretty much saturated. Sonic Blocks lets you seamlessly upgrade every component of the system to meet evolving needs and trends. Want more fidelity from your music system? Simply swap out a Sonic Blocks driver or add another one. You simply snap off the existing driver (no tools required) and snap on a replacement.

The base unit or “brain” of the system is built on the DTS “Play-Fi” engine and can handle a wide variety of formats…including high-res analog and digital. Sonic Blocks is a terrific way to step into higher quality sound and know that you can continue to improve your system without replacing everything.

I’ve spent a lot of time consulting with Scott and his family about Sonic Blocks (yes, the whole family is involved) and am convinced that while it may never be a true audiophile system, it takes a very innovative approach to better sound. Visit the website (Sonic Blocks) and let me know what you think. If you agree with me that it has merit, I would urge you to leave your contact information, and help spread the word.

Check out: Sonic Blocks or stop by the Facebook page at: facebook.com/SonicBlocks.

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I wanted to thank everyone for the sentiments and comments expressed concerning my recent health issues. Life has its way of setting priorities.

Also note that I will not be going to Washington DC for the Capital Audio Fest as originally planned this weekend. Our family has had a loss and will be gathering in Madison, Wisconsin for a memorial.

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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.

(13) Readers Comments

  1. Looks cool Mark. Not for me but definitely something for people who want to start small and build on. Smart business idea too. Buy one, buy one more….and more and more 🙂

    • Thanks. Yes, it’s a pathway to bigger and better.

  2. Wicked.

  3. Cool idea, But as you state here on your blog (Analog is not Hi-Res). On a side note, I Love your Recordings and I am very very happy with my recent purchases.(Guitar Noir, Sprint Sampler). I may not have the most hi end system but I can hear the differences. (Fiio X5 2nd gen 10hz-65khz and Audio Technica IM-70 5hz – 26khz)

    • Mick, wait a minute. Analog tape recording and analog LPs are not high-resolution audio. But connecting high-resolution sources to via analog cables is perfectly fine.

    • What analog cannot do in high resolution is to store musical signal and then recover it from the stored format. Of *course* live analog signals can be high-res, otherwise no DAC could be high-res, no microphone live feed could be high-res, etc.

      • Sorry – I thought I had understood (through reading these blogs) that ‘analog’ is sound – nothing else, no more, no less.

        If sound is captured/digitized using an ADC capable of e.g. 24/96, the digital stream can be called highres…..
        …..provided that microphones, preamps etc did support frequenzies up to 48kHz.

        Or???

        • No, ‘analog’ is meant in these blogs, and essentially all ‘music electronics’ discussions, to mean one particular way of representing sound in an electronic medium. You can’t say ‘analog is sound’: the former is electronics, the latter is air pressure.

          And you can’t say ‘air pressure is analog’, because air pressure is simply reality. Something has to be ‘analogous to something else’ before it is an analog. Here ‘analog electronics’ is given that title because its signal voltage oscillates in amplitude and time an an analogous (but non-identical) way to air pressure.

  4. Ok, Thank you for the clairification.

  5. Just FYI, here is a link to the post you wrote that prompted my statement of Analog is not Hi-Res.

    http://www.realhd-audio.com/?p=2573

  6. And a quote from this blog post on Sonicblocks that ties the two post together and hence the statement.

    ” the brain of the system is built on the DTS “Play-Fi” engine and can handle a wide variety of formats…including high-res analog and digital.”

    • I probably could have worded that phrase better. Sonic blocks doesn’t have high-resolution digital conversion.

  7. It looks like one of those boxes magicians use. Can you close it up, wave a wand, and have a gorgeous woman come out of it? Can it turn a frog into a princess? What can you get out of it, wots and wots of wabbits?

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