Dr. AIX's POSTS HD-AUDIO NEWS — 09 January 2018

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I’m back — and ready to restart these posts in 2018. Most of you know that I’ve been buried by the completion of the Music and Audio: A User Guide to Better Sound book and demonstration Blu-ray disc, consulting with the YARRA 3DX team in San Diego on their very successful funding campaign, and dealing with a variety of other things. I apologize for the long absence but it was unavoidable.

The Book Is Done!

The original plan for the Music and Audio book was to survey music basics and reflect on high-end audio — write a book about the same length as other similar books at 400-500 pages. The final pages count can in just short of 900 pages and includes almost 300 illustrations. The printer tells me that each book weighs about 3.1 pounds (and that’s without the included Blu-ray disc). I should be getting 6 palettes weighing 8000 pounds late this month and will promptly begin sending them out to a group of very anxious and patient supporters. But the eBook in PDF format has been available for just over a week and the feedback has been very encouraging. Here’s a few of my favorites:

“The book is amazing. Good work. You’ve created what I now consider the “bible” of audio. I spent all last night reading your book, and I learned more in that 6 hours than knowledge gained over multiple years of reading a patchwork of other sources online.”

“I just had to write you a quick note to say that after dipping into several of the chapters of your book I have to commend you for the gargantuan effort that you put into it. The care and expertise you poured into it are so appreciated and really a joy to read!”

“This is a staggeringly extensive but balanced and insightful work of outstanding merit. I would not say it will become a standard in its field but THE GOLD STANDARD.”

There have been some challenges getting the demonstration sound files downloaded to campaign backers. The demo tracks, comparisons, and test tones are over 20 gigabytes. I blew up my Dropbox account within the first day and then someone deleted all of the files from my FTP site. Honestly, the best way to experience the best of high-resolution audio is to get a copy of the Blu-ray disc — with or without the book. I’ll talk through the demos in future posts.

Interestingly, I received an email from Robert Stuart as I neared completion and I sent him a copy of the chapter on MQA, which is titled MQA…A Solution To What?. As a friend and contributor to the book, I assured him that I would let him review his interview and the chapter on MQA. He expressed some concerns after having seen a few pages posted in a Kickstarter update. I also asked him about the MQA conversions that have been done of my files and promised to me (almost 4 years ago now). I have not heard back from him about any changes or when I might be able to evaluate the MQA’s AIX Records audio files. The chapter stands as written.

The eBook is available now and the physical books will be shipped at the end of the month. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have this project behind me. Now it’s time to promote it. I’ve set up a FB page and will attending AXPONA and RMAF this year. See you there.

Let’s all hope for a great 2018!

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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. Hi Mark, looking forward to getting the book. Can you send out a link to the facebook page. I searched but came up with nothing.

  2. Hi Mark

    happy New Year and I am glad to see you be able to return to writing articles. Now that MQA is no longer a topic, I look forward to how we can get Hi Res recordings to become a de facto standard, though I may be dreaming here.

    One thing I would like to know is when will wireless/Bluetooth be able to pass full bandwidth Hi Res, as I feel that technology could be part of getting Hi Res amongst the larger population, it appears from my reading that the convenience of “no wires” and no extra boxes in your pocket/bag is a hurdle to cross for greater acceptance/uptake apart from price.

    I am sure there will be plenty of other matters to discuss and look forward to the subjects you bring out.

    Whilst I haven’t read the book yet, that is another thing I am looking forward to this year.

    Lastly, will you be able to do another of your masterclasses in your studio to be able to sample your equipment for your hi res files. A visit to your neck of the woods would be fun.

    Here’s hoping we all have a good year

    Gordon

    • Thanks Gordon. I’m not sure MQA is no longer a topic unless you know something I don’t. I’ve read the HDtracks is planning a streaming service with “MQA’d” files. Makes no sense since the source files aren’t hi-res.

      • Hi Mark,

        My comment about MQA is that it is exhausted as a topic (IMHO), people can now either to use it or not. As you and many others have pointed out it is being used on Non Hi Res masters, and even when it is used on Hi Res, it is essentially reducing the bit depth.

        As far as I can see, it has been reduced to forum threads, which is where it belongs as a discussion point. I for one am now ignoring it, as it doesn’t provide anything useful to me and the protracted arguments around it have led me to the decision that PCM Hi Res is where I should be looking and listening.

        Oops I have talked about MQA again 🙂

        Anyway, I think the less it is talked about now the better, it has been discussed and scrutinised enough.

        Looking forward to your articles this year as I missed them a lot last year.

        Have any of your past students started recording/engineering Hi Res material?

        Thanks

        Gordon

        • Thanks Gordon. I’m with you although I think the chapter in the new book will cause some additional forum traffic. Most of my former students do what they’re told to do at their jobs..and that’s as it should be.

  3. Hey there Mark,
    Congratulations on completion of the book and Blu-Ray. I’m sure it’ll be a great addition to the bookshelf for reference :-). (I’ll be in the US for a visit soon and can save on the relatively hefty $25 shipping costs to get it here in Canada!)

    Nice to hear that despite the time that has passed, you continue to remind Bob Stuart about the files you sent him for MQA encoding. Good on you for continuing to press on with the “hard questions”. These obviously need to be asked and sadly, so-called “journalists” in the audiophile world have to this time, almost to the individual, either been incompetent to show any critical thought or willfully ignore criticisms raised (likely for some kind of “gain” monetary or otherwise).

    While I agree with the previous commenter that MQA talk is getting tiresome, I think it is interesting that in pushing for a “format” such as this, perhaps the Industry (music as a whole but also the audiophile “high end”) has unleashed truly how little faith the audiophile public has in their “message”. MQA has brought out the fear/uncertainty/doubt marketing tactics (“ringing”, crazy digital filter designs…), impossible claims (tell me, how are you going to ‘deblur’ multitrack recordings using all kinds of hardware & software plugins!?), “loose” language (so MQA is “lossless” right, Bob?), questionable fidelity (gee, there’s quite a bit of aliasing with those filters!)… Oh yeah, there’s absolutely no DRM, and it’ll never happen, right?

    The audiophile segment needs more than a bit of a reality check at this point. No nonsense, science based recalibration of what “high fidelity” really means. Something with substance and objective reality with which the hobbyist can hold on to. I suspect your book and Blu-Ray will be a great resource for this.

    Great job, keep up the pressure… And in doing so keep reminding the industry what “high resolution” means when it comes to actual high quality recordings that can benefit from all the great hardware we already own!

    Nice to see you back on-line Mark.

    • Hi Joe. It is good to have the writing project behind me. I’m discovering that international shipping of the 3.7 pounds to Canada and other countries is almost double what I estimated 2 years ago. It’s going to be more like $50. I’m just glad it’s done. the response has been very positive so far. I can’t wait until people actually hold the physical book.

      The MQA thing is hard to fathom. I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt but with no files to evaluate of my own stuff, I finally had to give up.

      Cheers

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