AUDIO SHOWS Dr. AIX's POSTS — 20 February 2014

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I think I’ve mentioned that AIX Records and a number of very high-end equipment companies will be participating in the AXPONA (audio expo North America) 2014 event to be held in Chicago from April 25-27 (see my previous post by clicking here). This will be the second time the show has been in the windy city and it promises to be a very large and important event.

My friend Steve Davis and his lovely wife Carmen started the show about five years ago and while modest at the outset, it has become one of the most important…if not THE most important…audio show in North America. This year it is being run by JD Events, which purchased AXPONA from Steve over the course of the last year. He’s still very much involved but with the clout and resources of JD Events behind the show, it promises to be the largest of the year.

AIX Records is going to be demonstrating our high-resolution audio tracks in the Madison Ballroom. This year’s partners include German Physiks, Vitus Audio, Dolby Labs, Oppo Digital, Bryston, JVC Professional Products and DH Labs. The system that we’re assembling will likely be the most expensive, best sounding high-end playback system that has even been put together for a trade show. It will certainly be the best 5.1 surround system, I’ve ever built…and I’ve put some really great ones room over the last 15 years. The guys from Germany are bringing their flagship Emperor speakers, which will be powered by monoblock from Danish high-end maker Vitus Audio. The front end is comprised of an Oppo BDP-95 Blu-ray/Music Server feeding via HDMI a Bryston SP-3 multichannel preamplifier (with the world’s best 5.1 DAC array) through DH Labs cables to the amplifiers. JVC will be showing upconverted Ultra HD-Video from the other BDP-95 HDMI output.

With a system this impressive, we put on our thinking caps and decided this would be the perfect opportunity to a “sonic shootout”. We’re not going to compare the system to the other well-equipped high-end rooms. Unless they’re playing real high-resolution audio tracks (they will all have access to the same files that I make available to you from our FTP site), they won’t be able to measure up to the Madison Ballroom. And I’m sure you’ll be able to count on one hand the number of rooms at the entire show that will be playing back surround music…in the high-end audiophile realm it’s still very much a stereo world.

It turns out that my favorite singer songwriter is playing a concert in Chicago the first day of the show…Friday the 25th of April. Some of you may have heard of John Gorka. Some of you may even have the DVD-Audio/Video Collector’s Edition or Blu-ray we shot a few years ago. John is the real deal. His baritone voice, his honest songs and thoughtful lyrics are guaranteed to please…over and over and over again. I think I’ve listened to the album 100 times or more.

So what could be better than having John and his current touring partner, singer/songwriter Antje Duvekot, present a brief private concert in the Madison Ballroom followed by a few selections from his AIX Blu-ray project? Audiophiles are always striving for ‘the absolute sound” of a live performance via their recordings, so we figured we’ll set up an actual comparison at the AXPONA show. We’re going to do this starting at 2:30 pm on the 25th. It is really intended for press but I’m sure we’ll be able to accommodate a limited number of attendees.

If you can’t attend this special press event, you’re certainly welcome during the other hours and days of the AXPONA show. I’ll be demonstrating and selling our recordings all three days. And on late Saturday afternoon, I’ll be presenting a seminar on the outlook for high-resolution audio in 2014. You can pretty much guess where that’s going to take us.

I’ll be seeing John at his LA show at McCabe’s on the 14th of March and look forward to explaining the whole plan in detail and selecting some his best tunes (“I Saw A Stranger With You Hair” and “Italian Girls” come immediately to mind). But he’s expressed his desire via email and his manager is thrilled. John’s got a new recording on Red House Records coming out…so this will the perfect opportunity to hear this incredible artist.

John and Antje will be playing and singing without the use of PA system…this will be as intimate a performance as I know how to arrange. The recording captured John and a small group of his friends doing exactly the same thing. Come and check it out.

If you haven’t heard John in high-resolution audio, you can download a FREE sample by going to the FTP site. Click here to get the credentials.

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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.

(2) Readers Comments

  1. Will the AXPONA system be free of bottlenecks below 50 kHz? Will iTrax offer a flat file to purchase of Gorka’s upcoming Red House release. Will you perform a spectral analysis of Gorka live vs. Gorka reproduced by the super system? John Gorka is who introduced me to AIX records! If the super system has a -3db point of 40kHz I will consider making the trip to Chicago. My wife LOVES Gorka. I’m looking to put together a win-win trip.

    • Alex, I can’t be sure what the room is going actually sound like until we put it together. I know the equipment and the subwoofer will be more than capable of producing a very wide spectrum but I’ll have to check with the German Physiks guys to get the low down on there Emperors. I won’t be recording the audio of John performing live…but it’ll be the same as his performance on The Gypsy Life…which does go into the ultrasonic range. We’re still working on the logistics for this event…and a ticket will be a must have since we expect a lot of press and attendees will want to experience it. Stay tuned.

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