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.

17 thoughts on ““The Distortion of Sound”…Distorted!

  • July 12, 2014 at 9:53 pm
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    Cannot believe this article was not sponsored by Pono ..

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  • July 13, 2014 at 9:40 am
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    BTW, I’m not referring to your article Mark – rather the video ..

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  • July 13, 2014 at 12:09 pm
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    I agree they misrepresented how dynamic compression shows up in the real world.

    On the other hand I believe that, above 16/44, dynamic compression is a much larger problem than data compression. When is the industry going to address dynamic compression?

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  • July 13, 2014 at 1:03 pm
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    I really liked the article. Apart from the compression comparison snafu the artists are all shown to be coming from the same viewpoint, music is something you FEEL, a good recording captures that emotion, and the artist doesn’t want that art to be corrupted.

    The biggest irony here is that this documentary was delivered via YouTube. However, the bitrate on both the video and audio (AAC) was such that the 1080 video looked very good, and the audio was also very good, so good in fact I have now discovered a new artist: Lianne La Havas; toward the end of the documentary she’s shown singing with her guitar at a small venue (my favourite type) and is totally connected with the audience (even though I wasn’t there she connected with me).

    BTW I watched this documentary on my Note 3 connected via USB to a Fiio X3 connected to a Ray Samuels “Black Bird” through Sennheiser HD 25 1 IIs – a bit OTT but for me the ultimate portable hi-fi.

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  • July 13, 2014 at 10:24 pm
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    Thanks for pointing us to the film, but Linkin Park, Snoop Dog, Slash et al complaining about (lack of) dynamic range. Huh?

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  • July 14, 2014 at 5:07 pm
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    OK. I watched all 22:07 of the video and I am sorry to conclude that it completely missed the mark and will further confound, confuse and disappoint all. What it failed to point out is that the mastering of the master files is what sucks the life out of the music. Compression is the root cause but it’s not data compression as you have pointed out and have proven, Mark. It’s a Tower of Babel. Could Mr. Marshall be so uniformed or careless? Is there an agenda? Sad, sad, sad…

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    • July 14, 2014 at 5:33 pm
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      It’s not Rob Marshall’s fault…he was one of the sound designers and was told what would go in and what would be left out. When I asked him about the inconsistencies be told me that they wanted it that way.

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      • July 15, 2014 at 4:01 pm
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        If this conflation of data and amplitude compression was deliberate as you state (and I believe you), that is unfortunately consistent with the emerging major label story that the only way (maybe) to get music not ruined by loudness war crap is to pay much, much more for “high res” music, using a blizzard of disingenuous, scientifically fraudulent descriptions of “stair step” sampling curves, file sizes equated to quality, and “analog-like” as the ultimate sound. As stated elsewhere, one could view this as an extortion-based marketing plan – “pay us more so that we don’t put in the extra effort to dynamically compress the heck out of your music”.

        You’re in a fight with very well financed, very intelligent, very amoral MBAs who know full well the actual science and story, but have developed a story solely developed to maximize revenue – accuracy, honesty and quality be darned.

        I am one such MBA, albeit operating in industries completely unrelated to music (and I’d like to think without the amoral aspect), so I know the type very, very well behind the creation of this crap.

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        • July 17, 2014 at 11:59 am
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          It’s truly unfortunate that the marketing departments can’t be transparent and honest about selling or re-selling their music catalogs.

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      • July 15, 2014 at 4:07 pm
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        I just noticed that Harman International Industries was associated with this film – it’s the only corporate logo on the main web page. Ouch! This seems to go against a great deal of what I thought Dr. Sean Olive stood for. You’ve probably already thought of it already, but it would be interesting to see what Sean will say about this on the record.

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        • July 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm
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          I sent an email to Sean and haven’t yet heard back. He’s a very busy guy but I’m sure I’ll hear from him.

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  • July 14, 2014 at 6:50 pm
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    Thanks for sharing the video “Distorsion of Sound”

    So incredibly true !

    Unfortunately as stated in the video people most people just don’t care !

    Audiophiles seem to have become a rarer breed…and we are getting older.

    I love the music and always will.

    A fan of yours Mark.

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    • July 15, 2014 at 8:08 am
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      Thanks Marcel…we may be getting older but I find that younger people including my own children love listening to music and do appreciate fidelity. Maybe it’s just the influence of Dad, but I think if we sneak better fidelity in their lives it will make a difference.

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  • July 16, 2014 at 2:10 pm
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    Video is really misleading. Dynamic compression in the studio is a much bigger issue to the quality of sound as we cannot fix that. We can always go buy a higher quality recording even vinyl and remove data compression issue. The data compression rate used was really low. Only one speaker actually mentioned the difference between hi and low resolution MP3. I went to the linked website of one of the sponsors of the video who offer a product to improve quality of compressed sound. The demo they offered made the sound worse. Sound became brighter and excited but no more detail. It looks like a marketing campaign to create confusion is beginning. I must confess I was not an MP3 fan as I love listening to high end audio. I also love music and if we misrepresent MP3 standard then whatever stuff is pushed to replace it will just make things worse.

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  • July 16, 2014 at 9:29 pm
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    I believe the demand for fidelity must come from the artists. They say they want emotion, fidelity, etc, but I honestly believe they are not technically sophisticated enough to know exactly what that means. Can’t an artist stipulate in their contract that they will only record at, say, 96/24 or better? Of course, that would not guarantee a perfect product due to intermediate handling but at least the original could be re-processed by others to achieve the artist’s intentions.

    Find an artist who understands.

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    • July 17, 2014 at 12:10 pm
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      You absolutely right. It has to start with the artists…but they rarely have the technical knowledge or influence to change the way things are. The record companies, producers and managers KNOW what’s best.

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