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.

12 thoughts on “While We’re Talking About Prices

  • July 24, 2014 at 10:30 am
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    Boy Mark, we are in 100% concurrence now. There is no direct relationship between equipment cost and sound quality, any more than a given level of expense infers a higher level of pleasure. We’ve all heard sickly priced stereos that were completely un-involving, and also heard mid-fi systems that transport. Yes, a high-end system that is v. close to spot on is a beautiful thing, but the over-priced aspect of so much gear today has been one of the reasons that high-end has an adverse public image today. For 2.2 million dollars, you could travel around the world going to all the great halls and performances and have plenty left over for a great system. If I didn’t take it so seriously, it would be laughable; but it is not. Best to you.

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  • July 24, 2014 at 10:59 am
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    You hit the nail on the head.

    It would be nice, if you posted this comment on the Computer Audiophile blog, where so much nonsense is going on regarding power and USB cables, which are said to provide “more inner resolution, more separation of instruments, more dynamics, more bass definition and more air” as you wrote so effectively.

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    • July 25, 2014 at 3:53 am
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      There are always going to be audiophiles that want to believe and do believe in the hocus pocus of tweaky accessories. CA is a great site with a lot of passionate people…I visit there once in a while but prefer to stick with my own site to distribute information.

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  • July 25, 2014 at 3:52 am
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    I think many supposedly “high end” audio components are priced at what the market will bear. Given that most electronic components are constructed by machine (the circuit board at least) some companies are making a high margin. Having said that, high end electronics won’t be sold in volume, so cost of R+D? manufactur, distribution etc., must be recovered over a smaller mumber of sales.

    Then theres diminishing returns, is a DAC that costs $4000 twice as good as one costing $2000; back to what the market will bear again.

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    • July 25, 2014 at 3:55 am
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      Don’t forget about the cost of advertising.

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  • July 25, 2014 at 6:02 pm
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    Hi there,

    this is an interesting post, I have one question about the album pricing though… The way iTunes gets around that is by pricing albums separately and not as the sum of the price of the individuals pieces on the album. I am wondering if there why you’re not taking that approach as well. You could price the “album” which would include the same as the blu-ray, or am I missing something?

    Cheers,
    Alex.

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    • July 26, 2014 at 4:33 am
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      Most sites, including my own, don’t add up the amounts of the individual tracks for the album price. I do it the same as iTunes…so I’m not sure I understand.

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      • July 26, 2014 at 3:46 pm
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        I believe this question is about the difference in packaging between the Blu-ray discs and the download albums. If a premium album download package that included multiple mixes was available at a premium price similar to the Blu-ray price, I know that I would be happy to pay the premium price.

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        • July 27, 2014 at 3:36 am
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          That’s an interesting idea…of course, I’m pretty much the only label that is making multiple mixes available.

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          • July 27, 2014 at 2:07 pm
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            2L provides multiple MCH options on Blu-ray, for example 2.0, 5.1, 7.1 and 9.1 on the Trondheimsolistene Souvenir disc, but 7.1 and 9.1 are not available for download. I don’t know of any label, other than AIX, that provides alternate 5.1 mixes in the same album release.
            There are many sites with 2.0 and 5.1 downloads for the same album with the 5.1 download priced slightly more than the 2.0. Pentatone provides combined “stereo and surround” downloads for DSD.iso files, but for FLAC 96/24 the options are “stereo or surround” download files.
            On the marketing side, the video on the Pentatone site describing the difference between “High Quality” (44.1 WAV), Premium Quality (96/24 FLAC) and Master Quality (DSD.iso) aligns the quality difference between the file formats with B&W speaker lines.

          • July 28, 2014 at 1:48 pm
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            The Pentatone label is interesting. I downloaded a few of their files only to find the levels completely different for the FLAC files. When I pointed it out to them, they corrected the problem and gave me a credit to download them again.

            I also asked about their production process…since they equate Master quality with DSD 64 recording. Here’s what I was told:

            “Concerning our production process, that’s easy. We always take the original masters used to produce the SA-CD versions and the CD layer. NOTHING is changed to retain the best possible quality. For the FLAC version we use the Weiss Saracon as sample rate converter, known to be the best around, to convert from DSD to 96kHz 24bit stereo and surround. The 96kHz versions are converted to FLAC files to reduce server space and download time. This is a lossless process. When all files are available they get packed with extra metadata and MP3 files in a .ZIP container. I hope this answers your question and I hope you will enjoy the downloaded files.”

            This means there is no point is purchasing the 96/24 PCM files since they are merely conversions of the DSD original. Too bad.

      • July 26, 2014 at 7:54 pm
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        I read it as combining the different mixes into one package price that’s equivalent to the Blu-Ray.

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