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 “California Audio Show Day 2

  • August 17, 2014 at 8:26 am
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    I’m not sure if you saw the reference to you and the subject of hi res downloads in this months (September) Absolute Sound. It’s in the letters section and the answer to the reader’s question was quite defensive and surprising to me.

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    • August 18, 2014 at 4:07 pm
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      Thanks, I’ll take a look.

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  • August 17, 2014 at 12:02 pm
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    I don’t understand your surprise when potential customers opt for the sampler only. If I’m unfamiliar with any a label’s artists, why would I buy a whole album of unknown work? Surely it would (a) make more sense to sample said artist on a sampler and (b) to sample other artist on said sampler to hear if there was anything else of interest. Your sampler is your marketing.

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    • August 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm
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      Ah yes, I missed it. $20 for disk and free sampler or $20 for just the sampler. At the end of the day, if you don’t know the artists it’s a lottery. Clearly the customer just wants a sample of your artists and is not willing to buy an unknown artist and get the sampler just so they can boast they got two disks for the price of one; not that curious.

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    • August 18, 2014 at 4:08 pm
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      They’re turning down a free disc…the cheaper discs are usually classical discs.

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  • August 17, 2014 at 2:31 pm
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    I feel much more optimistic than your ending comments. I am not in the audio business, but believe that headphones have been selling very well lately. Beats Solo II headphones were favorably reviewed by the Innerfidelity website. High bit-rate digital audio players have been proliferating and as their price comes down (Pono…?), ownership should go up. I’d love to see vinyl versus DAP wars; should fuel debates of merit and newsworthy magazine articles.

    Years ago vinyl was all that consumers and audiophiles could afford. But spinning discs, no matter the format or player quality seems like steam punk to me–the Krell civilization in the movie Forbidden Planet employed a chip of crystal in a docking base. Just today I visited the Cardas website and discovered credit card-sized USB drives utilizing a pivoting USB connector, each containing an album recorded in high resolution WAV format. What a change in liner note surface area compared to a one foot square record sleeve.

    I believe that times have been changing with technology and that simple to use (and low cost) playback hardware, as well as ease of audio file acquisition can drive adoption in the mass market. Pono stated that consumers deserve one format–original recorded quality. Personally, I envision audio files that contain several mastering decisions to adjust for playback environment requirements. Amplifiers, loudspeakers and headphones can soon become the most expensive audiophile gear for the mass market. I don’t live the lifestyle I once had, but welcome high-fidelity solid state audio reproduction.

    P. S. I pledged for players during the Pono kickstarter project–please contact them about the possibility of carrying all of your recordings as downloads!

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    • August 19, 2014 at 10:08 am
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      Hi Gary, thanks so much for your positive output. Just as w/ the kickstarter fund-raiser, I believe the players will sell like hotcakes when they are available, and the first time an uninitiated hears their favorite music at 24/96, they won’t go back to anything less than CD quality sound. That alone would begin to banish MP-3, which will never happen completely but when streaming hi-res becomes the norm, we will turn the corner. I have an article coming in the September issue of enjoythemusic.com online audio magazine on the topic of hi-res.

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      • August 19, 2014 at 11:18 am
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        Dedicated devices will continue to sell to the uninformed for excessive prices until the new crop of Smartphones capable of equivalent sound become entrenched. There will always be a niche market for players with rock bands names etched on the back but it will never be mass market. As for a standard resolution classic track being somehow improved by residing in a 96/24 PCM bucket…no one will be able to tell the difference. I agree that MP3s will no longer be the dominant encode type but neither will HD. I look forward to your article…I only hope that you don’t persist in inflating everything ever recorded to high-resolution status. That would put one more stake in the heart of what might have been a real chance to elevate fidelity.

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  • August 19, 2014 at 10:03 am
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    Staying mellow, I am disturbed to hear pre-proclamations of failure re: Pono, and Hi-Res in general. There is no room for nay-saying or nit-picking, or finding holes in the Pono cheese. Please try to keep your scope of vision on the Big Picture, not just recent disc sales. Otherwise, when the boomers are done, so is the magic of combining great music w/ great hi-fi and listening as a sole activity, which is when music is most literally beneficial in the first place.

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    • August 19, 2014 at 11:10 am
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      Craig, I’m not predicting that Pono or any of the “high-resolution” audio download services will fail. I’m simply relating that what they and others are calling high-resolution is a myth and patently incorrect. The goal line is being moved to accommodate the commercial interests involved and not the interests of the music buying public. It’s sad…but true. This is not “nit-picking” or “finding holes”…it’s information and factual. I think people should know that the emperor has no clothes.

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  • August 19, 2014 at 6:13 pm
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    Not to beat the horse, but a large number of my industry veteran colleagues agree w/ me that listening to First Gen playback, or vanishingly close, is all we can realistically ask for and is also all the public needs to be told about hi-res; that they will hear the original recorded sound, which they never before have. I will look forward to your appraisal of my coming article. Mark, try this concept, which I believe is the only chance for the specialty audio industry to thrive in the future: You can easily snap one wooden match. But bundle 50 together and they cannot be broken. Rather than semantically or technically based divisiveness, our industry needs to become the 50 match bundle. Do you really think Neil Young is doing all this to fleece people? C’mon… The emperor’s clothes folks are the audio gear manufacturers who only think about today and tomorrow’s orders. They apparently have not read that the 20-35 set has no interest in cable or satellite tv, and they don’t buy nice loudspeakers either. These are much more important things than provenance, and if hi-res wakes this group up to go past appetizers and sample the rewards of the main dish.

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    • August 20, 2014 at 9:42 am
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      Craig…you keep right on beating and having a whole bunch of industry veteran colleagues agreeing with you doesn’t make it possible to “upgrade” standard definition older recordings to real high-resolution. Specs are specs and can’t be changed by popular vote…although the powers that be and plenty of vendors are trying their best. As I’ve said having access to the correct master via a digital bit bucket of any sufficient size is all we get hope to get AND is a good thing. But sadly that’s not happening in most instances. My mastering engineer friends, the ones that are preparing the “hi-res” masters have told me that they routinely use the wrong masters out of expediency. You’re not getting the “best available master” you’re getting what’s easy to find and a master that doesn’t require any additional legal or approval cycles.

      Consumers need to be told the truth about high-resolution audio…not the marketing spin that the DEG, CEA and labels want them to think it is.

      The specialty audio industry will thrive if it tells the truth, delivers great fidelity and educates its customers about the various levels of production available to them…as released over the years.

      I Neil Young is having fun, needs the money and is willing to do whatever it takes to built a company and extract as much profit as possible as soon as possible.

      The problem is that the main course as we’re getting it is the same item as the appetizers…why call it something new?

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