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Make My Day

I have my up days and my down days when it comes to thinking about high-resolution audio and place in it. The disappointment of not having been recognized by any of the mainstream or even lesser press following the AXPONA show has had an impact, no doubt. I watched a video of the AXPONA wrap up produced by Peter Breuninger. His partners on the panel were Myles Astor and David Robinson of Positive Feedback Online. Talk about depressing…these guys are all about analog tape and DSD. Peter believes the dramatic improvement in fidelity in the MBL room from one day to the next was due to a Synergistic Research’s HFT – High Frequency Transducer, which is nothing but snake oil. Don’t worry I’m not going to continue with my rant about analog tape and I can’t worry that these guys make pronouncements about audio fidelity without visiting all of the rooms…especially one that actually delivered real high-resolution audio content. Oh well.

This is an up day. I just received a call from a customer that made my day. Harvey actually called because he is experiencing problems playing several of the DVD discs he purchased at the AXPONA show. His setup is strictly stereo and includes an OPPO BDP-105, their top of the line player. He connects the two balanced XLR outputs from the OPPO to his preamplifier, amplifiers, and speakers. The video portion of the discs is displayed using the HDMI output from the OPPO directly to a new Samsung video monitor…not unlike the display I haul around to trade shows. But he couldn’t get any video to show up on the Samsung monitor. I assured him that the DVD-Video side of the disc should work fine on the system as he described. Harvey had already been in touch with the tech people at OPPO and they were stumped. That’s why he contacted me.

I explained that the stereo mixes are on the DVD-Video side of virtually all of my titles. I told him I would check the discs on my OPPO machines and get back to him. As I expected, everything worked out. The discs work fine. I suggested he try another DVD movie in his setup and sure enough that didn’t work either. It turned out that the Samsung monitor needed to have a menu setting adjusted. I’m thrilled that it was so easy.

During our conversation he related a brief story about my AIX Recordings. It turns out that he’s had caregivers assisting him with an illness in his family for over 5 years. While playing the Laurence Juber “Guitar Noir” DVD, one of them commented that she believed she was hearing a live trio playing in his listening room. She was astonished that it was a recording. Harvey’s comment was particularly interesting because he didn’t initiate the conversation or ask the woman about the music being played. She had heard music coming from his room many times in the past and never commented. However, the fidelity and realism of the LJ trio triggered a response. I loved hearing about this exchange. I’d be interested whether any of you have had something similar happen?

Gotta go…


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 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.

10 thoughts on “Make My Day

  • Barry Santini

    And now, on my FB feed, is a friend extolling a new vinyl album player…but one with a difference: It “plays” the record with a laser. So the vinyl superiority waters get evermore muddied for the lay. Go figure.

    Here’s the link:

    Laser Plays Vinyl

    • I saw this technology years ago. It’s interesting but you’re still only going to get vinyl LP fidelity.

  • Enoch Carver

    Let’s face it, Mark, most of what audiophiles listen to are old recordings with no dynamic range. And most of what the younger people listen to is without dynamic range (the loudness wars?). The goal, it is said, is to duplicate the “live music experience.” Guess what? The live music that most people hear has no dynamic range either, just loudness. I thought the MBL room sounded great at Axpona, but that was because the music was a female vocalist with minimal accompaniment, i.e. very little dynamic range. I could at least hear the music and the detail, but the system was not being called upon to reproduce any dynamics. Now, if people listened to Steve March Torme’s “On the Street where you live”, they’d hear the kind of live dynamics of a live big band. But, how many people listen to big band. I listen to classical and chamber jazz mostly. I appreciate the kind of dynamics you get from a close miked muted trumpet. Just venting!

  • Mark,
    Sounds like the show was great for the people who came in and experienced the system.

    It really is a bit distressing that the press seem almost be wearing blinders when it comes to true HDA.

    Luckily there has not been any tendency towards bias in journalism these days, so we who hope the world will finally discover the joy of “Being There”, can only hope the media will soon tell the truth.

    Two questions…

    Any plans of coming to New York?

    Have you considered setting a 1/2″ two track, romantically lit with a pin spot, as part of the eye candy?

    Thank you for the continued reports,

    John Chase

    • John, unfortunately I have a conflict at the end of October into the beginning of November and will have to miss both the Toronto Show AND NY Show. I am going to do the Capitol Audiofest in last August and Rock Mountain in October.

  • When you have a down day don’t despair, if the older generation of audiophiles and those catering to them prefer to live in the past that’s fine, it’s their prerogative.
    You should turn to the younger, untainted, generation able to fully comprehend and take advantage of today’s digital equipment. It should be easy to help that generation understand how relatively simple, and somewhat affordable, setting up a fully digital HRA-capable system really is.
    This would not only demystify HRA but also the myriad of audiophile reptilian lubricants touted by a generation of so called golden ear experts. Those scarring away newbies by explaining differences between moon-dust quenched unobtainium interconnects and micro-seismic forestalling suspension components using science fiction and, fancy words describing inaudible differences. The same group suggesting those who cannot hear differences are deaf and unworthy of accessing the elite world of audiophiles.
    As a professor you have the knowledge and the ability (this blog is living proof) to clearly explain the real deal on HRA.
    Keep up the good work, when a new generation of maturing audio enthusiasts starts demanding HRA; the manufacturers will notice.

    On another note, the first time I heard LJ’s Mosaic it immediately reminded me of my friend playing his Martin guitar (albeit not quite as deftly as LJ) but the sound and the tone were the same. A beautiful memory, thanks


    • Thanks…thankfully, there are more up days to keep me going.

  • I have lost respect for Peter Breuninger. Like most reviewers, I think neither he cannot survive for long in the review business if he calls out snake oil products to be what they are.

    As far as David Robinson… best to actively ignore his DSD drivel.

    Mark.. hope you are able to make to the Newport show and California Audio show

  • The most accurate audio fidelity detectors are dogs! When your puppy raises it’s ears in recognition hearing human voices coming out of the speakers you know you have a high fidelity chain set up. You would be surprised ito know how rarely dogs are fooled by an audio system.

    • My border collie might be the perfect candidate for a session in my big studio. We’ve been so focused on frisbee catching, we’ve avoided the ear training.


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