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.

27 thoughts on “Beyond High-Resolution: MQA

  • May 26, 2015 at 8:24 pm
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    I can’t wait to hear your comments on the Meridian MQA. What I heard in Montréal from Meridian was very good and quite impressive.

    Your clear and concise analysis of how it works and what is sounds like in your studio will be more than welcome and, as usual, devoid of the overused audio thesaurus gargling.

    Thank you.

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    • May 27, 2015 at 9:27 am
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      I’ll keep you posted. I haven’t yet heard my own recordings through the MQA process but will not be surprised if it sounds identical to the original sources…but at much lower bandwidth. If it can do that, I’ll be impressed. I hope it doesn’t alter the sound of my tracks.

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  • May 27, 2015 at 2:17 am
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    Black Magic meta-science sequel number 99…. You’re quite right in all your points, although I take a harsher approach than you since I believe that MQA is the paradigm of a rational solution seeking for a real problem hence it can only be marketed in this para-sensical and metaphysical way, despite the fact that in itself it is no snake oil. You should know better by now than waste your time on what the absolute sounds and geriatric golden ears of this word are writing about..

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    • May 27, 2015 at 9:31 am
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      THe MQA is quite a feat of analytical and developmental prowess. But you’re right, it doesn’t change anything except the ease of delivery. If I was a label and someone asked me to re-transfer my master tapes to MQA, I wouldn’t do it. I would stick with high-resolution PCM.

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  • May 27, 2015 at 2:18 am
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    Hello Mark,
    if we notice the time difference which is less than 10ms than we need more than 48kHz to memory it.

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    • May 27, 2015 at 9:33 am
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      Is the 48 kHz you’re referring to the sample rate or the maximum frequency. I’ve read the arguments about timing acuity down to 5 microseconds but I’m not convinced that this is the difference between something sounding live or recorded. My 96 kHz/24-bit PCM tracks are as good as I’ve ever heard.

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    • May 27, 2015 at 11:59 am
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      Research has demonstrated both that people can distinguish miniscule timing differences when listening to short high-pitched test tones and also that with complex sounds like music, the timing differences must be hundreds to thousands of times more discrepant before they’re audible. And even when timing differences are significant enough that they’re audible, some people actually prefer that sort of mushy, “warm” sound.

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      • May 27, 2015 at 1:57 pm
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        Yes, the human ear is a phenomenally complex organ and our ability to hear is very refined. This whole thing about 10 microsecond or less delays causing big problems in audio recordings sounds somewhat dubious to me…at least in the real world.

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        • May 28, 2015 at 11:24 am
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          Microsecond events can be caprtured with ANY digtal capturing process even at quite pedestrial sampling rates as long as their frequency is below half the sampling rate.. People are still thinking of staircases and samples. People DO NOT UNDERSTAND digital audio science. It’s quite discouraging actually after all that has been said in this blog…

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  • May 27, 2015 at 3:43 am
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    I have a fresh bowl of popcorn in hand, Dr. Mark. I’ll be waiting patiently for your thoughts. MQA appears to represent the best single potential upgrade I could make to my audio system to access the greatest amount of HQ content. Thoughts?

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    • May 27, 2015 at 9:34 am
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      It’s not a fidelity upgrade. It is a delivery technology based on more efficient encoding and decoding. If you want to stream “high-resolution”, then it might be that you need MQA decoding…but as far as actual listening, it means very little.

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  • May 27, 2015 at 3:56 am
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    I wonder if the Munich demo was MP3 vs. MQA encoded stuff yet again.

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    • May 27, 2015 at 9:35 am
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      Joe, the sound at the CES event was excellent. But they played old recordings that originated from analog tape.

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  • May 27, 2015 at 10:36 am
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    Will Meridian be demoing MQA at T.H.E. Show this weekend?

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    • May 27, 2015 at 1:54 pm
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      I don’t that for a fact…but I do know that Robert is on a couple of panels.

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  • May 27, 2015 at 11:44 am
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    “Temporal Blur”? What is he talking about?

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    • May 27, 2015 at 1:55 pm
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      When they talk about “temporal blur”, they are referencing the timing differences that occur between the initial arrival of a signal and any delta to any other in phase elements.

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  • May 27, 2015 at 11:46 am
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    I hope you will keep us updated on the playback gear, they pick to demomstrate their technology.
    As we have learned from your effords lately, you can’t choose ‘any’ gear to play 24/96.
    It is about the complete chain – from the recordings/the files through to the speakers.

    FB

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    • May 27, 2015 at 1:55 pm
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      I’ll keep you posted. What I’m most interested in hearing is my own recordings run through MQA.

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  • May 27, 2015 at 1:49 pm
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    Just another data compression codec in a long line of improved tech. A few years down the road there’ll be yet something better. As to any improvement on the sound of the original file I HIGHLY doubt it. Can’t wait to hear what results you find Mark.
    But I’m qiving 50/50 odds he finds an excuse to duck out of the meeting in your studio.

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    • May 27, 2015 at 1:58 pm
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      I heard from Robert today and we’re trying to figure out a time…there’s a very good chance we’ll spend some time here.

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      • May 27, 2015 at 3:09 pm
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        Well according to the recent Robert Harley article, you get the impression MQA will figure out the DACs you used. Will do some processing to improve the “temporal blur” and that would result in your recordings sounding better than you have ever heard them before now. Let us know how it works out. My guess is it will sound like your originals.

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        • May 27, 2015 at 5:04 pm
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          The Meridian people talked about matching the quality of the converters used in the studio. But how good are they? Not great…maybe good. Pro Tools converters are nothing special.

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      • May 27, 2015 at 8:42 pm
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        We’ve already slipped from “promised to come by” to “a very good chance”? 🙁 He’s dancing already, scared. I’ll raise my odds to 5-1.

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        • May 28, 2015 at 9:13 am
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          Robert and I will getting together…but he’s coming in to town and headed directly to Irvine, where the Newport Show is happening. We’ll find a chance to get back to the west side and visit the studio. It’s all down to his schedule.

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  • May 28, 2015 at 1:31 am
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    MQA is very clever, in the sense that HDCD was clever.
    MQA is also very useless. Just like HDCD.
    MQA’s marketing spin is outright disgusting.

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    • May 28, 2015 at 9:15 am
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      Werner, I think MQA is a bigger deal than HDCD. The possibilities for streaming real HD-Audio is intriguing. All marketers spin…including me…but the reactions by the likes of Robert Harley at TAS makes me run the other way.

      Reply

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