AUDIO SHOWS Dr. AIX's POSTS — 01 June 2015

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The Newport Beach Audio Show is behind us. I congratulated both Richard Beers and Bob Levi on a very successful event. The new hotel was fantastic, the organization of the show was excellent and personnel very responsive, and the seminars well produced and informative. The only hitch was the excessively long lines at the registration desks…it simply took too much time to get your badge and move into the show area. This was especially disheartening because I gave the opening address and too many people were stuck in the lines.

I was very pleased with the AIX Records location within the Marketplace Ballroom and felt that the traffic was up from the previous year. Yesterday was a typically slow Sunday but I used the opportunity to have lunch with Robert Stuart of Meridian and co-inventor of MQA and to visit some of the other rooms. He informed me that MQA is a separate company, which he heads. I’ll discuss our conversation and elaborate on the things I learned about MQA in a day or so. However, everything that I stated in my previous posts about this new process stands…MQA is not a process or format that, “sounds better than any other format extant, analog or digital” as Robert Harley would have you believe in his review of the technology. It simply ensures that nothing is lost between the studio and the listener. That’s a very different thing.

My keynote address happened on Friday morning. I arrived about 30 minutes ahead of time to check out the tech and see the space. I stuck up a conversation with a gentleman sitting in the front row. His name is Earl Richardson. We talked about audio, his need for a new DAC, PCs (he’s a repair guy…and I may need some help), high-resolution content and equipment, his move from the east coast to the west, and that his gear was stashed somewhere in Texas. He attended my seminar and sent me the following email as a comment to yesterday’s post. I was touched and felt his sentiments should be shared more widely.

“Hello again Dr. Mark. Having arrived at the hotel just after 9:00 AM (so as not to have to wait in lines to pick up my badge or get into your presentation), I was your first attendee sitting front and center-right wiping sweat when you arrived. (Due to some poor health issues, it is a big challenge for me to walk or stand for any period). I reminded you that, in a prior comment, I had promised to shake your hand for saving me a bit of money by not buying any “high res” downloads. Resisting the high res craze for years, I had decided to purchase a DAC (Musical Fidelity V90) at T.H.E. SHOW, if they were being sold and start downloading a few high res files on my computer – until I came to the AIX Records site and discovered your views on this industry wide farce just the prior week ago. I spent all week Googling and YouTubeing all I could find about you and your views on how the hi-fi industry as a whole has been hoodwinking, and bamboozling audiophiles into thinking that all of their favorite music from the past could now be reborn as high res sound when the technology (and, I don’t think, the INTEREST) to produce high res recordings was not even invented yet! How could this happen! It is only because I do not yet have my complete “dream” stereo system together that I too am not wasting my dollars on this hazing of the truth! The High-End Music Industry teaches us how to remove the “veil” from our music reproduction – while they put a veil over our minds as to the truth about this very music!

I enjoyed your presentation and even though I need to lean how to follow your sound graphs and wave forms (even though I follow wave forms closely while I volunteer recording audio books for a Hollywood based studio that provides audio books for people with dyslexia and the blind). Still, I knew intuitively that what you present makes absolute sense!

I must say that when I arrived at your table in the “market” that I was a bit disappointed of only being familiar with two artists – Wallace Roney and Luis Conte. Jazz and Salsa being my favorite music, I was hoping to find more of that genre amongst your DVDs…. After you let me listen to a sample of your selections (what was that awesome set of headphones I was listening through?), I purchased Nicci Gilbert and the Soul Kittens and The Latin Jazz Trio and got your free HD Audio Sampler.

I popped open the sampler today to give it a try (on my humble Logitech Z680 5.1 system) – and damn! Even with my system, my ears – and eyes stood up and took notice of the first couple of samples. When I went to the instrumental listings – I mentally checked off a full DOZEN of the samples that I knew I would buy! Dr. “M” – I have to take my handshake back…you are NOT saving me any money at all! 🙂 Even not having the ability to bring out the resolution that I know is there, the HD video is amazing! You are right there on stage watching the musical magic happen! When the resolution is high enough – I enjoy ANY great music – the picking of banjos and mandolins, and classical. I’m hooked because I know when I purchase my DAC this or next week, and when I get the rest of my system (B&W Nautilus 805s, Sound Anchor stands, Pioneer PL 560 TT, AVA Transcendence 7 pre-amp and power amp, Marantz CD changer) from storage in Texas – I will be a very happy camper! (Alright Earl, getting long winded)…Thanks for your great courage in sharing your great knowledge and experience, especially with us who struggle to put our dream systems together and can’t afford to be throwing $$$ away on trickery.”

Now that’s an email message that warms my heart. Thanks Earl for taking the time to share your experience.

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About Author

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.

(6) Readers Comments

  1. Having studied the patent some I was pretty sure MQA didn’t improve anything, but was only supposed to be an audibly transparent conveyance in a low bandwidth package. Of course Robert Harley’s article goes to some length to imply otherwise.

    I have already seen a few postings on various audiophile fora to the effect upon attending some of the early demonstrations of MQA it was clearly an improvement over the file it was fed. Those posters were rather strong in disagreeing with anyone suggesting MQA was meant to be transparent and not an improvement. The meme is already out there and growing. Already it may prove like others impossible to eradicate.

    • I asked the inventor that very question and he agreed with my assessment. It doesn’t get any clearer than that. Although, there were several attendees that experienced the MQA demo in room 306 and told me that the presented did say that the technology improved the fidelity of the audio. I don’t think those presenters have a complete grasp on the issues at hand. And Robert Harley’s over the top assessment didn’t help things.

  2. I Won, Stuart never was able to find the time to make it to your studio. Should have got you to put up a double or nothing download bet. LOL
    RE MQA, ” It simply ensures that nothing is lost between the studio and the listener. That’s a very different thing.”
    A this differs from any other lossless compression system in use today except that it makes for much smaller files?

    • You’re right Robert didn’t make is to the studio…although he told me he’d be back in late June and will try to make it. He didn’t realize how far away Irvine is from my place…50 miles in LA traffic. Still, I got to spent more than an hour chatting with him. He has converted my files to MQA and will be providing them to me with an Explorer 2 DAC very soon. I’ll be writing on the system and explain how this is something slightly more than a great lossless conversion CODEC.

  3. Mark,

    Thanks for Earl’s message. It was encouraging and I’m happy that you’re being heard by more than critics with an agenda (or master).

    • You’re welcome Wayne! Hi Dr “M”! Even though you may not ‘see’ me, I am following these post carefully. … (I’m still recuperating from the long drive, for me, from LA and the bit of walking around I did do on Friday at T.H.E. SHOW- Mick Jagger said it plainly, ” …what a drag it is growing old….”) 😉

      A little follow-up on the first HD sampler listening session: after going through those great instrumental tracks, I went through the included Audio Setup tracks – and discovered something of interest about my 5.1 system…the (pink or white? ) noise pointers were pretty much spot on (didn’t here anything for the sub woofer, why?), except for the right-front speaker. …that “noise pointer” was emanating from between the right-front and right-rear speaker! I did the test twice with the same results. Really glad I found that out because when I finish this comment, I’m going to order the DAC for my “dream” system: a Musical Fidelity V90! OH! I’m climbing the stairways to heaven! One more major purchase to go, my power amplifier! Dr, sorry to get on YOUR soapbox. … 🙂 (I’ll call you about your computer issue. ..in the meantime, please email me some specifics: make/model number, when was the last time the unit ran successfully, what are the symptoms, error messages, any changes done right before failure? ….you have my card, call anytime! ) peace…

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