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.