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.

23 thoughts on “SOP: A Clear Case of Self-Denial

  • June 5, 2015 at 6:50 pm
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    Dear Dr. AIX,
    Please keep doing what you’re doing. You may not be persuading the subjectivist masses but that’s OK. You’re providing a great service and a breath of fresh audiophile air to many. Thanks again.

    Reply
  • June 5, 2015 at 6:51 pm
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    “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! i am the great wizard!” Still holds true today…

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  • June 5, 2015 at 7:01 pm
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    Sorry to hear that Mark Goldstein is an Aussie. Just wanted to let you know that there are plenty of us here who are interested in separating out the facts from the BS. Your posts are a real help in doing so. Please keep up the good work.
    Ray

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    • June 6, 2015 at 11:37 am
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      Mark has been a gentleman through the entire process…but he just can’t accept the bits are bits concept. I would have preferred that he leave the last email unsent. This is not about me…it’s about him.

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      • June 6, 2015 at 12:44 pm
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        Like a few others here, I had a sense of how this would end, Mark. Snake oildio salesmen and the anti-digital audio lobby both present themselves as calm, friendly, and sophisticated, with refined musical sensitivity and an accommodating attitude to different audio points of view. But that all depends on those who challenge them not being too persistent and rational for too long. Backed into a corner, they turn into cornered rats.

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  • June 5, 2015 at 7:44 pm
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    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” (Upton Sinclair).

    You are being very generous in attributing to self-delusion what can be better explained by mendacity.

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    • June 6, 2015 at 11:39 am
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      John, I was alerted to this the day that it came out. And I took it…getting 3 out of 6. And I also captured each of the stream and discovered a little NPR hocus pocus. Honestly, I don’t think those preparing the evaluation know anything about audio files.

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  • June 5, 2015 at 7:54 pm
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    Sorry Mark, but we all knew how this would end. I couldn’t begin to count the numbers of times I’ve read the exact same responces from the lunatic fringe whenever their snake oil claims were challenged over the last 40+ years.
    What I find saddest is that if all the energy that’s been expended on audio sudo-science was put into real engineering development we might have made some truly amazing advances in the SOTA.
    Compare how far we’ve come in just the last 20 years in video where you read little of High End Audios sillyness. We have equipment miles ahead of 1995 at half the cost back then. I paid about 2k for a 40″ Mitsu CRT around 95,
    then, about 1,5k for a Toshiba 50″ RP 720i around 05, and under 1k for a Sony 55″ 1080P 120hz flat screen 3+ years ago. From VCRs to sub $100 BluRays. Now that’s what I call progress and advancement into real HD.

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  • June 5, 2015 at 7:55 pm
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    Wow! So much for being nice.

    Best….Carlo.

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    • June 6, 2015 at 11:40 am
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      Yeah, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.

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  • June 5, 2015 at 8:03 pm
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    Wow. This one interaction sums up everything that’s wrong in the audio world. It isn’t about science or engineering anymore. It’s about voodoo and how much you can bamboozle your customer into spending on his/her cabling. Even the lowly power cord, whose job is to conduct electricity between the wall socket and your equipment, has become a “component”. The feet on your equipment are a “component”. I frequent an audio bulletin board where I see pictures of peoples systems. In many cases, people have spent major dollarage on cabling but have obviously paid no attention whatsoever to basic room acoustics (planar speakers in front of glass patio doors, for example). It’s all about hocus-pocus now. Saddest part is that, as you pointed out in your email response, this person seems to be one of the ones who actually believes his own BS. Well, you’ve got to believe in your product in order to be able to sell it.

    No wonder the audio hobby is dying.

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    • June 6, 2015 at 2:39 pm
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      It’s not all hocus-pocus by a very long shot. Yes, there is b.s in audio, b.s. in food, b.s in cars, b.s. in watches, and a ton of b.s. in recording studios too. The idea that there has been a long-term “mass hosing” of audiophiles by completely unscrupulous dealers or manufacturers…now that’s B.S. Most ‘philes are pretty intelligent people. The idea that they leave common sense and their brains outside the door of a hi-fi store, go in, spend dough to get screwed because they like it and will come back for more, that too is utter b.s.

      People have a choice and know the difference between processed food and organic; the same is true for audio purchases. Thank God there is no equivalent to Monsanto in the audio business!

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      • June 6, 2015 at 3:23 pm
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        I’m not sure I would agree that there is no Monsanto in the audio business. Maybe not the 800 pound Gorilla but there are lots of monkeys.

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  • June 5, 2015 at 8:14 pm
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    I could have written his email to you on his behalf. It is the regular cliche of audiophile tweakery. Your equipment is no good, your hearing/emotional sensitivity is no good, you let your rational bias prevent you from hearing the obvious, and that is all par for the course.

    You simply don’t believe in the magic unicorns.

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  • June 5, 2015 at 9:17 pm
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    At least someone else is hearing your gospel for a change.

    One red herring that runs through these dialogues is a seeming 180degree chasm existing between so-called ‘snake oil worshipers’ and ‘serious audio professionals’. I am a serious audio professional w/excellent references, but I’m perfectly happy to check things out. What I’m getting at is it would be more meaningful to acknowledge a ‘middle ground’ where people who know their stuff are willing at times to step out of the box and investigate something not even caring about the current boundaries but simply seeing what the ears perceive. I can’t speak for the thing you tested, may well be bogus.
    But, bottom line… some tweaks work, and some don’t. The reason you get the “emo” responses is because there is a bit of an edge to your stance; action/reaction. I’ll stand pat by quoting a very respected high-end audio figure,” In high end, everything matters.”

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    • June 6, 2015 at 11:48 am
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      Craig, there is no middle ground in this instance. I spent way too much time on this for the benefit of the guy at CD Illumination. I confirmed that the bits on both discs are identical…even after his special processes. That they didn’t sound different through the same signal path shouldn’t have come as a surprise to the guy. I know I tend towards the science side of things…but none of claims that this guys makes are true. Even his explanations and diagrams are not right. I stepped out of my box and gave up 6 plus hours of my time to this tweak.

      As to your final quote, the very well-respected high-end audio figure is wrong. There are lots of things in high-end audio that don’t matter at all. Vivifying your discs is one of many.

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      • June 6, 2015 at 2:30 pm
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        Mark, you mis-perceived the “in high end, everything matters” comment. It is not about using every valid or questionable tweak, but simply being aware that there are a multitude of variables that can and do affect the way a system sounds, and any attempt at getting to the top of the audio mountain will be unsuccessful unless quite a few rocks are lifted to see what’s underneath. Hi-Fi started a long time ago, and it has not been all ” smoke and mirrors”, most improvements have come from improved design and engineering and improvements in passive parts quality, but some have come from areas that were not on the audio map back at the beginning, and only later were found to have profound effects on audio systems. The two that come to mind are lowering distortion on the AC line through very high quality filtering way above the audio band ,i.e.,proper AC line conditioning , and greatly reducing mechanical resonance transmission and energy storage in audio components to improve transient response and reduce smearing. And in each category there are some totally right-on products, and some turkeys too. I just don’t paint red with as broad a brush as you.

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    • June 6, 2015 at 3:08 pm
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      ” In high end, everything matters.”
      Only if it’s only reason for existence is to enrich it’s snake oil peddlers bank account.
      Today’s Hi End community is a disgrace and embarrassment to every honest electrical engineer.

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  • June 6, 2015 at 3:19 am
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    NO difference equals no $$$. Hence, they will always hear a difference.And it is ALWAYS for the better.

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  • June 6, 2015 at 2:44 pm
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    An audiophile forum poster I read has a nice signature line.

    In high-end audio, you can’t even fight an opinion with the facts.

    Reply

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