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.

21 thoughts on “Blue Light Special

  • June 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm
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    Hi Mark,

    The mind blowing example of Carl shows how absolutely clueless people are about HRA, digital audio formats, digital audio as such, how music is recorded, recording technology, etc.

    In my comment on your post from yesterday (NPR Hearing Quiz Part III) I suggested you make a TEDtalk about HRA, but I think the power of TEDtalks lies in the fact that they are videos, not that they are TEDtalks. Perhaps a series of videos on how you record a track in HRA, and instead of text and graphs with words that many don’t relate to or simply don’t know the meaning of, make a series of videos that clarifies the process of recording a track in HRA, and the difference versus doing it in 16/44.1, and what mixing, mastering, compression and much of the average recording practices do to the fidelity of a recording.

    A series of videos documenting the entire process that informs what you have aptly named provenance would be an awesome way to reach out massively to consumers and hopefully prevent them for falling for the hype and snake oil, as you have clearly been unable to deter the industry from publishing a load of BS and basically operating a huge fraud on music consumers.

    Anyhow, too many ideas, but basically one suggestion.

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • June 9, 2015 at 5:35 pm
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      I could do that but it would be a huge undertaking…not that I’m shy about working hard. Maybe this is something that I could use Kickstarter for.

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  • June 9, 2015 at 5:23 pm
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    What a mess the whole high fidelity industry is in. Whether your looking to improve the sound of your system through the software or hardware side, it’s like walking across a minefield in WWII. Snake oil peddlers, misinformation, etc, etc, etc. I pity the layman looking for better sound and trying to get good solid honest information, where or who can he turn to. 🙁

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  • June 9, 2015 at 5:32 pm
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    Mark, I commend you for showing your human side to us: not thinking to “power cycle” your iPhone is kind of like “Grasshopper” of “Kung Fu” watching the master’s pants fall down because he forgot to tie his belt.

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    • June 9, 2015 at 5:36 pm
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      Thanks Barry…I really did feel like an idiot. And I take some pride in being able to “fix anything” or so I thought.

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  • June 9, 2015 at 7:58 pm
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    Question Dr. “M” – I just received my dac today, which has a “lock” indicator (light) on it….what exactly are these “Hi-Res” indicators suppose to be reading? Are they reading the actual musical signal’s profile – or are they reading the ENVELOPE that the signal comes in? Can these indicators actually tell one from the other? This harkens back to the sly salesman asking you which speaker soundsounds better, and precedes to “suggest” to you which speaker is sounding better (the one he wants you to buy!). :O. These indicators may be inadvertently “suggesting” what people WANT TO HEAR instead of what they are ACTUALLY HEARING…. I almost can’t wait to get my system together so I can download a (FREE) Hi-Res file and try to hear what people “ain’t looking at”! 😉

    Reply
    • June 10, 2015 at 9:31 am
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      The “Lock” indicator simply ensures that you’re receiving value clock information from the source. They can show lock at various sample rates so it really doesn’t guarantee the high-res status of the content you’re playing.

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      • June 10, 2015 at 12:53 pm
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        Hi there:

        Are these trademarks exclusive to the player or the companies: I have dowloaded from both Pono/HDtracks and it shows the HR trademark, leading to believe this in fact indicates true HD and it is actually some kind of confirmation from within the player itself, not the download sites. Now, with that being said, I have not tested ripping an actually SACD file to confirm wether this to be true or not(who can do this?). Getting a PS3 with 3.55, that might not work for more than a month does not seem worth the hassle. It needs to be ruled out whether ripping your own SaCD still presents the HR symbol to confirm it to be original and true HD sound that is being produced.

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        • June 10, 2015 at 4:46 pm
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          The HR light is just a flag…it means different things depending on the site/device…and never the right thing.

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  • June 9, 2015 at 8:58 pm
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    The part where it shows the little “HR” symbol on the ZX2 seems to be completely accurate.. When I ripped the 128/44.1 and tried to up convert to flac using max, it did not have the trade mark “HR” symbol but when i soon found out i needed true HR files, and realized i had to get those from an outside source, i soon realized that this is what in fact triggered that little HR symbol, which indicated it was in playing a true HR file, not only in theory but in musical reality. If it was not for that trade mark symbol i would have been very ignorant to this, as i am very new to HD audio 🙂 Make sense?

    The “blue light” is indeed special and I like it!

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    • June 10, 2015 at 9:33 am
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      I’ll have to inquire a little more about the “blue light”. It’s obviously a metadata flag that Sony and Pono has switched on to “prove” something. When you say, “completely accurate”, I’m not sure what that means. If you download the same Neil Young track from HDtracks vs. PonoMusic and one has the light on and the other doesn’t what does that say?

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      • June 11, 2015 at 8:07 am
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        There is, or was, a program somewhere on the Pono site to add the blue light to any file on your Pono. Seems to me that just uses more battery.

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        • June 11, 2015 at 9:03 am
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          That’s the answer…a little app that simply makes a small blue light turn on whenever you want high-resolution.

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  • June 10, 2015 at 6:38 am
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    FYI the blue light on a Pono file indicates it is higher resolution than CD and was purchased through Pono. You should see it on the NY sample on your loaner, as well as the Neil Young album you spoke about. Another gimmick…as is the Revealer. Still sounds great!

    Reply
    • June 10, 2015 at 9:35 am
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      I got that…but it can’t indicate whether the source file is “higher resolution” than a compact disc. It can only tell you the specifications of the delivery container…nothing about the provenance of the source file.

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      • June 10, 2015 at 12:41 pm
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        Its a reward for spending your money at PonoStore. Buy your HD files from Mark-AIX or HD Tracks and its no soup for you. 🙂

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      • June 11, 2015 at 8:03 am
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        Just as with any music service you’ve got to trust the vendor that due diligence has been done to provide good provenance. I trust Pono. HD tracks not so much.

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        • June 11, 2015 at 9:02 am
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          Your trust in Pono is misplaced IMHO. Both of these companies get their masters from exactly the same place…and they get the same information about the provenance of the tracks/albums. Only PonoMusic shovels another 2 million CD rips through their site.

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          • June 11, 2015 at 1:36 pm
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            HD Tracks is now listing CD quality downloads when no higher resloution is available…can Armageddon be far behind?

          • June 11, 2015 at 1:51 pm
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            I’ll have to look at the HD track site. I thought pretty much all of their offerings were the new transfers.

  • June 10, 2015 at 1:02 pm
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    After thought – Basically i’m thinking that these decks can’t just be fooled as some are kind of thinking(even i’m unsure and a little skeptical at this point) We need some kind of good High quality recording ripped to one of these players to rule this out.

    Reply

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