CAS6: Part II

On Friday afternoon I gave my hour-long presentation in the Aspen room of the Westin Hotel. The title was “The Myth of High-Resolution Audio/Music”. I hooked up my Mac Laptop to the projector and fired up my Power Point presentation. Earlier that morning I tweaked my presentation from last year “High-Resolution Audio Demystified” based on the latest developments…the new Hi-Res Music term and logo etc.

The organizers of the CAS 2015 highlighted the “High Resolution Revolution” on their website and in their marketing efforts. The VIP packages that were offered included one of my sampler discs. The subject of high-res is part of the audiophile lexicon these days. But it still remains misunderstood and over hyped.

I introduced the topic by highlighting the title of my presentation. Why have my previous talks focused on high-resolution audio and now the title has both audio and music? If you’ve been following the posts from this past summer, you know the reason. The hardware people have one set of terms, requirements, and their own logo and the content people have a different set of terms, a much lower set of requirements, and a new logo. All hope of single clear message was unceremoniously thrown out the window at the CE Week event in New York City.

There are two tables just outside of the ballroom draped in Pono yellow staffed with a diverse group of “supporters”. Yes, Pono showed up at the event this year and have about 6 Pono players on flexible stands clipped to the front edge of the table. The Pono player is available for sale at the show for only $325! And they seemed to be doing a robust business…at least there were a lot of people coming by their table listening to the devices. They had the John Atkinson reprint from Stereophile extolling the virtues of the player.

In my “Myth” presentation, I talked about the Pono player and the PonoMusic website. The player’s guts are well designed and capable of delivering good sound on the go or at home. And it is possible to load the device up with content like my own tracks…ones that actually sound really good. However, I explained that Neil Young’s decision to include 2 million CD rips in order to inflate the number of items in their online catalog was misguided and confusing. There was a large banner at the Pono tables bragging about the fact that PonoMusic is the largest provider of high-quality music downloads. It is if you count ripped CDs in that number. I thought the whole idea was to move beyond CD res and get back to the “soul of the music”.

In fact, in the John Atkinson Stereo article he specifically calls out Neil Young’s aversion…actually disgust would be a more appropriate description…to the sound of compact discs. So I expressed my disappointment with whole Pono concept of moving the goalposts in order to maximize dollars without actually improving the fidelity of downloaded music.

I closed by sharing some information about my new book and Blu-ray disc. I passed out a newly printed post card and urged people to visit the pre-launch page at Music and Guide: A User Guide to Better Sound Unfortunately, the contact section of the new site is not yet functioning…the theme developer says it is but I don’t seem to get any emails. If you’re interested in hearing about the Kickstarter launch, just shoot me an email directly and I’ll start a contact list.

Of course, if you’re a registered reader of this blog, you’ll hear about it.

Got to get the day started and head over to Day 2 of the CAS6 show.

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.

3 thoughts on “CAS6: Part II

  • August 15, 2015 at 7:13 pm
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    “However, I explained that Neil Young’s decision to include 2 million CD rips in order to inflate the number of items in their online catalog was misguided and confusing. There was a large banner at the Pono tables bragging about the fact that PonoMusic is the largest provider of high-quality music downloads. It is if you count ripped CDs in that number. I thought the whole idea was to move beyond CD res and get back to the “soul of the music”.

    Thank You, It’s such a breath of fresh air to hear someone speak with honesty and integrity in the High End Audio community. There’s been so much BS and snake oil thrown around over the last 15 – 20 years that it’s like no one pays attention any more, or that it doesn’t matter if you claim whatever you want as long as it profitable.
    Salute

    Reply
  • August 16, 2015 at 7:13 am
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    FYI – under the “Experts” tag on your linked Music Guide page, your name is spelled incorrectly in the quote at the bottom of the page. You tend to misspell things or let typos past quite often in your posts – I always let it pass as the ramblings of a college professor…

    Reply
    • August 16, 2015 at 1:01 pm
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      Thanks, I’ll fix it. I do a lot of writing and try to proof things…it is what it is.

      Reply

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