I’ve been working on the script to the pitch video that I have to produce for the upcoming Kickstarter campaign. My first draft is too long but as I read what I’m planning for the Blu-ray disc, it dawned on me just how cool this special disc will be. The capabilities and flexibility of the Blu-ray format make it the perfect media type to evaluate and demonstrate some of the things audiophile care about. Things are virtually impossible to compare using a traditional home media system. Just how possible is it to compare audio formats using your own system? For example, can you instantly switch between a 128 kbps MP3 file and the same file at the same moment in the song at 96 kHz/24-bits? It’s a real challenge unless you have specialized equipment.
Here’s some of the things that I’m planning on placing on the disc that will accompany the “Music and Audio: A User Guide To Better Audio” book:
1. There will be at least 12 tunes from the AIX Records catalog. If you have selections that you feel are “must includes” for the demo disc, please feel free to let me know. You can send me an email or simply post a comment here. The tunes on the disc should reflect a diversity of styles, ensemble size, tonal colors, vocal vs. instrumental tunes, and pieces that can easily show off flaws in a system. I guess I should start a poll to establish the final list. If you look at the list on the iTrax – Sprint Ultra High-Definition Sampler, you can get a pretty good idea of what I would like to include.
2. Each of the tunes will have three different mixes: traditional stereo, 5.1 “Stage” mix, and 5.1 “Audience” mixes. Using the AUDIO button the remote, users of the disc equipped with a home theater surround audio system will be able to instantly switch between the mixes. The hope is that by comparing the same tune in different mixes at the same volume level, the benefits of surround music will become obvious. As Robert Harley says in his book, “…multichannel audio is a quantum leap forward in advancing the music listening experience – with a properly set-up system playing recordings made with musical sensitivity.” Too bad he follows a very narrow mixing aesthetic. He doesn’t like my “stage” perspective mixes.
3. How about being able to listen to and compare a variety of formats and resolutions on the fly? This is something that is quite difficult to do at home…but I’ll have examples of MP3 files at 128, 256, and 320 kbps, CD spec audio, and 96 kHz / 24-bit PCM. Maybe I could include FLAC vs. WAV. Once again using the AUDIO button your remote control, you will be able to listen to examples at these different resolutions and compare them. Maybe you’ll find that your system isn’t up to the high-resolution audio standard.
4. The Blu-ray will also include comparisons between tracks that have been heavily compressed during a mastering stage and the original unmastered mixes. Switching between them makes the audible differences very obvious.
5. There will be a complete set of test tones with detailed instructions as well as the previously described music examples and comparisons. Test your system with channel ID tones, phase and crossover tests, and frequency sweeps in a variety of formats. As the owner of all of the content on the Blu-ray demonstration disc, you can be sure that I’ll be able to deliver the project on time without having to worry about licenses from other labels.
6. Want to be able to compare a “headphone” surround mix vs. a traditional stereo mix? The accompanying disc will have a few tunes that will allow users to listen and compare. Is this the next big disruption in the way we listen to music? You be the judge.
I’m open to any and all suggestions for this disc. Just tell me what you want and I’ll do my best to include it on the disc.