There isn’t a lot of money to be made running a small audiophile record label and I knew that when I started AIX Records back in 2000. But I proceeded anyway because I was convinced the introduction of a new consumer high-resolution audio and surround sound delivery format — DVD-Audio — had the potential to bring new levels of musical enjoyment to music lovers. The big record labels played a major role in the launch of DVD-Audio by hiring mixing engineers and booking studios to recast popular “classic” albums in 5.1 surround and hi-res. But it was left to smaller labels to actually demonstrate that the new format could bring new levels of fidelity to the marketplace. We had to make new recordings not merely remix masters from the past!
AIX Records was established to advance the fidelity of recorded music. I adopted an unconventional — and untried — recording technique to capture essentially “live” performances in a reverberant chamber music auditorium. The musicians performed all parts (played and sung) simultaneously while I recorded them using lots of closely placed, stereo pairs of microphones. This hybrid recording approach combines the close and intimate sound of a studio recording with the “live” qualities of a classical or jazz album. Additionally, the post-production mixing phase avoids adding any artificial reverberation, dynamics processing, equalization, or overdubbing any vocals or new instrumental parts.
The results and customer feedback exceeded my modest expectations. Customers and reviewers alike were “over the moon” about the fidelity of our releases AND the multitude of extras we included on the DVDs and Blu-ray discs. We won multiple awards. I received lots of email from satisfied audio enthusiasts. Being an entrepreneur involves taking risks. You invest capital and time and hope that there will be financial and emotional rewards at some time in the future.
I received an unsolicited voice mail from a customer in Southern California recently that made my day. Bill recently purchased a copy of the Mozart – Clarinet Quintet on Blu-ray by the Old City String Quartet (now called the Dover Quartet) and was apparently very impressed.
Here are his comments:
Click the play button
It’s not that I haven’t received positive feedback in the past. I have. Here are a few very encouraging comments. Please indulgence me in revisiting some of these very nice comments.
Some Very Nice Comments…
“I simply can’t find the words to congratulate you the way you deserve. Honestly, I expected very good playing and recordings, but not a completely new experience in musical listening (I even got goosebumps on a couple of tracks). I Instantly fell in love with the Zephyr choir! Actually, the only drawback I see in your recordings is the fact that now, by comparison, the rest of my musical collection sounds bad (In most cases, after listening to an AIX disc, I go to the kitchen and get myself a drink or do some other activity that “unplugs” my brain and ears from your reference recordings). That trick allows me to listen to titles in my previous music collection in a comparison-free environment. Mark, thank your for this wonderful experience!” Juan
“Laurence Juber Guitar Noir DVD-A from AIX Records. Probably the best sounding thing I’ve had on my system, and this guy can play! Former guitarist for Paul McCartney (Wings) this guy is the real acoustic deal.” John Dawson President of ARCAM
I can also honestly say that if you are listening to these on a regular basis and then you pop-in something that you think is phenomenal, like The Talking Heads Brick, you discover quite quickly that these are not quite as awesome as you thought they were. It doesn’t get any better than AIX.
I have to say that this is one of the most amazing DVD-Audio discs I have ever owned, and I am glad that I finally can say that I own a Paul Williams disc, and that it is THIS disc!! This one is a TEN all the way. Great job by AIX Records.” Jon Moderator at Quadraphonic Quad
“AIX is like the Bentley of DVD-Audio labels.” Brian Healy – Customer
AIX Records continues to provide the most accurate audio recordings in high-resolution. As a result, you haven’t heard hi-res music until you’ve heard AIX.” Jacob Greisbach – Reviewer for HomeTheaterSpot.com
“I purchased the Laurence Juber – Guitar Noir and was floored by the fidelity! It was like I pulled cotton out of my ears and then listened to music for the first time! This is the most revealing and transparent DVD-A I have in my collection…it is my reference standard by which all future music will be judged.” Mike Sloan – Customer
“Super clear sounds DVD Audio by AIX takes the music experience into a new extreme. Now I have a choice in listening to music.”
“AIX should be the trademark for DVD Audio, just like THX is for films. Keep up the good work” – Frank Taylor – Customer
“Wow! Up till now I would go to the AIX site and leave thinking it was just to damn much money…I finally bit the bullet on Monday and my discs arrived yesterday and man was I wrong! These are awesome and well worth every penny. Thanks for pushing me over the edge and making me take another look at their site. I’m thrilled that I did.” Nick Zender – Customer
“You guys are the KINGS of DVD !!!!I have been in the business of pro audio, for the past 25 years… I am used to master tape quality and live music. I am a musician myself. We have since the beginning of the DVD era, wondered why no one really takes advantage of the huge potential with that media…AIX most certainly does.” Kurt Steffenson – Distributor
“I want to buy the entire collection. I have recently set up my new system with B&W all around. Very nice sound. Your discs are the most creative and ‘aggressive’ in exploring the 5.1 experience. I have explored your whole catalogue and kept saying “I would like that – and that too…” William Stearns – Customer
“I bought the John McEuen and Jimmy Ibbotson, Nitty Gritty Surround last December and the sound is unbelievable.“
“I did not think it was possible to make it that clear and life like more than it already is.” Steve Barron – Customer
“I have found your DVD audio disc outputs music like no other DVD audio products, it has completely Blown Me Away. I really did not realize how DVD audio could sound complete different your discs are without question in a league of their own.” Frank Taylor – Customer
“I am selling my Teldec DVD-Audio disc of Beethoven Symphonies No. 4 & 5 because the sound is nowhere near the quality of what your company puts out on DVD-Audio. I look forward to the day I can buy Beethoven’s 5th on AIX records. AIX Records is the reference label in DVD-Audio. Keep up the good work!” Michael Boylan- Customer
“If you want to hear the full potential of DVD-Audio, check out the AIX Discs. They represent the state-of-the-art in original made for DVD-Audio multi-channel recordings.” Michael Fremer – Stereophile Guide to Home Theater
“A+ Rating – Our Highest Award Critiquing an AIX release can be an exercize in futility…Waldrep’s engineering and 5.1 mix are astonishing! Guitar Noir is nothing less than inspired.” Jacob Greisbach – Reviewer for HomeTheaterSpot.com
“Dear Dr. Waldrep, I just wanted to commend you on your efforts on bringing we music lovers the cleanest, richest recordings I have ever heard. Thank You.” Nic Stubbs – Customer
“I‘m stunned! The quality blows away anything I’ve heard on DVD or SACD. Well worth the cash!” Richard Hardbattle – Reviewer
“I just purchased an Acura RL and it came with your The Gift of Music DVD- A. I didn’t even know it was available. It was fantastic. I couldn’t believe the clarity. I closed my eyes and in the Assembling 5.1 track it was like I was live. Great job. Now you spoiled me. When I listen to my IPOD the difference is so dramatic. Too bad we will never have a 5.1 device that we can carry around. I do have an Onkyo 5.1 receiver that at least I can have it at home.” Al Tyson customer
“AIX recordings are fantastic. I just got 3 DVD-A recordings yesterday from AIX, and I’m totally blown away by the sound quality. Last night, I sat in my car in the heat and humidity for over one hour listening to their disc’s…and no…I didn’t use the AC in the car…I wanted to hear the sound without any additional noise…so I just sat there and dripped in sweat…but the 3 glasses of red wine helped…LOL!!” Acura Owner
“Excellent find! I just got my order from AIX and I am completely blown away by the quality of their Christmas compilation. The discs only seem expensive until your realize how much value, bonuses, and features are included. On top of that, the audio is superb! I can’t believe I can be so happy listening to Xmas music in this muggy weather. Great to hear that AIX provides this level of customer support. They really do care about the rest of us.”
It’s nice to know that people appreciate the work that you’ve done. Financial rewards are great too, but having made an impact on the art of music recording is better!
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