High on High-Res Audio with Mark Waldrep - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 05-04-2014, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Recording and mastering engineer Mark Waldrep talks about his recent trip to Chicago for the Axpona high-end audio show and what he saw and heard there as well as his own demos at the show, the concept of high-resolution digital audio and when it's important (and when it's not), the increasing popularity of vinyl LPs, his philosophy of recording at high resolution, Neil Young's Pono project, the importance of provenance when it comes to high-resolution audio recordings, answers to chat-room questions, and more.

 

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post #2 of 16 Old 05-04-2014, 08:03 PM
 
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I don't mean to sound rude, but are these guys ears checked regularly? He appears a bit...older. I know experience counts for loads, but would bit a younger set if ears determine what sounds the best for the under 30 crowd? I'm curious what the recording studios do to offset this disadvantage (is an eq applied specifically tailored to each recording masters own hearing deficit?)
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post #3 of 16 Old 05-05-2014, 02:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pokeme View Post

I don't mean to sound rude, but are these guys ears checked regularly? He appears a bit...older. I know experience counts for loads, but would bit a younger set if ears determine what sounds the best for the under 30 crowd? I'm curious what the recording studios do to offset this disadvantage (is an eq applied specifically tailored to each recording masters own hearing deficit?)

I'm only 2/3 of the way through this episode, but I'm assuming you're referring to his comments on how heavily compressed and loud so much music is these days.

If this is in fact what you're referring to, don't you think if anything, a younger crowd would be able to appreciate what's he's promoting more than an older crowd?

In other words, those with especially sensitive hearing apparatus (i.e. younger people) would benefit the most.
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post #4 of 16 Old 05-05-2014, 07:35 AM
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From what I saw and heard at the show (I went on Friday, the vast majority of the consumer attendees were old geezers like me. Imagine a zillion Scott Wilkinson's running around the show and listening to $50,000 horn speakers and comparing them to the systems they purchased 20 years ago or more and have not updated since then. Most of the geezers are not in the position to spend like they did in the old days. High end 2 channel will cease in decade or so. What remains in audio will be headphones, a trend which is growing and now has become a show within a show, Sonos class audio (that really sucks), and HT with sound bars and a very very limited real HT consumer base.

Meanwhile I did buy two of Mark's Hi Rez Bluray disc. I did spend about 1/2 hour in Mark's room. If I remember what Mark said, the cost of the system was about a million. Frankly, I have heard much better for a lot lot lot less.

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post #5 of 16 Old 05-05-2014, 08:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spacediver View Post

I'm only 2/3 of the way through this episode, but I'm assuming you're referring to his comments on how heavily compressed and loud so much music is these days.

If this is in fact what you're referring to, don't you think if anything, a younger crowd would be able to appreciate what's he's promoting more than an older crowd?

In other words, those with especially sensitive hearing apparatus (i.e. younger people) would benefit the most.

True, but you need the brain to really appreciate that too. What I was getting at is how dip these pros do it, if they aren't actually hearing everything? I literally fell sleep at the1/3 punt, not from boredom but because i should have been sleeping. I'll watch the rest later.
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post #6 of 16 Old 05-05-2014, 08:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark haflich View Post

From what I saw and heard at the show (I went on Friday, the vast majority of the consumer attendees were old geezers like me. Imaging a zillion Scott Wilkinson's running around the show and listening to $50,000 horn speakers and comparing them to the systems they purchased 20 years ago or more and have not updated since then. Most of the geezers are not in the position to spend like they did in the old days. High end 2 channel will cease in decade or so. What remains in audio will be headphones, a trend which is growing and now has become a show withing a show, Sonos class audio (that really sucks), and HT with sound bars and a very very limited real HT consumer base.

Meanwhile I did buy two of Mark's Hi Rez Bluray disc. I did spend about 1.2 hour in Mark's room. If I remember what Mark said, the cost of the system was about a million. Frankly, I have heard much better for a lot lot lot less.

I hate sound bars. I feel cheated when I watch a movie at most of my friends houses so I try to make excuses for them to come here (not that mine is the be all).
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post #7 of 16 Old 05-05-2014, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Meanwhile I did buy two of Mark's Hi Rez Bluray disc. I did spend about 1.2 hour in Mark's room. If I remember what Mark said, the cost of the system was about a million. Frankly, I have heard much better for a lot lot lot less.

I think you and I must have been in there at the same time.
I enjoyed his presentation!
Like you I have heard much better for less but was great to see what some can afford..
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vast majority of the consumer attendees were old geezers

Roger that! Was grandpa gridlock in some of the rooms..
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post #8 of 16 Old 05-05-2014, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by mark haflich View Post

If I remember what Mark said, the cost of the system was about a million.
And then people wonder why high end audio is not attracting new blood.

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post #9 of 16 Old 05-05-2014, 11:43 AM
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I think it's because us old guys went through a long era when improvement was a constant thing so we still expect it and seek it.  The young folks haven't really experienced improvement on any level that would divert their interest toward high end.  We've got to face it that the most modest competent gear of recent years is very near the point of diminishing returns.  The young just don't find the delta at the high end worthy of attention.

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post #10 of 16 Old 05-05-2014, 12:03 PM
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highend audio is a learned skill set. give the children time to learn.

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post #11 of 16 Old 05-05-2014, 12:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonGateley View Post

I think it's because us old guys went through a long era when improvement was a constant thing so we still expect it and seek it.  The young folks haven't really experienced improvement on any level that would divert their interest toward high end.  We've got to face it that the most modest competent gear of recent years is very near the point of diminishing returns.  The young just don't find the delta at the high end worthy of attention.

That's a pretty broad statement. I am sitting in my garage polishing up my tempest 12 build, I think, that qualifies a high end but I only have my Polk Rti8 to compare to, that are admittedly "modest" but still better than what 95 percent of my friends in a similar income bracket own.
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post #12 of 16 Old 05-05-2014, 01:43 PM
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There is another forum thread that folks are using to discuss hi-rez music vs CD quality. I learned a great deal there and find that it is far more complicated than a layman might imagine. (I include myself as a layman that tries to stay informed.)

I don't blame youth for being uninspired with high quality music as businesses told them what they like and what they will enjoy and in turn, they are raised with loud is better and so is quantity not quality. Bassheads are abundant these days and electronic sounds replacing real instruments and all their nuances. While I grew up in the ranks of many that listened first to rock music, my tastes expanded and I find myself at times frustrated with so many poorly engineered CDs are out and of course overly compressed file format music courses through the portable players of the "younger generation."

Kids today are the iTunes generation so to speak. There is some rumour going on that Apple might consider 96/24 files for sale and this might go a long way (assuming they are mastered correctly) in introducing youth to a step up in quality. Naturally, playback is to be considered given that Apple's own earphones/buds/whatever are not the greatest source for listening. If/when 96/24 comes via Apple, it might open the doors for conversation by youth on does it really sound any better than their 256 bitrate compressed AAC files or CD lossless for that matter. Perhaps Apple by off chance is creating a new generation of quality over quantity listeners. - I hope so.

As for me, the jury is not out on what high quality or hi rez really means given all the variables required to get "good" sound. 90 percent of my music is CD quality, the rest remains mostly 96/24 and just a handful of compressed AAC files. Both the CD and 96/24 file have within each some great sounds and some not so great sounds.
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post #13 of 16 Old 05-05-2014, 03:22 PM
 
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I grew up during the mp3 revolution, and for me out was just easier access to more music having only dial up. Lossless all the way now if at all possible.

With decent speakers I appreciate the clarity, but my car I can't tell the difference because the background noise is too high/my car is junk.
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post #14 of 16 Old 05-09-2014, 03:20 PM
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Most younger listeners these days only play rap & hiphop on their crappy iPod/Phone/Pad through equally crappy ear buds. There is no way they could even comprehend high resolution audio.

It's a joke that Neil Young was demoing his pono project driving around in a car. I've heard some pretty good car systems but the instant you start driving around the background noise level makes high resolution irrelevant.
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post #15 of 16 Old 05-09-2014, 09:59 PM
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Scott,

I just watched the video (HT Geeks ep : 204 ) on my You Tube subscribed channel very interesting and informative, as usual I learned some things I otherwise wouldn't know ! Keep up the good work !

Hires Music formats ..............."Why does it sound like a CD ?" ............. can we make it louder "?
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post #16 of 16 Old 05-11-2014, 09:49 PM
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Great Scott that was a terrific interview! No nonsense, I feel like Mark is very transparent, and tells it like he sees it. I think he's pretty much right on target, and I appreciate that he didn't embellish on the advantages of higher resolution formats over CDs. I've been a fan of AIX records for a long time due to the quality of the recordings, and the multi-channel format. I wish there were more in the industry that favor quality over purely profit.

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