About this project
STEP UP NOW! THERE'S STILL TIME TO MAKE THE SECOND STRETCH GOAL!
This campaign ends tomorrow morning at 7:31 am PDT here in California. The interest and support has been overwhelming...but we're not quite done. I'm convinced with a little nudging, we can reach the second stretch goal (outlined below). If you haven't selected a reward, please join the over 750 backers and make your pledge. If you're already a backer...pass the word on social media, on the phone, on your blog, or in person. And thanks.
STRETCH GOAL #2 - HELP PUSH US TO $75,000 AND EVERY BACKER WILL GET THE ULTRA HD-AUDIO ALBUM AND CONSUMER GUIDE TO HI-RE MUSIC! HURRY ONLY 9 DAYS LEFT, PASS IT ON.
Every backer will be getting the AIX Records 2016 Sampler with 2 minute segments of 71 different tracks because we reached the first stretch goal. How about getting the Ultra HD-Audio Album with 18 full length tracks AND an eBook called A Consumer Guide to Hi-Res Music (what the labels, organizations, and manufacturers DON'T want you to know when you go shopping for hardware and content) for reaching the next goal (A retail value of $30)? And I'll make the Consumer Guide available in time for Christmas!
STRETCH GOAL #1 - IF WE CAN REACH $50,000, I'LL PROVIDE ALL SUPPORTERS WITH THE NEW 2016 AIX SAMPLER.
If you're interested in hearing how good high-resolution music can sound (stereo and 5.1 surround), help us get to our first stretch goal $50K and receive the AIX Records 2016 Sampler! This is what I'm talking about.
Welcome to my first KickStarter campaign. My name is Mark Waldrep, and I write a daily blog at RealHD-Audio.com about high-end audio and music. Over the past three years, I've been pushing hard for real high-resolution audio/music and trying to get audio reviewers, organizations, and websites to give music fans the straight story on how to maximize the fidelity of playback systems. However, as I look around at websites and other books about high-end audio, I feel like they're often writing about the wrong things...often very esoteric and expensive tweaks instead of the fundamentals of great sound.
That's why I'm writing a new book about music and audio and producing an accompanying Blu-ray demonstration disc (also available as files or a USB card). I want to share my experience and expertise with you without the hype and marketing spin. This is a book that tells it like it is.
This project will deliver a comprehensive book on music and audio together with a collection of award-winning, high-resolution demo tracks (recorded at 96 kHz/24-bits), format comparisons (Do you think you'll be able to hear the difference between a CD-res file and the Hi-res original?), and a complete set of test tones.
The funds from this campaign will make it possible to license the music, print the books and replicate the Blu-ray discs (or prepare the USB items). Audio enthusiasts deserve a book written from the perspective of an industry insider, a musician, experienced audio engineer, software developer, record producer, label owner, university professor, and blogger. I think we've heard what professional audio journalists and non-engineers have to say. The book has an accompanying Blu-ray disc with real high-resolution audio examples, format comparisons, and a complete set of test tones to verify your setup.
“Music and Audio: A User Guide to Better Sound” will educate, clarify, and demonstrate how you can enhance your listening experience…simply and without spending a whole lot of money. The focus is on getting accurate information and achieving dramatic improvements in fidelity.
The writing style is conversational and will avoid tech talk and techno jargon. Imagine you and I sharing a few long afternoon sessions talking about the basic concepts of music production, recording and reproduction formats, and discussing simple, inexpensive things you can do to improve your system. And most importantly listening to some really terrific music recorded by my team.
The book will also include interviews with prominent individuals in audio engineering and high-end audio. You’ll be able to read about Meridian’s new process called Master Quality Authenticated…MQA for short…from the inventor Robert Stuart, head of the company and technical chairman or learn a few tips from Ken Caillat, engineer and producer of Fleetwood Mac’s classic album “Rumours” and author of “Making Rumours”. Finally, Robert Margouleff, Grammy-winning engineer of Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions and Talking Book albums, has agreed to share stories and insights from his long career.
Robert Margouleff - Grammy Winning Audio Engineer
Robert Margouleff is best known for his five years as recording engineer, synthesist and co-producer on Stevie Wonder’s most legendary albums, including Fulfillingness’ First Finale, Talking Book and Music Of My Mind. In 1973, Margouleff won the Grammy for his recording of Innervisions.
Robert Stuart - Chairman and Technical Director - Meridian Audio
J. Robert (Bob) Stuart was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1948. He received a B.Sc. in electronic engineering from the University of Birmingham and an M.Sc. in operations research from Imperial College, London. In 1977 he co-founded Meridian and is now chairman and technical director of Meridian Audio. His recent work includes the co-invention of MQA (Master Quality Authenticated).
Ken Caillat - Grammy Winning Record Producer and Engineer
Ken Caillat is an American record producer, audio engineer, and writer best known for his work with Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album, the third largest selling recording of all time.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. “Music and Audio: A User Guide to Better Sound” will have hundreds of illustrations and photographs.
One of the areas in which I have particular experience and expertise is high-res audio and music. If you're an audiophile, you've probably heard about this new "better" sound initiative. The mass marketing of this "mythical" format will commence this fall and continue through the holiday season. Save your money until you read this book and listen to real hi-res music. Virtually all "high-resolution music" is not actually hi-res...unless you think a ripped CD is hi-res. I'll share with you how you can quickly tell whether your favorite music is worth buying again in "hi-res".
The book will come with an accompanying Blu-ray disc (or files via download or USB card) containing more than a dozen of my favorite recordings…tracks that demonstrate what real high-resolution music actually sounds like. It's impossible to know how great music can sound until you’ve heard recordings that exceed the boundaries of standard-res compact discs or analog formats. The demo tracks will be presented in traditional stereo and two different 5.1 surround mixes. Users can easily switch between the mixes by using the AUDIO button on your remote. Maybe you’ll discover, as many AIX Records fans have, that sitting in the middle of an ensemble is more engaging than simple stereo.
The disc will also include comparisons between different formats like 256 kilo bit per second MP3s, CD spec fidelity, and high-resolution sound. You’ll be able to instantly switch between these different resolutions and see for yourself if high-res music and hardware necessary to reproduce it is worth your dollars. Maybe MP3 fidelity is good enough. Or how about hearing the same piece of music after being mastered with heavy dynamics compression and then comparing it against the “pure” mix with all of the musical dynamics left as they were played by the musicians? Imagine hearing a discrete 5.1 mix realized for any pair of headphones? It’s all going to be on the Blu-ray disc.
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.
Music and audio have dominated my life ever since I was a teenager. When Beatlemania swept across the country, I was one of thousands that took up the guitar, joined a band to seek fame and fortune as a rock star.
But my future didn’t put me in front of a microphone. I found my place on the other side of the studio glass…I turned my love and knowledge of music and audio recording into a career.
I studied architecture at the University of Michigan before dropping out and heading west to California. I followed my heart to see if music and audio could support me. Thankfully, with a lot of hard work and a fair amount of luck, they have.
More than 40 years later, I now own a state-of-the-art, multi-room recording and post production facility, operate a high-end audiophile label AIX Records, a hi-res music download site iTrax, and started blogging at RealHD-Audio in April 2013. I finished my education at UCLA with a Ph.D. in Music Composition.
My production company AIX Media Group was responsible for the first DVD-Video titles released in the United States back in March of 1997 and the first DVD-Audio title three years later. In the subsequent few years, AIX grew to over 50 employees churning out DVDs for the likes of New Line Cinema, CBS, Morgan Creek, and a whole bunch of record companies. We did projects for The Rolling Stones, Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, Kiss, Tool, The Allman Brothers, and hundreds of others.
I started making and releasing new high-resolution recordings in 2000. Fifteen years later, the AIX Records catalog is one of the largest collections of native high-resolution music…albums that were actually recorded using high-res equipment. I’ve been encouraged by the awards, positive reviews, and continued sales of our catalog of DVD-Audio/Video discs, Blu-rays, and high-res music downloads. Andrew Quint, one of the senior editors of The Absolute Sound Magazine, wrote, “…the multi-channel audio, emanating from five B&W 801 loudspeakers, is quite simply the most realistic and involving instance of recorded sound I can recall, from any source format".
“Music and Audio: A User Guide to Better Sound” takes a different approach to the subject. First, it’s being authored by a professional audio engineer…me. I’m writing about things that I’ve been doing and teaching for decades…I'm not professional reviewer or journalist for a major trade magazine or website. I write about what I know. And I have no allegiances to any consumer electronics companies, cable manufacturers, or accessory vendors that might skew an objective reporting on their products.
Awards, Press, & Recognition
I started a daily blog in April of 2013 at RealHD-Audio.com. What began with less a few dozen readers has blossomed into one most read sites focusing on high-resolution audio and music. The site has technical information, interviews, equipment reviews, high-res music analyses, commentary, profiles on high profile equipment designers, guest editorials, and show reports. Today, the site reaches over 4000 readers everyday. Individuals from around the globe write to express their support and describe the site in glowing terms.
"Absolutely the best article I’ve read; what ever happened to the saying “ Pay Peanuts, Get Monkeys”. I’ve just turned 60 and my thoughts were that ALL of my knowledge over 30 years in providing mission critical communication systems in the industry would now count for something. Ha, providing I get it for free, it’s accepted. Your posts are a highlight on my mornings!! Thanks."
"Hello Mark, I read all your posts from about one year and a half. I think you do an wonderful job for all the music lovers. I love the music and I tried to complete an audio system for my own at home. Your posts helped me for the first steps into high resolution music. I don't know much about the theoretical part of the sound and music, but I know what I hear. So, you are perfectly right about the high-res music and about the numbers which characterise it. I downloaded a lot of files and I have more than 150 cds. I finally understood the differences with your help, of course. Some of these files are from AIX Records or iTrax and I admit that these are the best. I intend to download also the Guitar Noir - Laurence Juber. I'm looking forward for that Music and Audio Guide and I think that the first 30 sec from the video are very good. It is a short presentation which 'push' the viewer to find out more about the subject. Well done! I think this guide will be a real success. - Mircea"
"Hi Mark I have been getting your emails now for quite a while and I want to encourage you that it is refreshing to get insight from yourself in what is and isn't Hi Res Audio. I love music and I got a Sony Hi Res Audio player for my birthday this year and a voucher for to get £25 worth of Hi Res Audio tracks which I have done. The music I got were favourite tracks from my favourite albums which I have on CD and to be honest I have been really disappointed by them, the claim that these Hi Res Audio tracks will change the way you listen to music is really far fetched and untrue. It was only by reading your articles that I understood that it wasn't my hearing that was a problem and what you said made sense so keep on doing what your doing Mark it is really appreciated by myself way over in Glasgow, Scotland. You are the only person in the Audio Articles that I read who is telling us the truth about Hi Res Audio, thanks for all your work and effort, here is my email address - firstname.lastname@example.org, all the best Donnie."
I've been invited to speak in Paris, London, Tokyo, Bogota, Los Angeles, New York, Denver, Atlanta, and served on panels bringing the message of high-resolution music production to an eager audience. My High-Resolution Demystified presentation at AXPONA 2015 was standing room only on two consecutive evenings.
Risks and challenges
There are always risks associated with every creative project or production. As the author of over 1000 articles on high-end audio and the owner of a production facility that produces blu-ray discs and high-res music soundfiles, I don't anticipate any difficulties in meeting the deadlines outlined in this campaign.
I remain very busy with my teaching and production work. However, this project is my priority over the next 6-8 months. Should scheduling or production difficulties arise, I may have to push the delivery date, but that would be a couple of months at most.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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