3d_sampler_bd_cover
AIX Records 3D Music Album Demo & Calibration Disc

Mark Chesnutt, Rita Coolidge, Free Flight & others more

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AIX Records Calibration Disc & HD Music Sampler

Various Artists & Complete Test Tones more

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AIX Records BD HD Sampler IV

Various Artists & Genres [21 tracks] more

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A High-Resolution Audio Experience

Various Artists & Genres [29 tracks] more

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Goldberg Variations Acoustica

The AIX All Star Band more

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The Old City String Quartet - Mozart

Corey Klein / Horn and Ruokai Chen - Clarinet more

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John Gorka - A Gypsy Life

featuring Susan Werner, Amelia K. Spicer, Russ Rentler & Michael Manring more

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Chamber Music Palisades - Shostakovich/Debussy/ Brockman

Chamber Music Palisades more

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Pachelbel Acoustica

The AIX All Star Band more

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AIX Records 3D Music Album Demo & Cal. Disc

Mark Chesnutt, Rita Coolidge, Free Flight more

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AIX Records BD HD Sampler IV

Various Artists more

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AIX Records - BD Audio Cal Disc & HD Music Sampler

HD Video & HD Audio tracks from AIX Records more

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John Gorka - The Gypsy Life

Susan Werner, Amelia K. Spicer, R. Rentler & M. Manring more

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John Gorka - The Gypsy Life

Susan Werner, Amelia K. Spicer, R. Rentler & M. Manring more

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Lowen & Navarro - Carry On Together

Phil Parlapiano, Brett Simons & Dan Marfisimore

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Nitty Gritty Surround

John McEuen, Jimmy Ibbotson & guest Jennifer Warnes more

jonathan_mceuen_cover
Jonathan McEuen - One Step Ahead

guests Jamie Hanna, Phil Salazar and John McEuen more

ktla_cover
Music Of Lowen & Navarro - Keep The Light Alive

Jackson Browne, John Ondrasik, Keb' Mo', The Bangles more

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The Afro Cuban Latin Jazz Project - El Vuelo

Kamasi Washington, Gustavo Ramierez, Raul Pineda more

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Ernest Ranglin - Order of Distinction

Robby Krieger, Elliot Easton, Monty Alexander more

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Stevé March Tormé - Tormé Sings Tormé

Steve Rawlins, Jim DeJulio, Lanny Morgan, Bobby Rodriguez & more

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Vantage Point - Resolution

Simon Phillips, Jaff Babko, Walt Fowler, Brandon Fields & Alphonso Johnson more

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The Emil Richards/Joe Porcaro Allstar Big Band - Odd Men In

Pete Christleib, Chuck Findley, David Garfield & Bruce Zweig more

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The Grant Geissman Quintet - There and Back Again

Gordon Goodwin [Big Phat Band], Jim Cox, Jimmy Johnson & Greg Bissonette more

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The Steve Huffsteter Big Band - Gathered Around

with Bill Perkins, Lee Thornburg, Buddy Childers, and Jock Ellis more

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The AIX All Stars - Surrounded By Christmas

with Laurence Juber, Jim Cox, Leland Sklar, Steve Forman and John Ferraro more

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Calamari

Emil Richards, Joe Porcaro, David Garfield & Mike Valerio more

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The Jim DeJulio Jazz Quintet

featuring Pete Christlieb, Conte Candoli, Pamela York and Joe La Barberamore

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The Latin Jazz Trio

Luis Conte, David Garfield & David Carpenter more

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David Garfield & the Retro Jazz Quintet

David Garfield, Walt Fowler, Larry Klimas, Ernest Tibbs, Oscar Seaton more

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Cheryl Bentyne - Among Friends

Corey Allen, Grant Geissman, Kevin Axt & David Tull more

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The Paul Smith Trio

Jim DeJulio & Dave Tull more

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Piano, Bass & Drums

Patrice Rushen, Darek Oleszkiewicz & Ndugu Chancler more

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AC Timba Jazz

featuring the music of Long John Oliva more

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Goldberg Variations Acoustica

The AIX All Star Band more

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Pachelbel Acoustica

The AIX All Star Band more

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Moonlight Acoustica

The AIX All Star Band more

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Albert Lee - Tearing it Up

Randle Curry, J.T. Thomas, Bob Glaub & Don Heffington more

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Tried & True

Jaime Hanna & Jonathan McEuenmore

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The Carl Verheyen Band - Rumor Mill

with special guest Jim Cox more

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Steve Pierson & Blues Head - Blue Me Away

Laurence Juber, Michael Murphy, Gerald Johnson & Gary Mallabermore

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The Surf City Allstar Band - I Get Surround

Dean Torrence & Jeff "Skunk" Baxter more

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Bad Haggis - Span

with special guest Ruben Blades more

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The Grant Geissman Quintet - There and Back Again

Gordon Goodwin [Big Phat Band], Jim Cox, Jimmy Johnson & Greg Bissonette more

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The Carl Verheyen Band - Take One Step

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Keaton Simon - Drive Away!

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The Brand New Opry - Another Time Vol. 1

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Nitty Gritty Surround

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Jonathan McEuen - One Step Ahead

with Nathan McEuen, Jesse Siebenberg & Randy Tico more

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Lisbeth Scott - Charmed

with very special guest Paul Schwartz more

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Laurence Juber - Guitar Noir

with Domenic Genova & Steve Forman more

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Peppino D'Agostino, Acoustic Guitar

with Juan van Emmerloot - perc/drums more

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Music Of Lowen & Navarro - Keep The Light Alive

Jackson Browne, John Ondrasik, Keb' Mo', The Bangles more

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John Gorka - A Gypsy Life

Susan Werner, Amelia K. Spicer, Russ Rentler & Michael Manring more

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John Gorka - The Gypsy Life

featuring Susan Werner, Amilia K. Spicer, Russ Rentler & Michael Manring more

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Lowen & Navarro - Carry On Together

Phil Parlapiano, Brett Simons & Dan Marfisi more

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The AIX All Stars - Surrounded By Christmas

with Laurence Juber, Jim Cox, Leland Sklar, Steve Forman and John Ferraro more

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Ian Whitcomb - Turned On Alley

Bobby Bruce, Fred Sokolow, Tom Marion, Tim Emmons & Randy Woltz more

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Dorian Michael - Acoustic Blues

with Laurence Juber & Albert Lee more

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Zephyr: Voices Unbound

12-voice a cappella choir more

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Lisbeth Scott - Charmed

with very special guest Paul Schwartz more

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Paul Williams - I'm Going Back There Someday

special guests Willie Nelson, Melissa Manchester & The Great Gonzo more

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Music Of Lowen & Navarro - Keep The Light Alive

Jackson Browne, John Ondrasik, Keb' Mo', The Bangles more

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Lowen & Navarro - Carry On Together

Phil Parlapiano, Brett Simons & Dan Marfisimore

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John Gorka - A Gypsy Life

featuring Susan Werner, Amelia K. Spicer, Russ Rentler and Michael Manring more

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John Gorka - The Gypsy Life

featuring Susan Werner, Amilia K. Spicer, Russ Rentler & Michael Manring more

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Stevé March Tormé - Tormé Sings Tormé

Steve Rawlins, Jim DeJulio, Lanny Morgan, Bobby Rodriguez & dektette more

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The Brand New Opry - Another Time Vol. 1

Jonathan McEuen, Phil Salazar, Jamie Hanna, John McEuen & others more

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Nitty Gritty Surround

John McEuen, Jimmy Ibbotson & special guest Jennifer Warnes more

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Steve Pierson and Blues Head - Blue Me Away

Laurence Juber, Michael Murphy, Gerald Johnson & Gary Mallabermore

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The Surf City Allstar Band - I Get Surround

featuring Dean Torrence & Jeff "Skunk" Baxter more

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Ian Whitcomb - Turned On Alley

featuring Bobby Bruce, Fred Sokolow, Tom Marion, Tim Emmons & Randy Woltz more

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The Dale Spalding Band - Downtown

Lon Price, Bruce Malament, Tomas Gargano & Kenny Elliot more

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Fred Sokolow

with Ian Whitcomb & Junior Brown more

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Nicci Gilbert - Nicci Gilbert & Friends

Demetria McKinney, Jaretta Lott, Monifah Carter & Tammy Townsend more

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Jonathan McEuen - One Step Ahead

with guests Jesse Siebenberg, Phil Salazar & Randy Tico more

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The Old City String Quartet - Mozart

Corey Klein / Horn and Ruokai Chen - Clarinet more

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Chamber Music Palisades - Shostakovich/Debussy/Brockman

Chamber Music Palisades more

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Chamber Music Palisades - Shostakovich/Debussy/Brockman

Chamber Music Palisades more

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Chopin - The Ballades

Anita Chang - piano more

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Beethoven - Symph. 6/ Respighi - Pines of Rome

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra - Zdenek Macal more

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Johnnes Brahms - Piano Quintet Op. 34 in F Minor

Delores Stevens & Ives Quartet more

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Zephyr: Voices Unbound

12-voice a cappella choir more

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Chopin - Selected Piano Works

performed by Roberto Prosseda more

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Stravinsky - Firebird/Ravel - Bolero

George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra/Cristian Mandeal more

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Mozart Symphonies 26 & 41 "Jupiter"

George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra/ Cristian Mandeal more

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Bach - Brandenburg No.s 3 & 5 / Air on the G String

George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra/ Cristian Mandeal more

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Haydn Keyboard Trios No.s 39, 40 & 26

The "Pro Arte" Trio more

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Six Sonatas for Woodwind Quintet / Woodwind Quintet Op. 71

The "George Enescu" Quintet more

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Music for Solo Harp - Debussy, Glinka & Others

performed by Ion Ivan Roncea more

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A Classical Surround Sampler

Various Ensembles more

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Marcello-Oboe Concerto Handel-Organ Concerto Vivaldi-2 Sinfonias

A. Petrescu/N. Licaret more

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Mozart - Variations K. 573 / Schumann - Fantasie Op. 17

performed by Matei Vargas, piano more

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Lyricism: Songs Without Words

performed by Roberto Prosseda more

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Brahms Clarinet Quintet

Dimitri Ashkenazy, clarinet & Ives String Quartet more

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Albert Lee - Tearing it Up

Randle Curry, J.T. Thomas, Bob Glaub & Don Heffington more

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Albert Lee - Tearing it Up

Randle Curry, J.T. Thomas, Bob Glaub & Don Heffington more

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Tried & True

Jaime Hanna & Jonathan McEuenmore

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The Brand New Opry - Another Time Vol. 1

Jonathan McEuen, Phil Salazar, Jamie Hanna, John McEuen & others more

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Nitty Gritty Surround

John McEuen, Jimmy Ibbotson & special guest Jennifer Warnes more

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Albert Lee - Tearing it Up

Randle Curry, J.T. Thomas, Bob Glaub and Don Heffington more

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Albert Lee - Tearing it Up

Randle Curry, J.T. Thomas, Bob Glaub and Don Heffington more

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Laurence Juber - Guitar Noir

with Domenic Genova & Steve Forman more

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Peppino D'Agostino, Acoustic Guitar

with Juan van Emmerloot - perc/drums more

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Ernest Ranglin - Order of Distinction

with Robby Krieger, Elliot Easton, Monty Alexander more

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The Carl Verheyen Band - Rumor Mill

with special guest Jim Cox more

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The Grant Geissman Quintet - There and Back Again

Gordon Goodwin of the Big Phat Band, Jim Cox, Jimmy Johnson and Greg Bissonette more

dorian_michael_cover
Dorian Michael - Acoustic Blues

with Laurence Juber & Albert Lee more

fred_sokolow_cover
The Dale Spalding Band - Downtown

Lon Price, Bruce Malament, Tomas Gargano & Kenny Elliot more

blueshead_cover
Steve Pierson and Blues Head - Blue Me Away

Laurence Juber, Michael Murphy, Gerald Johnson & Gary Mallabermore

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Dorian Michael - Acoustic Blues

with Laurence Juber & Albert Lee more

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The Dale Spalding Band - Downtown

Lon Price, Bruce Malament, Tomas Gargano & Kenny Elliot more

ktla_cover
Music Of Lowen & Navarro - Keep The Light Alive

Jackson Browne, John Ondrasik, Keb' Mo', The Bangles more

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Paul Williams - I'm Going Back There Someday

special guests Willie Nelson, Melissa Manchester & The Great Gonzo more

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The Carl Verheyen Band - Rumor Mill

with special guest Jim Cox more

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The Carl Verheyen Band - Take One Step

Cliff Hugo, Chad Wackerman, Bernie Dresel & Jim Cox more

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Keaton Simon - Drive Away!

with Scott Bruzenak, Nate Wood, Scott Seiver more

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The Afro Cuban Latin Jazz Project - El Vuelo

Kamasi Washington, Gustavo Ramierez, Raul Pineda more

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The Latin Jazz Trio

Luis Conte, David Garfield & David Carpenter more

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AC Timba Jazz

featuring the music of Long John Oliva more

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Bad Haggis - Span

with special guest Ruben Blades more

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Ernest Ranglin - Order of Distinction

with Robby Krieger, Elliot Easton, Monty Alexander more

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The Afro Cuban Latin Jazz Project - El Vuelo

Kamasi Washington, Gustavo Ramierez, Raul Pineda more

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AC Timba Jazz

featuring the music of Long John Oliva more

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The Latin Jazz Trio

Luis Conte, David Garfield & David Carpenter more

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Romanian Folk Music

featuring The Adrian Petrescu Band more

HD MUSIC DOWNLOADS
The entire catalog of AIX Records, including the 5.1 surround mixes, is available for downloading. You can choose to download files from this site or visit our partner site iTrax.com to access our HD digital files.
ARTICLES
download debacle
Download Debacle
Recently, I was alerted to an article published in HiFi News & Record Review, a British audiophile publication that claims to be "the longest serving and most prestigious hi-fi and music magazine in the world". It was written by Keith Howard, an acquaintance of mine from some years back, and entitled, "HD download debacle". The subtext reads, "High sample-rate music downloads are not all they seem". I couldn't agree more and was quite pleased that the publisher of a major magazine on audio has the wherewithal to take the high ground on this issue. My compliments to editor Paul Miller and HFN. Everything that Keith discovered during his investigation maps perfectly with my own research and reporting. The world of HD digital music retailing is not everything that we would like to expect.

I'd like to share a few of the items that Keith included in his report. I think readers will find this very illuminating. Here's his opening paragraph: "When audiophiles buy a hi-res music download, most do so on trust. If they've paid a premium for a 24-bit/88.2, 24/96, 24/176.4 of 24/192 download, they reasonably expect that the enhanced bandwidth offered by the higher sampling rate will be fully exploited, inasmuch as the source material allows. But our investigations show that this trust is sometimes misplaced, and those price premiums are being asked for audio files in which the signal bandwidth has been curtailed."

First, he points out that this is not a new situation. At the introduction of high-resolution or high definition audio formats back in 2000, Paul Miller published an article exposing many of the early DVD-Audio productions as lacking substantial improvements over CDs. The SACD and DVD-Audio formats were specially designed to, "demonstrate the audible superiority of 96 kHz/192 kHz recordings over CD's 44.1/16-bit format [but, in fact] actually sounded worse." My contention has always been that a standard definition recording from the past placed in a container that exceeds its fidelity standards remains a standard definition recording. We might be getting the best possible rendition of that older track but it is not the same thing as having a new recording done with live musicians at 96 kHz/24-bits. And it shouldn't be marketed as such.

Keith's first example of "ham-fisted" upsampling came from High Definition Tape Transfers, which to me is an oxymoron of the most blatant type. Every analog tape recording is standard definition (limited dynamic range and frequency response) thus transferring it to an HD bucket is pointless…unless the company juices the frequency response somehow. There are a couple of very informative graphs showing the "butterfly" effect of this sort of audio foolery. HDTT remade the files and sent them to all of their customers that had purchased the version on steroids.

The next part of the discussion in the article focuses on HDtracks.com, the company headed by David and Norman Chesky. Keith writes, "has never, to my knowledge, released anything so crass (as the HDTT folks) but is has sold, and at the time of writing continues to sell, files which do not have as wide a bandwidth as you might reasonably expect from their sampling rate."

He continues by pointing out, "as an example that's been on sale for a long time is the 24/96 download Peter Frampton's Frampton Comes Alive, the spectrum of which clearly shows the presence of steep low-pass filter just above 20 kHz." The track, he concludes, "this track has been upsampled." To be fair, Mike Lawson of HDtracks did re-label the Frampton title as 48/24 and it is as good as you will ever get from an analog sourced original. My argument is that it should be labeled accurately from the outset. Anything that goes back to the days of analog tape shouldn't be "upsampled" and sold for a premium price.

In a subsequent paragraph, Keith goes on, "HDtracks removed John Coltrane's Lush Life when this was exposed as being filtered. The spectrum of "Like Someone in Love" appears to have been low-pass filtered twice, probably indicating that it was upsampled from 44.1 kHz to 96 kHz. In contrast, the Frampton download remains available at the time of writing this and, moreover is not an isolated case - in fact it has some notable company among HDtracks' classical titles." He downloaded a couple of classical tracks that are available on the HDtracks site and found that they too, were subjected to "steep low-pass filtering just above 20 kHz."

And it gets worse when you think that customers can spend an additional $10 for the 176.4 kHz versions. Keith's conclusion, "the $10 premium for the 176.4 version buys you, effectively, nothing."

The article also targets Linn's high resolution downloads as suffering from the same manipulations. Linn promises to pay closer attention to the quality of their source, the rigor of their procedures and to do a spectral analysis of all new content. Why wasn't this done previously?

The end of the article doesn't instill a lot of confidence in the press and websites that report on our industry, "Unfortunately the hi-fi press - which ought to be taking a leading role - has mostly sat on its hands: hi-res recordings are routinely reviewed without any attempt to confirm their provenance. Web sites that review hi-res recordings are arguably even worse since their coverage typically outstrips that of the hi-fi magazine but their reviews again include no objective assessment of the signal bandwidth supplied. Online audio forums fill the gap to some extent, but aren't to be relied on, in this matter or any other. For instance, in an Audio Circle forum discussing HDtracks' Rolling Stones downloads, ted_b, described as a Facilitator, wrote, 'Spectrum analysis shows lots of energy way above 30 k for these Stones 176.4 k rips, and not just noise-shaping' - which clearly flies in the face of our own results".

I believe that it's time for digital music retailers, high definition record companies and the press (both printed and online) to adopt an open and honest approach to high definition music recordings. The more information that consumers have the better it will be for everyone…the high-end segment of the business will improve and music lovers will know what is possible with real high definition tracks.

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RECENT REVIEWS

recent article
Apple Announces iTunes May Support High Resolution

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REVIEW ARCHIVES

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OUR FAVORITES

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John Gorka - The Gypsy Life

featuring Susan Werner, Amilia K. Spicer, Russ Rentler & Michael Manring more

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SPECTRAGRAPHS

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Phil Parlapiano, Brett Simons & Dan Marfisimore

EXPERTS AGREE

  • "I worry about sound quality and old ways of the industry. Up-sampled CDs, play-everything consumer machines and lawyers killed the DVDA. The tragic consequence was much like humanity creating the first wheel and breaking it apart so it would not roll away. Many titles in vaults have sonic losses from compression and sampling that can’t be recovered. Yet, surely, there will be re-issues even though high resolution will not improve them. Some reviewers use analyzers to spot these marketed imposters."

    Keith O. Johnson, Chief Engineer and Technical Director, Reference Recordings

  • "It's good to know there are still some labels left dedicated to making high quality surround recordings. I applaud you for educating people about what is and isn't HD (analog tape/vinyl being an example that isn't HD)."

    Dr. Sean E. Olive / Director of Acoustic Research/Corporate R&D.

AN ENCOURAGING CUSTOMER COMMENT
"AIX is like the Bentley of audiophile labels. "

Brian Healy - Customer.
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