Music and Audio: A User Guide To Better Sound

With almost 900 pages, 300 illustrations, and an accompanying Blu-ray disc full of high-resolution music demos (in stereo and surround), Music and Audio: A Guide to Better Sound is the first book on high-end music that takes a realistic view of hi-res audio formats, equipment purchases, and record production — and it's finally finished! Order your copy now. Called, "The Gold Standard", this book is thorough, honest, and will undoubtedly save you money!


The new "Gold Standard" in high-end audio books is finally finished! After more than two years, the wait is finally over. Purchase a copy for yourself by visiting the bottom of this page. I launched this project with the amazing support of almost 1000 backers on Kickstarter in the fall of 2015. You can visit the original Kickstarter page at Visit the Kickstarter Page If you have any questions about Music and Audio: A User Guide To Better Sound, please feel free to contact the author at

The Book

Music and Audio: A User Guide To Better Sound has been called "The Gold Standard" of high-end audio books and "An Instant Classic" by readers and reviewers! This unique look at music and high-end audio was written by an experienced, award-winning audio engineer/producer and blogger who isn't beholding to advertisers or manufacturers. Learn from an expert who has spent 40 years as an audio engineer, award-winning record producer, audiophile, writer, and musician — get accurate, unbiased information in easy to follow, non-technical presentation. The book has 880 pages and nearly 300 illustrations!

Music and Audio: The Basics

An introduction to audio and music: learn about volume/amplitude, frequency/pitch, and harmonic spectra/timbre.

Music Production

Making a great recording is the first step in getting better sound. Learn what the pros are doing.

Signal Flow: Analog and Digital

Ever wondered what the difference is between TOSlink and S/P DIF? Make all the right connections.

Formats: Facts and Fiction

What fidelity is possible with Vinyl LP, Analog Tape, CD, DVD, SACD, Blu-ray, Files, MQA, and Streaming?.

A Complete Hi-Fi Chain

Your system is only as good as its weakest link. How to identify and upgrade your rig without spending a lot of money.

New Trends: Downloads vs. Streaming

MQA, Tidal, Deezer, Sonos…where is audio headed? Let me share some insights.

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1.   About the Blu-ray Demonstration Disc

2.  Introduction

3.   What Is Fidelity?

4.   What Is High-End Audio?

5.   Music Fundamentals

6.   Audio Fundamentals

7.   Pulse Code Modulation: Digital Done Right

8.   Direct Stream Digital: 1-Bit Upstart

9.   Music Production Techniques

10.  Music Formats: MP3 to MQA

11.  Provenance, Definitions and More

12.  Acoustics, Rooms and Speaker Location

13.  Source Components

14. Preamplifiers, AV Receivers and Amps

15. Speakers and Headphones

16. Hooking It All Together: Cables

17. Multichannel Audio

18. MQA: A Solution — To What?

19. Tips, Tricks and Treachery

20. Meet the Experts


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.


Industry luminaries including: -

Andreas Koch (Playback Designs), Richard Schram (Parasound Products), John Siau (Benchmark Digital), Brian Lucey (Magic Garden Mastering, Gavin Lurssen (Gavin Lurssen Mastering), Sam Berkow (SIA Acoustics), Bob Hodas (Bob Hodas Acoustic Analysis), Jonathan Reichbach (Sonic Studio), and John Keane (musician, producer, and Emmy-nominated composer)..


Introduction to Multichannel Audio

Until the late 1950s music listening was limited to monophonic recordings. The introduction of stereo radio broadcasts and LPs in the late 50s opened the door to a whole new dimension in music enjoyment. Stereo has enjoyed a very long reign as the music delivery standard and has served the artistic intent of musicians quite well. But the arrival of high-end, consumer, multichannel audio formats such as DVD-Audio, SACD and Blu-ray promise to enhance music enjoyment in ways that stereo simply cannot.

Multichannel audio has been tried before. In the 1970s, ingenious engineers coaxed 4 channels from the grooves of a stereo LP using a matrix system. Channel separation and available recordings were not stellar but those who experienced CBS’s SQ or JVC’s CD-4 “quadraphonic” hardware and software were treated to a glimpse into the future.

The next step was realized at the turn of the new millennium with the introduction of the DVD-Audio and SACD formats. These new high capacity optical discs were capable of storing 6 or more times the amount of data found on the traditional compact disc and they featured HD-Audio and surround sound. Unfortunately, consumers were confused by two competing formats and ultimately neither format gained widespread popularity. DVD-Audio and SACD were catalysts for the production of multichannel music releases. Multichannel music lovers covet the releases that were released by the major labels and were inspired by the many independent 5.1 music projects that emerged from labels like my own.

The Disc

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The accompanying Blu-ray Disc (also available as file downloads) will contain a variety of great high-resolution demo tracks, a comprehensive set of test tones, and a section that allows instant comparison between resolutions, formats, mix types, and mastering levels. Think your system can deliver the fidelity necessary to hear the difference between CD quality and high-res? This disc will put it to the test.

The Blu-ray Disc

This unique disc will provide a personal guide through the world of hi-res music.

High-Resolution Music

Over a dozen REAL high-resolution audio tracks from the AIX Records collection.

Calibration Tones

Setup and calibration tones to help test and tweak your system.

Stereo, 5.1 Stage or 5.1 Surround Mixes

Instantly switch between traditional stereo and two different 5.1 mixes.

Comparing Audio Formats

Ever wanted to compare a variety of encoding formats by simply a button? This disc has it.

Unmastered vs. Mastered Tracks

Listen to several tracks before mastering and after heavy…and typical…compression is added.

High-Definition Videos

Most of the demo tracks have high-definition video as well as high-resolution audio tracks. See the musicians playing.

All Files Are Available As Downloads

If you don’t have a Blu-ray player, you can simply download all of the files with the included coupon.

1. Let Them InJohn Gorka

2. Is It Only Me?Hanna-McEuen

3. We Just DisagreeDave Mason

4. My Boy LollipopAlana Davis & Ernest Ranglin

5. Lulu’s Back In TownSteve March Tormé

6. MujakaThe Latin Jazz Trio

7. All the Things You AreJames Walker and Free Flight

8. Guitar NoirLaurence Juber

9. Shostakovich – Piano Quintet Op. 57/Movement IChamber Music Palisades

10. It Was A Lover and His LassZephyr: Voices Unbound

11. Mozart – Overture to the Marriage of FigaroCristian Mandeal – G. Enescu Phil.

12. Stravinsky – The Firebird Suite/FinaleCristian Mandeal – G. Enescu Phil.


Channel ID Test - Stereo and 5.1/7.1 Surround

Want to confirm that all of your speakers are connected correctly. Use the test tones on this disc. They are available in Hi-Res PCM, Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio.


Speaker Balance Test - Tones To Check That Your Speakers Are Balanced

It’s important that you have identical volume coming from all of your speakers. This section provides tones to balance stereo, 5.1 and 7.1 systems.


Speaker Phase Test - Confirm That Your Speakers Are In Phase

There are pairs of in phase and out of phases tones, which enable you to confirm that all of your speakers are in phase with each other. Available for stereo and surround systems.


Frequency Sweep Test - Use Sweep Tones To Check Your Entire System

There are pairs of in phase and out of phases tones, which enable you to confirm that all of your speakers are in phase with each other.


Stereo - Listen In Traditional Stereo

Each of the demonstration tracks on the Blu-ray comes with three different mixes. There is a 96 kHz/24-bit PCM stereo mix on one of the three parallel audio streams.


5.1 Stage POV - A Stage Mix Puts You Right On Stage

Imagine yourself sitting on stage with the band members. That’s what a stage mix sounds like. The sound envelopes you from all directions.


5.1 Audience - Experience The Music From The Best Seat In The House

If being in the middle of the band or on stage with the ensemble doesn’t feel right, then hit the AUDIO button on your remote and experience an audience 5.1 mix. You choose.

Have you ever wondered if you or your audiophile friends can tell the difference between a low quality compressed MP3 file, a very good lossy file, a CD, and a real high-resolution music track? Maybe your system isn’t up to the task? Test both using the format comparison section of the Blu-ray disc. Instantly switch between any of these formats playing the same music selection at exactly the same level.


This is a waveform of the same award-winning recording from the AIX catalog. The left half is the natural dynamics of the piece and the right is the same few minutes mastered for release through iTunes and on CD. Which do you think sounds more like the live recording?


Music and Tests Available As Files

If you don’t own a Blu-ray player, the eBook version of Music and Audio: A User Guide To Better Sound will include access to the test tones and comparisons. Note: you won’t be able to instantly switch between the formats, mixes, or mastered/unmastered files without a Blu-ray player.

The Author

Mark Waldrep is a recognized name in the world of audio engineering and audiophile music labels. He writes his daily blog at (over 1000 articles) and has over 5000 dedicated followers because he knows his stuff and isn't afraid to tell you when you're spending money in the wrong places. As Andrew Quint said in an article at The Absolute Sound, "Mark Waldrep knows what he's doing".


Mark was born in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in Birmingham. His father was a corporate pilot for General Motors and his mother a housewife. Read Complete Bio.

Audio Engineering & Media Production

Dr. Waldrep has been working professionally as a recording engineer and media producer since his late 20s, having studied at the Sherwood Oaks experimental college in Southern California with Brian Ingoldsby. Click here to see some of the projects that Mark has worked on.

Keynote Presentations

A frequent speaker, Dr. Waldrep has been invited to give keynote addresses all over the world including the Latin AES Convention in Bogota, Columbia and the InterBEE in Tokyo, Japan.

High-Resolution Audio/Music: Provenance Rules

Dr. Waldrep is one of the leading authorities on high-resolution audio/music. He has been recording and producing hi-res productions since 2000 with the arrival of the DVD-Audio format.


Dr. Waldrep has been a university professor in the California State University system since 1978 and currently is Professor of Audio Recording in the Division of Digital Media Arts at CSUDH. To see his university page, click here.

RealHD-Audio - Daily Blog

His daily blog posts can be found at Mark writes about audio, high-end systems, high-resolution music, and music production. Over 5000 people read his daily articles. Visit site.


Take a look at some photos taken over Dr. AIX’s career. Pictures of studios, seminars, and trade shows. Take a look.


A large number of videos of Dr. Waldrep can be found online at various trade events or being interviewed on Home Theater Geek and other webcasts. Here’s a link to a few of the more recent ones.

Reviews and Comments

The response to the new Music and Audio: A User Guide to Better Sound has been tremendous from customers, reviewers, and the entire audiophile community.


Music and Audio: A User Guide To Better Audio is available in a number of configurations depending whether you want an electronic or physical version of the book and downloaded files or the Blu-ray disc. Order your copy today! If you purchase the eBook, you will receive a link or the file via WeSendIt. Thanks.


Since 2000, Mark Waldrep has recorded produced and released almost 100 high-resolution music albums. He's worked with Jennifer Warnes, Willie Nelson, Rita Coolidge, John McEuen, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and Laurence Juber. Owners of AIX Records releases have had plenty of praise for Mark's products.






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