My first visit at AXPONA was to the large ground-floor room where AIX Records' Mark Waldrep (pictured) was playing back some of his superb-sounding multichannel recordings from Blu-ray, complete with hi-def video.

Mark had assembled an impressive system, comprising four Bowers & Wilkins Diamond 802 speakers and a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond center-channel speaker, each driven by Bryston 7B-SST monoblock amplifiers and connected with DH Labs cables. Source was an Oppo BDP-95 player connected with HDMI to a Bryston SP-3 preamplifier/processor and video was sourced from a JVC projector.

Mark played several of his recordings but the one that stuck in my mind the rest of the Show was Rita Coolidge singing "Higher and Higher." As usual with AIX releases, the Bu-ray disc includes an audience-perspective surround mix, a musician-perspective surround mix, and stereo. "I can't listen to stereo anymore," Mark declared before explaining that his goal with his musician-perspective mixes, which AIX customers prefer, was to recreate the impact of vividness of William Ackerman's Windham Hill recordings from the 1980s, but in full surround. To that end, he mikes instruments closely, but always in stereo to preserve solid imaging.

dalethorn's picture

It's interesting, the notion that stereo misses so much of the sound that surround provides. Nonetheless I got myself a copy of the Chopin Ballades played by Anita Chang in stereo, and the recorded quality, performance, and dynamics were all exceptional. In stereo. Highly recommended.

belitzer's picture

I purchased a few discs at AXPONA Chicago.  The sound quality was incredible.  There are many options to accomidate the type of hardward you have.  

I hope the format keeps growing.  Surround is extremely well done.  It's hard to go back to stereo after this.  Something is just missing.  Maybe in the future POS will stand for Plain Old Stereo.....