AIX Announces Multi-perspective DVD-A Discs

One of the more interesting displays at Home Entertainment 2001 was a small booth belonging to West Hollywood, CA–based AIX Media Group, which was manned by company president Mark Waldrep. At the show, Waldrep discussed his work in creating DVD-Audio recordings with multiple perspectives, selectable by the listener via remote control.

Waldrep mentioned the possibility of mixing multi-miked recordings and encoding them on the disc in such a way that one could move from a more distant perspective to a close-up, possibly in sync with a video. A music fan with the proper equipment might be able to move in—both sonically and visually—for an instrumental solo or operatic aria during a recorded performance. Such effects have previously been limited to real-time occurrences in control booths, but once the performance was "in the can," its playback was fixed for all time.

Waldrep's audio division, AIX Records, appears to be making good on some of his promises. In late May, the company announced the June release of its first three DVD-Audio discs with multiple multichannel audio formats and multiple full-motion video tracks. The new releases include one jazz performance and two classical concerts, all on dual-sided DVDs. One of the sides will be have dual layers, meaning that each disc will offer at least three different formats. A single-layer side will feature a 5.1-channel 96kHz/24-bit recording using Meridian Lossless Packing. The Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, and DD 2.0 versions offer a sonic perspective from the audience; a second DD 5.1 soundtrack will reveal the same performance from onstage. The dual-side soundtracks include full-motion video recordings as seen from three camera angles.

AIX appears to be totally focused on exploiting the entertainment potential of DVD, and has no plans to release any SACD titles. Audiophiles without integrated home entertainment systems will not be able to enjoy the full benefit of AIX recordings, which will retail at $24.98 each, whether in stores or through the company's website. AIX has collaborated on the production of more than 100 DVD movies from companies such as Image Entertainment, Sterling Home Entertainment, Fox Lorber Associates, Inc., and Troma Entertainment, Inc. The company plans to release nine more "DVD-A/V" titles in the near future.