Ask The Experts
On opening day of RMAF 2012, I moderated a seminar titled, "Ask The Experts: Your Computer Audio Questions Answered. Michael Lavorgna, Editor of AudioStream.com Assembles a Panel of Computer Audio Experts to answer your questions about file-based playback." The panel consisted of David Chesky, Chesky Records/HDtracks.com; Andreas Koch, Playback Designs; Gordon Rankin, Wavelength Audio; Rob Robinson, Channel D; Steve Silberman, AudioQuest; Mark Waldrep, AIX Records/iTrax.com. As you can see, we had a great panel with a diverse skill set and background and what you can't see is the place was pretty much filled to capacity. The crew at RMAF captures every seminar on video so I'll be sure to post a link to ours when it's ready.
After we introduced ourselves I opened the floor to questions which were lively, varied, and interesting ranging from connectivity to metadata to recording techniques to iTunes to DSD and more. At one point, Rob Robinson asked the audience, with a show of hands, if they were involved in computer audio and about 60% of the hands in the audience went up.
What I found of even greater interest is there was some disagreement among the panelists on a few questions and issues. One related to the question—Is there an audible difference between file formats like WAV and FLAC—and the other was concerned with recording techniques and what constitutes an HD track. I'll let the video speak for itself but I thought David Chesky summed up the subject of differences beautifully and generously when he pointed out that some people who are responsible for the recordings we listen to, like Mark Waldrep and Keith Johnson of Reference Recordings, "get it". Which is to say no matter the theoretical approach, the end result is well-recorded and great-sounding music.