January 18, 2008

AIX Today and Tomorrow

AIX Records has been a recording label devoted to high-quality, high-resolution music in any number of formats. The new AIX Collectors Edition DVD-A/V packages include a DualDisc with a 24-bit/96kHz, 5.1-channel, MLP-encoded  "stage" mix for the DVD-A side, and a two-sided DVD-V with a 24-bit/96kHz stereo PCM mix as well as two different 5.1-channel mixes in Dolby and DTS with video of the session.

While I’ve heard AIX’s original DVD-As, it wasn’t until I received the new Collectors Edition of Ernest Raglin’s Order of Distinction [AIX 83047] that I was able to experience the music in such a comprehensive way. Whether played back in high-resolution stereo on my main system or in 5.1 surround sound in my bedroom home-theater setup, this package offered superb sound. While not exactly inexpensive at $50 each, these Collectors Editions certainly cram in more than enough options to justify the cost. Plus, you get the DVD-V of the musical set.

But that’s not the only news coming from AIX. If you’ll direct your browser to www.itrax.com, you’ll see the label's latest initiative: high-resolution downloads. Yep, you can now download music in MP3, Dolby Digital, DTS, Windows Media Professional, Windows Media Lossless or FLAC formats at up to 24-bit/96Hz PCM, and you can choose stereo or 5.1 audience or stage perspectives. Impressive. But in order to obtain the largest files in a reasonable amount of time you’ll need a very high-speed connection to the Internet. Normal DSL can take up to 50 minutes to download a 300MB file.

But the best news is yet to come. As bandwidth increases and we get ever faster download speeds, AIX is planning to offer HD video in both 1080p and 720p along with the high-resolution music. Since its inception, AIX has shot exclusively in HD. Now that's video even an old audiophile can appreciate.

...John Crossett
johnc@soundstage.com

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