Will it be more of the same or is there a big development lurking around the corner? What are your audiophile predictions for 2009?
Apple announced this week that effective immediately all music on the iTunes store will be in the form of 256 Kbps AAC files with no DRM. My prediction would be that many more audiophiles will discover the convenience of downloading music to play through their new music servers.
Many more people will be using computers for music via servers and both server sales and the sales of DACs will increase substantially.
People realized that good recordings from vinyl sounds better(read more realistic)than on CDs Partly because better recording quality and not the least analog equipment. Magazines like Hi-Fi Plus reviewing new recordings on vinyl (as well) is more frequent now. I believe people with interest in audio reproduction will prefer vinyl. And this group is growing. There's a lot who are willing to spend a dime (or two)
I predict it is going to get hard to sell grossly overpriced high-end audio gear.
Well, with the state of economy and the majority of people worried about their jobs and homes, I'd have to sum it up in five letters. C-H-E-A-P. Even the handful of people who can afford higher-ticket audiophile products are probably gonna be more interested in self-preservation than a $10k music server.
Even "better," more revealing, speaker interconnects will be developed, and audio intellectuals will spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars to obtain them! Seriously, how about a smaller compressed lossless CODEC? I really don't want to have to purchase TWO tera-byte HDDs for my music library. happy new year!
Hopefully something, nothing got my attention in 2008!
More music delivery via on-line downloads to music servers. Class-D amps will be a much larger share of the market.
Just one, Blu-ray Audio, about 50 gigs on one disc, with reasonable bandwidth too!! Once the format is decided on, should be fun.
Blu-ray music discs will replace the failing SACD & DVD-Audio formats. Vinyl sales will continue to rise as CD sales drop and music downlodas will still supercede everything
Increased production of computer-generated hi end music components (ie more USB DAC's, whole-house systems, etc).
1. By the end of 2009, CD will appear to be practically dead (I know, I'm really going out on a limb here), having been supplanted by hi (or higher) rez downloads and Blu-Ray. This will especially be true when the record companies take their cue from the vinyl resurgence and add high perceived value extras, effectively market the better sound/video of Blu-ray and exercise their pricing ability. Unfortunately, there will still be a paucity of new releases worth listening to and you will still need to go on a vision quest to find them as they will not be among the 200 songs per genre played on comercial radion in 2009. Don't worry though, companies like Apple are continuing to democratize music production and distribution and the reckoning is coming, but probably not for another couple of years. 2. Wireless connections will further advance to the point where it will become clear that cabled connections are going the way of the buggy whip. Development will be led by the home theatre contingent, with hi end audio shrieking loudly and burying their heads in the sand for five more years. 3. Due to declining ad revenue and pressure from above, Stereophile will raise it's subscription rate to something closer $20 a year, which will result in a firestorm of criticism and about 5 subscriptions not being renewed. I mean if $12K can be considered a relative value in loudspeakers, is $20 for an actual monthly audio magazine really too much to ask. I'm just saying....
Music servers are about to go mainstream. I suspect that more companies will release high quality DACS at attractive prices.
Sad to say, but a shakeout across the entire high end industry. Why should it be different from every other segment of the economy. Dealers may have been supporting themselves with big buck home theater systems, but those may dry up with the rest of the real estate market, not to mention disappearing Wall St. bonuses. And just how many mega-buck components are actually purchased in a given year? Each show report brings us even more six figure speakers, turntables, and amplifiers. Nowadays, $20K is 'mid priced' for speakers. And then there are all of those mid four and five figure cables. Does anybody actually buy these things, or are there just a lot of talented designers who have already made a lot of money in other industries, and design these components just for fun. Every week brings to my inbox a fresh bunch of new releases on vinyl, cd, and sacd's. Yet a recent vote revealed that most audiophiles (at least those who voted) spend around $500/year. That's maybe 20-25 recordings. And sorry Mikey, a lot of stuff just doesn't deserved to be pressed on vinyl. Not those 70's recordings recorder and crummy transistor gear, nor a lot of today's music with all of the sampling. I just purchased Radiohead's In Rainbows on vinyl, but a Class C CD player has more resolution than is needed here. Playing IR is a waste of stylus life. Sorry to be so pessimistic, but I think that the high end economy really needs to rationalize itself.
Bankruptcies and mergers of companies that don't fail outright.
The vinyl resurgence will accelerate.
HIgh-end responds to music servers, first by launching more stand alone DACs, incorporating digital inputs for their CD/SACD players and in some cases DACs being incorporated into preamps
Hopefully, this will be the year that lossless audio will go wireless. When this technology matures, it will touch every audio application. Amplifiers/receivers/speakers that can receive wireless lossless signals will be embraced by the masses, not only the high enders.
Vinyl will again be recognized (by the masses) as the high-rez audio format of choice. Déjà Vu all over again. Happy Listening!
Very poor sales.
Lower costs with a weeding out of weak company's. While a small amount of people will still be able to afford the high end and the cost's most people will have to put on hold there furture purchase's until the economy improve's. They will no longer buy the newest high priced gadget but will use what they have.
Computer audio as a source component spreads dramatically. Class D amplification proliferates.
A new high-resolution media will be introduced that will be capable of about 25 minutes per side, and use a micro groove. Wait, that was 60 years ago!
More music servers and more downloading—hopefully in 24/192!! Bring it on. I've just spent my entire lunch looking for any (that's any) recording by E.S.T. but unable to find one. I'm ropable!
High-rez music download become more available (no, not CD quality).
2009 audiophile predictions: 1) the death of low resolution CDs and CD-only legacy machines 2) An increase in popularity of high resolution audio, SACD as well as DSD/PCM24/96 capable music servers
The return of the decent $500 stereo.
Breakthrough for music servers.
Sony will kill SACD production at it's plants and will simultaneously announce Blu-ray music offerings as the next wave.
An update to the vinyl recordconstant linear velocity cutting and playback, plus deeper grooves to reduce damage caused by superficial scratching.