Where would you like to see audio go in the next 20-30 years?

Where would you like to see audio go in the next 20-30 years?
Here's what I'd like to see
89% (88 votes)
No idea
11% (11 votes)
Total votes: 99

Forget about what you think will <I>probably</I> happen, if you could set the agenda, where would you like to see audio go in the next 20-30 years?

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COMMENTS
Beggerman's picture

I would like to see the audio world do two things: 1) Make high quality music portable, so those who are constantly moving can appreciate good music. 2) Make high quality sound available to the masses (ie make it cheap). Being 18 and being on a fixed budget makes it hard for me to get good equipment. And it would make the manufacturers put out better formats and technology.

Mike in WI's picture

A miracle cure for hearing loss. (Mine is from "a virus.") Failing that, how about a device to bypass the ear, "hearing" directly from the auditory nerve or in the area in the brain devoted to hearing?

Brian Uffer's picture

I have a general rule with today's equipment. With the exception of speakers and room, all comparable equipment sounds the same +/- 5%. I think the audio industry aught to focus on several major areas where greater impact can be had for less cost on the consumer's side. After all, what good is the SACD format, if the recording itself is inferior. I think people are too caught up in formats. I contend recording quality is a bigger issue than the format recorded on. In fact, when I dub a record onto a CD, it soundsmore like the record than a "digital" CD ... unless the record sounds digital. This leads me to the first area of improvement. 1)Recording technique used for the average CD. I think there's still a lot to be gained ... without making the consumer spend another $10K on their system. For example ... improving microphones, and strategy with respect to their placement. I think the quality of the studio's equipment could also be enhanced. Also, over-compression and other such unnatural processing should be reduced. Take CDs like the Sheffield Drum Disc. Why can't drums sound like that on all CDs? 2)Multi-channel. Please folks, can we get a standard? Even the computer industry eventually arrives at a standard. Also how about 6 channel sound. 6 channels doesn't have to be for Home Theater only. But, once again ... make proper use of it ... don't try to surround me with an orchestra. Instead, make it natural and try to make me think I'm in a hall listening to one. 3)Room eq - One area where I think the consumer can improve is room equalization. The room plays as big a part as anything else in a system. Speaker manufacturer's build to spec in special chambers. Last time I checked, most consumers don't use an anechoic chamber. Perhaps more can be done to achieve a room response closer to that of an anechoic chamber. It goes without saying that I still feel effort should be made to improve individual components and speakers ... afterall, that's how quality filters down to the more affordable equipment, but let's not design for the sake of design. Have a scientific basis for the design. Most designers do, but then try to sell us on hype. Frankly, they'd be more believable if they could provide scientific explanations in more easy-to-understand terms. Note: This is not to imply that specs are the bottom line. But that brings me to my next point. 4) We need better ways of accounting for a component's sound. Clearly, today's measurement accuracy and/or measurement priorities are not the only determing factors as to how something will sound. The industry, as a whole, needs to improve so that specs will help tell the story. Perhaps, then we can provide ideal specs for accompanying components so that we can better match our components. 5)Magazine reviews - These days, you have to read between the lines to discover whether or not a particular component was well-received. I understand the business sode if things, so if you feel constrained, just tell us your perceptions ... bloomy, imaging, soundstage, bass, etc. Don't try coming to the conclusion as to whether component A beats component B. 6)Lastly ... it's all about the music. The internet and sites like Napster need to be embraced (without the thievery of course). Internet throughput is going to skyrocket in the coming years. Let's be prepared with lossless compression formats and forums where downloading is reasonably priced ... like a per CD basis where we get to decide what's on the CD. I'll pay, but don't let the record labels conspire to hike prices.

dave f's picture

Whole systems the size of your wallet that can produce accurately the sound of a full blown orchestra!! Oh, and a price tag equivalent to today's typical 25" TV...

Craig's picture

Has anyone watched TV recently? All of the ads and most of the "entertainment content" currently produced is stright out of music vidios. Not for me. As far as I am concerned the plug could be pulled and I would not mis it. As for movies...9 our of ten seem to have as their main goal to see how many times they can exceed 100dB and make a run at frying the dolby digital sound systems installed in the theaters. And most of this "entertainment" seems aimed at justifying all of the ego based "home theater systems" with their megawatt amps and subwoofers. Again as with TV a fast run into oblivion would be welcome. Audio forever, MAYBE with surround sound in twenty or thrity years when it gets more or less standardized and actually works well is duplicating the sound of actual musicical performances!

Viljoen Greeff's picture

I should be around so long?

John Adams's picture

An open, high resolution, digital audio standard that sounds like the master tape, allows the consumer unlimited access to the bits and fairly priced (much less than the current $15 to $30).

Jonathan Goldberg's picture

Twenty-thirty years is too long a horizon. In the forseeable future, I'd like digital room correction to become affordable, digital amps to become widespread, and some form of musical multi-channel to become practical. The surround system JA described is definitely an advance, albeit impractical. In general, I'd hope digital would be able to provide genuine advances, not just an (often poor) imitation of analog.

Tony P., Washington, DC's picture

1. Reissue all good recordings of the last 50 years in some durable format. 2. Invent a vinyl restoration system that can bring worn LPs back to their original condition. 3. Make some next-generation digital format (SACD or something like it) affordable ($500 or less for a decent player) and supported by a huge catalog of titles. 4. Cut prices of recordings by at least 50%.

Chris S.'s picture

Portable SACD quality audio would be my vision of the future. I would like a solid-state player the size of a wristwatch that held hours of music with no loss of resolution. Wagner's

I.M.  Outthere's picture

Let's hope there are some serious efforts to perfect that flat panel stuff. How about more attention to Infinite Slope crossovers? I'd like to see more American manufacturers hop on the high current bandwagon. Then there's the promise of digital amplification, especially for active speakers. There should be plenty of product and engineering advancements to keep your magazine in business for another generation. Now, if you'd just get some decent writers.

Mike H.'s picture

In the year 2050, people's tastes will evolve and everyone will realize how much garbage we've been putting in our brains for a century. People will throw out their televisions and all forms of video and home theater equipment. All of our senses will be heightened, driving out all of the overmarketed noisemakers, and ushering in a new audiophile era. What will people be listening to besides live music performed by friends? High quality monaural recordings.

Rodney Gold's picture

Massive SS memory , real cheap that works in any device No moving parts Digital amplification and Room correction built into speakers Flash downloads of whatever music you like in whatever format along with the software to play it Demise of the recording industry and their "manufactured" artists

P.G.'s picture

I'd like to see audio get more room friendly, Speakers which sound good against a wall as opposed to five feet into the room and components with more vibration resistance, allowig easier placement with less room interaction. If that's not possible, Ricki Lee Jones in my living room once a month for a concert will suffice.

Pittsburgher's picture

Give me today's state-of-the-art equipment at dirt cheap prices.

beken's picture

I want a holodeck. 3D realtime you're THERE there. In reality, RIAA and copywrite and patent holders will make it unaffordable for the general public.

Norm Strong's picture

The ability to play any piece of music at any time for a nominal fee would be the greatest improvement that could be made in home audio. Wide bandwidth digital connections would make this possible.

TABACA's picture

WHAT AN OPEN QUESTION! FIRST OF PRICES GET MORE INLINE WITH MY BUDGET. YA KNOW BOULDER AMPS FOR 5000.00 NO REALISTICALLY I WOULD LOVE TO SEE A MEDIA SETTLED ON THAT IS RECONGNIZED AS A WORLD WIDE MEDIA. NO MORE SACD,DVD-AUDIO,HDCD, 24BIT ETC. JUST ONE ALONG WITH MY VINYL. I WOULD HOPE THAT WE CAN ELIMINATE THE NEED FOR MOVEMENT TO REPRODUCE AND STORE SOUND. CERTAINLY WE COULD DEVELOPE A COMPUTER CHIP TYPE STORAGE. THEN WE COULD ELIMINATE THE EXTRA POWER SUPPLIES AND MOTOR AND MAKE RANDOM ACCESS FASTER AND HAVE NO TRACKING PROBLEMS AT ALL

Tim Bishop's picture

I wish I had a crystal ball, but I do not! My best guess is that audio only will be an ever smaller percentage of what it is today. Combined video and computer applications will be the dominating force, and some other new toy's will dilute the market even more. The sad truth is that people who sit in front of a amp and speakers will be a tiny group -- they will be similar to the photo hobbyists who still use silver-based film and 35mm cameras. But then again, other things have had thier revivals!

LEWIS's picture

I WOULD LIKE TO SEE HIGH END AUDIO AIMED AT THE AVERAGE (NEW) LISTENER. THIS SUBJECT HAS BEEN MENTIONED MANY TIMES IN STEREOPHILE. I THINK ALL MANUFACTURERS, DISTRIBUTERS, ETC. SHOULD ADDRESS THIS SUBJECT. WHAT IS REALLY BEING DONE IN MARKETING TO OBTAIN NEW LISTENERS? WHAT HAS REALLY BEEN DONE TO DRAW A POTENTIAL CUSTUMER AWAY FROM THE CIRCUIT CITY JUNK TO SOMETHING NICE YET AFFORDABLE? LET'S FACE FACTS, IF YOU TELL SOMEONE THEY MAY HAVE TO SPEND EVEN $3000 FOR A COMPLETE SYSTEM THEY WILL THINK YOU ARE CRAZY. ALSO THERE ARE MANY POTENTIAL CUSTUMERS OUT THERE WHO HAVE NO IDEA WHERE TO FIND THESE PRODUCTS, OR IF THEY EVEN EXIST.

Ed Strnad's picture

You'll only have to *think* of a song or group and you'll hear an instant wireless feed of real three-dimensional music from any desired venue fed direct into your brain's neurons (low-bass vibration data fed to skin-sense brain areas too). There will be no moving parts, except for Tom Edison, who will be rolling in his grave!

Bariman's picture

I do not see things changing a whole lot from where they are at now. Multi-Channel music will continue to gain popularity on the DVD-Video format. Neither SACD or DVD-Audio will gain popularity due to the huge expense of buying into one of these formats. Two channel music will continue to be available on CD. Sadly tube and the LP will probably disappear.

Stephen Curling's picture

Digital! Pure digital radio over fiber optics cables!

AKA Herb's picture

I would like to see a new computer data compression method that discards 99.95% of a CD's data so a CD will fit in a 300K file and will download so fast that it will free up the bandwidth on the net for doing something other than moving crappy reproductions of crappy little tunes around. It doesn't matter how it sounds since MP3s are cd quality to so many already. Even the music studios should not care about it then since Cd's on a mini-system will then be a bit better and people will shell out for them. By the way, who is at fault for people settling for the sound of MP3s anyhow?

Robinson's picture

I would like hi-fi to become affordable for working people. The manufacturers and magazines are marketing to third world dictators, robber baron monopolists, international arms dealers, corporate bankers, corporate lawyers, and international drug dealers.

Michael Collette's picture

A new, "clean" analog format that arrives without hiss, rumble, scratches, etc.

Steve Scharbach's picture

I would like to see very realistic multi-channel sound, with the option of having a video of the performers, to simulate a live concert or recording session. I would like a system that is designed to be synergistic, to avoid all the expensive and dubious tweaks.

Frank Holderfield's picture

Easier access for the mainstream consumer to actually listen to High End. Ban all sales of audio from Circuit City, K-Mart, Best Buy, etc. All audio dealers will have to be licensed. There will be increased activity on the internet -- we'll be able go online "live" with the dealer and view the different products you're interested in, while at the same time being able to converse with the salesperson. While this is happening, sidebars will pop up, noting reviews/prices from consumers, as well as professional audio reviewers (who also have to be licensed). All dealers have to carry a minimum line of turntables and a moderate collection of vinyl for sale.

Tim Donahue's picture

I think we need to do away with the obsession with multi-channel music. When you go to a concert, the music comes from in front of you, and the surroundings dictate the effect on the music, and I think it should be the same in a home listening environment. So, long live two channel, or better yet: ONE BIG CHANNEL.

Mark D's picture

First, let's stop fooling ourselves with digital. I'd like the whole bad dream to end. In thirty years I'd like to see perfect analog forever! Then the high end would be achieved.

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