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?

dick carney's picture

i would like to see the high end manufacturers start to develope equipment that people with shallow pockets can afford.

Marc Sindell's picture

Simple, affordable, reliable. Good sound, of course. Music on demand.

ear wax's picture

I'd like to see a system comprising of wireless, full-range bookshelf speakers that can be placed anywhere without sacrificing sound quality. Of course, the source components would also have to be wireless. The complete system would be well below $1000.

Jeffrey Wee's picture

All the new digital formats is just as it imply only a new format over vinyl. The greatest achievement audio can have would be the day the 'perfect' new digital medium of presenting recorded music catches up with the old imperfect medium!

George's picture

Recordings will have more and more detail. Just as digital cameras keep getting better and better in their resolution, so will music. DVD-Audio and SACD are just the beginning.

Graeme Nattress's picture

I'd like time travel so I can go and hear Bach play live!

Bill Hojnowski's picture

Multichannel will be here. There is no stopping that. I think the future lies in the new $1500 class-A components that are popping up on the Recommended list. Low cost high quality components brings high end audio to a wider range of people (me for example). Also, I hope I'll someday find a class-A portable CD player that I can plug my Sennheiser HD 600's into and listen on the go. If we are talking future. I want to be able to download music in 24/192 format from the Internet and store my entire library of music on one memory stick. For that matter, I want class-A computer speakers, too.

Emil's picture

In the future, I see many companies like Napster rising to success. Also, I believe that the sales of equipment that bypasses copyright encryptments, such as Minidisc, will skyrocket, meeting the demands of cheap music. I own such a machine, and have several disks of Metallica. Are they going to sue me too? Aslo, I see the new formats of SACD and DVD-A finding a nitch with multichannel sound>

Joel's picture

I think the complete Meridian systems that keep the signal digital until it reaches the DACs in the speaker units is the most forward-thinking design I've seen. Keep it in stereo, though. No multichannel for music, please.

J.  Arbukle's picture

Man, I will be dead in 20-30 years!

David L.  Wyatt jr.'s picture

I dream of one digital format, of watermarks washed away. I dream of reasonable software prices, and record companies who support artists that aren't potential million sellers. Clearly, I'm on acid.

tony esporma's picture

Neuron embedded MP-12 will be the norm. Multichannel with real downloads from Music@Microsoft. G8 cellular connection for pervasive broadband with direct audio and video nerve stimulation. Video stimulation will not be allowed while operating a moving vehicle. But with all of this, the music of 2030 will suck big time. Folks will still be listening to oldies from two-channel SACDs. And of course, Michael Fremer will have a newsletter hightlighting the lastest laser vinyl turntable.

Steve's picture

A turntable that "reads" record grooves with a laser, using opposing magnets to "float" the tonearm. Awesome idea . . . All the sound benefits of analog, and the durability of digital.

johnbr's picture

11channel 32bt

blah's picture

blah blah blah

Tiles Iscrumblin's picture

I recently had my entire home's tile roof completely torn down and built anew after many years of service. Now, I think that it's time for the great U2 to perform live in my living room to see just how good the re-build was.

rbm's picture

The paranioa of the recording industry will stifle any real advances in high resolution recording formats. Instead, mass market efforts will pursue online distribution and lossy compression techniques. This will cut the profit margins of big music. AOL-like companies will become the distributors of music. Increasing bandwidth and computing power will make high bit rate distribution possible. Hard disk-based systems will serve as both storage and playback devices. Nano technology merges with biotechnology allowing a peripheral interface that allows a musical experiences to be implanted in human short term memory. Some lawyer will try and charge the consumer for each time they recall these experiences. A variant of the technology will be developed by the online porn industry and the bloodsucking lawyer will instead revert to solicting.

JLT's picture

The emphasis from day one of the audio story has been on improving technological artifacts, rather than learning how people experience music. Yes, the field of psychoacoustics addresses this question, but only from the perspective of the human being as "hearing apparatus." In the future, systems will be designed to take into account the embodied predisposition of the listener, including all her prior life experience. For example, why is it that most Westerners, when first hearing sound of the sitar are irritated by it? What constitutes their embodied "prejudice" for certain kinds of sounds and not for others? And then, how is it that many Westerners become enchanted with the music of North and South India? What is different in their makeup that attracts them to this exotic music? Future research will produce ways of technologically enabling people to fall in love with music they would never have dreamed of enjoying. The PR for such a tool will call it "The Enchantment machine."

Anonymous's picture


Tassos Mavroudeas's picture

Some breef notes: Sound quality should be enhanced by the use of advanceed digital sound-recording formats. Surround sound will have to get more realistic. The problem here is not only the audio-format but other technologies like speakers. I would very much like to see a new speaker desighn, which can: *dissapear from the scene (ie one should not be able to understand that there is a speaker in this possition) *have less harmonic distorion *distributing the sound evenllly 360degrees and not just 45 to 100 Hi-End equipment should cost less!!!

Sam Tellig's picture

Backwards. (Only kidding. Sort of.)

Dman's picture

There will always be too many people with varying views and too many standards in the industry! Just look at the analog/digital debate or the controversy over tubes vs. transistors that is STILL alive and strong in the 'high end'. i think the mass market will come to some sort of 'one format/one supposed correct sound' before the high end industry ever considers that utopia is near. i don't believe we will ever come to a compromise in any aspect of audio (or video), simply because this industry and it's patrons are not about compromise, they are about perfection, for the most part!!! i don't think the integration of audio and video has really helped the high end at all. sure it has garnered great sales for those that have jumped on the bandwagon, but at what cosst to the persons that still use the older technology? i still listen to records and my wife loves her home theatre stuff. my 16 year old nephwe loves the sound i get from the latest releases on vinyl, but he's not about to drop even $1K plus on each component, not with MP3 and Napster-like downloading happening. the cost of entry into any of the high end market has now taken a serious turn for the worst because of the technology available to us.

Jim Tavegia's picture

Unobstusive, full range loudspeakers. I just had to cover my speakers in green fabric to deal with the "WFF" ( wife friendly factor) and keep our living room in visual perfection (to her) after redecorating. As you can see no Magnepans will ever make it here. No wonder I do so much headphone listening.

Sdcsvx's picture

Hologrammatic organo-crystalline memory modules with the ability to store terrabytes of high resolution audio and/or video information.

L.  J.  Markham's picture

I've been to the local shops quite a lot over the last couple of years. I was shopping for new speakers and heard some great gear. My vision is that some of this sound might be more attainable for the average audiophile living on a real world budget.

Kevin Elliott's picture

I see a higher demand for tube based buffers / preamps in the pro-audio world as more and more people are doing home studios with digital. They are finding it necessary to sweeten up the sound of their recordings with the tubes in the circuit, and there will be (already is) a proliferation of moderatly to expensive pro audio tube buffers. I see digital getting better and more convienient all the time, but I don't think that the PC will become the center of the home listening experience. True, more and more of the younger generation are going for the el-cheapo flashy boom box mini systems, not really caring about sound quality, but when I was young I listened to my favorit albums on a cheap console am / fm with 8 track and BSR turntable (ceramic cartridge). And, I have to admit, the boombox's of today sound way better than my old crappy solid state particle board Magnavox from the '70's. I don't think that High End audio will die out soon, but the landscape will change as new formats are introduced (provided the content providers can agree on anything). New technologies will be intorduced that will cause a new interest in sound (and video) quality.

Michael Chernay's picture

I would like to see the acceptance of multi cahnnel audio where experimentation is encouraged in both the equipment but also the recording. I would also like to see the boundries pushed in the quality that is produced

Going deaf at stoplights's picture

I just want everyone to understand that simply because a system can play loud does not make it good!

Corbey's picture

I want to have an my own personal, upgradeable audio chip wired into the old brain and connected at the back of the neck. Then I'll be able to program myself to play Rachmaninaff, just like the Boesendorfer piano.

LastPlayboy's picture

High quality equipment goes down in price by oh, I don't know 50%-70%. How could we do this? oh, I don't know, lets get rid of all the local stores that tack on that 50%-70% to the cost of equipment. Now that we can afford the stuff, lets make some nice looking audio furniture. I have yet to see very well designed seating, equipment racks, and media storage (I have seen all of the websites and companies, I am still diasappointed with what's available and its all way too expensive). An end to format wars is next on my list. Look at SACD and DVD-A who will win? That's easy DVD-A. Why? It already has an installed base of DVD players. What does SACD have? Nothing. Technically I don't know which is better but I do know one thing, if I can barely afford 2 channels of premium sound, I certainly won't be able to afford 5 plus channels of top-notch eqipment. For my last wish, I would like a Plasma (Flat) TV that is 50"-plus, HDTV(no format problems), works with TIVO, works with PS2, comes with a top notch universal remote, and costs $4000. Tall order, I know.