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?

jamie's picture

Still two channel, stereo Hi-fi as it should be. Its fine as it is, stop trying to change what's already great! Buy more music.

Jay P.'s picture

Total convergence. One player, one amp system, does all. Automatically senses two, three, four, five, six or seven (ad nauseum) channels and self-adjusts to suit. Comes complete with automatic calibration system for channel balance and frequency response relative to room environment.

Barry Krakovsky's picture

High -end audio should continue to pursue fidelity to the music, reliability in build quality, and ultimately "value" for the consumer. As far as the format is concerned I have no idea if five, six, eightor whatever channels will best serve the music. Ideally, serving the music will be the guiding force in that decision.Of course the most sophisicated hardware in the world ain't worh a damn if the music's no good.So let's be careful about cutting music education out of our curriculum!

Barry Krakovsky's picture

Of course, the most sophisicated hardware in the world ain't worh a damn if the music's no good.So let's be careful about cutting music education out of our curriculum! There's something to be said about government supporting the arts.

Mark B.Nelson's picture

In the future, I'd like to see a single, uniform format. Audibly superior, it should please the audiophile and tin ear alike. It should be usable at home, in the car, and portable. It will be inexpensive enough that copyright infringement won't be an issue. It will bring people together and give them something to argue about.

Norman L.  Bott's picture

I would like one system to play all digital formats including SACD and DVD-Audio, depending on which format wins the war. There is only so much room in an efficiency apartment for equipment.

Glenn Bennett's picture

By 2020, people will no longer attend live music. They will want to make the experience as life-like as possible in their homes, and a big trend will develop to have only speakers in the front of the listeners. A huge new market will open up selling only two-channel components and the masses will love it and buy it as fast as the makers can pump it out. People will no longer patronize movie threaters that have 40 channels of surround sound because it is so unnatural. Even Mick Fleetwood (now the oldest musician alive) says he thinks he is learning to like it, if it is turned up loud enough for him to hear it.

Steve Neshan's picture

With the way some reviewers drool over the sound of their systems I'd have to wonder how much improvement is left. Perhaps the biggest obstacle still left to overcome is the listening room.

Benjamin Goulart's picture

More people will get into headphones. Someone will eventually create a single speaker transducer that can replicate the the full range of frequencies in an optimal manner. Cochlear implants will promise "better than real audio" quality. Interpolitive upsampling of old CD's will be the defacto way of listening to most music for most people. HDCD Model 2 and JVC K2 will be the bare minimum of A/D mastering standards. Universal (DVD-A, SACD, HDCD, DTS, DD) Players will control a growing portion of the market. Analog recievers with Universal Player Ready 6-Point Inputs will make a comeback.

Bob Hoshall's picture

There are so many audio products of the highest quality. My vision for the audio industry is for the mainstream labels to produce a truly audiophile level finished product. I really don't think SACD or DVD-A will have as much impact as completely revampted recording efforts. Could you imagine all the huge mainstream companies producing CDs like, but not limited to, Reference Recordings, Telarc, Chesky, Stereophile, Pope Music, MFSL, Sheffield Labs, GRP, Audioquest, Narada, Windham Hill, Delos, and yes, Mapleshade! If we began to see this level of recording perfection coming out of the "BIG GUYS" everyone wins! Is this too much to ask?

Jim Merrill's picture

Better speakers, fewer tubes, more SACD & DVD-A, less vinyl, less heavy-handed engineering of recordings, more surround sound, less two channel, and better room treatments.

Brian Ravnaas's picture

1.) the move away from stuffy inaccesible behavior towards a hi-fi community that will stop alienating its own future. 2.) the return to progressive thinking in the hi-fi community. 3.) the use of technology to create, finally, truly realistic 3-D sound. 4.) for the world to somehow remember that just listening to music can be the most rewarding form of electronic entertainment. This relates directly to #1. 5.) for every audiophile in the world to think about #'s 1 and 4.

skaater's picture

that musos and the high end aren't mutually exclusive!

Ray N.'s picture

I'd like to see the price of cd's come down from the stratoshere. I like the fact that there are places on the web where you can listen to several cuts from a cd. I don't like paying $18 for a cd and after I listen to it a few times I find I only like a couple of the cuts. Although, one can't get a grip on the sonic quality from music from the web. You still have to get the cd and listen to it through your system.

Paul45LA@aol.com's picture

I see four possibilities, but they depend on a strong economy. SACD players might become the source of choice for audiophile recordings. Fiber optic cable could replace FM as the source of choice for live performances. R&D in the area of advanced materials technology could mean significant improvements in loudspeakers. And look for significant improvement in solid state and hybrid amplification.

Dennis of Missouri's picture

Simply, music worth listening to. Commercial pop music is one factor which has impelled me to wear hearing protection in public almost all the time. Rap rhymes with crap? The rest does not but it may as well. I'm going up to Minneapolis next month for the Nordic Roots Festival, and some good music!!

Reed's picture

I once had this wild vision of a huge listening room in which all the speakers would be put on tracks. The speakers would then position themselves in relation to the recording. For example, if the vocalist or instrument in question is positioned slightly left of center in the soundstage, the speaker would position itself there. Also, there would be no more fade outs.. the speaker would just gradually move away from the listener until he could no longer hear the material. Wild and impractical, I know, but its fun to think about, and I bet the sound would be great.

Pat O&#039;Connor's picture

While the equipment is better, the formats better, the group music is crap. The 60's and 70's group are still paramount. Todays music so a far cry from the hey day of music. I've got the Pioneer SPEC I and IV series amp and personally I wouldn't trade them for any gear out there. The SPEC series amps for their time still rate high in many catagories.

Jerry Swartout's picture

I foresee developement of a more standardized, phase correct, recording processes that when reproduced by home systems whether through loudspeakers, or by headphones, will present a time accurate, more accurate reproduction of the original event.

Harry Hardwire's picture

Neural implants. Le'ts get past all this equipment stuff.

Nikola Krstic's picture

Computer based systems with video reproduction

Jon's picture

VIVA LA (EL?) NAPSTER! It'll force those stuffy recording industry executives to embrace more high definition digital audio formats to distinguish themselves from what's freely available. Why do I care if Joe six-pack has an SACD or DVD-A player and couldn't tell you 24 bit from 8-track? Because it means more high resolution digital music for ME. Will Joe six-pack buy it? Sure. Bose has proven that merely telling him it's the best will work.

Neid L.  Engroove's picture

I'd like to see the analogue medium return as the "standard" for musical reproduction. Bring back those glass amp/preamp/'table combos, and couple them with two channels of blissful listening opportunities. Let's throw away that 5 channel noise, those terrible cds, SACDs, 96/24 poppycock, and the dad, dvd, and hybrid dad/dvd hype. Let's do something really wild and crazy--let's put the audiophile bucks back into the magical 2 channel playback systems of yore. The investment should more than pay for itself in reaching that elusive place called audio nirvana. A wild idea? Maybe. A smart investment in high end audio? Without a doubt!

JOHN L.  HOLMES's picture


Doug Cline's picture

Toslink jack just behind my right ear. No more speakers, no more room correction, no more power amps, of course we would still have all of the recording and digital playback system to complain about! Improvements could include a video data link and then we could get rid of the big screen HDTV set. Imagine a thought controlled choice of your seating preference that includes the corressponding audio/video perspective! Maybe you could actually "be" the performer. (Holy Matrix Batman!) Seeing as we have already made it to the Brave New World, why not take the next step? Imagine how this would be marketed. Imagine a virtual Krell (TM of course) maybe even a virtual $70,000 turntable, and why not a virtual MF to teach you how to hear all of those virtual nuances!! Hope this was "wild" enough for you, but that was your request, I just hope I am still alive to see 30 more years of audio improvement.

Horst LaRocca's picture

I would like to see manufacturers concentrate their research and design efforts more on the emotional issues involved with listening to music at home. It's great that all of the modern ultra-Hi Fi gear today has great specs, but I would like to be drawn into the music more than I am now. I believe "Audio Nirvana" has more to do with emotion than measurements. Likewise, I don't think todays standard reviews of gear reflect these emotional issues either. Wouldn't it be great to have that connection with the music everytime you turned your system on?

Steve in Az's picture

I would like to see digital audio sources taken to the maximum without all these format "upgrades." We have have the technology NOW to make outstanding digital sources that have the smooth analog quality we long for--but once again, manufacturers are gonna milk us out of every cent along the way. With the leaps and bounds in the computer industry, you can't tell me that outstanding sounding digital sources can't be made affordably.

D.A.B., Pacific Palisades, CA's picture

Focus on vinyl/analog.

Ken's picture

Electronic speakers, a la "Corona Wind."

AJSchmidt's picture

100% uncompressed, DRM-free, 192kHz/24-bit, 5.6MHz DSD equivalent, streaming straight to my aural cerebral cortex, from my 18th generation iPod. I can hear it now...