a similar story on home theater audio. When you think about it, we've all gotten pretty comfortable with technology that no one could ever consider as cutting edge. Even though core recording products exist in the following areas, there's plenty of room for growth. Let's take a look at a pie-in-the-sky wish list:
1. A new speaker technology. We've been listening to recorded and
reinforced sound with the same technology for about 100 years now.
Sure, the loudspeaker has improved and evolved, but it's still the
weakest link in the audio chain. What we need is a new loudspeaker
technology that improves the listening experience and takes sonic
realism to the next level.
2. A new microphone technology. Something is seriously wrong when
the best and most cherished microphones that we use today were made 50
years ago. Just like loudspeakers, the technology has improved and
evolved over the years, but it's basically the same in that it's still
based around moving a diaphragm or ribbon through a magnetic field or
changing the electrical charge between two plates (that's a condenser
mic, if you didn't know). There has to be a new technology that takes a
giant leap to getting us closer to realism than what we have now.
3. Get rid of the wires. Studios have been pretty successful at
reducing the amount of wiring in the last 10 years or so, but there's
still too much. We need to eliminate them completely. Think how much
different your studio would be with wireless speakers, microphones,
connections to outboard gear, etc. Much of this is possible today, but
the real trick is to make the signal transmission totally lossless with
4. The ultimate work surface. Here's the problem. Engineers love
to work with faders and knobs. The problem is that faders and knobs take
up space, which changes the room acoustics, and which are expensive to
implement. When the faders and knobs are reduced to banks of 8, it gets
confusing switching between all the banks needed during a large mix.
What we need is a work surface that takes this hybrid to the next level,
giving the engineer enough faders and knobs to do the job, yet making
it totally easy to look at the banks underneath or above. I realize that
the bank concept has been implemented on digital consoles for years,
but there's no way to actually view what those other banks are unless
you call one up. There has to be a better way.
5. The ultimate audio file format. I've done experiments
recording the same instrument at 48k, 96k, and 192k and I can tell you
unequivocally that the 192kHz recording won hands down. It wasn't even
close. Consider this - the ultimate in digital is analog! In other
words, the higher the sample rate, the closer to analog it sounds. We
need a universal audio format with a super high sample rate that can
easily scale to a lower rate as needed. Yes, I realize it's a function
of the hardware, but lets plan for the future, people.
6. The ultimate storage device. Speaking of the future, there are
a lot of behind-the-scenes audio people that are quietly scared to
death that the hard drives and SSD's of today won't be playable tomorrow. Just as Zip and Jazz
drives had their brief day in the sun, how would you like to have your
hit album backed up onto a drive that nobody can read? That's a more
real possibility of that happening than you might know. We need a
storage format that is not only robust and protected, but has a lifespan
akin to analog tape (tapes from 60 years ago still play today; some
sound as good as the day they were recorded). We just can't guarantee
the same with the storage devices we use today.