Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

24
Apr 12

Audio of the Future


Want to know the future of audio technology? Well, there’s no need to consult a psychic who works part-time at RadioShack. No, look no further than what you are presently reading, another entry of the Vann’s blog!

(Image from gamenewscenter.com)

Some innovations are closer than others, like the Parrot Zik headphones. Sure, not all the tech is from the future. Bluetooth connectivity and compatible app support is still new technology, but it’s something we’ve seen before. What separates these headphones is its onboard motion sensors and touch panel. Soon, headphones will mute themselves when they’re placed around your neck, and volume will be controlled with just a touch. It’s pretty nifty. It won’t be long till these features become standard in all headphone models.

(Image from tw-teec.com)

Verisonix’s e-Speaker tech is just around the corner. These two flat rectangles actually produce a sound comparable to professional, large speakers. Not only that, these speakers are incredibly flat and flexible. To produce audio, it takes advantage of electrostatic running along a thin sheet of metal called an electret. Able to fit in a custom pocket on a hood or in a helmet, this tech could potentially revolutionize how we all listen to music. Plus, this technique of audio production uses only a fraction of the power used by today’s models, 0.1 Watt.

(Image from www2.macleans.ca)

The future of audio technology also holds new music systems. Since the onset of digital audio, Neil Young — yeah, Neil Young — has loathed the state of audio quality. He aims to set a new ideal in sound with the development of an audio system called Pono. It would present audio in the highest resolution possible, creating a sound as close as possible to the original studio recording. Pono would be a cloud-based system. This way, listeners could enjoy the high quality but avoid the limitations of large file sizes. Even if Neil Young’s efforts don’t pan out, we can still expect a greater sound quality in future digital audio.

(Image from goodscool.net)

Some audio technology has reevaluated how sound is transmitted. Wireless vibration resonance speakers uses the medium of a listener’s surroundings to produce audio. Place a vibration resonance device on your desk and it becomes the speaker. These speakers still produce a rich, full sound despite their small size. For example, you can place it on a wooden floor, and the whole room becomes a sound stage. The true utility of vibration resonance speakers may be found in their portable applications. Paired with an iPod, a rich music scene is always at hand.

(Image from sonology.org)

Perhaps the most exciting audio technology of the future is WFS, wave field synthesis. Still in its early stages, developments have been made in this amazing technology. Essentially, the idea is to create the right placement of speakers with defined spatial pathways. The effect is a lifelike sound that virtually emulates an acoustic environment. Imagine hearing the trickle of a creek behind you as the the rustle of the leaves through the trees come from your side and overhead. This is the wonder of WFS. You shouldn’t expect to install this in your home anytime soon. Right now, there are a few places that use it, but they’re large rooms fitted with hundreds of large speakers. A present big problem for WFS is figuring out a way to limit the amount of speakers needed to generate the effect. All the same, it’s exciting to know these virtual soundscapes could one day be commonplace.



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