What’s New?

Written by Paul McGowan

Our correspondence this issue was dominated by the contest from the Audio Cynic. The question was, “What is there in audio that’s truly new?” Snippets from the answers are shown below; our next issue will present  them in full, along with my responses. –Ed.

Emerald Coated CD’s. The Emerald coating is claimed to reduce stray refracted light that we cannot see. —Paul Stevenson

I think the biggest new thing in audio is how we consume music. Personal digital DJ’s / internet radio are so common we don’t even think of them anymore except as another source. —“PhoenixG

Voxativ Speaker drivers. Incredible design + sound. Also driven with the battery supply is crazy good .
Andre Turlings

I spotted this on line and thought it would be unquestionably, uniquely NEW in audio!! (Personal utility pole for audiophiles, as seen in WSJ)—Chris Coakes

Software defined DACS implemented in FPGAs. Like in the top-of-the-line PS Audio DAC. Software defined anything is a hot topic in IT. —Fred Bosick

As a genuinely NEW idea – how does ‘sound diffusion at source’ rank?—Joe Hayes

I think the one thing that could and will be an innovation is the adapting of virtual reality.—Jeff Starr

Advancements in Highend HIFI cannot but be based on research in psychoacoustics and cutting edge technology. Thus every serious progress in HIFI marketed as innovation had been previously discovered in other areas most often in military research. Thus nothing in HIFI will ever be new under the sun!—

The almost instant and vast wealth of information presented by music management interface softwares is what is really a leap jump in audio and in the enjoyment of music, for us audio and music fans.—Juan Palaua

The amplifier circuit David Berning designed as an OTL where he uses a high frequency carrier to support the signal.—Allen Edelstein

What is new in audio is the ability to hear and share all types of music through the internet and other digital means. —Wayne Berkowitz

One of the most innovative ideas I have heard of in the audio world (specifically headphones) involves the assignment of particular location of a sound so that when you turn your head that sound appears to be emanating from one spot and does not move from it.—Tom Abbott

The cartridge  DS-W1 Night Rider from Japan, which produce music signals photoelectrically, using infrared LED. —Haluk Ozumerzifon

I believe that virtual reproduction of audio by implantation of a device in the central nervous system hasn’t been discussed much before.—Nestor Salguaro-Polidor

For me what is new is not the technology which is ever changing or what medium the technology is played on.  What is frankly new for me and I have noticed in drips and drabs is a genuine positive feeling in seeing young children attend shows (such as the Capital Audiofest). —Tyrone Vias

I receive start up campaigns from Indiegogo, and one that caught my eye was a set of headphones I found to be revolutionary.  They are called Aura and what they do different is they spend 30 seconds measuring each ear’s frequency response without any input from the user.—Alan Morgan

 A transducer in the form of an inflated balloon which reproduces music by rapidly introducing or withdrawing a gas.—B. Jan Montana

I’ll say HD-vinyl.—Mark Harris

I think one thing that’s new and important in audio (although it depends on the time scale you use) is the renewed focus on time-domain behavior, especially in digital audio…. Next up: a return to time-alignment in loudspeakers?—Jim Austin

What was new when we landed on the moon?  Rockets had been around for centuries (invented by the Chinese), yet a person setting foot on the moon was certainly “new!”

So I posit that what is really “new” for audio is the result of advancements that:

1)   Let us listen to music in our homes with clarity that was unheard of even 10 years ago with picosecond-level jitter stability (e.g, DirectStream and BHK, coupled with better recordings using increasingly more accurate microphones)

2)   Libraries that offer huge selections and availability that we don’t have to  physically buy (we can, but we don’t have to with some streaming services)

3)   The ability to get some of the above in good-sounding portable devices (DAPs like A&K, FIIO, LH Wave, when it’s ever actually delivered to the Indiegogo backers).

David Rosing

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