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advancements in computer audio


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Do you (users / manufactures) think that we will see many new advancements in computer audio? Software or Hardware? I know this is a VERY broad question but I'm always curious to know if we are at a 95% level or if you think we have a lot to go...b/c we are always searching for that last little bit.

 

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As far as significant advancements, these are the ones that I see happening in the next 5 years:

 

1) 24/192 capability with async USB

2) 24/192 capability with networked ethernet

3) multi-channel networked audio for SS and active crossover

4) digital volume control that does not affect resolution

5) better clocks and design techniques to reduce jitter to truly inaudible levels

 

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

 

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  • 9 months later...

I am no audio engineer but feel there is not nearly enough demand for chip manufacturers to make a USB receiver chip that can pass a sample rate higher than 48 KHZ. I do not like the idea of up-sampling so a native signal will work yet if the USB receiver can't pass it, what is the use?

 

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24/192 over USB (adaptive and async) will become much more common over the next few months, methinks.

 

There are a lot of smart people working on the problem, as well as some recent developments that will push things forward.

 

Peace,

 

Lee

 

Locus Design Group[br]www.locus-design.com[br]www.cryo-parts.com[br]www.cryo-freeze.com

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Why wait on USB, Firewire has it already? :)

 

clay, just playing the role of the Firewire 'bigot', after all, if it wasn't me, it'd be someone else.

 

 

PS, of course, Lee is right, lots of smart people working on it. I'll put my money on Gordon.

 

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Well, since it is rumored that Gordon has a running prototype--that's a safe bet, indeed. ;-)

 

However, I know of at least two others that have running prototypes as well...

 

Peace,

 

Lee

 

Locus Design Group[br]www.locus-design.com[br]www.cryo-parts.com[br]www.cryo-freeze.com

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Maybe we'll get a music (or, more generally, media) library management system which is truly flexible, easy to use and powerful. It would be nice if a tool could be provided which allowed complex searches for content and other functionality such as:

    [*]Selection of a Genre (e.g. "World") brings up a secondary listing of all sub-genres related to World (e.g. Celtic, Middle East, Cajun, African, etc.)

    [*]On hearing a hot drummer on a jazz track, I can quickly look up all the side men on that track, find the drummer, find other tracks in my library he/she's played in, other albums, etc.

    [*]Booklets which are common with CD releases could be easily accessed and viewed.

      There are many other features which could enhance enjoyment of a media library that could be provided by this tool. Basically, I want all the information available when enjoying a CD, LP, DVD, whatever, only it would be all electronic. It would be great too if no additional effort (e.g. tagging) were required of the user. The tool would do all of it automatically. The TuneUp application from TuneUp Media is a good start. It analyzes your iTunes library, populates all tags and supplies cover art for your entire library.

       

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I do know there is "something" being debuted at CES that will raise computer audio to another level. Maybe even up two levels :~) It's not going to be cheap, but the price won't be even close stratospheric. I've been told it's "the best sounding digital available" by a few people I respect very highly. I'll be flying out to listening to this and "something else" next week.

 

Sorry I can't release more info just yet. Expect articles about this stuff soon.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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I love a speculative discussion like this. I think that there are a few products around that get things right from an interface standpoint already, and the soon to come Async USB at 24/192 will put USB on an equal footing with the best network and Firewire interfaces. My recent experience with Amarra tends to make me believe that playback software is an area where significant advances could be made. Amarra sounds good, but seems kind of buggy, and could offer additional features (memory playback anyone...). The fact that playback software has such an influence on sonic performance means that network interfaces (which need to run their own playback software internally) will need to have well designed playback engines to get the best sound.

Besides playback software, the other potential big area of change would be major label record companies making large parts of their catalogs available in high resolution PCM, one can dream...

 

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"I love a speculative discussion like this."

 

As do I...

 

The funny thing is, looking above at a lot of the speculation, many of the ideas really are safe bets. Why? Because with a little effort and looking around, many of them can be found right now. As in today, December 24th, 2009.

 

Personally, I'm not at all sure that "The Next Big Thing" will be the answer. When you get down to it, the details matter in the final system performance. Not just audio, but most every system.

 

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"The funny thing is, looking above at a lot of the speculation, many of the ideas really are safe bets. Why? Because with a little effort and looking around, many of them can be found right now."

 

Agreed,

 

Despite being on the Mac / Firewire bandwagon, I believe the next round of advances will be a combination of purpose-built Linux-based hardware (with small electronic footprint) communicating via optical (a la LightPeak) or Ethernet (probably wirelessly).

 

Perhaps there will be multiple, stripped-down (battery-powered??) Linux boxes connected (a la John Swenson) - albeit with proper isolation, this might be the basis of a 'one-box' solution, provided clever advances are made in eliminating the issues of electro-mechanical connections (Matan Arazi?).

 

FWIW, I believe that one-box solutions will make a significant comeback in 2010 (and beyond) for the reason that the current IKEA environment - this IS the Swedish word for 'kit', isn't it? :) - leaves too much to chance. Many will likely pay high margins to reduce the 'chance' element (never mind the actual effort) of (assembling) current computer audio playback chains, but will likely prefer to pay for it in the form of a product rather than as a service.

 

NOTE: Never before has audio playback seen so many unknown variables (which seem environment/system dependent) as in the (b)leading edge of computer audio playback, at last as far as I can tell.

 

clay

 

 

 

 

 

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