Recently in his “Audiophiliac” blog, Steve Guttenberg addressed the relative lack of success in advanced audio formats (SACD, DVD-A, and Blu-ray audio) from his perspective. Before I give you that perspective, let me tell you what I think the “typical” technophilic development team would do upon hearing the news that a certain audio format wasn’t doing as well as expected. The development team might decide that the output DACs needed another bit or two of resolution or that 4x or 8x oversampling and filtering would improve the audio to the point where there would be a popularity turnaround. The development team might decide that 5.1 channels wasn’t sufficient and shoot for 7.1, 8.1, 10.1, 11.1, or 12.1 channels. All of these approaches have been tried so I’m not just making things up here.
So here’s Guttenberg’s premise: “…since a lot of music is heard only over headphones and computer speakers, 5.1 doesn’t fit the way we hear music now.”
Simple as that. Look and see what people are doing. See how they are “consuming” music. A lot of them are using headphones because that is the mobile consumption lifestyle our collective consumer electronics industry has been pushing. It moves a lot f mobile handsets, tablets, DVD/Blu-ray players, etc. It also encourages the use of headphones. Simple stereo sound to match our two ears. The apps drive everything.
3D TV anyone?
You’ll find Guttenberg’s full blog from CNET here.