24/02/2017 Sounding off on technology for technology’s sake

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Posted by Len | No Comments on Sounding off on technology for technology’s sake

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There are few industries more enjoyable and satisfying than this one. The technology involved continues to advance at an incredible rate, and 100% of that technology is focused on enriching the lives of our clients. However at times I believe that technology is introduced solely for the sake of technology.

One of the greatest advances in our industry during recent years has been wireless speakers.

This technology has allowed access to music in areas of the home which would not have been possible before, plus paved the way for wonderful world of whole-of-house streaming of internet based music servers.  However the term ‘wireless speakers’ is not entirely accurate, they still need to be connected to power.  This has been one of the factors holding the technology back for primary listening areas – it is usually easier to run a couple of speaker cables than it is to provide power outlets at the speaker positions.

One company has just announced that they have achieved the Holy Grail of audio – a truly wireless surround speaker array – that’s right – no wires, including power.

This intrigued me as every component which amplifies sound requires power of some sort. Closer investigation showed that as suspected the speakers are battery operated. The downside of this is the speakers will need to be recharged on a regular basis. The system in question provides 20 hours of use at normal volume or 12 hours at high volume on a full charge. Recharge time is 4 – 5 hours per speaker – and there are six in total.

To me this makes very little sense.

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There is no argument that the more power you can supply to an amplifier the better the performance, so firstly there are going to be some performance limitations in any battery powered speaker.

While we can live with this, the requirement to put each of your speakers on charge on a regular basis would far outweigh the inconvenience of running speaker cables or providing power points at the speaker positions in the first place!

At times there is a fine line between what we would like to achieve and what is practical in the real world. There are multiple example of this in the recent decades including the Eye-top Wearable DVD player, Oakley’s THUMP sunglasses and the SIRIUS S50 Portable Music Player.

Complicating an entertainment experience through novelty smacks of balance sheet KPI’s rather than true innovation that adds to the listener’s enjoyment.

To me this is a case of technology for technologies sake.

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