Frank Doris’s Wishlist for 2018
Since this is a wishlist, I’m going to put it out there without regard to the possibility or impracticality of any of it.
Carbon Nanotube Loudspeakers
If the mass of a loudspeaker driver could be eliminated, the driver wouldn’t have any inertia and the speaker would be instantly responsive to the audio signal from the amplifier. Talk about clarity and lack of distortion!
Many have tried to make a massless (or close to it) driver, including the Hill Plasmatronics speaker (which had to be connected to a tank of helium!) and a demo at a trade show years ago (sorry, I can’t recall the name of the company) where two ultrasonic beams were aimed at the listening spot, causing the lower-frequency interference patterns to make audible sound—or something like that. And of course a primary reason for electrostatic and planar-magnetic speakers is to avoid the relative sluggishness of good old magnet-and-cone dynamic drivers. So I don’t think we’ve heard the last word in speaker technology.
Carbon nanotube speakers hold promise. A thin film of carbon nanotubes acts as the speaker diaphragm, which moves back and forth to heat the surrounding air, causing it to expand and contract to produce sound waves. (Neat, huh?) Such speakers could weigh very little (I’d never have to schlep around a heavy guitar amp ever again!) and could be made into interesting shapes and integrated into car interiors, for example.
As far as I know, no one’s created anything close to a Wilson Audio Alexia or Magneplanar 30.7 yet using carbon nanotubes. But wouldn’t it be great if someone could come up with something as good . . . or even better? Maybe it’s just an engineering problem or something.
A La Carte Everything
Perhaps Jeffrey Lyons can say differently, but I don’t have subscriptions to every movie and TV provider out there. I don’t want to either. The science-fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon formulated Sturgeon’s Law, which states, “Ninety percent of everything is crap.” And who am I to argue? But some providers won’t let me download just single movies or TV episodes—I have to subscribe to their whole service.
I’d be happy to pay a download or viewing fee that lets me watch movies or TV shows a la carte, the same way you can buy a single song from iTunes. And such a resource should be one-stop shopping—that is, just click and buy without having to go to HBO or Netflix or Amazon or whatever site has what I want. I don’t know what would be involved in getting the cooperation of all the providers, and I don’t care—just make it seamless for me, the customer. Maybe it’s just a licensing problem, like finally getting the rights to the original Batman TV series after decades or something.
Hi-Rez Audio Everywhere
Wouldn’t it be nice to live together in the kind of world where we belong . . . er, sorry, had Brian Wilson on the brain for a second there. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to just download any piece of music and know it was in hi-rez—whether high-bit-rate, MQA, or whatever—and have a device that would just play it without you having to configure it or worry that it was compatible?
It’s almost 2018, and I’d like my music in hi-rez, everywhere, all the time. Do we really have to settle for listening to sonically compromised formats anymore? Maybe it’s just an engineering problem, like getting the announcers’ voices in sync with the picture on remote cable-news broadcasts or something.
Autostereoscopy refers to displaying stereoscopic images, which creates the illusion of 3D without glasses, goggles, or any other type of headgear. It can and has been done—look at the Nintendo 3DS or 3DS XL. While this might not be appealing to manufacturers of VR headgear, it would be very appealing to me, someone who wears glasses and doesn’t want them getting in the way of VR goggles. And I know I’m not the only one.
I know the technical challenges are formidable, or perhaps even impossible. But maybe it’s just an engineering problem, like getting quantum computing to work or building a faster-than-light drive or creating a wormhole network to connect galaxies and parallel universes. Hey, George Lucas isn’t the only one who can think big.
Frank Doris is the chief cook & bottle washer for Frank Doris/Public Relations and works with a
number of audio & music industry clients. He’s a professional guitarist and a vinyl enthusiast with
multiple turntables and thousands of records.