Welcome to Line Up – the only online resource dedicated to audio for broadcast.
One of the benefits of being in an industry for any length of time is that you are continuously building on your ability to look back down the road and spot patterns and repeating themes. Among the most charming aspects of so-called ‘revolutionary technical change’ is that given enough time and enough free reign what inevitably settles as the replacement for a former core technology inevitably retains an uncanny similarity to that which it originally aimed to replace. The reality is that true revolutions don’t really come around that often and are frequently just the result of a shift in priorities or the lifting of limitations. Early samplers, as an example, raced each other for RAM and brought with them a different attitude and approach to their use. When the RAM gates were blown open and it was freely available everywhere (on computers) those super expensive dedicated hardware samplers fell off a cliff and sampling became available to everyone whether you wanted it or not. What endured in work processes was that attitude to employing snippets and manipulating sound without a thought and that’s still with us although the dinosaurs that introduced it are not.
So much has been said about the dramatic change to work methods that DAWs have brought and how they have wrestled the pivotal position of central control from the former lynchpin of the console. But as DAWs have developed and their need for speed has been totally sated by increases in computer power -- to the point where this is no longer the limitation -- DAWs have started to look a lot like consoles with an integrated recorder and outboard processing options. The challenge now has reverted to how you control it all, with so many of the responses looking a lot like, well, mixing consoles. Real audio revolutions are tied by definition to technical development but the lasting legacy is always a change in how people work. And with this in mind the single true and massive revolution that we are all perched on the edge of -- and some are already knee high in -- is networking. No other technology promises to change methods as dramatically, to increase efficiencies as obviously, to save money as sweepingly and maintain user freedom of choice that proper and industry-wide implementation of networking can offer us. This is the technology that will change everything and will be core to the world we will be operating in within half a decade.
At the moment a lot of energy in networking is being applied to the objective of being able to connect anything to anything else – just like you could in the prehistoric days of analogue. But again it will be how networking changes working methods that will lift the veil from our eyes -– the idea of remote working and sharing of resources is a truly remarkable prospect. However, once the equivalent of the XLR to XLR connectivity is sorted then the really exciting stuff will be all the gear that will arrive with functionality and features that we probably can’t imagine as yet. It’s new frontier territory and it’s a big country. Those moved by the same sentiments and stirred by the same potential would do well to attend our Audio Networking forum in London in December. Audio networking is the biggest issue in audio.
Zenon Schoepe, executive editor