UK Conference 1999:
This invaluable conference provided a comprehensive update of the current themes in audio engineering, and the future trends which will affect the audio industry as a whole.
Audio has traditionally been seen as a self-contained discipline, but increasingly it is being combined with other technologies to create systems which are, in the broadest sense, multi-media. The constraints under which we work are evolving, and the technology with which we work is advancing relentlessly. Standards can no longer treat audio in isolation, and are becoming centred on applications, rather than technologies.
The availability of multi-channel home-delivery formats, the increasing importance of both live and cinema sound, and the abundance of cheap computing power are all having fundamental influences across the industry, from recording studio to sitting room. Audio quality is threatened by increasing demands for data compression and the consumers' expectations for tumbling prices in the High Street. This is particularly prevalent in areas such as PC sound and home cinema which are perhaps seen as being on the fringes of the traditional audio industry.
The goalposts have moved.
The conference covered the technologies and techniques which we can apply to this new range of problems. A guide to the effective handling of multi-channel and low bit-rate audio was combined with coverage of the latest DSP and computer technology and standards. This showed how high engineering standards could be applied in areas where audio has too often been relegated to second place. It will gave an insight into how audio engineering can adapt to new applications and enable us to compete effectively in new market areas.