Tuesday, August 16, 2016

15 Minutes with Harman’s Audio Guru Sean Olive: Sound & Vision Magazine Interview

"The problem is that the current standard audio specifications for headphones and loudspeakers are almost useless in terms of indicating how good or bad they sound." —Sean Olive
Read more at S&V Magazine 

In May 2016, I was interviewed by editor Bob Ankosko in Sound&Vision Magazine about my views of where audio currently is,and where it is going.  You can read the interview here.  One of the recurring questions that I get asked is whether people really care about sound quality anymore. The fact that a recent study found 55% of Americans  typically listen to music through their laptop speakers doesn't bode well for the immediate future. While the recent focus has been on the poor quality of the source material (e.g. compressed MP3),  a typical laptop speaker system won't produce the bottom 3-4 octaves of music whether or not the music is compressed or recorded in high resolution (e.g. 24-bit, 96 kHz).

In terms of  home loudspeakers, the trend is smaller size, fewer number of loudspeakers, and wireless. Sound Bars and  small, powered wireless speakers are what consumers currently want in their homes. The current challenge for engineering is  to build high quality systems with these features but still deliver good sound for prices that consumes will pay. The fact that more consumers are expecting a  high quality (and branded) audio system in their automobiles suggests that the  desire to have good audio is not dead.

What do you think the future holds for audio and sound quality?