Fast forward 25 years, what will audio be like?

Seems like in the past 25 years audio has changed so much - cassettes, cds, servers, hard drives...... composite speaker materials..... network servers..... surround sound - AV systems.....
One can only wonder what systems will consist of 25 years from now.
Clearly there's a trend towards computers meshing with TV/Audio...
I wonder what audiophiles will utilize for components, source material and technologies.
Some aspects of audio become obsolete ex) cassettes yet others like turn tables - LPs, tube based components seem to evolve and endure.
I suspect systems will continue to evolve into even more synthetic sounding ones, less emotionally involving, less satisfying, kind of like a soundtrack for a long forgotten science fiction movie. The opposite of that gripping analog sound one gets with vinyl and cassettes.
Music will be stored on cloud servers. You won't use local hard drives or disc media.

You will access the internet wirelessly, no more LAN cable, using a device with firmware in semiconductor memory (ala Sandisk), no hard drive.

All music will have video associated with it, like YouTube now, and the sound quality will be so-so, like good FM.

Your music cloud access device will stream signal wirelessly to your speakers. The speakers will be powered but without speaker wire, like Dynaudio XEOs. But the quality will be lower.

The speakers will be small, a little bigger than the Bose tiny cubes so they have enough room for a small class D amp inside, as well as the wireless receiver.

There will still be some big honking subwoofer to sit in a corner.

So in summary, no wires except power cords. One box to interact with the internet, plus powered tiny cubes and a big subwoofer. Mediocrity, but still better than iPad or notebook sound -- the kids will think its nirvana.

Major brands will be Bospo Corp (after Bose acquires Oppo), Matsushita-Harman Inc, and OSA Co (formed from the merger of Oracle, Sony, and Apple). All hardware will be made in India by Wang & Kumar Mfrs Ltd. lol

I'll just keep my current system in good repair. haha
The entire Library of Congress will be compressed on to a little chip that sounds horrible and no one will care because its digital.
There will be a bunch of lonely old men, with tinnitus staring at a light bulb they think is a tube amplifier playing music.
Sony has been granted patents to beam sound and video directly into your brain (I swear I read this somewhere!).
You come home from work, put your slippers and your "Headman" helmet on and are transported to the reality of your choice.
I think that well heeled individuals will have robots that play music and sing. However that will cause you to wish you had the pasts 'perfect sound forever'. Music will have more rocket and space ship sounds. I think one song that will top the charts is 'the little old lady from quadrant fourteen' written by the 'spacey peach boooys'.
If the US continues on its chosen course of playing world policeman there will be none.
Here anyway.
If I'll be arround in this world, I'll still be spinning some records for sure.
Not sure on which TT, but I bet I have plenty enough to play with: 2 TT's in main rig Michell/Technoarm; Empire 591/AT 5001; 2 Technics 1200 MK2 - stock arms and 2 Technics 1210 red/blue duo color with stock arms for parties. I DJ on 4 TT's at a time: 2 have scratch setup and 2 have playback setup
DJ digital playback usually used for breaks with pre-mixed sound effects.
Will there be any old-school DJs in 25 years? Why Not?
Who knows, maybe Technics or other brand will come up with even more versatile new model for DJ turntable... 25 years isn't too far to the future and one will know where to find mechanical analogue media among the digital clouds.
I'll be in my 80's. If my ears still work I hope to still be hearing live concerts. I think I would be content with my present speakers. I expect improvements in the electronics by then but have no inkling as to where technology will take us.
No music allowed on the plantation.
The only music available to the high end, will be 2 million different enhanced versions of 'Kind Of Blue'. Including those on laser cut 78 rpm titanium lps.

Entry level system 1.5 million dollars
"04-25-14: Joman
Entry level system 1.5 million dollars"

If Schubert is right, and he usually is, we won't be using dollars anymore.
Well, let's look BACK twenty five years to refresh our memories of how much change has truly occurred (or hasn't) over the previous twenty five. Personally, I don't think that, fundamentally, it will be that much different than it is now. Sure, there will be some new digital format(s), music downloads will have an even larger share of all music sales, and we are sure to see ever more expensive gear. However, I predict that vinyl will still be considered king by many, and tubes will still be around in spite of "advances" in ss technology. I also predict that the biggest surprise for audiophiles will come in the areas of power delivery/"conditioning" and, for the masses, in modulated ultra sound technology for wireless and speaker- less surround sound.
Wow thats VERY important!!
Amazing how some people just can't help but be jerks, Who said anything about importance? That was precisely my point. Or was my point too subtle for you to grasp?
I'll weigh in here, just for fun:
the interface will be an optical implant, ala the Google contact lense that was recently mentioned in the news as the next step after Google Glass- you scroll through all available music and make selections with blinks and specified eye-movements;
all recorded material in the universe will be available, whether or not you bought it- assuming copyright laws still exist, there will be a standard tariff imposed on your personal debit account whenever you access material;
personal playback system is also bionic/implants, rather than crude earbuds- not necessarily hi-fidelity, but you can go spendy on these rather than the standard versions if you want- the standard versions are just for voice transmission, including government announcements; hacks will include illegal modifications to prevent hearing 'news' and other publicly mandated information that ordinarily overrides all personally selected material;
physical systems will involve beams that generate sound from a point source;
The 'Pet Shop Boys' will be considered 'classical' music.
Zd542, we'll still be using dollars but the cost of a Yuan or a Euro will be a million of them.
1.5 million will get you a loaf of bread, if you ask nicely of course.
Please I'm very sorry please forgive me I'm now in the corner crying FROGGY!!!
I didn't mean anything bad or mean spirited. HELLO!!!!!!
If history has taught us anything it's that the future is unknowable.
History teaches us its usually fairly easy to see what's coming but most of us lack the courage to look reality in the face, preferring to live in our own delusions.

The standard method is to make things more complicated than they really are so we can feel better about not wanting to endure how merely difficult they are.
Frogman, Ebm is very kool dood indeed don't get offended LOL!
Offended? Nah! I save that for things (and people) that really matter. Let's just say that I have a knee jerk reaction to useless sniping from posters who make no relevant contribution of their own to a thread, but see it fit to comment about others' contributions; especially when done in a sarcastic way. Now, cool? We'll have to agree to disagree about the definition of that. Cheers.
Now for something that matters:

****History teaches us its usually fairly easy to see what's coming but most of us lack the courage to look reality in the face, preferring to live in our own delusions.

The standard method is to make things more complicated than they really are so we can feel better about not wanting to endure how merely difficult they are.****

I nominate that for the list of best posts ever made to this forum.
The more we advance, the more there'll be folk like us clinging to the only viable means of enjoying music. Think of us as "sticks in the mud," doing our duty to save audio from itself; from being wholly treated as just another commodity.

Lots of sobering thought here and thanks to Sounds_ Real_Audio for making me laugh.

All the best,
Classical Music is one of the FEW things that is highly enjoyable AND good for your mind and soul at the same time.

I can't speak for others, having only been myself and lived my life but I do know what I've seen.
To me its the only musical genre that's not's looking back to what might have been, the love that was lost, how bad things were in Ireland,my dog died ad infinitum . Now, I love to sit and cry in my beer listening to Lady Day et al as much as the next guy, but it ain't helping me none.Sentiment is not the friend of love, it is its mortal enemy.

Bach will bring me closer to the divine than anything short of the the grave,the truly greats like Beethoven, Schubert, Brahams are always in the here and now while still always moving forward to the best of what could be .
That helps me a lot. Plus I never eat popcorn like I do when I watch TV, so it helps my body too.

Oh, I lied, Classical Music is not of the few things that can do all that, its the only thing that can do all that .
Schubert wrote,

"Classical Music is one of the FEW things that is highly enjoyable AND good for your mind and soul at the same time."

I could say the same thing about Led Zeppelin. Or perhaps Beck.
History teaches us its usually fairly easy to see what's coming...
This statement would carry more weight if the poster would provide some examples. Like he said, it should be fairly easy.
If its not readily apparent to you, there is no explanation that will suffice.
I will have golden ears by then. By sound I will be able to tell when flea thinks. Within the surrounding galaxies I will be able to identify 40 types of conversations from interstellar occupants at one time. On earth I will be able to hear twelve grand classical concerts going at the same time and can find a common thread that ties them all together and then from that I will compose a score that makes girls cry. I will be able to make a piano sound like a forest full of creatures singing their most beautiful sounds. I will invent a recording technique that captures any sound moment in time better than was in its original form. And my sound system will only have one box but it will be able to transport any live musical event, musicians and instruments, in front of me always at the right distance, timbre, tonal balance, image size, harmonic overtones, leading edge transients, vocals, micro and macro stuff, not to warm but not to cool, not to dry but not to wet, not to bright but not to dark. Pretty much purrfect. I don't say what will audio be like in 25yrs. I say what won't it be like. I am the most interesting person the universe.
Damn! I remember those days. It would kill me now :-)
If there is no money in it seldom comes to pass.
Very seldom.
Music will remain timeless no matter which genre one prefers. If it takes you to "that place".
Better sound more readily available, more music than ever to listen to. :-)

Same thing 50, 100, 200 years, in the year 2525..."if man is still alive". :-(
I wish I could share your optimism about the near future. The trajectory I see has us fully indentured and thoroughly under control of the plutocrats who are taking control of everything from the Supreme Court to the food sources. DNA and GPS will prove to be formidable control and punishment tools. We will be competing desperately for any opportunity to earn any amount of money and we will have nowhere to house a system even if we could buy one.

Picture the West Virginia coal mining town represented in literature and song. The stores and the housing all belong to the company who will evict you for the slightest provocation. All of the rights you had bestowed by the vestiges of organized labor have been lost. No limits on days or hours worked. No vacations, sick days or holidays. No raises. You work until you no longer can and are then discarded. Since the company controls both your wages and your cost of living, they can calibrate both to keep you in debt for life.

Under circumstances like that, audio will be an impossible luxury. You'll be making your own instruments from discarded objects and whatever you can scrounge from the remnants of Mother Nature. The good news is you will be able to sing the blues like never before. 2039
Miles Davis' Kind of Blue will be available in fifteen different formats. A double blind evaluation of all Kind of Blue Formats by Stereophile Magazine in 2035 will demonstrate beyond all doubt that the best sounding format is the original Columbia Records cassette.
Very true Joman, but both heaven and hell are "places".
Music will be passe, no one will be listening to it anymore.
Macrojack, for the bottom third of the population you're describing their reality in 2014.
My perception during the half-dozen decades I have been around is that while prognostications of both radical change and various doom and gloom scenarios have always seemed to be plentiful, they almost never come to pass. Sure, bad things happen at times, but they are usually sporadic and unforeseeable.

I agree with Frogman's first post above, and with Onhwy61.

-- Al
Working people have been steadily losing ground for 30 years. Our rights and protections are steadily eroding at the hands of a ruthless plutocracy. What is in place to prevent my predictions from actually happening? It can happen here. I know this because I see it happening. Best you all open your eyes and look around rather than believing the manufactured reality being sold by the mass media.
Of course, if this tragedy is somehow averted I think the prediction about wireless speakers, etc. for the masses and electronic implants for everyone are none too far fetched. This phone thing is headed somewhere we might not like.
I'm almost 67 so I'm not sure as to whether or not I'm around in 25 years.

Another potentially disastrous scenario involves runaway inflation. What if very briefly your life savings are only enough of a dozen eggs? How many CDs or downloads would you be buying then?
Schubert; as Mark Twain would say go to "Heaven for the climate and hell for the company."
OK guys if you insist, an easy example . Every serious thinker in Europe, to include some of the highest pols in France, knew laying the sole blame, and cost, on Germany for WWI would make its continuation, aka WW II, inevitable and said so loud and clear in the early 20's. In reality there was enough blame to go around for everyone, but Germany, though guilty, was the least guilty of the bunch.

Financial interests in Paris and New York, with much help from Calvin Coolidge, refused to take their boot off the German neck . Germany was driven into the ground by "reperarations" without which no one would ever have heard of Hitler.
WW II was hardly sporatic, was preventable, and was foreseen 15 years before it started by MANY .
Nearly everything is foreseeable for those who wish to see it. Gazing at one's navel as the measure of reality gives you a limited view. Pollyanna died at Auschwitz, she committed suicide.Left no note, which was just as well.
No audio product has ever succeeded because it was better, only because it was cheaper, smaller, or easier to use. Our generation of music lovers will probably be the last that even think about fidelity. So, what's going on in 25 years? Music stream watch for 25K in High End finish
Later scenario played out in Germany TWICE during a single decade after WWII and still Hitler got only 28% of the vote in
Berlin before he was selected, NOT elected , in 1933.

At the time, and this NO joke, strawpolls in Milwaukee showed he could get 40% of the vote there.
"Under circumstances like that, audio will be an impossible luxury. "

High end audio is already a luxury.

Good sound is more available to more today than ever before. It starts with an ipod and earbuds. IT gets better from there as needed. A computer, decent DAC and headphones is well within the reach of many and can sound pretty darn good, though perhaps not by audiophile standards, which have and always will exist in the "luxury" domain.
"Music will be passe, no one will be listening to it anymore."

I doubt that.

There will always be something new to listen to that registers with people. WIll it be different or innovative compared to the past? That one I am not so sure about.
Schubert, interesting choice of the cause of WW2. But as an example of foreseeing the future I don't think it's particularly compelling. Basically, France and Germany have been in conflict since the time of Julius Caesar. To predict another conflict between them in recent light of the Franco-Prussian War and the Great War borders on the trivial. The French constructed the Maginot Line because they knew Germany was a serious threat.

It's important to remember that Nazi Germany could have readily won WW2. Not invading the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941 and not declaring war on the U.S. after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor would have allowed Germany the ability to construct a true fortress Europe. At the time of Operation Barbarossa the German command bravely predicted a quick summer campaign and the rapid collapse of the Soviet foe. After all, that's what happened every time they invaded other countries. I guess they couldn't correctly predict the future either.

Leaders know about the known unknowns, but it's the unknown unknowns that will get you.