I once read a book entitled "1984", I hope this is of help.
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Advances in a variety of the sciences will lead to great strides in audio by 2050.
Tubes will remain popular with a small group of audio enthusiasts. In spite of the availablity of superior electronics, they will claim that "tubes sound more alive." NOS Chinese and Sovtek 6922s from the early '00s will be in great demand.
Advances in micrometallurgy will lead to a better understanding of the effect crystalline structures, as well as certain subatomic particles, have on signal and power transmission. An opposition front lead by scientists pooh-poohing these findings will be formed. They will claim that since they "cannot hear the difference it doesn't exist." This will lead to much debate on the subject.
Distribution of music will be done almost exclusively online. Numerous file formats will be offered with the leaders being a Sony consortium and another industry group disinterested in paying Sony royalties, even for a better format. An upstart cottage industry based on distribution of hardcopy materials will arise. This move will be squelched by the RIAA with a series of lawsuits based on their "losing billions of dollars annually to this blatant piracy."
Panel-style speakers will be all the rage due to newly available materials. They will still have to be as big as a wall and still won't produce low bass. Bose, still in business, will still appeal to the masses. Their products will also still suck.
Any other prognostications?
Fpeel, the music will be available only on mobile, 69G technology. (Wires are an artifact of the past). Auditioning: virtual. Panel-style speakers will double as a wall, exotic models will also allow video & virtual-reality experience. Latest technology by Bose. Styling by B&O. Amplification available thru your local ASP central, relayed via wireless, power-enhanced technology.
The tube question: do I replace tubes on my g-dad's what's it called -- or purchase Siemens (after all siemens DID produce the stuff a while back; maybe a better deal).
TT has exited the global vocabulary.
Morale: hold on to your tubes, your TTs, even your SSs; maybe the rage in 2050!
There will be solid, empirical evidence that bi-wiring and power cords do make a difference. Sony will be introducing the new SACDIII and will slowly release titles starting with "Kind of Blue". Unfortunately, you won't be able to hear the perfect sound forever unless you buy their new player. My Bryston will finally die.
I don't think I'll much care by that point as hopefully I'll be 90 by then and no doubt my hearing will be shot and maybe I'll be in a "home" for old audiophiles. I'll probably take more time to wheel myself to the park where I'll enjoy live summer concerts and I'll look forward to my daily sponge bath from that really cute nurse...