Great strides have been made in the field of sound recording over the last couple of decades. We've seen (in no particular order):

  • Digital recording (both tape and disk based)
  • Multichannel recording
  • Multichannel mics (think Holophone or any other mic that captures more than a stereo image)
  • improved contact mics
  • improved hydrophones
  • sub- and super-sonic mics (think miss that can capture below 20Hz or above 50kHz)

…and many more.

But, what's next? What's that next big tech that will be a true innovation? I'm thinking something akin to what 3-D capture has done for the visual medium (think Avatar).

And let's keep this thread clear of any reproduction systems, ie. 5.1, 7.1, etc. I'm interested in the future of HOW we capture sound, not how it is played back.


I've had the joy of using the Sanken CO-100k on my latest project and I have to admit, it's kind of a game changer for recordings that ultimately will be sped way down to fractions of their original speed. The specs show it can capture frequencies up to (and beyond?) 100kHz so, once you've slowed it down to half-speed, you're still working with a sound with 50kHz resolution. (This assuming you have clean preamps and a pro recorder like a Sound Devices or similar.) We were able to do amazing things with the tiniest of sounds, things that would have been possible with other professional mics like a Neumann 191 but would have required major rebuilding or augmenting of high frequency content.

  • I'd love to hear some examples if you've time to post any. Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 7:36
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    Why, why, WHY is this question put on hold?!? Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 19:11
  • Seriously, the behavior on here is becoming juvenile at the expense of the community. A very few choice new users who believe they know what is best for the community are sincerely damaging it. I'm sorry, but this one has crossed the line for me. Can we please show some respect for the community. Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 19:15
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    I've re-opened this for now. It is broad but it's only gotten six answers, many quite good. It's not creating the problems we find ourselves solving on larger 'big city' sites, and we've still yet to have a good scope discussion conclude on meta.
    – Tim Post
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 6:45
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    @Tim Post, thank you for reopening this question which, by the way, is a great example of what made the original SSD so great: A topic that generates DISCUSSION and not necessarily any answers, plus gets others thinking in ways they wouldn't normally think in. Brainstorming, forming new ideas, learning from and feeding off each other. Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 17:41

7 Answers 7



Like this: Scientists create the world's tiniest 'ear'.

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Pick up sound from stuff that we can't even hear with our own ears.

Or (self-powered, wireless) mics that are so small that you can put them literally everywhere.

2D Microphone arrays

Like this: New super microphone can hear you in a crowded stadium

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So you can focus on sound, even after recording it.

If you can somehow make this with depth as well (several layers of microphones), you can even decide how deep you want to focus, which makes it sort of similar to the possibilities that the lytro light field camera offers.

I can't wait for this stuff to turn into commercial products!


I would like to see something along the lines of a version of the laser microphones that many intelligence organizations use for surveillance made for audio applications with a focusable field. I can think of many potential uses, one being as a long distance contact mic for capturing source from things that are too dangerous or physically difficult to get to but are in your line of sight. You could have a scope on it for things really far away for surgical aiming.

It could also be mounted on a motion control rig with both manual joystick control or utilizing some sort of motion tracking software. How cool would it be to continuously track a bird in flight, a tennis ball getting hit by a racket and bouncing or a Cheetah chasing its prey.


Also, maybe a satellite/wifi/cell data option for my recorder that is backing up my takes to the cloud in the background while I'm recording. Creating redundancy for critical captures and also giving editors instant access to newly created material. Plus no data dumps when you get home, just start editing.

  • I love your ideas! Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 0:06
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    Thanks Jay! I just thought of an interesting use for this mic. Point it at the sun. At an average of 93 million miles away from earth it would take roughly eleven seconds round trip at the speed of light(feel free to check my math). OK, I can dream...calling some universities now... Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 1:25

I think/hope we'll see support for digital mics expand in recording devices, and hopefully some additional models beyond those offered by Neumann and Schoeps. I'm also hoping that we'll see more in the development of more affordable higher-order microphones using techniques like "beam forming." Something like a microphone with the built in electronics to give you continuous transitions between pickup patterns (a more integrated Ambisonics type microphone...with no need for the matrixing boxes/software), would make me really excited. Imagine being able to record a sound source while tranisitioning your pickup pattern..."telephoto" zoom mics!


Woody Norris is doing some amazing things with directional sound. Yes it is a playback technology, but I imagine the same principles could be applied to hyper-directional recording.


I really think wireless power and wireless signal will be the future.

Imagine loading in for a show or gig and not having to do those 300+ foot cable runs...

Imagine a boom mic that has no cable.

I keep dreaming of my little hovering boom mic much like the practice droid Luke Skywalker used to drill with on the Millennium Falcon, thus not having to use your arms but instead, an iPad app or remote control to move it around, but I digress...

Maybe someone will invent sunglasses that can see wireless frequencies so wireless management is way easier.


Remember a while ago people generated a grainy picture of what people were visualizing while dreaming?

Imagine if instead of a recording engineer, there was a technician capturing the subjective processing of the auditory brain bits. I say subjective just because it's going through someone's brain, so perhaps people particularly good at critical listening would be in demand to have their experience of music recorded.


Back to 24 track tape Unplug the limiters and compressors

Pono....may be the future

I am sure I may stir it up now so before it all starts this is my opinion and it is shared by many recording artists both old and new

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