NOISE REDUCTION: Remember back in the day when Dolby noise reduction was the thing?

PS AUDIO / Paul McGowan

I remember thinking to myself; this is nothing short of magic. Kind of like the RIAA. Boost the heck out of the high frequencies and then run them through a low pass filter to make everything right again. In the process, hiss is lowered.


What’s worth noting about this is that today there’s no such need for noise reduction processing because there is no noise to eliminate.

This brings us to the idea of how the future works: Band-Aids->lead to a higher bar->that leads to a whole new technology.

We didn’t come up with a fancier noise reduction algorithm than did Ray Dolby. No, we just got rid of the problem altogether. With newer digital technology, noise levels are beyond the threshold of human hearing.

If you think about it, the process of Band-Aid->leading to higher expectations->leading to new technology has been happening for some time now: We eliminated the need for woofer whizzer cones by inventing the tweeter. We obviated the need for dynamic range expanders by moving to digital audio. We side stepped the problems of tape noise, rolled-off highs, and lossy duplication by chucking the process of tape recording entirely.

And that’s kind of the thing isn’t it? At first there’s a clever Band-Aid that works well, shows us the way forward, and sets our dreams for the future.

And then we rip the Band-Aid off and accept the new technology.

I wonder what’s next to come?

Leave a Reply