Ader, théâtrophone, 1881, 2 loudspeakers (binaural)
Luigi Russolo, The Art of Noise, 1913, ~12 loudspeakers
Disney, Fantasound, 1940, 54 loudspeakers
Xenakis/Varese, Brussels World Fair, 1958, 425 loudspeakers
TU Berlin WFS, 2000 (est), 2700 loudspeakers

Fitting this data to an exponential growth curve predicts a doubling period of about 12 years. An integrated system with >10000 loudspeakers should exist by 2030.

The expected lifetime of established software and protocols can easily exceed 30 years (think Lotus Notes, MS Word, UNIX... and MIDI). Audio control protocols for the future should take into consideration expected increases in the magnitude, complexity and bandwidth of future systems (which if we follow Kurzweil can be used quite practically as a business management strategy for planning roadmaps to future products). The "channel strip" design pattern, established with analog mixing consoles is now used to organize software systems. Does its essentially linear scalability make sense given these expected trends?


The growth rate of channel count in broadly available consumer media formats follows a much slower trend with an average doubling period of 32 years.


According to this trend a 24-channel ambisonics format will not have mass-market traction until 2063.