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Re: Fill my rack!

mark sottilaro wrote:
 > On the other hand, it seems that there are some new
 > things coming out but they're software.  As much as
 > I'm a fan of dedicated hardware, I think this point in
 > time is it's swansong.

This has been hotly debated on any number of forums.  I happen to
agree with this, though I'm not sure we're going to see any major
shift within the next ten years.  This isn't like CD vs. vinyl, it
will be a more gradual change.

I think it is becoming pointless to argue about which is "better" at
a technical level.  What is important is the harsh economic reality
that it is *dramatically* cheaper to produce software than hardware.
Any knowledgeable person with a few thousand dollars worth of tools
can make a VST plugin.  This is where you are going to see the most

Currently, this movement is held in check by another harsh reality.
PC's are simply not as reliable as dedicated hardware.  But think back
to what a "pc" was 20 years ago, what will it be 20 years from now?
It can only get better.  But if you're a hardware manufacturer, in 20
years you're still going be dealing with labor, supply chains,
inventory, distribution, and repairs.  Unless dedicated hardware is so
dramatically better in some way than the competing software, it just
won't make economic sense to manufacture.

I'm sure dedicated hardware will continue to have a niche at the high
end, and maybe the high-volume low end (e.g. stompboxes).  But
for mainstream signal processing, my belief is that we will eventually
evolve to a small number of general purpose hardware platforms,
designed to be rugged and stable, which then host the software.  Heck,
have you looked at the specs of a game machine lately?  Stick an 8x8
audio interface in an X-Box and you're almost there.  In not too many
years we'll have 100GB flash ram cards so you won't need those nasty
spinning disks.  About the only stability issue that won't be
solved in my lifetime are the security holes in Internet Explorer :-)

Flame on!