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In The Studio: How Supercapacitors Could Change Audio

Gear design is about to enter an exciting new era

By Bobby Owsinski November 12, 2013

This article is provided by Bobby Owsinski.

 
My buddy Nick Batzdorf (a name that should ring a bell with those of you who read recording magazines) wrote a great piece about the new supercapacitors over at marketplace.org.

The gist of the article is that the new devices are rapidly revolutionizing energy storage, replacing the traditional chemical battery, which will make a difference in many of the items in our everyday lives, from phones to electric cars.

Supercapacitors beat batteries in every aspect in that they have a greater energy density than batteries or normal capacitors, never wear out, charge up hundreds of times faster than a battery, and are impervious to temperature.

That’s because they use thin sheets of 1 atom thick graphene to store static electricity instead of relying on the chemical reaction that is the basis of battery operation.

So how could that be a boon to audio? Let me count the ways.

—How about high-wattage power amps class-A power amps that are smaller and better sounding because of the smaller and more efficient caps?

—How about wireless mics that don’t need their batteries replaced after every show because they no longer use batteries and they remain charged for weeks?

—How about guitar pedals that don’t need batteries anymore and only need to be recharged for a short time every few months or so?

—How about improved audio quality on boutique audio gear because of the more efficient caps used in the power supplies and the signal path?

—How about a new evolution of the condenser microphone that has a transient response that we can only dream about today?

I’m sure you can think of tons of other applications, but suffice it to say that supercapacitors can truly mean a breakthrough in both how we power some of our devices as well as audio quality.

Of course the big thing in the way at the moment is price (they’re 20 to 40 times more expensive) and the fact that they only work at relatively low voltages, since it’s such a relatively new technology. This means that most of the above won’t be available tomorrow, but what’s pricey today has a way of being inexpensive and improved tomorrow.

Gear design is about to enter an exciting new era.

Bobby Owsinski is an author, producer, music industry veteran and technical consultant who has written numerous books covering all aspects of audio recording. Get the 3rd edition of The Recording Engineer’s Handbook here.

 


About Bobby

Bobby Owsinski
Bobby Owsinski

Music Industry Veteran and Technical Consultant
Bobby Owsinski is an author, producer, music industry veteran and technical consultant who has written numerous books covering all aspects of audio recording. To read more from Bobby, and to acquire copies of his outstanding books such as The Recording Engineer’s Handbook, be sure to check out his website at www.bobbyowsinski.com.
http://www.bobbyowsinski.com/

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