Commercial Sound and Video Systems
Published: Jul 10, 2024

The Evolution of Sound Systems: 6+ Systems That Have Shaped How We Hear Sound

We don’t think twice about putting in our headphones, turning up our car radio, or increasing our T.V. volume. Sound is all around us, and we can control it instantly. Sound systems have drastically transformed throughout the years. The sound quality has changed, as has the entire look of the system. From what used to be bulky, heavy equipment to mobile, sleek speakers, the change is evident. Let us look back and see how sound systems have evolved.

What Are Sound Systems? 

A sound system comprises various components that reproduce and amplify sound. They are commonly used in the case of large audiences or for presentations.

Sound systems are essential for numerous reasons and can work well in several facilities. These systems are crucial for enhancing audio experiences, primarily in entertainment, ensuring clear communication in public and professional settings, and supporting live events and performances.

However, they also play a vital role in education, public safety, and business, providing high-quality sound for music, speeches, announcements, and more. Sound systems are also used during live events and events with larger audiences. 

1877-Record Player

Most people are familiar with Thomas Edison, who invented the record player in 1877. This was the first step in the evolution of sound and home audio equipment. Even after all this time, we still use record players today!


Nearly 100 years later, audio equipment transitioned from monaural to stereophonic sound, with the term “hi-fi” emerging to describe sound accuracy and minimal distortion. Audio equipment evolved from large wooden cabinets to more compact and mobile units during this time.

1950’s- 1st Traveling Sound System

The origins of what we know now as the sound system are thought to have been traced back to Kingston, Jamaica, during the 1950s. A traveling van containing speakers, amplifiers, generators, and turntables was all it took to unite a community by playing music. Heads turned while this revolutionary invention was brought outdoors and would attract large public crowds. 

1980s- The Boombox

A traveling music van was creative but not sustainable. Thus, a portable speaker battery operated machine called the Boombox was introduced. Boomboxes, constructed with integrated radios, cassette players, and eventually CD players, frequently had A/C plugs and 3.5 mm AUX ports.

1990s-Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) 

Technology is now advancing rapidly. Software like Pro Tools and Cubase have become popular, enabling high-quality digital audio recording and editing on personal computers. “Bluetooth,” a wireless connection, would be invented in only a few short years.

2007-Streaming Services 

Services like Spotify and later Apple Music would popularize music streaming, allowing instant access to vast music libraries. You can now play any song at any time, anywhere. 

2020’s- Modern Day Speakers

“Smart” sound devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home integrate voice assistants with high-quality sound systems, becoming central to home audio experiences. By simply speaking to these speakers, they can instantly play a song.

The Future of Sound Systems  

Tools like recording, playback, Bluetooth, and more are all features we could have never imagined we would have access to with a click of a button. With every updated smartphone, the sound quality gets better and better.

In the beginning, the focus of the sound system was primarily on how loud the speakers could get, trying to unite neighbors and the community. Now, the sound system is more about the quality of the sound. Is there feedback? Will there be static? Can I hear the bass?

Questions like this push the boundaries of updating the sound system we know even more. 

Contact CSAV Systems for A.V. Integration 

At CSAV Systems, we believe in innovative, user-friendly, and high-quality audio and video solutions for your business. Our engineers and consultants offer your facility a complete custom-designed audio/visual package.

We work with you to find the best sound and video system to enhance your business environment. We offer A/V solutions from the latest name-brand technologies while providing a 3-year warranty. Click here to get started, or call us at 732-577-0077.

Category(s): A/V Systems General

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