The telephone was
invented standardized by Alexander Graham Bell back in 1876, to which the major infrastructure of copper wire for telephone communication eventually spread throughout the United States – two thin, barely insulated copper wires made up the majority of our telecommunications networks until high speed internet started taking off (and a little twisting allows those two wires to be able to carry high speed DSL)
But who talks over copper wire any more? Cell phones are ubiquitous, indeed, many non profits would suggest that a mobile telephone is more of a right than a privilege. When was the last time you used a land line? One of things about copper wire and the analog phone is that they were designed long before the microprocessor and we’ve also done a lot of acoustic research (we have noise canceling on my laptop and phone folks!) The traditional phone and wireless spec calls for the ability to transmit voice between 300hz and 3.4khz – that’s not a bad range for explicitly voice and might actually help isolate out bass or treble that would interrupt a call.
Thanks to the digital revolution though, we can send much more high quality audio though. With digital communications we can even take raw data and decided how to best compress it on the fly. Carriers are releasing HD Voice that will transmit 50hz to 7khz, so you can get more of the human vocal range, including bass voice and high pitch singing (the birthday song never sounded so clear.)
What grinds my gears though is that most of society hasn’t realized that this technology is accessible and usable online via services like Skype, Facetime, and Hangouts. If you’re doing a conference call, interview, or consulting call you can get a lot better communication with the higher quality audio (that just so happens to have the visual component as well if you want it). The real question is, how backwards is it that not even our technology companies are using this yet?