If you treasure audio like some of us do at WFMU, you would think Coppola's The Conversation would be the apex of dorkdom rising from the darkest realms of the recording world. But that shit is soo '74.
I haven't really kept up with how Hollywood has been portraying those in the business of "audio forensics". We hear alot about surveillance nowadays, but that was only part of Harry Caul's (Gene Hackman's character) job in The Conversation. The real meat of his job and of the film came from the decoding of the recorded information.
Now that magnetic recording devices have been relegated to the status of artifact , one wonders if Harry Caul would get as much female action in 2005 without having to roll around on a dusty warehouse floor, wrestling with yards of tape surrounded by tractor wheel sized reels. The audio forensic scientist in this day and age likely has a flat ass and an oversized forearm from sitting in front of a Mac with his digital editing software for hours on end.
A company called Computer Audio Engineering is one of the cutting-edge places out there in the business of decrypting audio for clients like the U.S. Department of Justice, insurance companies and defense lawyers. They perform services like "intelligibility enhancement" and "event sequence analysis", stuff I never would've imagined could be so sensitively disseminated. They also do good old fashioned telephone recording, of course with a digital retrieval system, duh!
Here's descriptions of their services, which I assume represents technology offered by similar firms out there. So if you're a Junior Dick with an ear for the ghosts in the machine you might want to investigate the possibilities in this field.
ADDENDUM-de-dum: Gorge yourself on audio geekdom, including flawed experiments and stupefying mp3s over on The Science of Sound blog!