Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Source Gear › If you could....
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

If you could....

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

Lets say that I am an electrical engineer (which I am) and was somewhat interested in developing some product that would directly compete with the ipod market (which I also am). I am looking at what kind of things that you as the consumers would want in such a device? 

Right now I have a few things myself that are extremely important such as:

the ability to drive headphones properly

High quality audio chip

Flac support

Sleek/minimalist design

10+ hour battery life

 

But the most important aspect to me is the UI. The problem with the highest quality portable audio players is that they may have amazing sound, but the user interface completely sucks. This has got to the point where people return the product because its too difficult to deal with. 

 

 

With that said, what would be your dream device with no regard to what it would cost to make? What kind of features would you want in it?

post #2 of 34

Well

 

the UI, I would change to the User EXPERIENCE which includes the user interface.

 

with that said

 

you could base it on a custom linux kernel and write the "music" player from the ground up.

 

No need to go with a dual core CPU.

 

1024MB for the base memory. 512mb is not enough especially for hi-rez files.

Support for SD Cards. not Micro. SC card will grow much quicker the micro sd cards.

 

Android is ok but you would need group up a player with working everything. Including sorting by tags (artist, albums etc). Cover art is not a big deal unless you are looking at the thing.

 

Wi-Fi N support. Bluetooth

 

USB ports

 

 

Test, test and regression test the living day lights out of it to make sure basic functions work out of the box. because it might look great on paper but if the UE is nothing short of perfect. No penetration.

post #3 of 34

First of all UI, go simple(Hifiman), or go full on modern(Cowon)

With the simper one, you will be giving yourself less of a headache and focus more on people that want that device JUST for audio. The simpler one will have to work extremely well. The user will have to never feel angsty at moving the controls around or experiencing weird bugs and be organized and complex to sort files and folders as a niche user may want to, but also be simple enough to put them on and browse through them with a good non angsty user experience. Weed out all the bugs and make it look nice but not distracting or with contrasting colors.

 

If you go modern, generally you will be like Cowon, add more features in there and appeal to a niche and non niche crowd. However the problems start getting huge! You have to design a GUI that doesn't infringe on anything (or use Android, but that poses limits as well) and make it so like the simple one, it would flow and not make the user feel mad that it isn't moving fast enough (complex UI's make the user think it's more complex and want to make it go faster in my experience) or that there isn't enough options even though it looks so good. It takes time to develop and weed out bugs and adding more features like a small group of apps or camera and video support increase costs and add more layers of complexity and failing and even price.

 

Storage:

8-16-32-64GB FLASH storage options(heck, doing 8,16,32 or 16 and 32 would be fine) BUT with the option to have SDHC AND OR SDXC support.....this part is important. Give us a decent or thorough amount of internal space but there better be a external storage slot that supports SDHC at the least and or SDXC.

 

Audio:

Get your engineers on it and do it well. Get no gimmich snake oil engineers that know audio circuitry. There have been some devices that have, through bad cirucits or not enough knowledge designed bad intergration of theDAC and other parts surrouding it that have added noise and distortion and other problems. Avoid this. Get a decent DAC, nothing too fancy but nothing too low either. As a starting device for the company, aiming at the largest target market of $200 to $300 is what you need to focus on(this can also lead UI descisions)  you will need to compete with Hifiman's or Cowon's and even the iPod(in the price range) but you don't need anything too fancy for a starting variant. Something to match up to the Hifiman 601 I guess. And with a good dual op amp setup or not. Choose these things wisely. Also......if at all possible...and this does lead to a big factor, have at least an Line out option (that is of decent quality and intergration to not add more noise etc) and if at all possible with your software and or hardware. Support digital out so a user can use their own DAC's. Of course a DAC's own USB power draw will be a problem so the higher you can make it without any ill's the better, although you might not need to worry about it too much as if your device is popular...the companies will think of a way! *wink* Also. Volume stepping, some don't do it correctly at low volume. Having it be able to suit a variety of headphones with a low impendance would also be good and being able to work with sensitive IEM's would also be great. Having a powerful (thinking about price as well) amp in there would also be great with full sizers.

 

Extras:

Depending on what markets you want to focus on, if you are putting out many devies at differnt price ranges or one, you can choose to include camera, video support and what not to get a market outside of the niche one. This is up to you, but as you are asking on head fi. Don't let it take priority over sound if you want to make a real audio device that we would love. I can see you scaling back some options to be able to pay for the extra support and do as you see fit, but don't let these take priority if you are making an audio lovers device.

 

No need for wifi or other stuff if you are going simple route.

 

Bundled accesories:

A USB wall charger would be nice but you don't need to, charing through comptuer and using our own USB wall charger will be fine, they aren't expensive and we generally have plenty, save more room and costs.

Headphones?: If you can include a set of SoundMagics, MEElectronics or whatever through an affiliation deal, that would be awesome, but as you need to drive down costs probably. Anything or NOTHING matters to us realy. We wont be using them.

 

Casing:

Make it look nice! Take some cues from Apple. 

 

Build Quality:

Make it solid, but something that is affordable and you can work with, don't want it falling apart. Whatever you feel best.

 

Replaceable parts and battery:

It would be great if a replaceable battery was an option, as in user replaceable, whether you will allow it in warranty or not. Sometimes headphone jacks might break to, but this section isn't crucial although some will ask about replacing the battery, either themselves or through you guys.

 

Pricing:

Again, target market, how many devices, UI you will choose etc. I think $200-$300 base config device (even with 8GB of internal storage but with all the storage amenities above) is fine.

 

Screen and physical buttons:

Don't cheap out. Wiggly weirdly glued screens are a no no. Just a regular screen realy, if you are going simple it doesn't need to do much other than be able to show you what is going on and be reliable.

The buttons should be ergonomic. IT would be best to do multi handed, but as the iPod and iPhone has shown and taught you could just design a product that, althoguh would benefit more those with a right hand, left handers could easily adapt to. The volume buttons on the iPod's and iPhones are more suited for right handers, but it is also placed in a way that left handers can and could easily adapt to using it their own way.

 

Having enough buttons without overload or making the device "feel" weird or other user caused problems is important.

 

Touchscreen?:

Target market and UI and all those stuff again. I personally don't mind but if it costs a lot of money added on, isn't responsive, breaks easier. Then, no thank you. And honestly, not having one would be better too as an audiophile.

 

Format support:

FLAC, ALAC, AIFF,WAV

MP3 and variants, AAC

other variants of your choice

ALAC just recently became easy to use with it's parly kinda semi open source agreement terms so you may be able to put it on, it would be great.

 

Overal:

As an audiophile and I think you want to build an audiophile device, building a simple UI and style device would be best, a complex UI and device would drive costs up as developing and bugging it would cost money, adding wifi and other application writing would cost money and all those other extra's some feel to include.

Internal storage as I said is fine but SDHC and SDXC support would be exactly what I would want.

Good combo of DAC and op amp(s) 

Line out option at the very least, digital out would be very very good.

 

 

One more note, change your title, nobody will know what you want people to answer.


Edited by bowei006 - 7/12/12 at 8:04pm
post #4 of 34

Two main things I want out of a dream DAP:

 

-500GB or more!!! (Ok, I guess I could make do with ~300 tongue_smile.gif)

 

-Parametric EQ, 20Hz to 20kHz, 5 bands bare bones (but the more the better), variable Q/bandwidth, overall gain control, shelving would be nice as well.


Edited by manveru - 7/12/12 at 8:28pm
post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowei006 View Post

One more note, change your title, nobody will know what you want people to answer.

 

+1

post #6 of 34

We aren't talking about dream DAP lol but the EQ section I forgot! Yeah....but some may not want it

 

I'll add it to the list:

 

EQ options, allow for a good or decent EQ and gain switch in the settings menu or do what itunes does and allow a full EQ in software...or something but it is not crucial, although it would be nice

 

Software:

Many users don't like to add more software to their list of programs and usually software made by ....companies are veyr stocky and buggy, but if you do make one, adding the in software EQ option like iTunes did that can apply to individual songs would be great!

post #7 of 34

IMHO

 

For the OS, you could ask for help from the Rockbox team. They would be happy to help I think

 

Don't use android because there is a problem about rooting, drivers and everything. Especially upgrading the firmware. Even big companies are taking their time to release even a stock version of Android OS. Why? Because of drivers vary from manufacturer to manufacturer

 

How about other file types like .ape. Heck, make it able to play ANYTHING since (for me) converting to other format even at equivalent setting (may) affect the quality

 

Why not get a flash drive since it's cheaper nowadays and follow the ipod classic route. Plus it's faster

 

Maybe the DAC is unneeded. Or make a with DAC version and no DAC version. Use op amps too and make it as easy to switch like switching a memory stick

 

If it's not an overkill, use the battery from Razr Maxx! 

post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by graphidz View Post

IMHO

 

For the OS, you could ask for help from the Rockbox team. They would be happy to help I think

 

Don't use android because there is a problem about rooting, drivers and everything. Especially upgrading the firmware. Even big companies are taking their time to release even a stock version of Android OS. Why? Because of drivers vary from manufacturer to manufacturer

 

How about other file types like .ape. Heck, make it able to play ANYTHING since (for me) converting to other format even at equivalent setting (may) affect the quality

 

Why not get a flash drive since it's cheaper nowadays and follow the ipod classic route. Plus it's faster

 

Maybe the DAC is unneeded. Or make a with DAC version and no DAC version. Use op amps too and make it as easy to switch like switching a memory stick

 

If it's not an overkill, use the battery from Razr Maxx! 

That's why I said problems with Android.

 

Rockbox may or may not help, but some want to do it themselves. Cheaper usually.

 

I did think about ape but most ape files are in a huge bundle and need to be seperated into individual songs...usually.

 

Not sure what you mean by get a flash drive..it won't work with the device.

 

..........it can't play music if there is no DAC....

 

Switchable op amps would be nearly impossible. It would complicate everything, drive support calls up and make it harder for the body and everything.

post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowei006 View Post

We aren't talking about dream DAP lol but the EQ section I forgot! Yeah....but some may not want it

 

I'll add it to the list:

 

EQ options, allow for a good or decent EQ and gain switch in the settings menu or do what itunes does and allow a full EQ in software...or something but it is not crucial, although it would be nice.

 

See OP:

 

"With that said, what would be your dream device with no regard to what it would cost to make? What kind of features would you want in it?"

 

 

EQ is non-negotiable for me personally. tongue.gif If it doesn't have any EQ at all or only has presets, I won't even consider it for a second. My Cowon sort of has EQ, but it's limited.

 

 

Another thing:

 

I could really give a crap what specific chips and all that are used, as long as it measures ok. No rolled off bass response or anything like that. A low output impedance (<2) for all those IEMs and portable headphones would be encouraging as well.


Edited by manveru - 7/12/12 at 9:06pm
post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by manveru View Post

 

See OP:

 

"With that said, what would be your dream device with no regard to what it would cost to make? What kind of features would you want in it?"

 

 

EQ is non-negotiable for me personally. tongue.gif If it doesn't have any EQ at all or only has presets, I won't even consider it for a second. My Cowon sort of has EQ, but it's limited.

 

 

Another thing:

 

I could really give a crap what specific chips and all that are used, as long as it measures ok. No rolled off bass response or anything like that. A low output impedance (<2) for all those IEMs and portable headphones would be encouraging as well.

I forgot that part..but really, that is all my dreams are limited tor right now rolleyes.gif

 

Many and I care about the chips as they do matter, choosing the chips and intergrating them properly is another mission in it's own. And at that point, that would still only be objective results, then comes subjective tests, a good company would take time to then work with both objective and subjective testing to tune or get a sound that they would think would be something that their market (in this point audiophile niche) would want for that device.


Edited by bowei006 - 7/12/12 at 9:09pm
post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowei006 View Post

I forgot that part..but really, that is all my dreams are limited tor right now rolleyes.gif

 

Many and I care about the chips as they do matter, choosing the chips and intergrating them properly is another mission in it's own. And at that point, that would still only be objective results, then comes subjective tests, a good company would take time to then work with both objective and subjective testing to tune or get a sound that they would think would be something that their market (in this point audiophile niche) would want for that device.

 

Hehe. Like I said, as long as there wouldn't be any larger issues that could possibly effect the sound quality. Put an ES9018 and OPA627s in there for all I care.

post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by manveru View Post

 

Hehe. Like I said, as long as there wouldn't be any larger issues that could possibly effect the sound quality. Put an ES9018 and OPA627s in there for all I care.

... >_< At the price I want it to be, won't be possible. Not to mention the OPA627 osciallates easily and would take time to fix.

post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowei006 View Post

... >_< At the price I want it to be, won't be possible. Not to mention the OPA627 osciallates easily and would take time to fix.

 

Haha. I just named it because it seems to be popular.

post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by manveru View Post

 

Haha. I just named it because it seems to be popular.

....in elite(not super elite) $500 setups and the Sabre too..the sabre is used in the ODAC...it wouldn't be possible at the $200-$300 price range....only at around $500 if they go really simple I think....not an economist at costs so I don't know

post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowei006 View Post

That's why I said problems with Android.

 

Rockbox may or may not help, but some want to do it themselves. Cheaper usually.

 

I did think about ape but most ape files are in a huge bundle and need to be seperated into individual songs...usually.

 

Not sure what you mean by get a flash drive..it won't work with the device.

 

..........it can't play music if there is no DAC....

 

Switchable op amps would be nearly impossible. It would complicate everything, drive support calls up and make it harder for the body and everything.

 

I meant SSD LOL! I think that could work, probably

 

DAC function like the one in HM-801 was what I meant

 

Really? I just put that in because I thought it would be possible

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Portable Source Gear
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Source Gear › If you could....