Originally Posted by Dreyka
Will Noble Audio start offering a universal version of the Kaiser 10 now that the Roxanne has proven there is a large market for universal versions of flagship CIEMs?
CIEMs have significant disadvantages such as requiring a mould of your ear, long wait times, significantly lower resale value and most importantly if you have seal issues you have to go through the whole process again. Universal versions don't have these problems and if a proper seal is achieved via ear tips the sound quality will be the same. Expanding into universal versions will expand the flagship IEM market, bring in new customers and bring back old customers who have been disappointed by fit issues and the low resale value.
It will also make getting objective measurements easier rather than relying on the spurious testimonies from audiophiles whom I have no confidence in their hearing or comparison abilities. At the moment the problem is that there are a lot of CIEM makers and no one knows what they all sound like nor is there any objective measurements to compare. Simple information such as a frequency response curve is not available which makes spending thousands of dollars on a CIEM very risky.
I have heard plenty of good things about the Kaiser 10 but I'm not going to buy anything other than a universal version. I'm not interested in fancy acrylic colors or custom decals and as I can get the Roxanne Universal for $1300, which is a $300 discount other the custom version, I don't see reasons to buy the Kaiser 10. I'd buy a $1300 Kaiser 10 universal but I'm not going to buy a custom version.
WoW so many facets here to address.
1) I don't need to follow the "success" of the Roxanee to goad me into building universal products. If you know the history of the "Wizard" you would know that I have been involved in, if not spear heading the buidling of universal products for a long time now. It didn't require 20 years for me to "discover," that building universal IEMs was a good idea. In fact it wasn't the Roxanne that "proved" anything, according to Jerry Harvey (See Google Interview) it was the success of the Fit Ear Universal line that pesuaded him to get involved in hand building Universal IEMs.
2) That being said, hand building universals is not a good idea. The concept behind universals is to build with speed. The problem with that is.... if your Universal has a shell color, (any color) and you build the shells in large batches (save time) the pigments/dyes settle to the bottom of the container of UV liquid (material used to make the shells). (Imagine a large soup made, at the end of the day, it becomes more pungent, as the spices settle to the bottom)
Any how, the problem with the dyes settling, is the ratio of UV material pigment isn't optimal, and then you run into brittle, fragile shells. You also have problems with matching shell colors, thus to do a proper repair, and maintain color matching both sides (right and left IEM) have to be re-made, which increases the repair time, which increases repair costs.
3) I decided I was not going to participate in such a circle of progress coupled with failure. Thus, Noble uses a plastic injected mold for the universal shell, resulting in much stronger shells, consistent in strength, color and size.
It also afords Noble the oppertunity to offer "classic" Universal IEMs that utilize the standard injected parts
and we also offer hand finished, (Wizard Design) Universal IEMs, that are as unique as our Noble CIEMs.
but here is the thing, even the Wizard Design IEMs shells are made from injected plastic, so we know that they are consistent in strength, size and quality.
4) The down side is, designing and building the molds required for injected parts is a very expensive process, and requires a lot of time as well.
5) Size, internal parts for the K10 exceed the size of the universal IEM shell that we have.
6) Due to that, we would either have to hand make the K10 Universal, or have a new housing designed, just for the K10.
A) As it is, the lab is at full capacity. We would like to keep our build times below 5-6 months and as mentioned before, hand building IEMs comes with a set of problems.
B) Investing large sums of money, into a plastic injected housing specifically for the K10 (that would probably fit a small population) is not feasible.
Edited by FullCircle - 5/19/14 at 7:36pm