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Schiit Happened: The Story of the World's Most Improbable Start-Up - Page 242

post #3616 of 19456
Originally Posted by Sarvasaha View Post

I guess one argument for not putting DAC & AMP in the Cans is that the Iphones/ IPADS / tablet PCs etc already have them.

Although it does transfer cost from those manufacturers to the manufacturers of cans.

Although Apple et al might like that such a change would probably have to come from the Can manufacturers.

So Apple might do it as a niche product for all of the Apple "fanboys". Why would even they bother?

But why would Senn/Sony/mass market manafacturers.

That world is more about cost-cutting.

Weight should not be  a problem (an Ipod has both), but heat dissipation might. Forget class A.


It seems to me that Apple is moving down a path to hi(er)rez music - at the exact same time they are downplaying owning music and pushing streaming. Talk about owning both ends...


Apple recently hired Peter Eastty of Oxford Digital, with expertise in DSP and 24 bit audio, after buying Beats, which most people agree was done partly to get the streaming service and partly to get Iovine/Dre for their music industry connections. The headphone business was a convenient adjunct to that.


Apple is obsessed with reducing weight while increasing battery life. Higher rez DSP chips take more power... so it makes business sense to leave 16/44 chips in their devices for the vast majority of people for whom stock earbuds are fine. China/3rd world customers are much less likely to buy after market cans or hi-res tunes anyway, so why cater to them in the phone? Apple can then put 24/96 or whatever into the headphones instead for those that care.


Oh, and there's no reason the 'phones should be powered by the device - LiOn rechargeables are cheap'n'cheerful, NiMH even more so.


Going back to the Eastty hire, he seems to have expertise in surround DSP as well. Maybe the whole thing is to get "surround" sound out of headphones rather than hi-res stereo. That makes more sense to me - you can already rent and watch movies on your iPhone/iPad/MacBook, but all you get is teeny tiny tinny speaker(s), or stereo out of the jack. If you can sell "surround" headphones so you can listen to your rented movie in 5.1, that is no longer a niche market just for Apple fanboys.


As for why would Senn/Sony/etc. care about this? Well, I just did a search on Amazon for 'surround headphones' and got 20 pages of results - many from companies I'd never heard of, but including Sennheiser and Sony as well as Logitech and Plantronics.


If Apple is publishing specs to put surround DSPs into headphones, you can bet all of those companies and more will be making them, probably even including Monoprice.


And as for Class A in headphones? Why do you even bring that up? Nothing battery powered (with the exception of some very $$$ boutique gear) tries to run Class A off of batteries. Class D and T are here for that…


If Behringer can put a DAC, an ADC, a headphone amp, a volume control, and a USB to SPDIF converter into a box for $45 MSRP/$30 street, you can bet China can churn out headphones with a 24/96 DAC, or a 5.1 DAC, amp, rechargeable batteries, transducers, cable, enclosure and headband comparably cheap. Your Senn/Sony/etc. will follow along with less cheap. In fact, going back to that Amazon search, I see Sades brand 7.1 for $24, right next to a Sony 9.1 for $500.


Again, this is not a sandbox I see Schiit playing in. Jason has said he doesn't want to get into the mess that surround licensing leads to.

Edited by valiant66 - 11/5/14 at 9:42am
post #3617 of 19456
Originally Posted by Muinarc View Post

Wow it just got serious in here!

Still waiting on the IGBT based amp smily_headphones1.gif


Don't know about IGBT, but there is a bi-polar discrete transistor amp awaiting order critical mass for a production run.


Eddie Current Red Top

post #3618 of 19456
I have been keeping my eye on that Red Top. The IGBT thing is in jest, I own a Michael Bladelius designed Forte amplifier circa '92 that does sound tremendous... but no one in their right mind wants to use them for audio..... but Jason IS crazy.....
post #3619 of 19456

I think canny is a better word...  :wink:


But if Craig does get enough takers, I can finally replace my desktop Soloist.

post #3620 of 19456
Thread Starter 

IGBT, barf. "All the disadvantages of both BJTs and MOSFETs, all in one convenient package." No thanks. 

post #3621 of 19456

So much for crazy...

Edited by jacal01 - 11/5/14 at 10:42am
post #3622 of 19456

any new chapter today?

post #3623 of 19456
Originally Posted by Jason Stoddard View Post

IGBT, barf. "All the disadvantages of both BJTs and MOSFETs, all in one convenient package." No thanks. 


This seems isomorphic to the in-headphone DAC/AMP stuff and the old receiver vs. component argument. Whenever somebody's preaching as something having all of the benefits/convenience of X Y and Z in one package they never talk about "and all the downsides too! Plus some added rainbow complexity sprinkles and we limited the whole thing by the cheapest/weakest link on top!"

post #3624 of 19456

Jason posted yesterday that there would be no chapter today, but he would try to get one up by Friday.

post #3625 of 19456
Originally Posted by Jason Stoddard View Post

IGBT, barf. "All the disadvantages of both BJTs and MOSFETs, all in one convenient package." No thanks. 

Just ask Lisa and Mike's wife (forgot her name I'm a terrible person) and they'll tell you IGBT theatrical dimmers are the best.

post #3626 of 19456
Originally Posted by Jason Stoddard View Post

IGBT, barf. "All the disadvantages of both BJTs and MOSFETs, all in one convenient package." No thanks. 


That's funny Jason, Nelson Pass said the exact same thing lol.
post #3627 of 19456
Originally Posted by Jason Stoddard View Post

However, on the subject of amps and DACs in headphones, I think it is a profoundly stupid idea. Let's see if they do it, and let's see how it plays out, but I think it will be an abject failure, for several reasons:


1. It ties the headphone to a specific connector, in this case, the Lightning connector.

I think people would be more likely to buy into proprietary connectors if there was a really cool, creative, "killer" idea associated with it. Unfortunately for Apple, the ability to show this kind of creativity in the post-Job era is yet to be proven.... Buying Beats seems like an attempt to retain some "cool" but... At some point another younger company will start offering really new, really fun devices (rather than maintaining the illusion), and the willingness of the ADD people to drop $600 on an iPhone every couple years will start melting pretty fast. That new company will then become the new Apple, and if they're smart enough, they might even follow Mike's and other's modularity model and take people's increasing weariness of planned obsolescence / programmed pollution into account.


Even if you think a newer better connector for analog or for digital connections is necessary, a universal non-licensed connector is the future to create and maintain consumer electronics ecosystems.

I'm with Jason on this one.

post #3628 of 19456

I always felt the whole lightning connector to headphones thing is some vague attempt to remove the 1/8" jack and the audio amplifier from the presumably hugely valuable real estate within the iphone. They'd be crazy to do it, but you never know with Apple.

post #3629 of 19456
Humm, I typically always nod in agreement with Jason's posts but I am not quite as dismissive about apple move to feed ear-/headphones with digital rather than good old analog.

To me, there are many potential advances that could be made by having the D/A conversion , amplification and transduction developed as a system. Maybe not for the high end but more for the low and especiallly midrange products.

For instance, noise cancellation is one obvious item where it's silly to start from analog signal for the music feed since it then has to go through A/D stage in order to feed the DSP.

You could argue that one could simply let the phone access the microphones signal and take care of the ANC but that still forces you to a single microphone / limited sensing mechanisms if you're stick to the old 4 lines analog connector.

Another aspect is using digital EQ in place of traditional passive tuning (screens / some of the pads characteristics...). Passive tuning or even active analog eq is so limited in comparison to what can be done in the digital domain. There again, digital eq can be just as nasty as analog one in terms of artifacts but it isn't inherently bad.

One interesting patent from Apple a year ago or so: an active bass equalization based on the effective seal of universal in ear (the earpod comes to mind as there really is no such thing as universal fit - dispite the marketing done at launch - at least not an optimal fit).

Maybe Jason's point is about the compromises of having the electronics packaged into the headphone. I can imagine the lightning connector being used in a different manner: it already has D/A built in converter now. What prevents apple from having A/D in there as well so that they can feed various sensors data back to the audio processing unit? Certainly, phone battery and horsepower is getting better by the minute, it's only a matter of time we get a lightning based Earpod with active equalization and noise cancellation.

My 2 cts. that is smily_headphones1.gif.


Ps: about using the standard mic/stereo jack for ANC, it makes no sense anyhow. Phone recognizes the device as a headset, how can he decide to perform EQ. Conversely, one plugs a headset with in line mic (e.g closer to mouth than ear), phone tries to do anc and goes nowhere because it just does not work the way. Silly idea... Digital and a standard (lightning) connector is the way to go!
Edited by arnaud - 11/5/14 at 10:02pm
post #3630 of 19456
IMHO, dropping of a 1/8" jack on an iPhone is inevitable, whether it will be within a year or a decade. For a lighting port? Maybe, as an interim step, especially if they want to get sensors on your head for their HealthKit/iWatch/etc. But the long-term goal is wireless. Wireless charging, wireless syncing, wireless payments, and... wireless headphones. evil_smiley.gif

Lets just hope they'll keep a way to get bitperfect digital out of their shiny precious devices. smily_headphones1.gif
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