Schiit Happened: The Story of the World's Most Improbable Start-Up
Jul 15, 2019 at 9:07 PM Post #48,376 of 80,122

jcflox

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Unisen is their superior usb technology that they are working on.

Having read Jason's description of Unison, I am still curious to learn what advantages it will have for the end user. One of the biggest benefits for Schiit is they no longer have to use another company's part and the USB interface could theoretically be more efficient at its audio-specific job since they control the in-house coding and programming onto a PIC.

The one point that really intrigued me was him saying in the Buzzword Bingo chapter that Mike prefers Unison to SPDIF...exactly why wasn't specified (whether it's SQ or just easy to integrate into his designs).
 
Jul 15, 2019 at 9:33 PM Post #48,378 of 80,122

Dana Reed

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I really detest using a RasPi endpoint for SPDIF transport (Allo DigiOne) when the EITR would be better matched to my Schiity Stack.
I just got a Digione, and other than having to dig out a keyboard and monitor to set up the WiFi, it’s been a pretty seamless to use with any of my DACs. I guess you want it to fit in an Eitr chassis? Could be a fun project
 
Jul 15, 2019 at 11:00 PM Post #48,379 of 80,122

leafy7382

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Having a custom USB implementation would mean that when receiving data front the USB interface, Schiit can just do whatever they want with the output, ideally converting it directly to BWD(bit clock, word clock, data) that the DAC chip can receive, all without going through the USB-SPDIF-receiver_chip-dac_chip path
 
Jul 15, 2019 at 11:00 PM Post #48,380 of 80,122

US Blues

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The point, just about halfway...
Having read Jason's description of Unison, I am still curious to learn what advantages it will have for the end user. One of the biggest benefits for Schiit is they no longer have to use another company's part and the USB interface could theoretically be more efficient at its audio-specific job since they control the in-house coding and programming onto a PIC.

The one point that really intrigued me was him saying in the Buzzword Bingo chapter that Mike prefers Unison to SPDIF...exactly why wasn't specified (whether it's SQ or just easy to integrate into his designs).

Based on what @Baldr has written I surmise that his first priority is SQ.
 
Jul 16, 2019 at 5:54 AM Post #48,381 of 80,122

ScubaMan2017

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Time to list my Sony Walkman Sports on eBay!! Cha-ching!!!! :wink:

I remember the bad-old-days of cassette tapes. Those 90-minute, 120-... and 240-minute (?!) tapes. I must have been using the cheap ass ones because I still remember stretching the hell out of the media. And that bias-hiss. And the bird-nesting of metres upon metres of tape (and using a BIC pen to re-roll it in). Oooh, oooh. How many remember having a JVC boom box and then pressing the tape-reversal feature. On my ghettoblaster (awful name), the entire tape head shifted 180 degrees with a crunching kathunk! :ksc75smile:
Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. :k701smile:
 
Jul 16, 2019 at 5:59 AM Post #48,382 of 80,122

ScubaMan2017

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4DF94A5C-2778-4CD4-A9F9-09B1F92E91AA.jpeg 5CD1F161-E7A6-45B9-8C01-AB33E73C091E.jpeg
Cassettes are making a small resurgence. With analog making a bit of a comeback, cassettes are a cheaper and easier option for smaller and indie artists than making a vinyl release. I just picked up a tape deck from the local goodwill a couple weeks ago. It is by no means spectacular, but it does the job for my small but now slowly growing collection. I bought it because I had order an album on vinyl from bandcamp and went for the package that came with a cassette EP and I really wanted a means for listening to it.
Image source: http://bronxbanter.arneson.name/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/tapecollection.jpg ; downloaded/uploaded July 16, 2019.
Image source: http://neoprisme.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/home-taping-is-killing-music.jpg ; downloaded/uploaded July 16, 2019 at ~11 a.m. UK time, eh.
 
Jul 16, 2019 at 6:01 AM Post #48,383 of 80,122

ScubaMan2017

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Jul 16, 2019 at 6:11 AM Post #48,384 of 80,122

ScubaMan2017

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2019, Chapter 10:
**** This Ship!


So, it looks like Schiit may not be shipping with USPS anymore.

Yes. That USPS. The United States Postal Service.

Why? Because they’ve simply become too unreliable for a business to rely on. Well, at least our post office has. As of this writing, they have not reliably picked up shipments from us for seven weeks. That’s nearly two months. This is despite contacting them, cajoling them, trying to find out what was wrong, trying to figure out how to make it work…and despite literally paying them $23 per day for what they call “scheduled pickup,” which has only worked about 33% of the time.

So what have we done in the meantime? We’ve had employees drive shipments down to the post office. This is a non-ideal solution for many reasons, including the fact that we have to work out a time-off payment for them, and if there’s a traffic incident while they’re driving down to the post office, we could be totally on the hook for that.

We’ve told the USPS this. Like I said, we’ve tried everything, including paying them, to get reliable pickup.

But here’s the bottom line: nobody cares at the USPS.

So, it looks like we may have to shut off USPS as a shipping option for Schiit. I think this is a pretty sad day when your national postal service cannot perform at a level needed for a business customer. And no, this is not a political thing. Business is business. We need a reliable shipping partner that picks up our packages (and, as a bonus, is happy to pick up our packages, because, hey, you know, that’s actual business we’re paying for, and, as another bonus, is happy to pick up our packages without any bribes/extortion/payola like the “scheduled pickup fee.”)

FedEx is happy to do this. UPS is happy to do this.

So are we gonna kick USPS to the curb? Well, before I answer that question, why don’t we take a look at shipping in general. Hopefully some start-ups will find this information useful, or at least you’ll find this enlightening.

To begin with, let’s start with skewering my most detested sacred cow….


“Free Shipping” Should Be Banned

Yeah, I get it. The siren call of “free shipping.” Hell, I’ve fallen for it.

But here’s the unadultated truth: there is no free shipping.

No. Such. Thing.

Period.

Everything has a price.

If you put me in charge, I’d ban the term “Free shipping.” Because it’s a misleading term. It’s not “free shipping.” It’s actually “price inclusive shipping.” And that’s what we should call it.

Seriously, do you think that someone’s gonna truck a Ragnarok from LA to NYC for free?

Of course you don’t. You knowsomeone is paying for shipping. You just don’t want it to be you.

And, like I said, I totally understand. But I also understand that what we’re really talking about is “price inclusive shipping,” and that the manufacturer or retailer is paying for it. If this type of shipping is abused too much (like, say, using it as an equipment rental service, especially when coupled with “free returns,”) the whole thing breaks. Hell, even Amazon has made it harder to return things these days, to help stem the tide of rentaholics abusing the system.

I hate the term “free shipping” so much, this is what we should do:



Yes, you see that right. You can choose “standard shipping” for standard price, or “free shipping” and pay more.

Because this accurately reflects what “free shipping” is: price inclusive shipping. You can have free shipping and pay more, or pay a fair price for shipping and pay less.

Aside: another company that does this is frameiteasy.com. If you’re looking for wall art, and you’re not so deep-pocketed so as to simply hang a ton of Samsung The Frames around your place, these guys are very fairly priced, fast, and have very reasonable shipping prices. No, I don’t own them, nope, I’m not an investor, just a satisfied customer…and happy to see them call out “free shipping” for what it is. They have competitors with free shipping. They cost 50% more—or more.

Hell, we should do this “select your shipping thing” for Black Friday. Call it the Schiit Free Shipping Promo, or something like that. Maybe we can finally one-up Cards Against Humanity.

And, before you get irritated, we can also just refund the difference between “free shipping” and actual shipping, so nobody loses…and maybe some people learn a thing or two.

Okay, free shipping screed over. Let’s talk about how dire shipping is.


Amazon’s Solution: Fire Everyone

Yep. Fire everyone.

Amazon has long had contracts with FedEx and USPS. USPS handled Sunday deliveries. Well, it kinda-sorta still handles them, but…

Wait. Let me just relate a story.

It’s a Monday. We’re 6 weeks into the “USPS ain’t picking up” thing. Alex and I are talking, as usual, and I have to ask:

“So, are we gonna fire USPS?”

Alex shakes his head. “I’m still on the fence.”

“But are they picking up?”

Another head-shake. “Not usually.”

“Not even when paying them?”

“Not even when paying them.” Alex sighs, then continues. “It’s really hard to take them seriously when, you know, yesterday, Sunday, I get a delivery from the Amazon Prime van. I mean, that’s not a surprise, I’m at home. But then I get a notice from the USPS, which was delivering something else from Amazon, saying they couldn’t deliver because they couldn’t find my door. Hell, I was standing thirty feet from the door when that message came in, and they weren’t anywhere around.”

I laughed. “That happens all the time. Amazon delivers, USPS comes on Monday. Maybe.”

“It’s not surprising Amazon did what it did,” Alex said.

“What?” I honestly didn’t know.

Alex looked at me like I had two heads. “They fired everyone. Or they’re in the process of firing everyone. USPS is going out. They’re not renewing their FedEx contract.”

“So what are they doing?” I asked, somewhat incredulous. “Shipping it themselves?”

“Exactly,” Alex said.

“Wait…what?” I said. “They just…started their own shipping company?”

“Not exactly,” Alex explained. “They subsidized cheap Mercedes vans so people could start up their own last-mile delivery services, and take on their routes.”

Holy schiit,I thought. “Those are the Amazon vans you see running around?”

Alex nodded. “Those are them.”

Wow,I thought. Completely vertically integrated, including shipping. Given our pain with the USPS (and, to be honest, we’ve had our moments with FedEx, as well as pain with testing out UPS and DHL), I totally got it. It wasn’t something we could do, but when a retailer decides tocreate its own shipping fleet…things must really be ugly. Yes, I know, Amazon is huge…but that’s an amazing amount of liability to take on. Their pain must have been immense.

And here we were, with USPS not picking up…

…so maybe they will have to go.


Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I really don’t want to lose USPS as a shipper. But, unless they improve, we have to do something. Right now, I see our options as:
  1. Eat it, and just have someone take the packages down every day, and take the disruption and liability that incurs. This is what we’re doing now.
  2. Do the same, but change our shipping policy so we only ship via USPS two days per week to minimize disruption and liability.
  3. Add a surcharge to every USPS order so it’s not attractive to use it as a shipping option.
  4. Raise prices 10-20% across the board and have “free domestic shipping.”
  5. Turn USPS off.
But, you know, I gotta ask: what are we missing if we drop USPS as a shipping option?
  • Does it go anywhere in the USA that isn’t covered by other services?
  • Does it have some huge advantage getting into other countries that I’m missing?
  • It is insanely less expensive than other options? If so, to where?
  • Is there some other advantage I’m missing?
Feel free to let me know in the comments. I’ll be looking at them, and Alex will be as well. I’m genuinely perturbed by this turn of events, and nothing is (yet) set in stone. If USPS doesn’t have some significant advantage that I’m missing, though…why should we continue to engage with a shipping service that doesn’t even care enough to pick up our packages?

As always, thanks for reading, and thanks for your input.
My horror stories:
Our local Canada Post mailbox was crammed full of letter mail... overflowing?! I called and complained. I was put on hold until I gave up. My Rodales Scuba Diving magazines had coffee stains on them; My Scientific American magazines were read. Result: my spouse & I went the electronic copy route.
Our Amazon Dot Ca experiences: the parcels are left unsupervised in our condominium foyer.

Jason, I’ll pay for the more expensive private courier fees. No “free delivery” for me. :frowning2: I’m assuming Schiit gets a discount for volume shipping.

From a saddened unionized public employee (who works hard for your tax dollars),
ScubaMan.
 
Jul 16, 2019 at 6:25 AM Post #48,385 of 80,122

ScubaMan2017

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I want to see this happen, if only to hear/read/imagine a member of congress saying, "The USPS needs to do better. They are failing good, hard working American companies like California's Schiit Audio."
Yes, indeed. When shipping gets too wing-nut for me, I’ll howl at my Member Of Parliament (MP).
 
Jul 16, 2019 at 9:02 AM Post #48,386 of 80,122

dieslemat

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I've maybe a asked this before. Any chance of seeing a DAC/preamp combo in a Gumby/Freya chassis? Maybe you do a balanced DAC using Bifrost level AD DAC chips, also nexus or something. 64 step attenuator, remote.

Maybe a SE out only DAC/preamp, using 1 or 2 DAC chips per channel.


But if you combine a Freya and a Gumby wouldnt that reach the price point of a Rag 2? Hard to find a place for that in Schiit’s current stack
 
Jul 16, 2019 at 10:41 AM Post #48,387 of 80,122

Rensek

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But if you combine a Freya and a Gumby wouldnt that reach the price point of a Rag 2? Hard to find a place for that in Schiit’s current stack

I wasn't looking to combine Gumby & Freya in a Gumby/Freya chassis. I was more asking about a DAC with Bifrost quality performance, or maybe slightly higher, with preamp functionality. With a remote. In a Gumby/Freya chassis. Think saga S quality preamp, with a DAC that has one DAC chip per channel, all in a gumby/Freya chassis. Couple inputs and outputs. 2 each or something. I don't care if it's balanced or not.

I'm just a fan asking about a product I'd be interested in. It's not a fully fleshed out idea on my part. And I'm sure I'm missing something.

Wouldn't it be nice to spend between 600-1200 on a nice DAC that has a remote for volume control, and a couple of inputs and outputs? All in one box.
 
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Jul 16, 2019 at 10:51 AM Post #48,388 of 80,122

Robert Padgett

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I just got a Digione, and other than having to dig out a keyboard and monitor to set up the WiFi, it’s been pretty seamless to use with any of my DACs. I guess you want it to fit in an Eitr chassis? Could be a fun project

It seems counter-intuitive to have a RasPi fed by an ethernet feed and then converting it to spdif when EITR takes the USB from the computer and outputs spdif.
In Indiana, they say, that's going around the barn to get to the other side. Two computers longer path, etc.
I don't want to fit anything in an EITR chassis, especially not a raspi and allo board.
 
Jul 16, 2019 at 10:56 AM Post #48,389 of 80,122

Robert Padgett

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I wasn't looking to combine Gumby & Freya in a Gumby/Freya chassis. I was more asking about a DAC with Bifrost quality performance, or maybe slightly higher, with preamp functionality. With a remote. In a Gumby/Freya chassis. Think saga S quality preamp, with a DAC that has one DAC chip per channel, all in a Gumby/Freya chassis. Couple inputs and outputs. 2 each or something. I don't care if it's balanced or not.

I'm just a fan asking about a product I'd be interested in. It's not a fully fleshed out idea on my part. And I'm sure I'm missing something.

Wouldn't it be nice to spend between 600-1200 on a nice DAC that has a remote for volume control and a couple of inputs and outputs? All in one box.

I guess we have a collective imagination. Just as Dieselmat wants a Loki Maxi, and I want a Modi-sized power amp, we all have great ideas, which meet our own needs. Schiit hits most everything we need on one piece or another, but the limitations of cost, electronic real estate on the boards, and practical consideration must be considered long before design and breadboards.

If size, price, and technical limitations were not a factor--I shudder to think what Jason and Mike could dream up.
But then, it would no longer be Cheap Schiit.
 
Jul 16, 2019 at 11:19 AM Post #48,390 of 80,122

Ripper2860

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A modi-sized Schiity sounding Class-D speaker amp would be very appealing. I know when and if one were to come out it would be only once Class-D technology meets @Jason Stoddard 's high standards. Then again, with the preponderance of powered desktop speaker options, it may not really make sense. :confused:
 
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