Schiit Happened: The Story of the World's Most Improbable Start-Up
May 21, 2015 at 8:27 AM Post #6,406 of 149,114
I would like to see nice portable dac in your product line. Size that can put inside the pocket and conneted with usb to music player/mobile phone. Would be nice to have amp section also, something that can beat Chord Hugo in price and quality.
 
Also i would like to see tubes on your topline products as upgrade feature. Tube output stage for Yggy and Ragnarok, would give users more possibilities to tune the sound.
 
May 21, 2015 at 8:31 AM Post #6,407 of 149,114
  I would like to see nice portable dac in your product line. Size that can put inside the pocket and conneted with usb to music player/mobile phone. Would be nice to have amp section also, something that can beat Chord Hugo in price and quality.
 
:

You'll definetly need an Amp with that. Jason has expressed a disdain for getting involved with batteries, maybe he'll change his mind.
 
May 21, 2015 at 9:07 AM Post #6,408 of 149,114
I just joined after lurking for too long...
 
Jason,
 
Thanks for asking!  
 
What I most dislike about my system is that it doesn't sound like live music.  To the extent possible I would like to fix that.  I think you guys are on the right track.
 
I've come to some conclusions after 50 years of thinking and listening.  Phase distortion is the elephant in the living room.  I have never been fooled into thinking reproduced sound was live sound except in a couple of circumstances.  The odd thing about that is these circumstances always involved really cheap single transducers running without a filter, straight out of whatever crappy source was laying around at the time.  There is a reason headphones can sound so good:  Linear phase response (or at least closer than some 3, 4, or 5 driver nightmare with several pounds of power-soaking filter components torturing the input into output streams that approximate linear frequency response at the expense of really wild phase response...).  Even good headphones can get into very audible and objectionable intermodulation distortion with large scale, low frequency inputs, so it is clear that the best sounding 20-20k response system is going to have to have multiple drivers.  Reading the forums, I think there is a significant movement afoot to incorporate active filters in both the time and frequency domains for such transducer systems.  This implies a lot of DSP power, and closed form filter algorithms for the best performance.  It also implies that everything should stay in the digital domain up until the last possible stage.  There are already products in the market incorporating these ideas, and I suppose the KEF X300a series is a good example of that.
 
I know you guys don't want to do transducers and given my understanding of all y'all as a company, I quite agree.  You do, on the other hand, have high power DSP, a closed form filter algorithm that lines everything up at the output end of the DAC, and some pretty convincing amplifier technology with limited feedback loops.
 
  1. An aside:  The concept of feedback in an individual amplification stage, and even more overall feedback, always bothered me.  The explanations I read treated the subject as if a signal at the input of the chain could be fed back instantly from the output to the input.  Instantly, as in no time delay.  Faster than the speed of light! (the musings of a ten year old at this point)  Then I learned about the components used in an amplifier and feedback bothered me even more.  Frequency and power dependent plate-cathode-grid resistances and capacitances, and the BJT and FET equivalences thereof.  Then the other components in the chain, such as coupling capacitors, voltage dividers, etc., ad infinitum.  Poles everywhere, time delays, phase variance as functions of frequency and power out the wazoo, and instant additional phase distortion as a result of feeding that mess back in the gain loop so it can go around and around again and again.  Umm, don't you make an amplifier into an oscillator by introducing feedback?  Just sayin...  I've come to the conclusion that phase distortion is the enemy and gain stage feedback is a primary culprit.  I think human beings are extraordinarily sensitive to phase relationships as evidenced by the ability of people with binaural hearing to discern the source of a sound with incredible accuracy.  Not to mention, less feedback sounds better…
 
So, what product would I like to see?  A plug and play, OEM product that is configurable for multiple channels, and software (argh, groan) tools for filter design that corrects frequency and phase not just at the output of the DAC, but all the way through the chain, to include the natural phase distortion/time misalignment of whatever transducer system someone is trying to implement.  Maybe even room correction if the OEM wants to go off the deep end. Filter design is the OEM's problem, just give them the tools.  DIY?  No support, ever, no returns, buyer beware. Or not, you have a better sense of that than I do.  Modular.  Input stage(s), distribution stage in several flavors, DSP engines with DACS, DC coupled to a couple of different options for output power, maybe a control stage with remote (hey everyone is screaming for that; Me, I don't care... If it sounds good).  All internally balanced as a high end option, SE as a price reduced option, maybe.  And don't forget that elusive ADC you may or may not be thinking about/actively pursuing, it has a place in this product line for (gasp, heresy) an analog input.  This all seems to fit pretty well with your upgradeable-component concept that we first saw in Bifrost.
 
Give the first set to Linkwitz and see what he does with it.
 
Scott

 
May 21, 2015 at 9:50 AM Post #6,409 of 149,114
An aside:  The concept of feedback in an individual amplification stage, and even more overall feedback, always bothered me.  The explanations I read treated the subject as if a signal at the input of the chain could be fed back instantly from the output to the input.  Instantly, as in no time delay.  Faster than the speed of light!

Erm...circuit theory. Or to be more specific, small circuit theory. This was glossed over a bit in my EE coursework until I hit EMag as a junior, but my school's newer cirriculum starts introductory circuit courses with it.

Basically, all of the stuff--anything--that we put into a circuit diagram assumes that the circuit is physically small enough that the electrical waves reach steady state. The reality (even in zero feedback amps) is that electrical waves get bounced around when traveling through your wires/circuit traces, but this happens so quickly that it doesn't affect the signal being transmitted. If it did, then the circuit would start doing strange things, and you'll probably have a severe impact on your audio quality (like, "schiit don't work" or "schiit's missing" or "my frequency response just went to schiit" problems).

So for all intents and purposes, feedback does instantly travel from output back to the input.
 
May 21, 2015 at 9:56 AM Post #6,410 of 149,114
Quote
DAPs. When you’re sitting on the subway or working in a noisy open-plan office, do you really need much more than a smartphone and a pair of efficient headphones? This is not a rhetorical question…I’m serious. Are $99-499 DAPs really that much better than phones in real-world use? Are there good reasons for carrying $1,000-$3,500 devices around in your backpack or briefcase? Are there use cases that I’m overlooking? I’m ready to listen, but at the moment, enthusiasm for a product like this is so low that I don’t think we’ll ever do one. "
 
 

 
I disagree with this.  Though the sound of music on an iPhone is "good enough," that is not what I want.  I want better than good enough.  I have tried several portable DAC/AMPs and, for daily use, they are too bulky and heavy, as many posters here have argued.
 
What I want is a much better standalone DAP that has an exceptional interface and very good DAC and AMP.  The Sony NW-ZX2 sounds amazing.  I would call it near miraculous as a small (though heavy) portable music device.  I have never heard anything better in one small unit.  But the interface is crappy (though adequate.)
 
I think Schiit missed the moment for creating portable DAC/AMPs, now that there are several other players who make pretty good, reasonably priced product, and now that it is clear that any portable DAC/AMP just adds too much bulk and weight.
 
Standalone is the way to go.  My only concern for Schiit is that it puts them in the software development business and that requires a kind of expertise and a commitment to rapid updates that might be repellent to the company.  
 
Similarly, a freestanding home music server would be awesome.  I cannot believe how close one can get, how hopeful, with Mac OS X and iTunes before realizing it really sucks for NAS-based home sharing of very large libraries!  I would love a company like Schiit to do this right but again cannot wish upon Schiit the headaches of software development! 
 
May 21, 2015 at 10:11 AM Post #6,411 of 149,114
I would like to see:
 
1a. pre-amp/dac with digital crossovers. For stereo or mono configurations of powered speakers and subwoofers (or power amp + speakers). 1b. option to add room correction for stereo or mono system.  
In the price range of 1 000-1 500 USD.
 
May 21, 2015 at 10:32 AM Post #6,412 of 149,114
Erm...circuit theory. Or to be more specific, small circuit theory. This was glossed over a bit in my EE coursework until I hit EMag as a junior, but my school's newer cirriculum starts introductory circuit courses with it.

Basically, all of the stuff--anything--that we put into a circuit diagram assumes that the circuit is physically small enough that the electrical waves reach steady state. The reality (even in zero feedback amps) is that electrical waves get bounced around when traveling through your wires/circuit traces, but this happens so quickly that it doesn't affect the signal being transmitted. If it did, then the circuit would start doing strange things, and you'll probably have a severe impact on your audio quality (like, "schiit don't work" or "schiit's missing" or "my frequency response just went to schiit" problems).

So for all intents and purposes, feedback does instantly travel from output back to the input.

If you're referrring to SWR or standing waves, I would think that the wavelength of audio is far too long to present such a problem.
 
May 21, 2015 at 10:52 AM Post #6,413 of 149,114
Erm...circuit theory. Or to be more specific, small circuit theory. This was glossed over a bit in my EE coursework until I hit EMag as a junior, but my school's newer cirriculum starts introductory circuit courses with it.

Basically, all of the stuff--anything--that we put into a circuit diagram assumes that the circuit is physically small enough that the electrical waves reach steady state. The reality (even in zero feedback amps) is that electrical waves get bounced around when traveling through your wires/circuit traces, but this happens so quickly that it doesn't affect the signal being transmitted. If it did, then the circuit would start doing strange things, and you'll probably have a severe impact on your audio quality (like, "schiit don't work" or "schiit's missing" or "my frequency response just went to schiit" problems).

So for all intents and purposes, feedback does instantly travel from output back to the input.

I agree, for most intents and purposes.  I characterized the speed of light thing as the musings of a ten year old.  With all the poles stacked against you though, obvious and otherwise, I really do think there is a degradation of SQ in the form of harmonic distortion components and in spatial distortion components that can be associated with too much feedback, which feedback is the easy solution to having a stable circuit.  The time delays as a function of frequency (phase non-linearity) of the filter poles are real, and reduction of those sources of non-linearity is, IMHO, a desirable pursuit.  After all, we're looking for the last tiny percentage in SQ and we find ourselves in the realm of systems that measure well, and don't sound particularly good.  I'm just hypothesizing that the last bit of SQ lives in the spatial realm; This is a Schiit thread, and Mike and Jason both have said as much in their posts.  The ten year old in me is still bothered by the speed of light thing, and you did give a bit of a nod to that with "assumes that the circuit is physically small enough".  If you get the physical size and environment of the amplifier just wrong enough it will go into full scale oscillation at the resonant frequency of the tank and do really bad things, like all the smoke getting out of the high power components.
 
Thanks for the reply!!
 
May 21, 2015 at 11:10 AM Post #6,414 of 149,114
Hi Jason,

1.) i wouldn't have much interest in a portable of it's any larger than my phone. The bakoon portable would be my definition of too big.
2.) I'd love to hear Schiit speaker amps and (specially) pre amps.
3.) Emotiva would be a good target to aim at, imo. Not many others offer similar price/performance ratios and it'd be in-line with Schiit's position at the moment.
4.) any interest in making power conditioners? Just a thought.
 
May 21, 2015 at 11:14 AM Post #6,415 of 149,114
100+ WPC Lyr with loudspeaker outputs, or the "tubed Ragnarok."  Oh, and a fully DSP controlled solid state stand alone subwoofer amp with 1Kw output into 4 ohms, for under $1000.
 
May 21, 2015 at 11:20 AM Post #6,416 of 149,114
I'd love to see upgraded external power supplies.  Maybe one for each tier.  Much larger transformer(s) and regulation.  Offer a mega uber version of products.  Basically, add one or more DC (or lower AC) inputs to rear of devices.  That would mean mods to existing chassis for existing owners but would offer a good upgrade path.  I don't know how difficult to implement this might be since many products have varying voltage rails in their designs.  Either way, it couldn't hurt to try.  I've seen this on gobs of other headphone products (and DACS) and would love to see your interpretation.
 
May 21, 2015 at 11:27 AM Post #6,417 of 149,114

I'd almost be surprised if Schiit doesn't do a speaker amp with Rag tech - preferably a monoblock with 120-150 watts. I've heard a lot of amps at a lot of price points and a lot of them sound a lot alike - you could almost pick one by lottery. But when I heard my speakers powered by Rag, it was a "whoa" moment. A lot of speakers-only audiophiles need to have that experience. Amps can be simple, though the market would appreciate a trigger system, especially for multi-channel installs.
 
Which brings up pre-amps. I think Schiit needs to abandon re-think its minimalist approach here - a pre-amp has to be all about flexibility, which means bell and whistles and lots of inputs/outputs and a remote control. (Lack of remote is the one thing I really dislike about Rag.) Or maybe you could do two pres - a hairshirt version with just volume and source select; and a full-boat unit with all mod cons. Including a balance control.
 
Oh, and a tubed Rag-equivalent would be welcomed by a lot of people.
 
May 21, 2015 at 11:43 AM Post #6,418 of 149,114
If you're referrring to SWR or standing waves, I would think that the wavelength of audio is far too long to present such a problem.
That's basically what I meant to say. Audio circuits are small enough (relative to audio wavelengths) to ensure "as intended" operation. You would need a very large amp before the wave travel delays become a problem.

I agree, for most intents and purposes. I characterized the speed of light thing as the musings of a ten year old. With all the poles stacked against you though, obvious and otherwise, I really do think there is a degradation of SQ in the form of harmonic distortion components and in spatial distortion components that can be associated with too much feedback, which feedback is the easy solution to having a stable circuit. The time delays as a function of frequency (phase non-linearity) of the filter poles are real, and reduction of those sources of non-linearity is, IMHO, a desirable pursuit. After all, we're looking for the last tiny percentage in SQ and we find ourselves in the realm of systems that measure well, and don't sound particularly good. I'm just hypothesizing that the last bit of SQ lives in the spatial realm; This is a Schiit thread, and Mike and Jason both have said as much in their posts. The ten year old in me is still bothered by the speed of light thing, and you did give a bit of a nod to that with "assumes that the circuit is physically small enough". If you get the physical size and environment of the amplifier just wrong enough it will go into full scale oscillation at the resonant frequency of the tank and do really bad things, like all the smoke getting out of the high power components.

Thanks for the reply!!
Yeah, there are plenty of other issues and design contraints that amplifiers can have. I was just picking out the speed of light thing because wave dynamics are basically irrelevant on this scale, and while it might sound like we're violating the laws of physics, we've really just eliminated the need to design around and account for wave travel times.
 
May 21, 2015 at 12:00 PM Post #6,419 of 149,114
  Actually an R2R in that form DOES exist! Its a DAC by Soerkris engineering.
 
http://soekris.com/products/audio-products/dam1021.html
 
The card is absolutely packed with even a power supply on it. This to me shows that an R2R DAC the size of the Uber Analog upgrade card is definitely possible. I would not be surprised if they manage to do something like that for the Bifrost and Gungnir. Although I do believe it would take a ton of development to get it at a good price.

 
Wow! That's awesome. I stand corrected. 
 
OK, put me down for a reasonably-priced R2R upgrade for my Bifrost Uber. 
atsmile.gif

 
May 21, 2015 at 12:11 PM Post #6,420 of 149,114
Hi Jason,

3.) Emotiva would be a good target to aim at, imo. Not many others offer similar price/performance ratios and it'd be in-line with Schiit's position at the moment.
 

Emotiva is a terrible target to aim at.  Hitting their amplifier price/performance point would require what they have: ownership of a Chinese manufacturing facility.
 

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