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Neither is OSSIC ... it’s just a line best left off resumés.
That is FAR more like it. Thank you for posting the insider update! If this thing ships before September, I'll poop my pants. Now I can relax this summer. See how easy that was Smyth Research!!!
I have had a few thoughts after reading a few posts here. Maybe the intent all along was the professional circuit, like the A8 (I really doubt it, higher price excludes more people=less sales). Honestly I don't think they truly realize what they have and the market appeal. Also the market has changed drastically since the release of the A8. It is far larger and growing every day. Teenagers from 10 years ago have grown up, and instead of switching to full blown stereo systems, they went to full blown headphone systems. There are tons of DACs and amps already in thousands of homes, many of which that are far better than the included DAC and amps in the A16. Why don't they do something like this down the road:
A16 Lite- Bare bones unit designed to get the job done. No DAC, No Amp. HDMI in, HDMI out, Optical in/out, obviously the head tracking, mics, etc. Exclude everything that really isn't needed. Do we really need the screen? or is it a convenience item? (Can't this information just be broadcast to the TV like an AVR does it?!?). Either way, you guys get the point. Strip away as much costs as possible, and release a product that CAN be sold to the masses. Make it an A12 (7.1.4), so it doesn't anger the A16 owners if that is a concern (7.1.4 is what most people have for Atmos in the home currently). If I can think of this in 15 minutes, someone at Smyth should as well, but I highly doubt they have. I don't need a DAC, I have plenty of them laying around. I certainly don't need a headphone amp, and will not be using the A16's. If this option existed, to exclude the bits and parts I really could do without, AND save money, .
I absolutely would have done the A16 the way that they did. An all in one is the correct way to do it, and the initial real price, while expensive, was reasonable. Now though? They need to change the plan. You are excluding such a large portion of the market, and throwing away free money. Maybe my cut down product idea wouldn't work, but the principal is sound. Find a way to get the Magic Sauce into a package as cheap as possible. Create an A12 which will be technically/sonically less capable, but still light years ahead of the competition. Have a few options in a few price ranges (Bare bones decoder A12, Full blown A12, Bare bones A16, Our A16?!?). Now they couldn't even announce something like this until months after every pre-order folks received their order. Call the original the PRO or something. I have a feeling this new business deal would kill any products like this, or make the cheaper version too expensive, with the "dealer" cost added, if they couldn't sell it without those added fees.
Reality is, they should have had a product line from the beginning. All we needed was the Algorithm/genius from James, placed into the most basic piece of gear to extract it. I had one choice, figured the price was too good to pass up (I feel like the smartest man alive now!), and I am really excited for my own PERSONAL use. I also now I feel like a member of some mega exclusive club, that no one else can realistically join, so talking about it outside of this club, is now superdouchey. Other threads here at Head-Fi, I won't even mention the A16 once I get it. Why tell someone about the greatest surround sound effects ever, and then they hear the price? I am not rich, and I don't like to brag. Sucks that it is now out of reach to so many hard core audio people.
If you want to really make the hardware minimal then just set up a streaming protocol and let the streaming host do the conversion... all you would have to do is plug in your headphones into your TV/iphone/Tablet/computer or what ever... once the conversion is complete its still just a 2 channel analog going to your headphones... I am a bit surprised that some one like Dolby hasn't bought them out and snagged this tech....
I was thinking maybe to try streaming music from my computer at home, through the A16 and back to the computer, and via internet to my phone. But without headtracking. I don't think that if the headtracker signal first has to go from the client to the host, and the adapted audio stream back to the client, that it could be responsive enough. (And adding headtracking to my plan probably requires some more knowledge - hardware! - that I don't posess.)
Now that's what I call an update
That's the type of info that would have headed off most of the concerns over the last year.
I still don't have much faith in their timing estimates (firmware has been expected to be ready for compliance in 4-6 weeks since last year), but if they keep repeating it they'll eventually be right. A broken clock is correct twice a day etc
I would like to see a functioning exchange website we can log into and make sure that they at least have our order and delivery addresses correct etc
Hopefully this glimpse of transparency sets the standard moving forward.
Will be interesting to pair the Mobius (with its headtracking) with music recorded/streamed from the A16.
$30K is what you would need to have a 5.1 channel DAVE in a speaker based system. Running an A16 into DAVE might sound great or it might not, depending on whether or not DAVE plays nice with the DSP processing in the A16. I know that Chord's Rob Watts does not recommend using music software like XX High End or HQPlayer with DAVE so, who knows? Heck, consider what the A16 might potentially sound like connected to Blu2 and DAVE!
The A16 is financially in reach for many folks on HeadFi but I don't know, percentage-wise, how many HeadFiers are actually able to shell out cash in the $4K and above category. Certainly, there are folks like Dsperber and Darin Fong who use TOTL Stax headphones such as the 009 with the Smyth Realiser A8.
And then, there are a lot of other external DAC options for much less coin that should beat the sound quality coming straight out of the A16 fed directly to headphones.
I feel like the real value Smyth has here is their software and the calibration algorithms. That seems to be what they are spending the most developer time on. They could theoretically just license that to whoever, or as you suggest sell some sort of barebones unit. Or get bought by Creative.
Early days yet.
This doesn't make sense. The whole point of the A16 is two make two channels sound like surround sound. So you would only need one Dave to achieve the DA on the signal once processed by one A16. What exactly did you think you would be able to feed into multiple Dave's from an A16? If you had multiple Daves and a multi channel speaker set-up you would want to feed a 5.1 signal not a 2 channel signal. The A16 would not be needed.
On another note, I own an A8, the model that can be upgraded to HDMI, but I didn't get around to doing that. It cost me over 3k AUD once I'd paid import duty and GST (goods and services tax like VAT only 10% though) and that was without the Stax headphones. So when I received notification of the kickstarter I jumped on it (literally waiting with finger on button for it to start as I didn't want to miss out). I knew the price was great even if the expected RRP turned out to be true, which unfortunately it didn't. I can wait until August, to get the product I backed for around half what the old model cost me. Knowing how good the A8 is, it was a no brainer for me. When I had issues with the mic when I first got it, Lorr Kramer was very responsive and once the problem was identified (that they instructed me how to test) they sent me a tested replacement set of microphones, to a different address where I was on holiday. Can't ask for better service than that.
I will be waiting patiently knowing I got a bargain compared to the A8 which was worth every penny. Doing the decoding in the box is icing on the cake and will make the A16 usuable in many more situations and more transportable. For the people who were sitting on the sidelines, bummer. I don't recall reading any negative press about the A8. If there was I missed it. So I have no doubt the A16 is gonna be awesome, and worth the wait. I couldn't justify the 4K USD either, extermely happy to have only paid $975. But for what it does compared to the A8 it is a totally reasonable price. My birthday is in August so hopefully I get an awesome birthday present.
Can't wait to see all the great war movies with A16 and Master 1. Definitely will be worth the wait. I wish they will be at CanJam London so I can hear it again before it gets delivered.
I specifically stated that you need 3 DAVEs for a speaker based system. For a headphone based system connected to the A16 (or not), you only need one. It’s an open question at this point as to whether or not Rob Watts has DAVE configured to play nice with the A16.
That would be Stephen, not James. As far as I know the brothers Stephen and Mike are the technical/scientific brains. Nephew James I think is more the sales department. I don't know if he is involved in the technical stuff as well, could be of course: in a small company it is practical if someone can do all sorts of things.
I think I recall a time when I was stalking (and could not afford) an A8 that Smyth mentioned they might be looking to license the tech to existing hardware platforms. Such as: imagine it integrated into a mid-end AV receiver or surround processor. Something like license it to Integra, Marantz, etc.. Or on the studio/pro-audio side: QSC, Lexicon, Allen&Heath, whatever. I suppose one factor would be how powerful they need the DSP hardware to be in order to accomplish their level of processing. Sub-$1k HT receivers might not fit the bill, may need more DSP power than those products typically have in parts budget. Anyway interesting thought for future development vs. always rolling their own hardware.
DACs do not need to be "configured" for the A16. I think you missed my point, which was about the price of the A16 relative to other high-end components.
Maybe this will help get your point across.
I am not surprised, as I think this is a foreign concept to many. I currently use a Creative Soundblaster X7, which is an all in one unit, or just a processor if you desire. I have used it just as a processor. The X7 takes the Dolby Digital 5.1 signal from optical, Runs it through the processor adding Creatives Virtual Surround Sound, encodes it to PCM 2.0 I believe, and sends it out optical. The next DAC sees it as any other 2.0 source/signal. If you think of the crazy effects in movies and music, it always plays fine right? As long as the output signal can be understood by the DAC, it will play just fine. The A16 will do basically the same thing, just a whole heck of a lot better.
I don't understand the confusion with the A16 and a speaker system. Why would you have a surround system and not just do a real Atmos setup? The Realizer is for Headphones only, and I can't see how it is possible to get the A16 to work better than am Atmos setup. It's beyond it's design, but maybe someone will tinker after they receive theirs to make it workable. AVRs have complicated room measuring software that does a pretty decent job of zeroing in the sound. There's no way in hell the average enthusiast could even come close to the performance an AVR can achieve in 5 minutes. I know I am going to try with a 2 channel setup, but I am not expecting miracles. Headphones don't have to worry about the two drivers canceling each others soundwaves out. This is a big problem with speakers.