Smyth Research Realiser A16
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Juy777

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Now, for those of you who have the A8, I have a few questions:
A) How much will the head-tracking improve realism, and is there any latency when moving your head and hearing the soundstage change? 
B) How well does the A8 simulate stereo speakers; is the A8 mostly for surround sound?
 
I really hope the kickstarter campaign will launch soon. I think that Smyth planned to launch early July, so it must be just around the corner by now. 
 
 
A) I never even tried head tracking
 
B) Stereo just works as well as Mono or 7.1
 
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Jon Sonne

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I just received a mail from Smyth Research with a link to the draft for the kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1959366850/1286431739?token=e7f27544
 
Pledges starting at £750! Really nice value IMO, and a bigger discount than I had hoped for. I think I will pledge £800 to get a second head-tracker. Be sure to leave feedback for the kickstarter page. 
 
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I really afraid Smyth Realiser will not do well on Kickstarter. They must have a really awesome product, however the marketing is not there yet. Take the A8, really different and nice product, but high price and was sabbatical for a few years, now no one heard of this awesome technology. On the other hand, some company like LH Labs did an awesome job on marketing for their crowdfunding project on a "not very new" technology Dac & Amp, but raised millions.
Based on the interest on this thread, this is worrying. I really like to preorder the A16 on kickstarter and Smyth Research doing well.
 
I really hope they succeed with the kickstarter campaign. We should help them by providing feedback on their kickstarter page. 
 
   
A) I never even tried head tracking
 
B) Stereo just works as well as Mono or 7.1
 
Thanks for the info!
 
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I just received a mail from Smyth Research with a link to the draft for the kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1959366850/1286431739?token=e7f27544
 
Pledges starting at £750! Really nice value IMO, and a bigger discount than I had hoped for. I think I will pledge £800 to get a second head-tracker. Be sure to leave feedback for the kickstarter page.
 
That's a pretty good deal, but I'd rather just wait until it's available and I can receive it shortly after paying, instead of waiting for many months after paying.
 
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Erik Garci

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  Now, for those of you who have the A8, I have a few questions:
A) How much will the head-tracking improve realism, and is there any latency when moving your head and hearing the soundstage change? 
B) How well does the A8 simulate stereo speakers; is the A8 mostly for surround sound?
A) I rank the realism as follows:
1. Most realistic: Moving your head even just slightly with head-tracking. Speakers seem to get farther from you instantly and fixed in space.
2. Keeping your head perfectly still (with or without head-tracking). Speakers seem to get farther from you gradually the longer you keep still.
3. Least realistic: Moving your head even just slightly without head-tracking. Speakers seem to get closer to you instantly and stuck your head.
I especially notice the improvement for sounds from the center speaker or phantom center.
 
B) I use the A8 for stereo, which works very well, and prefer it to regular headphone listening.
 
By the way, I recently created a PRIR for stereo sources that simulates perfect crosstalk cancelation. To create it, I measured just the center speaker, and fed both the left and right channel to that speaker, but the left ear only hears the left channel because I muted the mic for the right ear when it played the sweep tones for the left channel, and the right ear only hears the right channel because I muted the mic for the left ear when it played the sweep tones for the right channel. The result is a 180-degree sound field, and sounds in the center come from the simulated center speaker directly in front you, not from a phantom center between two speakers, so they do not have comb-filtering artifacts as they would from a phantom center.
 
Binaural recordings sound amazing with this PRIR and head tracking.
 
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Jon Sonne

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  A) I rank the realism as follows:
1. Most realistic: Moving your head even just slightly with head-tracking. Speakers seem to get farther from you instantly and fixed in space.
2. Keeping your head perfectly still (with or without head-tracking). Speakers seem to get farther from you gradually the longer you keep still.
3. Least realistic: Moving your head even just slightly without head-tracking. Speakers seem to get closer to you instantly and stuck your head.
I especially notice the improvement for sounds from the center speaker or phantom center.
 
B) I use the A8 for stereo, which works very well, and prefer it to regular headphone listening.
Thanks for clearing that up. Now I am really excited for the kickstarter launch on Monday!
 
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I really afraid Smyth Realiser will not do well on Kickstarter. They must have a really awesome product, however the marketing is not there yet. Take the A8, really different and nice product, but high price and was sabbatical for a few years, now no one heard of this awesome technology. On the other hand, some company like LH Labs did an awesome job on marketing for their crowdfunding project on a "not very new" technology Dac & Amp, but raised millions.
Based on the interest on this thread, this is worrying. I really like to preorder the A16 on kickstarter and Smyth Research doing well.


yes. Take lh labs Geek Out and Pulse. They raised huge interest on head fi and some reviewer. But now they dont get much praise except from the crowd they've raised interest from. Im not saying they dont have a good product, but it is no way close to what they claimed. Successful crowdfund campaign, not the product. But is also a shame if the reverse is true for Smyth

Interesting question, but I don't think the Kickstarter will ultimately determine the A16's long-term success.

I read a pretty eloquent and thought-provoking article on LinkedIn yesterday about Pokémon Go "hitting its popularity peak" and how getting past that peak will be good for the game and the overall income for the game developers. Recommended read: https://www.linkedin.com/e/v2/pulse?e=32mnxu-ir5y0bnb-9&a=pulse_web_view_article_detail_new_url&midToken=AQFhLyEC3br7BQ&ek=b2_content_ecosystem_digest&li=14&m=hero&permLink=why-pokemon-go-peaking-great-game-dan-porter


The relationship of Kickstarter hype, Geek Out hype, to the Pokémon Go hype would be, in my mind, that Smyth definitely would benefit from the influx of early adopter cash, but they already have a proven technology to expand on and wouldn't experience the hype bubble-burst and product fragmentation issues experienced by LH Labs. LH Labs may have gotten a large Kickstarter funding, but then they were plagued by production speed issues, over-marketing tons of stretch goals and add-ons and eventually new product launches before even delivering on their first product, and generally the Ok-sounding units weren't a big hit in the community and didn't create a lasting interest. I know one Kickstarter-enthusiast friend who bought some super-special-edition SKU of the geek-out, and maybe a pulse, but he had a really hard time selling it because of the pretty widespread counter-hype that followed the unsatisfied early adopters.

Smyth might suffer if they were over-hyped. The new product has every indication of being astounding, but the setup and technical aspects require a certain type of customer – eyes wide open to the setup process and benefits, a bit of a technical mind to understand and perfect the customization, and a vested interest in the benefits of surround. You know, my budget isn't that big, but the other side of the coin on the A16's higher cost of entry is that any potential customer who comes across the A16 will have to think, weighing the cost versus the benefits. The cost compared to the $70 Waves NX should weed out non-enthusiasts, and hopefully provoke some research and thus learning. The best customers for Smyth will carefully consider if it suits their desires, and take the time to personalize their setup before passing judgement.

For example, I'm the wrong customer for the OOYH software. I got to attend my first CanJam at last year's RMAF, and was handed a pair of headphones in the middle of Darin's video demo loop. I could tell something surround-y was happening to the audio, but "Eh," I didn't feel transported into the Transformers sequel movie that was playing. Luckily for Darin I won't bash his product for not amazing me, but I was still "the wrong customer" to experience the demo because the effect wasn't calibrated for my ears, I wasn't interested in the movie and the scene mostly had a lot of action right in front of me while I know myself enough to know I respond more favorable when I can hear a sound ambiance all around me (I want to hear the surround in a surround demo), I primarily enjoy surround when it's interactive as in games (like head-tracking, that improves immersion or "presence") and there were no interactive game demos, and lastly the software was PC only while I like game consoles, movies on a TV screen, and the freedom of different music sources. I'm the "wrong customer" to have heard the demo because I don't have anything nice to say about the OOYH software, and I didn't give Darin any business due to the demo. That's not to say OOYH wouldn't be fantastic for the target market, but it's not for me.

Right now, I have and enjoy the Creative X7. It has some settings adjustment sliders and a few bands of parametric EQ, but no custom HRTF calibration or headphone auto EQ (it does do speaker EQ). It does suit my apartment/townhouse/late night usage scenario beautifully. The directional effect works pretty well, and the right headphones almost sound "out of my head" like speakers, enough anyway that I get good immersion and gaming utility. I don't think I'd be interested in the Smyth if I haven't been monkeying around with Creative and Dolby Headphone surround DSPs for years... but, to me, the Smyth A16 Realiser looks like the current summit of the surround experience. The A16 would suit my application even better, I'm fascinated by the tech and willing to carefully do the setup, and while the price still makes me wince, I am still able to look at the price and consider it, especially the early-bird price.
 
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The elephant in the room, of course, is audio tailored for VR, in my opinion especially for the PlayStation VR.

The only future upgrade over the Realizer (that I can think of) doesn't exist, where surround positioning is calculated before funneling it down into distinct channels (like the old OpenAL games that never took off, or maybe the Binaural content coming out in future VR games/movies) without losing the personalized HRTF in Smyth's products. I want the room to disappear sonically, to just be immersed in the world of the entertainment media. Currently, there is no content compatible with a personalized Binaural sound, and the SVS processing is compatible with basically any movie or game console's output abilities while sounding way more "out of your head" or "speaker-like" than anything else.

Games for the Occulus, Vive, and PlayStationVR may support binaural audio, in fact the PlayStation 4 even has a sound DSP built-in (TrueAudio) to the AMD graphics chip that has quite a bit of potential, BUT these are all still mid-fi level experiences. DAC and amp components that come with these devices leave something to be desired, users may be able to upgrade these components on PC but they will still lack the personalized HRTF of Smyth's solution. I got to demo the PlayStation VR... It was super cool! I think the surround was even binaural in the demos, with a sense of height and head tracking. However, while direction was decent, the sound was still "inside my head" and took awhile to get used to.

I have a tried many surround DSP products in the past. Dolby Headphone in Astro and Turtle Beach products; CMSS-3D, THX TruStudio Pro, and SBX ProStudio from Creative Labs; Cirrus Logic and Yamaha's proprietary surround processing... One thing I've definitely noticed is I find a preference or sense of "naturalism" among the group, while friends with ears I trust still have different preferences. I haven't heard a Smyth Realiser myself, but I do have one friend who has tried some of the same gear as me tell me how he was totally blown away by the virtual surround from an A8 he heard at CanJam. He was pretty detailed and confident that nothing else had sounded as out-of-head as the Realiser... and I want to hear that.

Even when VR hits (and I hope it becomes popular), the vast majority of movies, games, and music will NOT be binaural, and even then the Realiser's personalization and EQ calibration will still be unique and an advantage.

All the above subject to change when I someday hear the Realiser for myself, haha :wink:
 
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Another concern for me, but it's a really minor one compare to what the A16 can achieve, is that the head tracker seem to be wired. Sure, your headphones is still wired, but 1 is less than 2 wires. ANother question, is the head tracker TRANSMITTER is built in the A16 body or separate? For example, can I have the A16 body close to my headphones and the transmitter 6m away? Otherwise the cable for my HD800 would be really expensive.
 
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  Another concern for me, but it's a really minor one compare to what the A16 can achieve, is that the head tracker seem to be wired.
 
There will also be a wireless head-tracker at some point, but I doubt they will include it in the kickstarter campaign. Maybe it will be a stretch goal?
 
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The draft link doesn't work for me any more. Anyone have the draft pledge levels handy?
 
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  The draft link doesn't work for me any more. Anyone have the draft pledge levels handy?
 
i think the first was limited and 750GBP, then there was 825 GBP limited and a unlimited 900 GBP.  those are the rough numbers i remember, it may vary a bit or they might come up with totally different pricing
 
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i think the first was limited and 750GBP, then there was 825 GBP limited and a unlimited 900 GBP.  those are the rough numbers i remember, it may vary a bit or they might come up with totally different pricing
 
What does limited and unlimited mean for this campaign?
Thanks
 
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What does limited and unlimited mean for this campaign?
Thanks
well there usually are special offers for early birds at kickstarter, so there is a limited number of pledges available for the 750 GBP offer.
Once those pledges are made that slot is "locked"and unavailable for kickstarter users which log in after. A kind of a early bird special if you will.
Since what we saw was only a draft everything can turn out differently with the real kickstarter page, though
 
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750£ is absolute bargain. 
 Guaranteed to get your money back later on second hand market too, so nothing to lose.
 
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  750£ is absolute bargain. 
 Guaranteed to get your money back later on second hand market too, so nothing to lose.
argh please leave those resellers out of this :wink:
 
i wouldnt wonder if it is only 5-10 pledges available for that amount, since the total cash they are trying to raise was quoted at 100k GBP in the draft. But who knows what will happen.
 
And: i think 750 GBP is only a bargain for people which used the unit at high end munich or which have heard the A8 already. I hardly could convince anyone about this unit
with words only. But my collegue at work tried it just using my measurement and he was completely blown away. He will buy my A8 once the A16 gets delivered to me.
 
I kinda gave up promoting this unit, i work as sound engineer and collegues like sound designers or mixing engineers usually will just say "nah i am not into headphones, i will always prefer the real speakers"
They just don't get it. The Penny will only drop when they listen themselves
 
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