The CEntrance Hi-Fi M8 V2 Thread
Sep 16, 2020 at 5:48 PM Post #305 of 618

teleaxefan

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Here’s the update:
I appreciated the update and the transparency of the situation that’s going on. I think the honesty in letting us consumers know about the delay problems in shipping is much more preferable than being given some half-baked excuse. And I also prefer and appreciate that a company takes the care and attention of getting things right rather than pushing out something that might be dodgy. It’s these things that give Centrance a great reputation for putting out great products and doing the right things!

In the meantime, I’ll just continue to soldier on with my original Hi-Fi-M8 and DacPortable knowing something even better is coming.

HiFi-M8 V2 DAC/AMP
PROJECT UPDATE
Hello from CEntrance!

We hope you are staying safe and healthy. Here is a project status update.

TLDR: Your order is safe. We are starting another batch. Our PCB supplier delivered faulty boards, and the entire first run is in question. We will ship a small number of units from the first run after exhaustive testing, but we have to make another batch. 2020 says hello...

Now, on to the details...
When the going gets tough..
Just when we thought we were done, another curve. It seems that 2020 is testing our resolve. But we are stronger than that. We will push through and live to laugh about it, even though laughing is far from our minds right now.

To put it bluntly, we just lost several months and $45,000. What?!? That's a lot of money for a small company! Not fun, but we are moving on.

Our PCB supplier came back with test results. Mind you, we've worked with this supplier for over 7 years and have NEVER had any problems. Only on this run!

PCBs are indeed suspect, some have torn traces inside. They cut them open and put them under a microscope. This is incredibly frustrating, because you've been waiting for your DAC for SO LONG and now we need to make another batch. We have already started.
How PCBs are made
Here is a quick primer on how PCBs are made. They are similar to a layered cake. Layers of plastic are interchanged with layers of metal. Metal conducts electricity, plastic doesn't. Each layer has some traces (thin lines of metal), which carry electricity around, from component to component. Internal layers are added when there is not enough space for traces on top and bottom layers.

When they make the PCB, they first make the individual layers and then glue them all together into a sandwich. It ends up looking like a layered cake. The most important part is what's called a VIA. It's a metalilzed, plated hole that's first drilled and then, the internal wall is covered in metal. This hole is how electricity can jump layers, moving from the outside to the inside, and back.
3b1c6962-c41e-4c3c-aace-8d96e6c61546.jpg
In the picture above you can see an actual layered cake. Imagine that white internal layers are the metal and the fluffy bread is the plastic. This is basically the PCB on the inside (except it's not edible).
Test Results
Below are some pictures taken by a scanning microscope of the actual HiFi-M8 PCBs. This is what a good PCB looks like. You can see a solid connection between the wall of a via hole and the internal trace. This is good.
23f71a7b-bfc2-495a-b634-d13c720ede05.jpg
Here is another good picture. Connection quality is sufficient.
ea651f37-cb11-4dac-9240-159ab08022d1.jpg
And this is what a bad PCB looks like. The connection is broken. And now we know why.
cee65d22-ff45-4f52-9be2-f297cb808cf8.jpg
cb7197aa-7167-497f-9a06-d00c3fbccb09.jpg
The supplier explained what happened. When they glued the boards together, one of the internal layers was not sufficiently dry. Tiny bubbles of moisture were trapped inside. Normally this doesn't happen as the layers are fully dried before assembly. But not this time.

As soon as components were placed onto the board, the board went into a heat cycle for soldering. It went into a re-flow oven, where the temperature gradually rises to allow for solder to melt. As the temperature kept rising, the tiny vapor bubbles trapped inside the PCB stared bursting, creating micro-explosions and taking out some traces with them. That's what happened. And that's how we lost the cash and the time. Fascinating and extremely embarrassing at the same time.

Now we are spending our own money to remake this run. New boards have already been made and are now being put on the laser microscope, just to be sure. We are buying components and will build another batch. That's the best we can do under the circumstances. We are determined to make this right for our customers.

As this is 2020, the money is not growing on trees, necessarily, but we are being creative and demonstrating ingenuity to make this right. Please accept our apologies. While this is not entirely our fault (we couldn't predict this curve in our wildest dreams), the delays are not in your favor and we are very sorry about that.
Testing All Boards
Some boards are still ok though and those units can be shipped. Finding them is what's so difficult, as we need to perform exhaustive measurement and tests.

We have contacted a few lucky people who were among the first to pre-order a unit, and they will receive a HiFi-M8V2, which has has passed our stringent testing. As we said, we will not allow to ship any unit that has even a small imperfection.
Packaging is Ready
Packaging is all ready to go. Meantime, we are working with our suppliers to make another batch, as fast as we can, without compromising quality. This will be done in about a month. Needless to say, we are sitting here with egg on face, and are determined to fix this asap.
246022c9-12fc-4c24-8527-64d4d6bb9f71.jpg
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We have suspended additional preorders. We have to get this right, after that we will reopen the orders
 
Sep 16, 2020 at 6:37 PM Post #306 of 618

Slim1970

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More delays, CEntrance has had a rough time bringing the Hifi M8 V2 to market. I’m so ready to get mine. It’s a good thing I have other gear to tide me over.
 
Sep 19, 2020 at 1:40 AM Post #307 of 618

Maru10

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Hold in there, Michael and other good people in Centrance! We can wait longer, and this indeed isn't something you would anticipate. I personally am glad that you found out this inconsistency before you shipped faulty units all over the world (shipping the unit back from the Old continent would be a headache). Such dutiful QC speaks volume about how you care about your customers, and I believe that everyone will understand that and wait patiently for a perfect product from a perfect company. Cheers and good luck!
 
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Sep 19, 2020 at 3:30 AM Post #309 of 618

Nostoi

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Have they released the amp specs for this?
 
Sep 19, 2020 at 11:19 AM Post #310 of 618

doctorjazz

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If this happened with a reputable factory (US or elsewhere), you'd expect them to replace the faulty order. Seems like dealing with Chinese factories, while it may be cheaper, has a bit of the old Wild West aspect to it. It's every man for himself. No way Michael should be stuck with that loss (though obviously he is).
 
Sep 19, 2020 at 2:21 PM Post #311 of 618

drbluenewmexico

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If this happened with a reputable factory (US or elsewhere), you'd expect them to replace the faulty order. Seems like dealing with Chinese factories, while it may be cheaper, has a bit of the old Wild West aspect to it. It's every man for himself. No way Michael should be stuck with that loss (though obviously he is).
Hey I'm in the wild West and when the going gets tough tithe tough get weird according to Hunter Thompson! But I will be patient and I do appreciate Centrance transparency and efforts to do this right!
 
Sep 21, 2020 at 7:43 AM Post #312 of 618

finepics

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I'm on the fence with this in my basket but can't quite checkout yet! Currently using a FiiO Q5s with the THX amp module, Campfire Ara's with Plussound S&G cables in balanced output over Bluetooth from iPhone source. Am I going to hear a really noticeable difference or should I keep my money? Heart tells me buy buy buy, head is saying why, why, why!
 
Sep 21, 2020 at 8:17 AM Post #313 of 618

astr0n0m1nus

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In my opinion and from experience, CEntrance products are really versatile and offer great performance that would keep audiophiles satisfied for several years. My HiFi-M8 v1 is still going strong. I have not heard Fiio Q5 with THX module so cannot offer sound comparisons. Nevertheless the v2 is supposed to have a reference sound signature. Do note that the last communication/updste stated CEntrance will be suspending additional preorders (albeit temporarily I assume). So there is a possibility that you may have to wait a bit longer to order the HiFi-M8 v2.
 
Sep 23, 2020 at 8:56 PM Post #314 of 618

dbycrash

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Hi there... I am facing a bit of a strange problem regarding this purchase. I am fairly certain of my order being amongst the early birds, but due to the time that has elapsed I can't remember which email I used to complete the purchase. What should I do to remedy this situation? Sorry for the incompetence regarding virtual nomenclature.
 
Sep 23, 2020 at 9:12 PM Post #315 of 618

elira

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Hi there... I am facing a bit of a strange problem regarding this purchase. I am fairly certain of my order being amongst the early birds, but due to the time that has elapsed I can't remember which email I used to complete the purchase. What should I do to remedy this situation? Sorry for the incompetence regarding virtual nomenclature.
Contact CEntrance, they might be able to look you up by name.
 

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