Analog circuit boards came in

Today we received the new analog PCBs from the manufacturer.
We are filling them with parts and will try to power them up tomorrow.

I’m really hoping that this Rev 10.9 is the last one. Everything works well, we made this spin just to clean up the tiny little audio buzz in the left channel, to make sure it’s super quiet. Will report on that soon.

Meantime, if you are heading out for the long weekend — please get to relax.
If you do, we will relax through you, vicariously :)

MixerFace picture time

MixerFace Analog PCB Revision 10.9

Several more tweaks and hopefully this one is it.

We have stuffed over 80dB of gain inside this little box and all that gain is sitting around TONS of digital circuits.

And we know that digital circuits are not a friend to analog circuits. They need to be separated as much as possible to avoid interference. Which separation is hard to achieve in small spaces.

Everything needs to be buttoned up to make sure audio is super-clean. This is a pro product after all! Hopefully, by now we’ve learned how to do this right.

Will let you know in about a week, when we build the latest prototypes and measure them up.

Joe Cipriano is excited about his MixerFace!

This short tweet came in over the weekend. Joe Cipriano, one of the foremost and well known announcers in US has been beta-testing the MixerFace prototype on location. We are delighted to hear that he is loving his MixerFace!

MixerFace Analog PCB Revision 10.5

MixerFace is getting what will hopefully be the last update of the main Analog PCB. In total, MixerFace contains 5 PCBs. Each one has parts on top and bottom. Each one has four layers of copper traces. The PCBs are setup in an intricate arrangement, which allows us to pack a lot of functionality into the smallest possible amount of space.

All remaining analog PCBs (3 in total) have been approved. The only exception is the main Analog PCB. It houses the A/D converters, 48V phantom power circuit, our innovative monitor mixer, headphone amp and some other circuit blocks. It’s the most complex of the four. The latest revision is designed to overcome a slight bit of noise in the left channel that comes through from the digital circuitry. The analog amplifiers are so sensitive (much more so than in our MicPort Pro) and the space is so tight (this is a very small, portable product), that we have to be very careful with PCB layout to make sure that all signals are well-shielded from one another and no interference is heard.

The next revision number is 10.5. Yes, it’s been a long series of tweaks, with every version getting progressively better and better. I’m planning to deliver the files to our approvals meeting tomorrow. ‘Been working all weekend. Doing my best at isolating all the pesky signals, so that you get the best signal to noise performance in this awesome product.

MixerFace update

In January of this year, we started out a crowd funding campaign for our new recording product MixerFace.

This handheld device records to laptops and iPhones and is very portable. It’s built on the HiFi-M8 platform and adds recording capability.

We have received 200 orders and were planning to ship the product this Summer, but encountered technical delays. First, we added some analog features, such as guitar input and stereo limiters. Many people requested these additions and we obliged. Then, we realized that some digital connectivity features are not fully up to our standards, so another round of changes is coming. But we cannot afford to keep changing the product forever.

We currently have functioning units of MixerFace, which can record to the laptop and phones. We are working on the improved version that will also charge the phone. This will take some time, since some software inside MixerFace needs to be updated for that to happen.

So we will start shipping soon. Time to start delivering on our promise.

That’s our quick update for today. More soon.

OHM, the sound of resistors

Time to get back in communication.

Many things are happening around CEntrance and it is our duty to report. We’ve been away from blogging for 8 months and it feels like a void has developed.

Let’s fix that.

No more slacking off. No more complaining about work, travel, jetlag, family, distractions, etc. Time to stop the repeating internal dialog, that goes something like this:

INNER VOICE:
(scared)
But it’s hard to do something on a regular basis if you have not done so in a long-long while!

VOICE OF REASON:
(confident)
Breathe in, meditate, jump in. We are returning to the regular blogging experience.

INNER VOICE:
Well, all right. I will put on my headphones and listen to noise (the sound resistors make). That would sure calm me down, right? OHM. OHM. OHM.

SCENE

What a great year it’s been!

Hello everyone and apologies for the long silence. It’s been a busy couple of months.

I’m writing this from Nanjing, China. We are here at the Mook festival, showing HiFi-M8 to a large audience of Chinese audiophiles.

The last two months have seen me traveling non-stop. I have been to Asia and back three times, and that’s quite taxing (my jet lag recovery takes a long time), yet it was all worth it. CEntrance has great support in Japan, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and other asian countries.

Where do we stand with shipping?

Great news! All preorders have been sent out! Yet more orders are coming in daily.

We have worked non-stop in the last two months, building, testing, packaging and shipping. We hired help and increased our speed. Still, it’s hard to keep up with new orders. We cannot do any other work. We are just building product.

This means only one thing. We need professional help. The next HiFi-M8 production run will not be done by the CEntrance staff. We will hire a factory to do it.

It’s better this way. We are not a factory. We are a design lab that is pretending to be a factory. So, we will outsource as much assembly as possible, leaving only the most important testing stages to our trained staff. The customer will not see a difference in quality, but will definitely see a difference in shipping speed.

As we approach the end of he year we are looking at a rapidly decreasing backorder pile (recent orders that need to be shipped). We expect to clear all backorders by the end of the year. We are arranging a new production run for the near future.

I want to thank each and everyone of our readers and supporters for helping us being this product to market. It was a fun year filled with challenges and breakthroughs. Most importantly, we released and shipped the product and now your hearts and minds can be filled with music.

Happy holidays to everyone and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2014, if we don’t get to talk in the next couple of weeks.

Next Shipping Update

Hello all. As you know, we have switched completely to the fulfillment mode and have been working really hard on sending the remaining orders out. We hired additional help as the amount of orders is large.

Stacie and I sat down this morning to understand the remainder of preorder shipment and I need to make a statement about that. Stacie has done a tremendous job keeping us on schedule, but we faced another roadblock, which we anticipate will introduce a three week delay. Our factory is late in delivering the second half of our order. They are doing some rework on the PCBs and were waiting for additional parts.

The end result is a humble request for just a little more patience. All preorders should be cleared up by mid November.

This was certainly a fun year. I anticipate that by December we will be in stock in all shipping products.

Most Versatile and Powerful!

The most versatile and powerful portable DAC/AMP

This just in from UK’s own Hi-Fi Plus:

For CanJam, CEntrance was essentially celebrating the full production release of its long-awaited (and oft-delayed) HiFi-M8, which is an exceptionally versatile portable product that combines an iDevice, Android, Mac, and PC-compatible, high-res, asynchronous USB DAC with an extremely powerful fully balanced headphone amplifier ($699).

Good news: Though HiFi-M8s are still in relatively short supply, CEntrance managing director Michael Goodman graciously provided a sample for Hi-Fi+ to review. Watch for our review of this ambitious product to appear in the next month or two.

And now the main quote:

CEntrance’s HiFi-M8 is arguably one the most versatile and powerful portable DAC/headphone amps on the planet.

Delightful!

Here is a linkto the show report