Output level dilemma

Product development is moving along.

We know that because we are starting to make tough decisions, that involve design trade offs.

Unfortunately, we can’t have “everything” so we need to come up with compromises and try to meet the needs of the most people.

Right now we have a real dilemma.

We are in the process of pulling the product’s performance specs together and need to make some decisions regarding battery life and output level.

Suffice it to say that this is causing some heated battles in the office. Here is what we know:

1) DACport is great at driving most headphones, but for some rare over-the-ear kinds it may need a little bit more gain.

2) DACmini has higher output level then DACport and can drive pretty much any headphones. This comes at the expense of higher power consumption.

3) With HiFi-M8 we would like to drive as many headphones as possible. However, we don’t want to drain the battery too fast.

We have a choice. We can make HiFi-M8 such that it has:

- About 5 hours of battery life and output performance that’s equal to DACmini (pretty much any headphones, incl. over-the-ear)

- About 8 hours of battery life and¬†output performance that’s equal to DACport (most headphones, certainly all IEMs)

This is causing sleepless nights at the moment. We will eventually pick a golden middle. But please respond via the head-fi thread with your comments on the above.

Here is the thread

2 Responses to this post.

  1. Posted by zilch0md on 03.10.12 at 12:42 am

    Short version: More power! Less play time!

    I think the way to look at it is this: How many hours does the average headphone fanatic spend on any given day actually listening to a portable rig ***without access to an AC outlet*** ?

    Seriously, except for daily commutes on public transportation, walking the dog, grocery shopping or other short, outdoor excursions, your customers are pretty much all using their portable rigs ***indoors***, seated at a desk at work or on the sofa at home, or walking about in a lab, a warehouse, or whatever ***with AC outlets everywhere***. Time to recharge? No problem! The nearest outlet is only five feet away! Right? Even people who listen all day long spend enough time seated near an outlet to do some of it while plugged in.

    Think INDOOR use with short-duration outdoor use – that’s the average Joe’s habit.

    Punch line: Give us more POWER, not more play time! Please don’t hamstring the HiFi-M8 with anything less than the DACmini’s output. It’s not about adequately driving cans like the HE-6. It’s about delivering awesome dynamics and bass control with everything else. You guys are so close to doing something unprecedented in portable audio. Go for it! :-)

  2. Posted by admin on 03.10.12 at 12:42 am

    Gotcha. Thanks!!! Off to the lab we go to act upon the challenge…