Webstore is OK

If you go to our web store today you may notice a message saying: “This Connection is Untrusted”.

Don’t worry. You can still trust us.

We are updating the security certificate today. This process will be complete shortly.

It’s safe to shop at www.centrance.com/store, despite the warning.

Building a big new batch

HiFi-M8 is very popular. So much so that we ran out of stock pretty much right away.

We promised an awesome product. We delivered. We hear that people really like it!

We should be really taking advantage of that, but we don’t have stock at the moment.

We are making a new batch in September, a big batch — enough to satisfy all outstanding orders and then some!

We have allocated the original pilot production run to those who have waited the longest.

Now we need to build more and that means we need to wait.

This wait is killing me….

But this too, will pass and everyone will get their “Fix of M8″.

Breathe in, breathe out….

Watch head-fi.org next week

That’s all I am allowed to say today.

Look for something cool to come out on head-fi next week.

It may be related to HiFi-M8.

Whatever it is, it will come from the brightest minds out there.

That I can guarantee.

What flood looks like

My to do list for this week

This is my current to do list. It’s longer than usual, because of extra product release-related activity.

I sat down and put this list together from a bunch of little notes sitting on the desk, on the calendar, on the cellphone, etc.

This would normally be a no-brainer, but unfortunately, many items on the list are each a project in their own right.

Suddenly, we are not talking about “flying through” the list. Nope, we are talking about crawling through it.

And this is what “flood” looks like: A lot of stuff to do. Very little time to do it all. Things falling off the plate.

To do list, prioritized

Here is how I manage the flood.

I step into a coffee shop, get a latte and “turn off” the world.

I prioritize the list. I color code it. I take a deep breath and dive into it.

To the left is the processed version, where tasks are grouped into eight categories and prioritized. The categories range from Engineering, to Finance, to Marketing, to Consulting (our consulting business is doing well).

Grouping the tasks is very helpful, since several items can be accomplished at once.

Now that there is structure, we can attack the action items.

First Review is Glowing Positive

HiFi-M8

We have our first real review in!

This comes from a publication called headfijourney, familiar to our customers in the Asian market.

This review is unusually long, but very positive!

Here is the summary:

—–

Final Thoughts

The CEntrance HiFi-M8 is a superb piece of equipment and a marvelous feat of engineering. Not only is it well built with tons of connectivity options, it excels at what it’s designed to do. It drives everything from IEMs to full-sized over the ear headphones and sounded stunningly good with all the headphones I threw at it but most of all, it brought out the best in the T1 (in balanced mode). Whilst it is certainly a portable device, it will not be out of place in a desktop system. I could happily live with the M8 as my main DAC/amp for headphones. Indeed, it may be the game changing no compromise combo that head-fiers have been waiting for.

At the time of writing, the M8 is peerless at this price range. It can certainly punch above its weight, way above, as a matter of fact. To get better results, you’d have to spend a lot more. If you need a great sounding DAC/amp combo which is small and light enough for you to take it with you on your travels, look no further. If you value compactness and simplicity, you just can’t go wrong with the M8. Plug in the USB cable from your PC/Mac and in an instant you have a high end head-fi system on your desktop. No fuss, no muss.

Managing Flood

We are entering the project stage known as “flood”.

Projects go through a number of stages, from “scared of the unknown”, through “getting somewhere”, to “too much at once”, to “done and lost all subsequent interest”.

There is a more structured project overview model out there, but this simplistic view demonstrates the main point. At some time, the tweaking is complete and you have some success. That’s when you enter the flood stage.

Sadly, many companies fail at this stage. Don’t get me wrong, many more companies fail at the previous stages, as they miscalculate the real costs of “getting there”. But success can also be taxing, which is less obvious.

The problem is some people tend to relax at this point, as if the work is done. Wrong! The work is just starting.

And that’s what we have with the HiFi-M8 currently. We need to ship, and we have a limited supply and we are frantically arranging additional production, and we are communicating with existing customers, future customers and media, who all want their unit right now. This can be taxing.

We need to live through about a month of this. More units should be here in late September. Enough to get out of back order.

Or so we we think.

We Have Apple Approval !!!

Exciting news.

HiFi-M8 is approved for sale.

By Apple.

We can start shipping now and will be sending out a press release shortly.

Hurray!

Regular HiFi-M8 is now available at our store.

Place your order soon, we expect to be flooded with orders and go on back order within days.

 

Update on 24/96

Here is a quick update on 24/96 support.

Note that this only applies to the HiFi-M8 regular.

HiFi-M8 LX is not affected by anything in this post.

We finally cracked the bug with the bootloader that prevented the field upgrade from working correctly. We are testing a new bootloader code here, to make sure everything is done correctly and no bugs are lurking within.

As a quick reminder, the 24/96 capability was originally envisioned as a field-upgradeable firmware download.

We created a mechanism to upgrade the firmware in the field, and that mechanism works well. However we found that it didn’t work well for precisely one type of an upgrade — the 24/96 upgrade.

This was frustrating and we promised to all early adopters that we will pay to have their HiFi-M8 shipped back to CEntrance so that we could perform the upgrade. That offer still stands.

All of the early adopters will get the free upgrade to the new bootloader, which will allow them to download the 24/96 code when that becomes available.

The 24/96 feature itself is not available however. We are still working on that. Just to give you a glimpse into the complexity of the beast, HiFi-M8 has several operational modes and it boots into the appropriate mode depending on which device is in front of it. There is a lot of hoop-jumping to do. We have created the “hoops” for ourselves to jump through with the new bootloader code  (the ability to switch modes). Now we are actually jumping through the very hoops we have created (developing the actual 24/96 capability). Yes, this is extremely convoluted and difficult. We may have 24/96 working in late September or early October.  That’s the current estimate.

For all early-birds, the new bootloader and 24/96 will be free.

Here is the  extra benefit of being an early-bird: 24/96 functionality might end up being a paid mod for new customers.

We Passed the Apple test

Apple approval is a secret subject.

We cannot say much about it, because the entire process is under NDA. All we can say is that you need to have Apple approval in order to sell an Apple accessory.

This is why we have not been talking much about the approvals process. Suffice it to say that all this time, it was going on in parallel with everything else.

Today I can proudly say that we are inching closer to the final frontier. We passed all tests and got certification.

A couple more steps are left, mostly paperwork-related. Once they are complete, we should be ready to sell.

The whole process feels very much like a computer game. You need to go through many levels of the game. Once you scale a level, another one opens up…

We are closer to the end than we ever were.

Thank you George Duke!

I invite you to celebrate the legacy of George Duke, who died yesterday at the age of 67.

George had a lasting impact on modern music. A true giant, he played rock, funk, Brazilian jazz, soul — you name it. He played with Miles Davis and Frank Zappa. He was a true master.

I’m listening to my “George Duke” Pandora station, which has been a delight for years.

George Duke’s latest  album was released July 16th.

Here is a video in which he discusses the album.