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.

 

Running Interference

A couple of people reported over the weekend that they had heard radio interference with their cell phones connected to the HiFi-M8.

One person heard interference at the Mook festival in Singapore and another, who lives in US also heard some strange sounds.

We jumped in to investigate. We ran the unit through its paces. Again. And again.

We opened up the chassis (left) and ran the HiFi-M8 (bare) without any metal shielding provided by the case. We called the phone, we texted it, we emailed and browsed. All while listening to music at loud and soft levels.

We tried this experiment with iPhone 4 and iPh0ne 5.

Nothing… Not a trace of the familiar modem sound.

HiFi-M8 is shielded from Radio Frequency Interference very well. We use the same shielding techniques in it as we use in our broadcast equipment that needs to survive the environment of a radio station tower. That’s a hostile RF environment with a very strong radio signal present nearby.

Later today we learned that the second customer only experienced interference when running some other equipment, so the findings there are inconclusive.

iPhone 4 pressed against HiFi-M8 during RF test

We are still very interested in learning about the case in Singapore.

Is SingTel (the local cell phone service provider) using some very different frequencies than AT&T or T-Mobile in US? This could be the case, but it’s still very hard to believe that we have shielded against some frequencies and not the others. We will continue the investigation and report if more information is uncovered.

But for now, we feel that the unit is well protected even when left outside the metal chassis. Inside the metal chassis, RF protection is even stronger.

Squirrel Sabotage

My hunch is that squirrels have sabotaged my Internet connection at home

I normally blog from home, but this weekend I could  not do so.

My home lost the Internet connection this weekend.

One moment I’m online, then suddenly — there is no Internet and the router is blinking red.

A call to the Internet provider revealed that there is trouble on the line outside the building.

I live in an area with a lot of squirrels. My hunch is that one or more has been chewing on the wires and eventually cut off the Internet.

It’s amazing how dependent we are on connectivity. Two days without a browser felt so unnatural and very uneasy…

Power Supplies Shipping

The next batch of HiFi-M8 devices is awaiting the power supply.

Good news — We just learned that the power supplies are ready and are shipping to us.

Soon, we will be sending out the next batch of M8′s

Mook Festival this weekend

Mook Festival in Singapore this weekend

CEntrance has been invited to participate in the Mook Festival this weekend.

The festival is held in Singapore.

CEntrance will show HiFi-M8, DACmini, and DACport there.

If you are around Singapore, we hope you will make it and see/hear our products.

Headphone Panel video posted

Headphone Panel at the Newport Beach Audio show

A couple of months ago, I attended a Headphone Panel at the Newport Beach audio show.

It was a fun-filled event, where emotions ran high (sometimes).

A video just got published of the event.

It’s long, but entertaining, if you like that kind of thing.

Here is the link.

 

Defining Packaging

This is a short post. We are working on the packaging issues. The goal is to try to avoid making 8 packages and instead figure out how to use 1-2 packages with a way to differentiate the actual unit inside (CMB, RSA, 4XL, or PRO).

This is tricky, since each model has its own peculiarities.

Tricky is what we like. Keeps us fresh.