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Interview With Schiit Audio & Their Mindset

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On a Sunday, I viewing that YouTube stream (from John Darko’s YouTube channel). The following is an exercise for me - assessing my understanding of my new-found hobby, as a middle-aged man, living in Canada, whose lucky to have enough disposable income to play with toys. I’d welcome your feedback...

My highlights:
Timestamp: 2:16. ....baldr’s comment about the received parts being upside-down and backwards. If he had said it was also inside-out... and it exploded, he’d have unwittingly quoted from the 1999 movie, GalaxyQuest... starring Tim Allen, Sigournie Weaver, and Alan Rickmann. Link.
Timestamp: 4:38 - 5:38. ...inverted bearings being fully erect. Erections. Erections. Erections. Love it! :ksc75smile: I also found it fascinating that Schiit Audio’s putting “function over form”. This upcoming device will be a ~15lb chunk of sculpted aluminum with a smoooooooth pivot point. And modular arms?! This device might very well upset the vinyl-playing-turntable market.

Timestamp: 10:00. Schiit Floaters. While I was a teenager in the cassette-tape culture, turntable leveling & correction was a few years before my time. The two made a bold statement about this turntable — it’s not designed for the casual vinyl listener. It’s meant for high performance playback @ about $700 USD. Not my interest, but the spin-off technologies will be interesting (next-generation DiscMan/DVDman,...).
Timestamp: 11:55. The Supreme Soviet Of DACs... As a teenager of the 80s, this made me sit up. A soviet of... Who talks like that?! I might even use that saying.... Clever.

Timestamp: 18:40. Dr. Ivanna. Math/Music/Computer-Coder. Good god. Digital processing can do THAT to a song file?! Parse out and re-tone the voice and/or select instruments?! I’d expect that at the music-studio-level.... but if we as listeners can monkey around with the final product (and make it pleasurable to our individual tastes), that’d be amazing. I think there’s software technology available that’ll correct headphones and/or correct for room echo. And there’s something called Auto-Tune used in hiphop. The This... this goes further up the stream and allows me to alter the source before it hits my DAC... analogEQ.... amp...speakers. I love it how baldr (timestamp ~23:00) bristled at one thinking music processors as tone control. It’s not about making the musical output more accurate to the original source — it’s about enjoyment & pleasurable listening.
Timestamp 24:15. Wow. If I understand what Schiit has in mind... they’re developing and implementing their own USB protocol that’s designed from the ground up for multibit-DAC technology (I’m in the weeds here and only partially understand it). Schiit-USB-boards that does NOT sound like ass (it plugs in and just works). Christ, they could then license that technology out (hmmm, like Dolby? Like MQA? [like I said, I don’t understand this concept... no put-downs, please]).

Timestamp 26:55. So Schiit might dabble in (host) computer components. Perhaps a stand-alone music streamer or ‘transport’. That translate as a DAP to me. Ah, so that’s how a Raspberrry Pi could be used to feed our Modis, Bifrosts, and such!
Timestamp 27:55. Boom! A SchiitPi instead of customers running out and buying a RaspberryPi to stream tunes. It’s a next generation DAP. The little computer boards would have Schiit-designed-music-centric-USB-friendly-DAC chipsets (as a possible product line in the next 10 years).

Timestamp 29:55 ...USB sounding like phucking ass... USB 2, 3 ~ what’s my favourite prostate exam? (SPIDIF) > (pre-Schiit-USB protocol). Awesome!:ksc75smile:
Timestamp 30:50... the beta-Schiit-USB is now on-par or better than SPDIF. I appreciated how they both know digital transport (from host to DAC) shouldn’t matter... bits are bits... And yet, there’s a phenomena at work that they just don’t understand (it’s quantum?! :darthsmile: ). Another balder zinger: it’s chickenschiit, chicken-salad better than SPDIF. I can’t make this up.

Timestamp ~31:00. I’m pleased to see that these 2 guys are using consumer-grade audio sources. PCs.... MacBooks... dinosaur-aged rigs... I’m sure that might come and bite them in the ass eventually — GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). Meh, maybe it’ll only punish cheapscapes like me who use old gear.
Timestamp ~34:55. I appreciated how the reviewer drilled our guys on the SchiitPi (a highly modified RaspberriPi). This is going to become a very delicate dance for Schiit — they have to allow others to develop an operating system that liase with the dumb-yet-Rainman-brilliant, Schiit-DAC-chipset on the Pi’s motherboard. Schiit won’t make their own user interface on the SchiitPi (or RaspberryPi). Got it. I’ll run some kind of Linux distro.

Timestamp ~38:00. Their proprietary USB-100%-Schiit card’s coming out next year (2019). Meh... beyond my needs. Now, the SchiitPi... THAT’S WHAT I WANT.
Timestamp 39:00. It’s worth going through the interview just to see their looks on their faces wrt the state of DSD and MQA. Totalitarian sheep phucking?! Yep, that’s another image I can’t get out of my mind (and can wait to use it at my next beer-BS-session).
Timestamp 42:00. Jason asks yes-and-no questions to Mike. It’s worth a listen. If for no other reason to hear Mike growl how future-Schiit-made-electrostatic headphones users should sit in a bathtub full of water. Damn! As my students would say, that’s savage, sir.

Timestamp: 45:50. Both of them boil their success down to a simple, phrase: their gear is simple... their gear is reliable... their gear is cheap (they make money selling it be the 1000s).
Timestamp: 47:00. Schiit and Massdrop similarities. Get more quality audiophile gear to people for cheap.

I urge newcomers like me to watch this interview. It’s educational, it’s coherent, and they use elegant swear words. Mr. Darko, thank you for this content, eh.

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44 minutes ago, PrometheanCat-1970 said:

Timestamp 24:15. Wow. If I understand what Schiit has in mind... they’re developing and implementing their own USB protocol that’s designed from the ground up for multibit-DAC technology (I’m in the weeds here and only partially understand it). Schiit-USB-boards that does NOT sound like ass (it plugs in and just works). Christ, they could then license that technology out (hmmm, like Dolby? Like MQA? [like I said, I don’t understand this concept... no put-downs, please]).

He mentioned interfacing with the industrial DACs, I think it's about being able to USB>DSP>DAC natively rather than having to convert USB to conventional audio formats and then convert that to the industrial format. If they plan to use their own DSP hardware as well (which it sounds like), they could remove the shift registers, SHARC, and CM6631A. XMOS has those capabilities, but I'm guessing it's too expensive/not good enough and Schiit doesn't want to deal with other companies. The DSP part is likely further into the future, given that it's currently located on the analog rather than the USB card in Schiit's modular products.

1 hour ago, PrometheanCat-1970 said:

Timestamp 26:55. So Schiit might dabble in (host) computer components. Perhaps a stand-alone music streamer or ‘transport’. That translate as a DAP to me. Ah, so that’s how a Raspberrry Pi could be used to feed our Modis, Bifrosts, and such!

Timestamp 27:55. Boom! A SchiitPi instead of customers running out and buying a RaspberryPi to stream tunes. It’s a next generation DAP. The little computer boards would have Schiit-designed-music-centric-USB-friendly-DAC chipsets (as a possible product line in the next 10 years).

They're saying fully embedded. Probably still using UAC 2.0 as an input since they said they didn't want to deal with compatibility. In the further future maybe they'll add them in external boxes for "Gadget"-like functionality (thus the comment about USB host functionality), but still nothing like a DAP. Rather, I'm guessing they have a simpler and better way to decode the packets than Cmedia was using (I wouldn't be surprised, given how many extra features Cmedia likes to pack into everything) and want to use that going forward.

 

Pure speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised if this whole thing started with the question "What if we could generate all of our signals using a good oscillator rather than relying on scattered PLLs/isolators/flip-flops everywhere?" I wonder if the answer is their own chip (which the USB license suggests) or if "Schiit Pi" means different off-the-shelf IC's in a new arrangement.

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Wait a minute... is it possible they’re considering making their own audio chipsets like Realtek and CMedia?  Or something like that...It’s too bad surround-sound and multichannel audio can become expensive, proprietary, and complicated... really fast. Schiit has no interest (yet) to go down that pathway.

 

Audio engineering seems part art, part science, and part psychology. Thanks for the post, @Nimrodor

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