UPDATE on Schedule:
this seems to be the most important item on the request list. So, without any fluff: we have been promised "Container in port Shenzhen" by end of May, early June! It takes 12-20 days to get to LA where I will pick it up and drive it to Miami.
I expect to fulfill my pledge rewards end of June, early July! If nothing else happens!
Now the fluff:
first I want to thank you all for supporting this dream, for having faith in bringing it to a successful culmination and even to the few of you who have voiced your frustration. I am always grateful. I also look to improve myself therefore I take any suggestions very seriously. Thank you Paul and others for suggesting I give more detail. Here below and in the next update, I will attempt to do just that.
I will start with the end and slowly unwind towards the beginning. One of our backers, Shawn, who, himself pledged in the hopes to get a +KNOB Anaconda, flew in from Singapore on Saturday last week and we met up in Hong Kong. As it turns out he was a tremendous help in communicating with the factory. He can speak Mandarin and is fluent in English! Or, is that the other way around?
On monday we crossed the border into China, I for the second time, and were met by the general Manager of the Factory, Perry and our Saleswoman, Sharon, a really nice lady from the Hunan province of China. After five minutes with her, her english exposed, I started to realized why we encountered delays.
The factory is a small to medium size, more towards small, ran in one of the suburbs of Shenzhen. We met with their Head of engineering and R&D, a young gentleman named Dragon, another engineer responsible with the bluetooth side of things and Sharon who was supposed to translate. As we started to go down the list of items, the same list I sent with over two weeks in advance, I realized that we are in some deep trouble. They showed me, proud I might add, that they found a source for our cone feet, looking good and a new bluetooth module. We did not have new samples, we did not have anything I could take back with me.
We have sound quality!
The most important problem we had with our initial sample received at the end of January as you recall, was the bluetooth and sound coming out. It was nowhere near my expectations. So they presented us with a new Bluetooth module, one they can carry into production, connected it to one of their amplifiers based on the same IC we’re going to use, and demoed it. Phenomenal sound. Really! Nevermind. The amp was connected to some 6" bookshelfs. It’s not really representative of our sound! So back to the meeting!
We set down and started to analyze the enclosure. We decided that it will be a much better solution to move the headphone jack out to the back of the unit, right next to line in. This cleans up the grill, the blue LED is left behind an uninterrupted surface and provides a really nice glow.
We looked at the porting of the speaker box and thats when the first argument ensued. I am not satisfied with the way the box sounds as they had it ported. They on the other hand, could not believe that I would port my box the way I ported it. So we arrived at the decision to construct both, one the way they propose and one the way I requested. And we will listen to them next day in the morning.
- Ok, moving on. Let’s talk about the bluetooth functions? Do you have the solo and concert modes in this module?
- No it can not be done.
- Scuse me? How, what kind of answer is this? Who’s the Bluetooth specialist? Bring him in!
- Well, you see, we get the module from a supplier.
- Can we meet with them?
- Well, ahh, yes, would you like to go now?
And so away we went. This part of the meeting was horrible, the supplier basically did not want to accommodate anything, informing us that nothing can be done. As I understood that he did not want to really do extra work I requested to leave at which point they told us they will look into it. By this time the day was coming to an end and we were taken back to our hotel.
Day two. More amazing sound
After checking out from the hotel, Shawn and I went back to the factory. Here, we met with the two owners of this factory and discussed our required timeframe. Everything SAP! At this point they laughed and pointed to the horse sculpture. It had 5 legs! No, no joke! It happened!
We went to listen to the difference in porting. My porting did the same thing as before, bringing a tremendous stage to the speaker despite the size, allowing you to pick up great details in the voice and well, mids and highs were amazingly crisp. The low end though, was too loose. This could be because the porting itself was a little too big.
Their porting brought out a greater bass, tight and quite amazing for the size of the enclosure but the mids and highs were really narrow and generic.
After listening I asked Dragon to give me his description of the sound and he gave me something very similar to my description above. Great! Now he knows what I want +KNOB to sound like!
- Can we get the same stage but tighter bass?
- huhhuh! (translation yes)
- You know what I am looking for now?
- huhhuhhuhhuh! (yes)
- Cool! Now let’s go back to talking about schedule!
After a lunch on the factory floor, eating the factory food, we set down to discuss.
And it goes something like this:
- two weeks to get custom PCB for our samples. This is not off the shelf stuff. It’s all custom made for our requirements
- Send out to me, 5 samples of the +KNOB Original for my evaluation. Mid April
- After approval, start tooling for production - first production run END of MAY!
- Shipping from Shenzhen to LA takes 12 - 20 days. There I will pick up the shipment and drive to Florida. This would be, now, FIRST-SECOND WEEK of JUNE. I can start shipping out as soon as I get back to Florida.
- ohh, MOQ you guessed it: 1000/design different colour options OK!
What about ANACONDA! Am I going to stiff you? Take your money and run to Mexico? I thought about it … and then realized that my $47k will not even allow me to rest my ass on a mexican beach! so, no I will continue to work at this:
Made in USA
So ANACONDA will be constructed, hand assembled by me for you! In Florida. Will that qualify as made in the USA? I think so! So ANACONDA is made in USA! by me! I will basically cannibalize an ORIGINAL, add an amp and the 4” driver to the bamboo box that my friend Rich will build, and send them out as I make them. Smile!
I think this is awesome news! I feel extremely happy with the outcome, in Sharon’s words, my visit eliminated months of frustrating email exchange. there is nothing like coming face to face to discuss a problem. And I would have been fkd without Shawn!
The amp sound crazy good, the box will sound just as good because Dragon understands what I’m looking for and the bluetooth module is super clean in sound!
Wait, Raul! Don’t pull the wool over our eyes! What about the Concert mode?! That’s the only reason I bought 15 of them!
At this moment, I decided that I can’t wait to have the concert mode developed, because I took a glimpse of the noose you’re preparing for me already, so here’s what I will do: Ship out all the pledge fulfillment in JUNE - JULY and ship out again when I have the Concert mode. You will receive a new one, will have to place the old one in the shipping box and send it to the address provided. And I will rely upon your word, as you have relied upon mine, to send it back!
If there is anything I did not cover, please, I beg, don’t get upset, just ask. I will introduce the video soon. Going to take a water break, gather my thoughts and prepare the report for the vacation part of the trip!
Have a great one and once again, thank you for supporting me and my dream. I can't wait for you to hear it!