A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
In order to enhance a full audiophile experience we, at Sevenstep, have conceived a high-resolution music player that takes the high-end living room experience wherever you go. An experience that is not only musical but visual and tactile as well.
At Sevenstep we understand that music lovers prefer to listen to their music when played through a dedicated high-end DAC and a high-end (tube) amp. Superlative music systems that fulfil the three senses are part of many living rooms but those remain there. Sevenstep is dedicated to making your superlative "high-end" experience from your livingroom mobile.
There are plenty of portable music players in the market that bring extraordinary performance. However, the "look and feel" of these devices makes them sometimes tedious and complex to the point of turning the listening experience into work rather than enjoyment. A simple listening experience should starts by turning the unit on and pressing "PLAY"...
Sevenstep Audio will bring best of both worlds together: true portability in a small and elegant design, and the audiophile sound quality that is produced by top of the line audio systems.
"I have been listening to an early prototype version of the Mistral and I'm very excited about it. The mistral is a back to basics, sound first kind of player for the audiophile that wants the best possible sound. There's still some work to do for the final version but this looks to be a very promising high end player. "
We set out on a mission to create this truly remarkable product and started the development of 'the Sirocco'.
The heart of our product is the best DAC that is currently available on the market, the Asahi Kasei AK4497EQ. The specifications of this DAC meet or exceed even the best home systems on the market. From this starting point we continued our no-compromise design and selected every other component with the best possible audio quality in mind.
While the sound engineers worked on the insides of the player, the design team started drafting designs for the exterior. Just as the electronics inside, there is no compromise to the quality and the design on the outside. The casing of the player is crafted like a luxury hand-made watch out of aluminum and steel treated with the best coatings and finishes one can expect. Polished, brushed and engraved to give it a top-end luxury look and feel.
Using the best components available does come at a price. Squeezing that last bit of performance out of the unit can not only be a challenge but raise the cost significantly on some components. Purists will agree with us that this is money well spent and is in line with our no-compromise design. But we also realise there is a huge audience that wants much better audio quality than their smart-phone can produce but at an affordable price. This is why we decided to create a second product geared towards a discerning but younger audience: 'the Mistral' player.
The Mistral player is still based on the amazing AK4497EQ DAC and uses the same luxury finish and most of the high-end components as 'the Sirocco'. Targeted towards a more pop/trendy audience, it supports Bluetooth connectivity and a larger display. By developing 'the Mistral' alongside 'the Sirocco' and making smart choices for the components, we can price it aggressively while keeping the Sevenstep luxury look and feel. The suggested retail price of the Mistral player will be €995,- plus VAT. Backers of this Kickstarter campaign even get up to 30% off that price.
The "MISTRAL" player
The "SIROCCO" Player
After almost 2 years of development, we are almost there. We have several functional prototypes and the adequate suppliers for the luxury casing manufacturing. The electronic and internal design for 'the Mistral' is finished and we are finalising the characteristics for 'the Sirocco' to make sure we maximise its audiophile qualities. We have funded the entire development process with our own resources. We are turning to the Kickstarter community to fine-tune our products to perfection and get production started.
EXTENDED FUNDING GOALS
200K - Leather protective sleeve
250K - Additional 128Gb micro SD-Card
500K - Upgrade the micro SD-Card from 128Gb to 256Gb
1M - Premium Micro-USB cable, battery hub and charger kit
Risks and challenges
Even though the hardware of the products is practically completed (only the Sirocco needs some tweaks...), we still need to finish the programming of the firmware. In order to achieve rock-solid reliability we require, the unit needs to be tested extensively. The programming of the firmware is outsourced to a qualified software company.
The decision for the large 2-color display on the Mistral was taken only a few weeks ago. Electrical implementation is being done right now and shouldn't be a problem. The same engineers that created the finished prototypes are working on it.
To take full advantage of all the playback capabilities of the AK4497EQ, 'the Sirocco' needs an extremely fast and powerful processor to read and decode the giant data-streams in real-time. Previous prototypes of 'the Sirocco' could not handle the load of extreme formats like DSD512 (22.5 Mhz) and 32bit 384 kHz FLAC. Even though these formats are hardly used because they are too extreme and rare, we still need to support them in our no-compromise philosophy. We are reviewing candidates for the final processor in 'the Sirocco'. After that, it needs to be implemented in the electrical design and the firmware needs to be finalized.
All this can be executed by the engineers that have worked on the project for the last 2 years. We just need some time to do it right and finish it the way it needs to be done.