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Realiser A16:   the best seat in the best sounding cinema
Realiser A16: the best seat in the best sounding cinema
330 backers pledged £282,048 to help bring this project to life.

A16 Progress Report 29 July 2017

Posted by Stephen Smyth (Collaborator)

All aspects of the production are proceeding well. Mass production of the metalwork for both 2U and headstand (HS) will be completed in the next couple of weeks. Pre-production samples of both types have now been reviewed and we are happy to say the manufacturing quality is good. When we get the first production samples back from China (with final silk screen) we will post a complete set of photos.

The A16 board assembly will begin August and we should have these back in the UK mid September at the latest. The HDMI 2.0b hardware is also in manufacture and due for delivery to us early September. We would like to think that final assembly and test will begin before the end of September.

On the software side we are focused mostly on preparing for Dolby and DTS certification. We plan to submit sample A16s to both companies by the end of August. Approval often takes 3-4 weeks but it may take longer if compliance issues arise. Since the A16 design allows for firmware updates, assembly can proceed regardless and we can update prior to shipping as required.

We have two minor developments to report. First, we employed an English woodworking company to make us some trial side panels for the 2U enclosure. They connect to where the rack-mount wings go so you can only fit one or the other. Our feeling is that we probably need at least 4 different wood types to give owners a decent choice if we do decide to offer these panels for sale. The photographs show oak and walnut, both with an oil finish.

2U with oak side panels
2U with oak side panels


2U with walnut side panels
2U with walnut side panels


2U with rack-mount wings
2U with rack-mount wings

Second, we will be including a differential headphone output mode for driving balanced headphones using both User A and User B headphone output jacks together. This mode is intended for single user operation. The photo shows a typical connection for the Sennheiser HD800 using a balanced Custom Cans dual ¼” stereo jack cable where the User A jack drives the left-ch transducer and User B jack the right-ch transducer.

Balanced headphone drive using ganged headphone outputs
Balanced headphone drive using ganged headphone outputs

Please note that the enclosures used in these photographs are pre-production and their silk screening differs from the final production units.  

We will provide a further progress report at the end of August. Hopefully you will see some photos of the production units before that.  

Thank you for your patience.  

Stephen Smyth

Jack Hamm, Felix Vîjiac, and 15 more people like this update.


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    1. Stephen Smyth Collaborator on

      @George-Alexandru Crisia - I will post an update with a diagram

    2. Missing avatar

      George-Alexandru Crisia on

      I kindly ask you to elaborate a bit the differential headphone output mode for those who would like to use the Sennheiser HD800 S, which is supplied with two connection leads (a cable with 6.3mm jack connector and a balanced cable with XLR4 connector).

      At Custom Cans web site, they offer an ultra-low capacitance adapter for balanced cable to balanced/unbalanced source. I tried to configure such an adapter; on one end, it should have 2 x 6.35 mm jacks (termination for the Realiser A16) and on the other end, 4 pin XLR female connector (termination for the Sennheiser balanced cable). Would this configuration be appropriate for connecting a Sennheiser HD800 S to the Realiser A16 by using the balanced cable that’s in the HD 800 S box?

    3. Reiner on

      Sorry posted before I finished and I can't delete.
      Thank you for the quick answer.
      I was just surprised about balanced since in the French podcast I have listened to several times you said you were not going to go balanced since the Smyth 3D effect plus headphone liberalization was is in magnitude more enhancing the sound quality compared to the balanced effect. Just sold my balanced amplifier including the balanced HD 800 cable :-(

    4. Reiner on

      Thank you for the quick answer.
      I was just surprised about balanced since

    5. Stephen Smyth Collaborator on

      @Markus Linseisen - the volume knobs are read in software so either will adjust the volume at the headphone when in balanced mode. We now use OPA1622 amplifiers for both User A and B. I will add an update giving more information on the headphone amplifier specification.

      @Reiner - There are solid technical arguments for why headphones wired for balanced mode will have a better performance. We decided to offer the mode simply to expand the possibilities. In certain cases it may avoid users having to purchase a separate external balanced drive amplifier..... I apologise for the slipping delivery timetable..... On power up the A16 will automatically load the previous preset (virtual room), set the headphone volume to the previous session, and load all other previous settings. So actually you do not need to do anything other than turn it on (push either volume knob) and put on your headphones (provided you are not changing sources or want a different virtual room).

      @Disk Bell - No. But Custom Cans is one company that will (and there are others). I will add an update giving more information on the headphone amplifier specification.

      @Felix Vîjiac - the photos do not show the final units. If you look at the silkscreen on Headstand version, the 2U silkscreen is now more like that in size. Logos are now gone on both models and Smyth is aligned with the LCD on the 2U.

      @Jian H - No. The 2U will only be in black and the Headstand version will only be in silver. Sorry.

      @Michael @Rene - thank you.

    6. Markus Linseisen on

      In the context of the the "differential headphone output mode" is the user able to control the volume of both channels using a single knob? and are the user A and user B headphone outputs still using a LME49600 and MAX97220 respectively?

    7. Rene on

      Thanks for the improvement in the 2U case work! The new look with the sharp edges removed at the front panel and the smoother top cover looks much better compared to the prototype design published in January. I like the look with the wooden side panels as well - nice work! That's a design one can put in his living room very easily.

    8. Reiner on

      Great idea to make balanced mode available. Does it make a difference in sound?
      A bit worried when we will get the final product. Always hoped for September. Sounds more like end of year. Could you confirm?
      It is for the first time I realized I will always need the remote control to A16 as there seems to be no buttons at the A16. Am I right?

    9. Missing avatar

      Michael on

      Love the wooden side panels. I'd like to suggest, as additional choices, a nice dark mahogany or ebony. Argentine lignum vitae would be a great light colored wood.

    10. Missing avatar

      Dick Bell on

      great news.... will you be offering a balanced cable for the HD800... what will the power output be in balanced mode ?

      Thanks for the update... great news... can't wait to try this all out...

    11. Missing avatar

      Felix Vîjiac on

      The with of the panels seems balanced with the width of the case, but i would choose a laquered dark red wood, especially with the black version. The lighter woods could pair up well with a silver version.
      I still think the model and brand font sizes should be smaller and that SMITH should be aligned with the LCD edge.

    12. Missing avatar

      Jian H on

      Is it possible to get the silver front panel on 2U enclosure?