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TechFreeR Head-Fi:Apple certified 3-in-1 DAC headphone amp turns your iOS devices into a mobile Hi-Fi system for audiophile grade sound Read more

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TechFreeR Head-Fi:Apple certified 3-in-1 DAC headphone amp turns your iOS devices into a mobile Hi-Fi system for audiophile grade sound

About this project

WHAT IS THE TECHFREER HEAD-FI?

The TechFreeR Head-Fi is a 3-in-1 portable battery pack and a high-end headphone amplifier which is built with Texas Instruments chips – digital-to-analog convertor & DirectPath™ amplifier, that transforms your iOS devices into a mobile hi-fi system for stunning audiophile-grade audio. This tiny device only weighs 150g and it has a maximum sample rate/resolution 96 kHz/24 bits, S/N ratio >100dB and output power at 2x130mW. And of course, it is a protective yet stylish bumper case that does a great job of protecting your iPhone 5/5S. It is designed for specifically for iOS devices with MFi approval.  

The three different parts of the TechFreer Head-Fi.
The three different parts of the TechFreer Head-Fi.

WHY DO WE NEED A HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER?

Music files are stored a in digital format in smartphones such as MP3 and AAC. When you play music from your mobile device, it goes through a Digital-Analog Converter (DAC) which converts the audio file from a digital signal to an analog one. Even though most devices have fairly good built in DAC/Amp, it may not have enough power to drive a high-end pair of headphones, and they sound a little quiet and muddy. That's where an external DAC/Amp comes in and the TechFreeR Head-Fi will make your headphones sound much better.

An upgraded external DAC/Amp pieces the digital signals together into a more-accurate representation of the original analog signal, and it also isolates the easily-distorted analog signal from the electrically noisy components of your device, producing a cleaner signal.

The improved headphone amplifier helps ensure that the amplified signal accurately reflects the decoded analog data, providing more power for power-hungry headphones, and provides more exact control of the headphones’ mechanical movements due to electrical characteristics such as the damping factor.  

WHY DO YOU NEED THE TECHFREER HEAD-FI?

Some headphone amplifiers use 3.5mm audio inputs, which usually distorts analog signals with a low signal noise ratio, making the audio performance rather undesirable.  

Connecting the TechFreeR Head-Fi USB audio will bypass the built-in DAC/Amp to an high-end DAC/Amp which minimizes the distortion & signal loss, providing higher output power resulting in an increased sound quality.  

WHAT MAKES THE TECHFREER HEAD-FI SO UNIQUE?

- Combines a DAC headphone amplifier, power bank and smartphone bumper case into ONE device

- Designed for all iOS Devices 

-  Uses high quality Texas Instruments Chip – Digital to Analog Convertor & DirectPath amplifier 

- Has a 3600 mAh Lithium-Polymer battery 

- Bumper case for iPhone 5/5S and housing for the Head-Fi are crafted out of high-grade aluminum alloy 

- Weighs only 150g 

- Apple MFi official device     

COMPARISON OF KEY SPECIFICATIONS WITH OTHER HEADPHONE AMPLIFIERS

TECHFREER HEAD-FI SPECIFICATIONS

TechFreeR Head-Fi compatibility with iOS devices.
TechFreeR Head-Fi compatibility with iOS devices.
TechFreeR Head-Fi dimensions, ports & connectors.
TechFreeR Head-Fi dimensions, ports & connectors.

DEVELOPMENT PROCESS:

In our product development process, we had to tackle the difficulties and challenges below:

- PCB design

  • Why did we choose Texas Instruments Solutions?
  • TI is one the best and well known audio solution & Hi-Fi system provider 
  • Effort in reducing the signal noise floor of PCB
  • Decoupling capacitor and large Ground floor is used to reduce the noise and interference. 
  • Compact size to accommodate a larger capacity of external battery
  • TI DirectPath™ amplifier is chosen to eliminate large output DC blocking capacitor to reduce the board size 
Schematic diagram.
Schematic diagram.

- Power bank 

  • Support most iOS devices to meet MFi requirements 
  • Optimizing the overall size, weight and battery capacity. We used a Lithium-Polymer battery to reduce weight and size rather than Lithium-ion.

- Industrial & Mechanical Design 

  • Tier one prototype 
  • Clumsy for carrying 
  • Tier two prototype 
  • Combining a bumper case design                 
Tier 1 and 2 specifications.
Tier 1 and 2 specifications.
The TechFreeR Head-Fi in black.
The TechFreeR Head-Fi in black.
The TechFreeR Head-Fi in silver.
The TechFreeR Head-Fi in silver.

The Kickstarter Backer Rewards! 

The packaging for the TechFreeR Head-Fi.
The packaging for the TechFreeR Head-Fi.

OUR TIMELINE

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

 We have spent 6 months in designing the PCB and another 4 months in working with the mechanical engineers to develop the PCB and prototypes. Our prototype has gone through final testing. We are ready for tooling and full production after successfully funded by Kickstarter!

Risks and challenges

Manufacturing: We've partnered with a MFi manufacturer with in Canada and China which has a proven track record with top consumer electronics and brands. We are confident that the partner can handle the production without encountering delays and quality issue.

Supply Chain: We have been closely working with the suppliers in the past few months in China and Taiwan and we already finalized all of the suppliers and components lead time during the prototypes’ development.

Now, we need your support to make the TechFreeR Head-Fi a reality!

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    2 backers

    Thank you for your support and stay updated: By pledging $5 CAD dollars we will add your name along with that of all other backers to our website as those who helped us kickstart the TechFreeR Head-Fi. We'll also keep you updated with our latest news.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $19 or more

    0 backers

    One aluminum bumper case, in your choice of black or silver. This bumper case will retail for over $29 CAD.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $109 or more

    17 backers Limited (83 left of 100)

    Help us get started with this early bird special #1: One TechFreeR Head-Fi (bumper case, battery pack, and headphone amplifier), in your choice of black or silver. This package will retail for over $229 CAD.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $129 or more

    9 backers Limited (91 left of 100)

    Help us get started with this early bird #2: One TechFreeR Head-Fi (bumper case, battery pack, and headphone amplifier), in your choice of black or silver + a short USB cable with a MFi Lightning adaptor. This package will retail for over $269 CAD.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $129 or more

    0 backers

    One TechFreeR Head-Fi (bumper case, battery pack, and headphone amplifier), in your choice of black or silver. This package will retail for over $229 CAD.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $149 or more

    3 backers Limited (197 left of 200)

    One TechFreeR Head-Fi (bumper case, battery pack, and headphone amplifier), in your choice of black or silver + a short USB cable with a MFi Lightning adaptor. This package will retail for over $269 CAD.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (40 days)