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Radically upgrade your sound and music experience with this 100dB HiFi Bluetooth speaker/portable audio monitor. 50 hours playtime!
1,083 backers pledged £84,768 to help bring this project to life.

Reviews & Other News

Posted by Frankenspiel Ltd. (Creator)
11 likes

Hello everyone,

We’d like to return to our previous comment in regards to future third party reviews.

We have always said it was our plan to have the FS-X tested & reviewed by as many reputable third party reviewers, bloggers and vloggers as possible. However, due to the extreme adverse reaction to the first one from Andrew Everard and in particular the level of abuse that he received from certain backers, reluctantly we feel we have no choice but to suspend any further external tests and reviews.

Note the use of the word suspend, they are not cancelled. Instead, we plan to postpone further reviews until we have straightened out certain issues, hopefully regained some of your trust, and as a result should be in a calmer, less volatile situation.

The fact is, we simply cannot afford to run the risk of ruining anymore relationships with key bloggers or vloggers. It’s important to not only receive support from our customers as a foundation for the future of our company but also to receive reinforcement from key voices in the industry such as Andrew.

Let’s be clear, this has nothing to do with us being averse to criticism. We welcome constructive criticism towards our products, even mild abuse if it’s something we can learn from. However, these are independent third parties trying to do their professional best, there is no justification for subjecting them to any abuse, certainly not on the scale seen with Andrew.

We are still eagerly awaiting feedback from three of the ‘First Look’ backers. One of which is awaiting delivery. We have Skyped and are organising Skype calls with some of these backers who have received their units to discuss their feedback in further detail.

So far, we have not been able to reproduce issues highlighted by the first two, ‘First Look’ backers.

But there is a brighter side to this. These problems being described are likely to be caused by design flaws or bugs in our software, rather than hardware issues. If so, this is a matter of rewriting lines of our code and updating the software. This means we will not have to go back to the drawing board or throw away and rebuild any components.

We feel we may have over-complicated our user interface. For example, the mute and power saving functions are too similar to power boost. This may have caused the FS-X to appear to cut out or play quieter than normal, rather than louder. We are now looking urgently at the user interface -the button operation- for ways to simplify it, and make it less prone to these issues with the intention to make the FS-X more robust and easier to use.

Another issue raised was the wireless range and playtime whilst dual mode is in operation.

Slightly more power will be used on the master (left channel) in dual mode, this is because it has to both transmit and receive. The price to be paid for this is in wireless range which will decrease from 10 m, to around 5 m between your device and the master FS-X. Admittedly, this was reduced further than we expected so we are also looking into ways to improve this. A smaller price to be paid is that playtime will also be slightly reduced.

As is the case with all Bluetooth devices, you may experience minor cut-outs if the left/right units and/or the device is out of range as the speakers will struggle to relay the Bluetooth signal (further than 10 m for single mode or 5 m for dual mode). This is a limitation imposed by Bluetooth technology and one we hope users will accept for the benefits of enhanced stereo operation.

So what now? Are we back to square one?

No, as we understand it, there are no issues with the operation of the FS-X in single mode.

Nevertheless, we agree with some backers who have suggested it would be foolhardy to ship before fully identifying and correcting remaining issues with dual mode. These are not issues that can be corrected after shipment, so we need to pause delivery until these open issues are corrected.

So, to clarify.

We are in the process of working with the ‘First Look’ backers to solve these issues as quickly as possible. We will ship only once we have achieved positive results and positive feedback from the ‘First Look’ backers.

This does not mean there will be considerable delays. Once we have achieved positive results, it will take approximately two weeks for your rewards to reach you.

For example, if we were to achieve positive results by our next update, Wednesday 22nd July, you will receive your rewards by the 5th August.

We will restart our timeline as soon as we have done this.

Your next update will be no later than a week from now, Wednesday 22nd July.

All the best,

The Frankenspiel Team

Chris Means, Rhynri, and 9 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      bsl100 on

      @ Creator.....

      Unlike your comments in the above Update, you DO have an issue with BOTH Single and Double Mode in wired connection. Also, in BT connection, there are issues of signal loss between the two stereo units in Dual Mode and also signal loss between the master unit and source device. Signal loss issues are there in Single Mode in BT connection too. And, The BT signal is okay ONLY line of sight with absolutely nothing between them.

      In addition, there are issues with vibration sounds from the micro-USB while playing on default setting. Forget about higher power settings.

      The master unit lasted 12 hrs on battery (mostly playing in Dual mode and BT connection and on default setting).

      I can only assume that these units were not fully completed and were definitely not production units. Heck, they are more pre-production units with issues which you didn't bother to sort out before you sent them to us. Anyone can read into this the way they want to.

      If you have sent these units to professional reviewers, they will eat you alive !!!! I really wonder what was sent to Andrew ???? If you have sent these guys production units, then I am flabbergasted (actually insulted) that you decided to send your BACKERS such in-completed units.

      My initial enthusiasm has waned, because to me it seems you have just sent out these units to buy more time. It cannot be possible that your team did not encounter these problems that the First Look backers have faced with the units. I can understand now why you want to suspend any more professional reviews.

      The only silver lining is that the sound quality is pretty good for some genres of music. Its nowhere near delivering the low end in Bass that you promised though, or the 100dB output. There are too many vibrations and distortion at higher power settings where you do get slightly lower Bass notes or higher output. It sounds best at around 80dB @ 0.5m.

    2. Missing avatar

      bsl100 on

      @ JHH MD........

      Looking forward to your report.

    3. John H. Halpern, M.D.
      Superbacker
      on

      kinda funny that someone ACTUALLY thought I literally meant that someone wrote "crybabies" and then proceeded to read through 1700 comments hunting for that! Nah, no one should read comments all at once like that...but if you do back something, it is legitimate to keep abreast of what is going on and up to date by reading everything as it gets posted in real time... over these many months, it now adds up to over 1700 comments.
      Then there are some who think backers are "abusive," "troll-like," or that backers should be "ashamed of themselves" - those sort of complaints are essentially calling some of us "crybabies" and it is in my GRANDF'nSTANDING opinion absurd. No one is looking for apologies from other backers, by the way, either so UGH! I have no problem apologizing, as well, if my point in this made some backers feel like I was encouraging them to keep their opinions to themselves.

      Meanwhile... I just picked up the test speakers. I am working on firing them up today and hope to report back more VERY soon!

    4. Missing avatar

      Tyler Freeman on

      I also fall in the camp of those not upset by the delays, but by the consistent lack of communication and lack of information in what communication did occur.

      This update is an exception. It provides a detailed explanation of the delay. It doesn't just promise a delivery date the project creators don't know they can achieve. It does provide information of what the deliver date could be if certain things happen.

      If the project creators had been providing updates like this all along, they wouldn't have the problem they have currently with their backer community. If they manage to mantain this level of communcation throughout the rest of this project, I might even consider backing another project from them.

      It sucks that there were 'abusive' comments left on the first 'review', but given the historic lack of communication and the amount of spin in that 'review' and prior communcation. I don't think that is unexpected reaction by people on the internet, especially given the state of the trust in the backer community.

      +1 for firmware that is updatable by the end user.
      +2 for making that firmware open source.

    5. ra66itz on

      This is actually worth to be called an update, and I guess that was the problem with a lot of complaining backers, that the communication was subpar because it either didn't exist or was generic and unsubstantial.

      Although I agree that there are a lot of people backing stuff who don't realize, that a total failure of a project is a realistic possible outcome of any project, and those who are not willing to take that risk shouldn't take part in crowdfunding!

      +1 for @Peter J's suggestion of making the device end user flashable. Just think about the situation where a problem occurs after delivery, that would be potentially fixable through a firmware update. What a hassle for everyone, if all units would have to be send in, just to flash the firmware.

    6. Missing avatar

      Kerry on

      @ John H. Halpern, M.D.
      I re-read the posts and could not locate any references to "critics being cry babies" on this thread (aside from yours, that is)?
      Neither did I see any disparaging remarks about individuals who provide tough, yet appropriate comments or feedback.
      Instead, when I read your contribution below it seems you share the position regarding the inappropriate behaviour/comments being expressed by some of our fellow backers, and that have necessitated another thread to be closed.
      Glad to hear you are going to give the pre-production speakers a jolly thorough testing. Looking forward to the outcome whatever it may be.
      As mentioned before, I personally prefer to receive a quality product that takes longer to produce (& welcome the independent testing); a product that remains relevant in the marketplace despite the delays than one that is rushed and consequently is a below par offering.

    7. Missing avatar

      bsl100 on

      @ Creator & Backers....

      The First Look units were delivered today at my residence. The Post Office has charged a small amount for the same. I have been out of town and will return only this evening and am looking forward to having a look at the units. Will report accordingly.

    8. Danny Dierickx on

      @creator : Please have a look at the possibility of allowing the backers to update the firmware themselves using a USB connection.
      - advantage 1 : you can already ship and we can use our FS-X as mono speakers, especially good for those who ordered only 1
      - advantage 2 : stereo can come in a firmware update and you have a larger croud of "testers" to help you find the bugs
      - advantage 3 : a possibility, let people change the FS-X settings over USB instead of double-triple-quadruple clicking a small 'mute' button. We won't be changing those settings that often, so if we can do it over USB (or over bluetooth using an app) , that solves the mute button issue

      Possible disadvantage : bricking the FS-X.
      Solution : build in a failsafe e.g. 'reset' the FS-X and it returns to the original software version with which it came.
      How ? E.g. press the mute button while connecting it to USB.

      I'm willing to help test new software. I have a career as software developer AND tester, i know very well how developers develop and so i have a knack for finding defects. (and i'm certified)

    9. Missing avatar

      Peter O. on

      "There are over 1700 comments...some of us have read every single one and have followed things from the get-go"

      If that's the case, then I'd say that you're wasting your own (self-important) time - get a life.

      It's a speaker, not a cure for cancer. There are about 30 competing products available at the local, big box emporium that you can pick up right now, if you have that critical of a need for a Bluetooth speaker.

      But then, that wouldn't satisfy your need to grandstand incessantly in the backer forum, would it? Apology is forthcoming, please continue to hold your breath while I compose it.

    10. John H. Halpern, M.D.
      Superbacker
      on

      @Rocco Leach and Kerry and Peter O. and Others. I think you guys who waste our time complaining about critics being crybabies are ALL 100% way off base and owe those "critics" of Frankenspiel an apology. Seriously. The Creators absolutely are deserving of tough comments because of a long, long pattern of shaping facts and periods of non-response/silence. I mean sure there are a bunch of backers with little experience in the KS platform and write frustrations about not getting what they "ordered" but that is not the central theme of criticism. For those of us who have been very closely watching this campaign all along, the vast majority of criticisms appear valid, warranted, and based on fact and not the emotions of a person who didn't get a product ordered. I find this sort of pushback childish. There are over 1700 comments now and some of us have read every single one and have followed things from the get-go. ANYONE who reviews the history here know that this campaign has had extensive problems with communication and with reporting what is going on especially.

      That being said, I think most of us recognize that the Creators have of late turned the corner and are doing a much better job of communication and it is definitely appreciated. There still are problems with the quality of communication, but this change has been reassuring and I thank the Creators for this important change in course.

      The blog by Andrew Everard is a joke, puff-piece. It most definitely is NOT a review and is nothing more than 1 person's opinions. I never got the chance to read any of the nasty comments that were left for him (they were removed) but I am sure they were left out of frustration by some who were looking forward to an actual review with ... data, actual testing... things like that. And he didn't deliver. it is a worthless report and no one can consider that a "review." It isn't. That being said, Geez! Really? It was a bunch of backers who slammed him? I hope not and I feel very sorry that happened.

      The big picture is that progress is real and we do seem closer than ever. I was away so I haven't been able to get my first look pair of speakers from the post office... but that will happen tomorrow. I have next week off for vacation and am arranging for some serious testing of the pre-production pair that were sent to me... there are lots of high fidelity nuts in Cambridge (aka...MIT people) and in the Boston area and I hope to get some data that will please BSL100 and others. Yes, I will live by the terms of the agreement for Frankenspiel of course... because even though I've been tough on them, I am still a backer. I still want them to succeed. And Frankenspiel did do the honorable thing here. They know I've been one of the more active posters and have been critical of them when I really didn't like what they were doing... but here they are still having sent one of those 5 pre-production pair of speakers to me. That says a lot of good about them, as well. I am more willing to believe them at this point and give them the benefit of the doubt because of their current efforts to finalize this project, continue regular and detailed communication, and their willingness to take it on the chin.

    11. Missing avatar

      Peter O. on

      Peter J,
      Kickstarter's own section on Trust (https://www.kickstarter.com/trust) says, "Kickstarter is not a store...Some projects will go wonderfully, and others will run into obstacles. Be prepared for a little bit of each."

      Further down, they say, "Some projects won't go as planned. Even with a creator's best efforts, a project may not work out the way everyone hopes. Kickstarter creators have a remarkable track record, but nothing's guaranteed. Keep this in mind when you back a project."

      People are either choosing to not bother reading this disclosure, or to ignore it.

    12. Peter J on

      I dont entirely agree with kickstarter being a place to take risks. A lot of the projects on here are pretty much completed with the lack of a sack of cash to finish it off. Ive been skirting KS most of today and there are projects I was interested in that have been in development for years. These products should not be stood alongside a kid at school who wants a 3d printer for his final year project (I backed but it was canceled for some reason).
      If you have an idea and some drawings on the back of a fag packet then, kickstarter backers might have a less than 50% chance of ever seeing the product. Things that have multiple prototypes and been tweaked for years... you should be pretty certain of a quick turn around and a very good chance of getting what you "paid for". Backing a project and paying for a product - Kickstarter should redefine itself to stop people getting into situations they would rather not be in. With more definition about what kind of project you are getting in to, the more understanding you have about the financial risk you are taking.

      ...and they all lived happily ever after.
      The end.

    13. Missing avatar

      Peter O. on

      @Rocco Leach
      Acting like an adult will get you nowhere in life (at least, nowhere with this rabble.)

    14. Missing avatar

      Kerry on

      @ Rocco Leach
      I wholeheartedly agree. Cannot understand the abusive, troll-like behaviour being exhibited. Kickstarter is about taking risks - you may win, you may lose. Each person is responsible for determining their own risk tolerance. Many it seem have learned through this project that they have a very low, to no threshold for the "unknown, unknowns" that inevitably occur in life.
      I'm disappointed the speakers are late as they were (and still are) intended as a gift; however, I prefer to receive a quality product that takes longer to produce and that is still relevant (which it seems to be) than a below par offering that was rushed off the shelf in a false bid to please the haters.

    15. Lewis Purvis on

      I think we understand why you removed the ability to comment, the problem that we have is what you appear to have called a review, was not actually a review at all. Give us a review and the abuse may not have occurred. I thought that you might acknowledge your playing fast and loose with the term, but instead it seems you have maintained that what you posted was an actual review?...

    16. Raimis Juodvalkis on

      Frankenspiel team: Please return my money. Otherwise I will take legal action against you for fraud.

    17. Miguel Van de Casteele on

      Hi,

      Could it be possible to start shipping sooner for those who only ordered one FS-X?

    18. Raimis Juodvalkis on

      This is classic scam: Two projects I backed - kiss my money goodbye! We will get another post that deliveries will be end of next August (two years late) And so on, till you forget about your speaker and buy one in Walmart.

    19. Niek Batstra
      Superbacker
      on

      @ Rocco: I fully agree!

    20. Missing avatar

      ananias on

      This is again outrageous! I want my money back. There has been nothing but delay delay delay!

    21. Rocco Leach on

      I've backed over 100 projects and have had many disappointing ones, but this crowd should be ashamed. Get off kickstarter if you're not about risk. That's what Amazon is for, buying products. Be happy you get updates and they are all productive updates. The same idiots complaining would be the first to bitch if you got a product that wasn't complete. I honk it's proper to assume you're not experienced in the production and speaker/amp business, or you'd make your own stuff. And it's a shame you must attack an independent reviewer for their opinion article.

    22. Peter J on

      Just want to rephrase my last comment...
      Can the software or firmware be changed so that it CAN be updated by the end user? Any issues found after shipping when it hits "real world tests" can them be addressed.
      Firmware updates are everywhere for all sorts of devices. Surely its not a big issue to add this feature?

    23. Jack on

      Another year, another update and another summer of trips missing my speakers. Good stuff.

    24. Missing avatar

      Alexandra Bertomeu-Gilles on

      We are now a year after the planned delivery and it's interesting to take a look at the risk assessment from your campaign which was low to very low... Seems like the project has been going backwards ever since

      "Hardware:
      What remains to do is some work on the minor plastic sub assemblies.
      We have submitted pre-production units for audio tests, they have been extremely successful.

      Risk assessment: very low.

      Wireless Link:
      We have submitted mono Bluetooth units for independent tests.
      They have been successful.

      Risk assessment: very low.

      Battery:
      The pre-production units with 2800mAh Li-iOn battery have been submitted for independent tests, they have been extremely successful. Currently we're still testing the 3400mAh Li-iOn battery which we plan to use provided we meet our goal.

      Risk assessment: very low.

      User Interface:
      The main work remaining consists of revisions to the User Interface software for the single button controls, the button LED sequence and the automatic operation of the 3.5mm line-in.

      The pre-production units submitted for independent tests were fitted with an earlier version of the User Interface, this works, but is not optimised. For example, when all systems are working well (Bluetooth paired, battery charged etc) the LED burns red, which is clearly counter-intuitive. LED colors are the same but will be used in a different, more intuitive, sequence. So, instead of burning red, the LED will burn blue.

      Risk assessment: low.

      Final Production Timing:
      The main determinant of the time to delivery is procuring parts and components. If we can pre-sell at least 1000 units our production partner can commence production.

      Risk assessment: low to very low.

      Delivery Time:
      We have included one month for procurement of components in our calculations. During this time, the remaining software work and certification would be carried out in parallel.

      This is the basis for the 3 months to shipping (from reaching the project goal).

      Risk assessment: very low."

    25. Peter J on

      Is the soft/firmware updatable by the end users?
      Even without having had one of the first look pieces in my hand; that it to be explained in great detail on one post how to change some of the settings etc showed it had indeed been over-complicated.
      Why have designers done away with buttons? More buttons, less complication...

      ps - Just wondering if someone could define "mild abuse"? :)

    26. Missing avatar

      Richard Sutton on

      Oh well,
      Just when I thought we might be about to get something it looks like we're on for another 12 months of delays, lies, and weak excuses.

    27. JB on

      Its a sad situation. Wonder how long it takes for you guys to iron all these flaws out. Im affraid it'll take a while (again)...

    28. Chris Mottes on

      Since I will be on holiday until the 5th August, an issue I had not foreseen with the original timeline, is there any way to ensure the speakers are not sent to me before that?

      Apart from that, I agree, don't ship till you are happy - or we will not be happy ;)