Author Topic: "What are we going to do today, Brain?"  (Read 171 times)

Offline AR-T

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"What are we going to do today, Brain?"
« on: March 23, 2020, 03:20:52 PM »
"Same thing as always.............try to take over the world!"

Well, we gave up on that idea, decades ago.

Going forward......................a good question.

Looks like the global economy is fixin' to go into the tank. Which is not good, in a lot of ways.

If folks do not have a lot of extra money to spend, it will hurt industries like ours very hard. The industry is a mess anyway, as every time that you turn around, there is a new fad everyone has to follow. We, of course, do not follow fads, and that is not going to change. We build products with a limited appeal, but we were not in the manufacturing end of the industry, when we started this place.

We did most of our work providing testing and other services, to other companies that do that sort of work.

And that is what worries me the most.

A lot of the companies that we do work for are not in good shape, and have not been, for a while. And when things are bad, what is one of the first things they cut?

Sending work to someone else. Never mind they cannot do those things in-house. They just make the decision to do without. So, if they survive (and my bet is most will not), we will be forced to look at going back to making more stuff that no one wants! (Hey, we've been down this road before.........................!)

So, what do we build next?

I want, very badly, to make an affordable phono preamp. The problem is making one that sounds good and making it affordable is tough. Even cheap transformers and cheap filter caps are not all that cheap. If all we do is take some cheap parts, 3-terminal regs, and some op-amps, throw them in a box..................well, why buy ours?

So, the reality is we would rather build "sounds really good", and worry about how much it costs later. Which means the phono preamp, if I ever get around to finishing it, will probably have to costs around $1k. Not our idea of affordable, but there seem to be a fair number of competitors, at that price point, so it is not like we will be in uncharted waters.

As to the "digital" stuff..................

Back when we were making money at this, some folks wanted "custom" Legatos, that supplied an I2S output. Well, since I hate DIYers, that was not going to happen. As if that was not bad enough, every one of them wanted it to be done a certain special way. How do you make money doing it that way?

Well, years later.......................there now seems to be a consensus on what the pin-out should look like. Ok, we can do that. We would get rid of the I2S-SPDIF chip, and the SPDIF XFMR, so that would save money. Put some LVDS driver chips in their place, and we have a new product! (The irony is all of the folks who wanted one over 10 years ago are not going to buy one now!)

But, let's forget about them.

How exactly would the new one work?

Well, I had an idea..................we could use a CAT 5 (or 6) cable, for the output, or....................maybe HDMI. What do you guys think?

And, one wrinkle.....................

Make a provision for the Legato "Lite" (yes, it will go in the Lite enclosure) to supply the clock, or..................

Make an option where the DAC supplies the clock..............

Here is why:

To make a really good clock, it is going to take up space, and need some other tricks that will NEVER fit into the Lite enclosure. And since any DAC that we might make is going to be expensive, well if you are willing to put up the money it will take to buy one of those, you will expect it to look like it is worth the money. In which case, the clock better be in the DAC.

So, big box..................big price tag.................fancy schmancy clock..............yeah, we may be able to sell one. Or two!

So, if it that is the case, it would seem to make more sense to use HDMI than CAT 5 (or 6).

But, you guys tell us.

Or, maybe just make one version, with no special remote clock option, and use CAT 5 for it. And one fancy version, where the clock is remote, and it uses HDMI.

Or neither!

You tell us.

As long as it is not "Will this support DSD? Or 384 kHz?"

Gee, do you really need to ask? (Insert smiley face thing here, if it makes you feel better!)

Just remember:

Charlie don't surf.
Nick Saban doesn't tweet.
And I don't text!

So, don't even ask about any of those dumb hi-res things, ok?