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Sennheiser audio blok development questions/comments

This topic contains 52 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by  Alessa Chalenger 5 years ago.

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Sennheiser audio blok development questions/comments

16/10/2014 at 21:53

Howdy Phoneblok folks!Lance here, just opening up a thread because Sennheiser has recently announced on the Phonebloks blog that we’ve begun hardware development of an audioblok using the communities response to our previous challenges (see here).We wanted to create this thread in case any community members wanted to ask us any questions, share any thoughts or discuss any ideas you might have about this news.  Your questions and feedback have been great so far, so please keep it coming!- LanceR

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16/10/2014 at 23:16
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What platform are you basing this off of? There is no Phonebloks base hardware specification, as far as I’m aware.

17/10/2014 at 23:54
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Good question 0x00a368!That’s true, there is no hardware specification with Phonebloks, just the (awesome) idea of a modular world.But that shouldn’t stop us from prototyping and getting our hands dirty!The picture above is actually what we’ll be using for initial development.Here, the board in the middle is the one with our DSPs and small micro-controller and takes I2S and I2C input and has a couple of buttons for control, output for display or a small touchscreen or trackpad, etc.- basically, hardware the community has expressed interest in.As you can see, it’s bigger and more full-featured than we’ll probably need in the end.The board all the way to the right would simulate our “endo” and some other “modules” that one can assume would exist already, like the applications processor, USB interface, WiFi/ethernet, bigger display etc and simulates the rest of the phone.We’ll use these boards (and the one to the left which actually just connects the two) to experiment with functionality, test things in the field, and really play around with the idea without having to worry about conforming to a specific interface standard, both in terms of electrical and mechanical specifications.Once standards do come out and settle down a bit, for example Google’s project ARA and their MDK 2.0 (which we’ve looked at to try and glean how such a system would be organized), we’ll just take what we have (and filtering out what didn’t work and adding what we decided we needed but didn’t have) and make another revision of the boards above with that standard’s specific interface circuitry in that standard’s form factor.Hope that answered your question, which was great by the way.+1 for you, which by my math makes you 0x00a369 :-)If not, let me know.Cheers,- LanceR

20/10/2014 at 07:56
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how about having a sennheiser home theatre system that can wirelessly dock speciffically to your phonebloks audio bloks? this way you can share media wirelessly with a big screen and great sound? or maybe just have it connect as blutooth or something?

20/10/2014 at 07:58
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i know that wasnt really about the audio blok but it would be amazing to be able to connect phonebloks to audio systems or home theatre systems without the hasle of plugs

21/10/2014 at 03:25
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Hey Brendan,The community definitely said that wireless connectivity is a desirable feature and who could argue? I hate cords myself.I assume by saying: brendan_kershaw wrote: how about having a sennheiser home theatre system that can wirelessly dock speciffically to your phonebloks audio bloks?] you mean that the audio blok could “pair” wirelessly (to borrow a term from Bluetooth parlance but not necessarily meaning Bluetooth) to your home system without having to take it off the phone? (Please, correct me if I’m wrong.)I agree this would be awesome! In fact, their are a number of ways this could be accomplished and it might not even need to be built into the sound module itself, i.e. other modules might be able to do it for us and take care of so much more, like these guys: http://blog.phonebloks.com/post/99308049453/a-look-inside-one-of-the-first-project-ara).But if there’s a super important benefit that you can think of in having wireless connectivity in the audio module itself in stead of relying on another wireless module (like WiFi, BT, etc.), please let us know!Thanks Brendan!- LanceR

21/10/2014 at 07:57
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yes, and another benefit would be that you could use it to increase wifi/bluetooth signals by having 2 points of inception, although another thing with my plan is you could add a wireless interface module speciffically for certain sennheiser products and have it connect with a higher quality signal than bluetooth. im not sure it is SUPER important but having it so you can pair with home systems to create a home where everything can be used together. imagine a home theatre system and a stereo that can both be paired to the same divice without the hastle of setting bluetooth wich i am aware that some people have trouble with, this is a clean setup that makes everything simple, who doesnt like simplicity and freedom all in one package?

21/10/2014 at 13:15
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there should be different sized blocks for sound. so if your a person that enjoys playing your music/ videos on a speaker to your friends, you would have the ability to do it with great clarity. there should also be different types of audio inputs for purchase. i’m not sure if its even possible but i can imagine a different type of audio input so that the sound gets transferred to your headphones much more accurately, in result, giving you amazing sound and clarification in your music/ videos. but like i said i don’t know if that possible, but if it is, let me know 🙂

21/10/2014 at 13:49
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mitch_rangrae wrote: there should be different sized blocks for sound. so if your a person that enjoys playing your music/ videos on a speaker to your friends, you would have the ability to do it with great clarity. there should also be different types of audio inputs for purchase. i’m not sure if its even possible but i can imagine a different type of audio input so that the sound gets transferred to your headphones much more accurately, in result, giving you amazing sound and clarification in your music/ videos. but like i said i don’t know if that possible, but if it is, let me know 🙂Yeah I agree, I know a bit about audio and its pissed me off when I’ve had the wrong headphone cable and I’ve tried to listen to music, All phones (that I’ve seen, this may not be true) have the standard headphone jack, there needs to be a block that it meant for the corner edge of the phone that has like, 3 different jacks on each side so no matter what headphones you have you can easily plug them into your phone 🙂

21/10/2014 at 13:57
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All phones (that I’ve seen, this may not be true) have the standard headphone jack, there needs to be a block that it meant for the corner edge of the phone that has like, 3 different jacks on each side so no matter what headphones you have you can easily plug them into your phone :)[/quote]yeah, that’s a great idea. that way people wouldn’t need to buy those shitty extensions so that it plugs into the normal inputs. and then people can listen to music with the freedom of having any type of headphone

21/10/2014 at 14:50
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the jack is different from company to company … every one have other size for every part of the jack

22/10/2014 at 04:26
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@brendan – I see what you mean.Having a wireless module whose sole responsibility is for higher quality audio would be cool, cuz let’s face it – Bluetooth’s quality is, well, meh, WiFi can be very latent and glitchy and NFC is well, near-field.In fact, Sennheiser did experiment with higher quality wireless in our devices back in the day in the MX W1 using Kleer technology.Unfortunately, it’s a proprietary standard and so it’s harder for the entire audio industry to be convinced to buy into [email protected], mitch and djposh – It is annoying when companies not only make their own connectors but then don’t really sell them to anyone else.Not only that, but sometimes they change around the pin configuration, bias voltages for microphones, connector SHAPE, blah blah blah.And then buying adapter to convert between all of them – It’s just too much!You basically hit on a deeper point – standards must be so great because there are so many of them!Maybe a good thing to ask is what headphones/devices do you love and when or with what devices have you had trouble connecting them in particular?Follow up question as well – given that, what specific connectors would you like to see on the phone?You mention three, but which ones?Keep ’em comin’!- Lance

22/10/2014 at 07:32
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3.5mm jacks are universal and open wire connectors like on stereos would be great

22/10/2014 at 21:45
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Yet they are not desirable to a lot of the consumers. I think Sennheiser should do what is favourable in the consumer’s eye…

23/10/2014 at 11:16
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i would seriously pay for open wire speaker sonnections on my phone, even if it is only on certain modules, the average consumer involves hobbiests, dont forget them because they are the people that will be happy to have that, its freedom

23/10/2014 at 11:19
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im always finding myself in a position where i have speakers with plugless wire and no way to test or use them, this way any speaker can be used as a phone speaker

23/10/2014 at 16:50
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i may be wrong, but a lot of speakers need a high wattage, and when a speaker tries to draw this from a small amp, i thought it would damage it. So I would be sceptical to use it on most of my speakers as they are 800w +

24/10/2014 at 07:49
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most home speakers are around 5-40 watts, and it is safe to plug them into a phone, and its possible to put a safety feature in where if any speakers try to draw too much power then it can override it to the normal speaker to protect the phone

29/10/2014 at 16:23
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I got a question, is there a loose wire protection for the cables? Eg: the wire that runs through between the jack and the cable.Most Headphones, Headsets and earphone that i use got loose cable due to it’s lack of durability. will there be a solution or future solution for this particular problem?i have included an example image that most likely everyone have this particular problem.

29/10/2014 at 19:35
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That’s kinda a neat idea – just have wire connection points on your phone.I mean, you could hook anything up to them for either input and/or output, mostly for hobbyist, but not even just hobbiest in audio.Like controlling a servo, making a DIY moisture meter, or really anything.It reminds me some of the ideas being kicked around the ARA forums about an arduino-esque breadboard module.But to go back to your use case, would taking a TRS plug that you already have, fanning those wires out, connecting those bare wires to whatever had pig tails (bare wires, as from a speaker, cut headphone chords, etc.) and then plug them into the existing jack on the phone work as a solution or is your point more for the convenience of it?Also, I’m a bit curious about the specifics of your use case because there might be something really interesting there – like what speakers you’re using, what you’re trying to do with them, etc.You are probably not the only one with this problem so I really want to understand the nature of it and how it comes to [email protected] – Yah, I always have that problem too.Really the problem is purely mechanical – you basically have a cantilever through which your wire runs.Really the only thing to do is make sure you beef it up with added support I guess.Or change the connector to one which is a little bit lower profile so you don’t get as much bending.But we would need an industry change for that to be viable.For the moment, TS/TRS/TRRS are what we got for certain applications.- LanceR

30/10/2014 at 04:57
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Are you guys going to develop a DAC/amp blok for the audiophiles..? As you may know there’s already a USB DAC out in the market. so perhaps a blok would be feasible.

30/10/2014 at 05:16
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ah okay thanks for the answer lancer 🙂

30/10/2014 at 09:41
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i repair and restore onl speakers, including pc speakers, home audio, and car audio, i always have to rig up devices to test these with, as im always losing these devices due to the sheer amount of tools i require in my hobby, i work on small speakers alot and even sometimes i mod or repair headphones and could use these built in bare wire adapters, i have recently given up on creating cheap testing setups that are too improcise to do high end work, another thing is with bare wire adapters you could definately use them for wide varieties of uses. i set up all my own audio systems and do custom jobs, designed an anti-platformed subwoofer sound system (where the bass sounds in tact with the music all the time, no matter what, unlike most subwoofer systems) i work with led’s pc fans and other small electronics, another thing is it is a hasle to test pc fans with a battery where as the phone would let me do it with ease with bare wire ports. most small electronics are low power and safe for the phone to test via this method. other devices are great to suit this method, and open wire input antennas could be used on phones, the possibilities are endless

30/10/2014 at 09:45
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ever had to throw away headphones cause a faulty 3.5? this way you could also simply remove the faulty part, tin the wires (positive and negative seperate) and plug them in, less waste, and the list goes on for these conectors

30/10/2014 at 10:18
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Can it be deemed confirmed there it will be possible to place the headphone jack to the top or the bottom? This is my biggest cause of problems with my current device (Samsung SGS2) and and a hurdle to buying a new device. I find none with suitable tech specs that _also_ have the audio jack at the bottom.PS: I’m close even to buying an iPod touch, because my main use-case is listening while keeping the device in my trouser pockets. I truly hope Phonebloks/Project Ara will enable this, as well as a variety of screen sizes.

30/10/2014 at 13:10
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Cathryne wrote: Can it be deemed confirmed there it will be possible to place the headphone jack to the top or the bottom? This is my biggest cause of problems with my current device (Samsung SGS2) and and a hurdle to buying a new device. I find none with suitable tech specs that _also_ have the audio jack at the bottom.PS: I’m close even to buying an iPod touch, because my main use-case is listening while keeping the device in my trouser pockets. I truly hope Phonebloks/Project Ara will enable this, as well as a variety of screen sizes. It’s a block sound. so technically, you can put it at the bottom. But i could not confirm the orientation of the block whenever we have to put it upright or we could put it horizontal or vertically.

31/10/2014 at 19:01
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Cathryne wrote: Can it be deemed confirmed there it will be possible to place the headphone jack to the top or the bottom? This is my biggest cause of problems with my current device (Samsung SGS2) and and a hurdle to buying a new device. I find none with suitable tech specs that _also_ have the audio jack at the bottom.PS: I’m close even to buying an iPod touch, because my main use-case is listening while keeping the device in my trouser pockets. I truly hope Phonebloks/Project Ara will enable this, as well as a variety of screen sizes. Have exactly the same problem. But the idea of removable books allows this.

01/11/2014 at 02:35
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@acheron – We’re definitely going for high quality for our reference design, but we may be limited by physics and current battery technology.Increasing the quality of the amp means you’re probably going to need more power and with cell phones that’s a bit of an issue because everyone wants long battery life.We’re thinking of getting the best amp we can into such a small package and hopefully adding some levels of power consumption vs. audio output quality tradeoff that the user can select, i.e. you can opt for worse quality output to extend your battery life when you’re on a phone call or consume more power but get higher quality output when your listening to music with your nice headphones.I think this should be possible, but we’re still trying to work out the [email protected]_kershaw: wow – you definitely have a cool use case that at least I haven’t thought about before.We’ll definitely keep that in mind as we move forward.I’m glad I asked and thanks for your [email protected] – Good question.We’re looking at the ARA spec pretty heavily because really it’s the only hardware spec that exist for a modular phone to date.And your question really hits the nail on the head – currently, the ARA spec has bars at the top and bottom, preventing us from putting a jack there :/There are a couple of non-ideal ways around it, like extending the jack higher than these bars, using right angle connectors for the phone plug and sticking them out the side but really it’s not an ideal situation at all.But I agree – we really want to put the jacks vertically for the exact use case you mention.- LanceR

01/11/2014 at 08:07
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what about a small battery in the audio module to help power the amp? so the main battery is giving power to it, but the smaller battery is aiding it and charges off the main battery, this way it minimises battery impact and charges with the main battery, and yet it wont run out of charge itself unless phone does

01/11/2014 at 11:15
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Great idea, but a battery that small would not hold enough charge to power the amp, it would all be used up in a matter of minutes…

03/11/2014 at 06:46
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brendan_kershaw wrote: what about a small battery in the audio module to help power the amp? so the main battery is giving power to it, but the smaller battery is aiding it and charges off the main battery, this way it minimizes battery impact and charges with the main battery, and yet it wont run out of charge itself unless phone does It could be “possibly” be used to regulate in-out power or be used to stabilized the electricity within the board. I mean, technically, the amp can use direct power from the battery/Out-Sourced power, while the small battery will be used to stabilize the electricity movement within the board to prevent overload. Works kinda like a capacitor in the power junction. So, in this way, we could slap in another or replace with a bigger battery or directly input another power source such as power banks. . This is just a thought..

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