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30 March 2012 05:33.
"I'm on my way back to Asia to work out some bugs of new prototypes I want to demonstrate at the Munich show. They offered us a free booth as part of their showcase for startups. Regarding stereOS and your aversion to WiFi, congratulations, you're my new mark. The 'brain' prototyping in May uses power line communications as well. You could turn off all wireless and use your PC as remote so a complete wired solution is possible. Now I just have to nail the sound. That's what I'm working on now." - Ben Webster
17 April 2012 09:20. "For the last two weeks I've been pounding the pavement in the rural Philippines. When driving a motorcycle around here, you learn a thing or two about yourself. The traffic is wild! I've been acting on a hunch that the Philippines would be a good place for us to set up some software operations. We already work here with an amazing group that has state-of-the-art R&D and manufacturing facilities for electronics. Six factories total make everything from car parts to hard drives. Some guys at Marvell Semiconductor introduced them to me. In Silicon Valley they have a rapid prototyping lab on Marvell's campus. My hunch was that all of the tech programs running in colleges and universities here combined with the local music culture would generate piles of software developers who would love to dig into a project that combined technology and music. Turns out my hunch was right. I cold-called a technical college with a computer science program in a rural part of the Philippines. As I walked in the door I was hit by a wall of dance music. The students had set up a huge party system in the lunch area complete with karaoke functionality. I found the dean of the computer science program and she was very open to forming a long-term relationship with us.
"She then gave me a list of local schools in the area that also have computer science programs, plus the name of an academic foundation whose raison d'être is creating world-class computer science educational programs for students in the Philippines. So five college cold calls later I ended up in front of the president of this foundation. She invited Mass Fidelity to come and do a presentation in late July to the deans of 80 schools. That would be about the software and hardware tools we're working with. If I can organize my team in time, that'd be brilliant. Either way we've opened a door to the community here. They're very interested in putting together a program that will give their students a more relevant computer science education. That opens their doors to gain employment with companies working on state-of-the-art hardware and software projects. The fact that Mass Fidelity is pursuing the future of consumer audio products was definitely a bonus. They recognized the value to the students from a cultural and psychological perspective. Learning can sound amazing.
"I think it's really important for us as a startup to explore new avenues. One of my pastimes in Asia is cold calling factories. I just roll in the front door unannounced and ask what they make. If there's any overlap in any area of my work, I check the place out and examine the quality of their work. I've met some very interesting folks that way. On my last full day in the Philippines I walked into a factory where they had crazy stuff going on like IC package substrates—Intel is one of their big clients—customized material development and on and on. I ended up drinking beer until the wee hours with a cadre of their Japanese engineers. Now I have a long day of apartment hunting in Shenzhen ahead of me.
"With the speakers we just shipped, feel free to take the grills off if you want to investigate the goodies. There are some kick-ass drivers not to mention crossover components. We have one resistor manufactured in Hong Kong. It's a double wire-wound non-inductive unit. It costs about a hundred times what most mass-market speaker guys would put in and about 10 times what I've seen in the majority of product positioned as hifi. It's worth it because it was the only part we tested which was virtually transparent in the application. The Model 1 speakers do love a lot of juice but feel free to experiment. I wanted to build something that was real-world awesome, not just specs-in-a-lab awesome. We really torture tested them. Feel free to do the same. Pretend you're that guy at a party who gets too drunk and cranks the tunes. If you do manage to break them let me know how. It'd be quite the accomplishment. - Ben Webster
With relevant background established on this exciting new company and its goals, listening impressions in due time...