Greetings audio pioneers.
Today we’re excited to announce we’ve hit a major milestone — the shipment of the initial Kickstarter units. All of the Developer/Innovator backers ($999 tier) will be receiving their Developer Units soon, if they haven’t already. The feedback from this backer tier will be crucial to improving the final production product over the next few months.
At OSSIC, our goal is to deliver revolutionary, groundbreaking 3D audio. This means that we have a high bar for performance and quality that we have held ourselves to, and that you deserve. Where technology doesn’t exist, we create it. Where business barriers exist, we knock them down. We are singularly focused, and we appreciate your continued support and patience throughout this process.
Additionally, we believe that as a supporter your feedback is critical to making the OSSIC X. That’s why the success of Kickstarter campaign not only proved to us there was a community ready for 3D audio, but it also taught us a tremendous amount about what you wanted in a product and we’ve been working to make many of those things happen — some of which has never been implemented on a headphone before.
What have we been working on?
To meet the expectations of the OSSIC X campaign we’ve gone through 5 official factory builds, refined the design and manufacturing process, and sought out the best suppliers in the time since the campaign. While this has taken slightly longer than expected, it has yielded amazing results:
Premium component implementation:
The OSSIC X is a custom product built with premium aluminum materials that require precision manufacturing to maintain tight tolerances. The number of drivers, microphones, and sensors is now 8x more than a traditional headphone, requiring multi-layered circuit boards more in-line with cell-phone production than audio products, and additional custom internal cabling to manage the sensor communication. Our initial head-tracker component was upgraded mid-development to further reduce latency. These improvements have increased the headphone cost, raising MSRP value from $399 during the campaign, to $499 today — giving early supporters a much larger discount for a much better product.
Mobile Multi-Channel Support:
Mobile support necessitated a fundamental architecture change for the OSSIC X, requiring some additional development time, but ultimately making it a better product. Since the Kickstarter we have been working to implement the necessary elements to unlock highly-accurate multi-channel 5.1 or 7.1 audio on headphones for any compatible device, anywhere, so that you can experience amazing 5.1 or 7.1 surround from streaming a Netflix movie, your favorite track on iTunes, or from the latest game from any laptop, phone, or mobile device. We expect this feature to be fully completed by mass production.
Upgradeable Firmware and Improved Processing:
The audio processor inside the OSSIC X is a 32-core behemoth never before used in a headphone, effectively turning the OSSIC X into a computer on your ears that’s ready for more. With this processing ability we can provide in-field firmware upgrades to continually improve the product experience while also taking advantage of future technology trends and connectivity opportunities.
Growing the 3D audio community:
We’re committed to fostering the growth of the immersive audio ecosystem as a whole. Since the campaign we have performed over 4,000 one-on-one demos to solicit early feedback on performance while developing relationships with some incredible partners.
We may be crazy to take on such a large project and we admit there have been challenges along the way, but the future isn’t easy to build. That is why we are so proud to have had your support and finally be able to ship the first units into the world.
What is yet to come?
With our technology foundation built and the initial OSSIC X units shipped, we’ve made significant progress towards our goals, and with your continued support we’re positive we can rise to meet them. Below are our key initiatives for 2018:
Developer Feedback Phase:
The headphones that shipped to the Innovator/Developer tier of backers will be used to test performance across different systems. At launch, the OSSIC X will support Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS in addition to standalone analog mode. With such a wide range of computing platforms and connectivity, we need to understand how our algorithms perform across systems and media. Additionally, because 3D audio and head tracking is a new experience, we want to understand how people respond to the experience and user interface. The insights and nuggets of feedback we receive over the next few months may challenge our existing ideas, but will make for a better product experience for everyone. The good news is that the headphone is field-upgradeable, so we can test different features and algorithms tweaks in the run-up to mass production.
Final Unit Shipment:
We are laser-focused on delivering the best product possible this year. Following the developer phase and feedback implementation, mass production for the remaining units is currently targeted for late Spring 2018, with shipments continuing throughout the summer depending on your order date.
While the development has taken a bit longer than expected, we haven’t stopped pushing forward toward our goal — delivering a revolutionary, groundbreaking 3D audio product to your hands. We’re as excited as you are for the OSSIC X to truly change the way we hear sound — and we are grateful for your support throughout this journey.