Many of you know that I have one of the original Smyth Research Room Realisers (the A8) and I have offered my studio to many of the company’s customers for measurement. The device is able to convincingly recreate or virtualize the “sound” of any listening environment through a standard pair of headphones after you’ve had your ears measured in that space. Really. I’ve written about this amazing processor in the past and highly recommend it to audiophiles that might have a limited budget and live in a place where playing loud sound would be a problem. You can check out a couple of my articles by clicking here or here. There’s also a bunch of files on the FTP site that you can check out if you’re interested in what the Smyth Room Realiser can do.
Customers of the original realiser include audio enthusiasts, audio engineers, and professional post production facilities. Imagine being able to model a specific studio and then experience that fidelity and sound while sitting in a closet — or smaller less expensive space. The Smyth people created a killer product that does its job better than any other similar technology. But there were some shortcomings when it came to extended surround modeling (limited to 8 channels), digital inputs and outputs (it was limited to HDMI), and sample rate (limited to 48 kHz).
So what did the Smyth brothers do? They’ve re-imagined and seriously upgraded the idea of acoustic virtualization with the new A16. And they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the manufacturing of this exciting new edition of box. You can click here to visit the Kickstarter page. It may seem like all I’ve written about is crowd-sourced campaigns lately, but I simply had to let you know about the new Smyth hardware. I’ve been in touch with Mike Smyth over the past couple of months about the A16 and discussed it with Lorr Kramer, the company’s local man in charge of the realiser line. So I was very impressed when I visited their Kickstarter page, viewed their video, and read through the information presented on the page.
And I was very impressed that they’ve already been able to raise over $250,000 from 230 backers with a product that sell for near $1000! However, I’m not really surprised. The company has a dedicated customer base; great support from the headphone community, and demonstrated the new upgraded hardware at the recent Munich Audiofest. And talk about upgrades, there’s almost nothing left out of the new design.
For starters, the A16 supports new enhanced surround audio formats (Dolby Atmos, DTS: X, and Auro 3D), high-res audio specs (192 kHz/24-bits), 16 analog and 8 digital inputs, and extensive backend support for different rooms and alternative measurements through the company’s web portal.
The A16 is a professional product that is suitable for consumers at home and professional AND it costs less than a third the price of the original. If you haven’t heard the incredible realism of the Smyth Research technology, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Their system is miles ahead of anything I’ve heard from anyone else…and I’ve heard most of them.
There are two versions of the new A16 — one that looks like a headphone stand (because it is a headphone stand!) and a rack mounted version. Some may like the look of the headphone stand version but I can’t say I’m one of them. When I get one for the AIX Studio (which is featured in their pitch video as a prime location for personalized measurements), I’ll want the rack-mounted version.
If you want to experience “best-in-class” acoustic space virtualization through headphones, you should consider becoming a backer. If you’re just curious about what state-of-the-art, innovative thinking and design can do for audio, read the information on their page…it’s very informative.
And please don’t forget about the Sonic Blocks campaign that is running on Indiegogo. We’ve tweaked a few of the perks and images in the hopes of getting some more attention.