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RMAF 2016: Periodic Audio, Channel Island Audio, Seajay Limited

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#2
Thank you for the mention! We're a new company - but not new to the industry. You've undoubtedly heard our work wearing the brand names of other companies.. Periodic Audio is our take on what a very good sounding, affordable IEM could be, our passion about what is possible when you step back and do an IEM from a clean sheet with quality sound and construction at an affordable price is the goal.

Dan Wiggins
Acoustics
Periodic Audio
 
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Thread Starter #3
Hi Dan. Welcome to the forum. I appreciated the approach you took in having that suite rather than being in the tent. Felt personal and pampered. :)
 
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#4
Thank you! I like comfort, too - and we wanted to be able to have more than 1 or 2 people listen at a time. Our setup (with great Channel Islands Audio amps and DACs) supported 6 listeners simultaneously - and we filled up completely many, many times. And no worries about what the weather would be like, too!

Dan
 
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Thread Starter #5
So you know, it is the only headphone I tried on!

Dan, can you give us some insight into headphone business? It has become such a crowded space.
 
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Well, after the Beats explosion (I did some consulting for a big name at that time), nearly every factory in China became "a headphone factory". And suddenly you had dozens, then hundreds, then thousands of brands popping up, selling off-the-shelf product from China.

The big German brands - Sennheiser and AKG - kept plugging along. Bose kept going with ANC specific units. And everyone else tried to focus on consumer products. Everyone wanted to be the next Beats (and truthfully, no one will be. Beats was a unique combination of the re-emergence of the sports-star/music-star glamour with the ubiquity of portable music players/phones to carry decent amounts of music. It was a generational shift in consumer behavior and Beats captured the essence of the behavior).

Now, it's all about marketing - how do you pitch what you have, how to do you tweak an off-the-shelf design. No slam, but a lot of the current darling of high-end over-the-ear headphones started by taking off-the-shelf Foster units and changing out earpads, or headbands, or maybe rear cups. Some move up to doing more - like walking the sample rooms at Foster (which are impressive, especially the Panyu, Guangzhou, China facility to which I've been way too many times), choose a stock transducer, and go for a new industrial design.

And as more and more 2nd and 3rd tier companies are making product in China, they will cover your costs on mechanical design, they will do prototypes for you for free, and lower MOQs to hundreds. So suddenly if you fancy yourself a "headphone designer", you can get into the business for $10,000 and some effort and have a stock of units. And probably - like 99% of those in the market - end up selling dozens a year (or less). So you get a proliferation of brands big (remember SOL Republic?) and small (look at dozens that come and go from one show to the next).

It's really a super-low barrier-to-entry to the market, but to build staying power, to actually succeed long-term, takes more than just a slick marketing gimmick and cheap product (and trust me - you can get off-the-shelf product for really cheap - like planar magnetic headphones for under $40/pr, decent 40mm diameter over-the-ear units for under $20, and OK sounding IEMs for under $5/pair). It's why you can find $4.99 earbuds at your local 7-11 store, and also see $50,000 new units. Heck, even big universities are getting into it, like the Warwick Audio 'stats that many are starting to roll (essentially rebranding an off-the-shelf design from a design team from the University of Warwick) for $5,000 a set. Change the cosmetics, give it a unique name - and presto, you're a headphone/IEM brand!

But as all things acoustical, the biggest effects are in the transducers. You can tweak earpads and headbands and rear cups, but you get relatively small changes in performance. Doing a unique driver - something fresh from the ground up - is where big gains are made. Rolling your own transducer takes real engineering chops, some advanced modeling, and lots of sweat. Not many people do this - really, it's AKG (Harman), Sennheiser, Bose (a little), Foster (who designs/builds for LOTS of big names), and then a handful of independent designers/engineers (such as myself). Many of those smaller Chinese factories will "design" their own transducers, but it's usually just taking a well-reviewed product, taking it apart, and cloning the insides as best they can.

I've spent a few decades designing transducers for nearly everyone in the business (I can guarantee my work has been heard, at this time, by everyone in the world - either directly with products like SONOS and Beats and Final, or indirectly via pro work like KRK and Mackie and Event or consumer products by Dell, HP, Apple, or generics from Flextronics and others) and worked with my Periodic partners to do something special. TO do what we have done for dozens of other companies in the past. We wanted to step forward and see if we could do what our clients have done.

Rolling a product from the ground up means more time and effort and more cash, but the results are better. So we started with a clean sheet and went full-focus on the product. Three products, the best we can realize as a platform, and just do sonic changes with the materials chosen. Nothing else. It took us 4 months to realize, but after the time and effort and tooling (which we did not have to remake/redo - we got it right the first time), we came out with something we believe is unique, in terms of performance, price, and positioning. We didn't do the "in thing" which is handfuls of balanced armatures jammed together in a too-small housing, with too-complicated networks. We did what we thought was right - and I think it's going to pay off. The results at least seem to be drawing lots of attraction!

Dan
 

RayDunzl

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#7
<----- HD650

Replaced a horrible pair of Sony that just sat on the shelf until they rotted (like since 1992).

Somebody else reviewed them much better than I ever could:

Sony MDR CD-750 Digital Reference Headphones



Palmer (USA)
7 years ago
Purchase year : 1991 Price paid : 100 USD (used)
I am 44 years old, and have been a professional, working musician since I was in my mid-teens. I purchased these headphones after getting a recommendation from a fellow musician (whose taste obviously varies from my own). These are the worst sounding headphones I have ever used, for any purpose, from a "boombox" accessory to studio sessions. They are bulky, uncomfortable, and have little to no highs OR lows. They get mid-range ONLY, and even that is "tinny." I recently gave the exact headphones to another lifelong, professional musician friend of mine (he's 55) to see if he wanted them, and he was not impressed either. We then passed them around the room, and after allowing a band AND sound engineers try them out, in search of someone who might want them, these phones went into the trash, which is where they belonged from the beginning.
S. Palmer
Nashville TN
 
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I've had a pair of HD580s since they first came out. Overall, a VERY balanced headphone. I really like them! Sennheiser does a LOT of GREAT product...
 

RayDunzl

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#9
My HD-650 are (to my feeble ear) all but indistiguishable from my speakers (at least tonally). Open back, slip them on and off while the speakers are playing softly, no disconnect between the two.

I bought them without listening to any at all, just on reputation.

PS: Nice "insight" write-up above.
 
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Thread Starter #10
Dan, that write-up went way beyond my expectation! Thank you so much. That's wonderful insight. Do you mind if I "promote" it as an article in the home page?

I also like to buy a pair of the headphones. Do you sell direct and if so, what is the link?

I had no idea you had such a deep connection to the industry. Would love to hear more from you :). One of the key areas of interest is the correlation of frequency response with listener preference. Would you be interested in saying a few words about this without giving away your secret sauce?
 
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Thread Starter #11
I too had a Sennheiser HD-580 which I later gave to my son. During 1990s that was one of a handful of highly praised headphones in pro industry.
 

tomelex

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#12
HD-650 and HD-380 pro user here, and quite happy, the 580 and 650 just got the FR right so that most all music sounds good to me through these cans and the 380 provides more balance for more critical listening vs listening for pleasure.
 

Sal1950

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#13
HD-650's here also, a wonderful headphone.
Following the HD-650 impressions thread at HeadFi it's amazing how many people over, and over, and over report "upgrading" to many much more expensive cans from both Senn and others, only to post they have gotten rid of the newer phones and repurchased a new set of 650's. Ten years , 2,400 pages and 36,ooo posts later and that thread just keeps going on and on. LOL
Maybe it's a euphonic bend but there's just something about the HD-650
 

tomelex

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HD-650's here also, a wonderful headphone.
Following the HD-650 impressions thread at HeadFi it's amazing how many people over, and over, and over report "upgrading" to many much more expensive cans from both Senn and others, only to post they have gotten rid of the newer phones and repurchased a new set of 650's. Ten years , 2,400 pages and 36,ooo posts later and that thread just keeps going on and on. LOL
Maybe it's a euphonic bend but there's just something about the HD-650
That's interesting never knew of that thread...thanks
Yep, I too have tried and resold others, lucky for me I always kept mine back. Once in a while a product manages to get most everything right...including value for money....like the kitchen aid mixer classic, unchanged since the 50's, a cheeseburger, and a newer classic ben and jerrys cherry Garcia real ice cream, hahaha
 

Chromatischism

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#15
Searched for Periodic Audio to see if it's gotten any coverage in the forum, and found this. Surprised that there hasn't been more talk.

I use the Mg's and like them quite a bit. They do need some EQ in my experience at 2-4 kHz. The bass is really good. I don't have experience with any others.
 
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Thread Starter #16
I met Dan and Crew at Canjam last year. He is super knowledgeable and does everything by the book (measurements). I thought I wrote up about them but I can't find it.
 

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