Project 1040 - How community feedback has influenced the development so far
Find out how your feedback changed the development of the ultimate microphone system, how the beta tests went, what changes were made, and how it all started.
What happened so far
We introduced Project 1040 to the global community at NAMM 2020.
We packed our suitcases with four 3D printed prototypes. To our own but not the airport personnel's amusement they looked some kind of bomb in the airport scanners. Spoiler: We successfully convinced them of their true purpose.
Technically, these prototypes were already second-generation ones. The very early prototypes had already been revised based on feedback from our close community and the profoundly insightful sound preference survey (over 2,500 people took part).
Once the NAMM-show was over, and our ears had stopped ringing from the bottomless pit of pain that ensues from having a booth located directly between the drum and wind instrument sections... we took the opportunity to visit several studios in the Los Angeles area.
Highly acclaimed recording engineers put our prototypes to the test in real-life studio settings and we were able to collect even more valuable input. At the same time, we opened Project 1040 to the whole community for beta testing.
What the open beta tests were about
Everyone had the chance to participate in Project 1040, as we believe that a vast array of takes and opinions on sound and functionalities ensures the best possible version of the ultimate microphone system.
We split the “beta-testing” part into two main parts - digital and hardware testing.
So what was the digital part? It consisted of download packages with recordings and follow up surveys.
Your input on these recordings helped us to improve the sound characteristics, by answering questions like: Is the distinction between the tube characteristics big enough? Or: Does the name “Dark” reflect your listening experience?
With your help, we could efficiently verify if we were on the right track and where we needed to improve.
The other part was the physical beta testing of the actual hardware. Since we received an overwhelming number of sign-ups, it was really hard to decide who would receive a prototype for field testing.
Unfortunately, a certain virus decided to spread around the globe and that definitely did not make things easier for us. But, as the clouds are now clearing, we are back up and running again. In the meantime, we have been working hard on building our next generation of prototypes.
And soon we will send them out into the field!
Here are some graphs from the beta tester survey.
Here's your impact on Project 1040 so far
- We changed the tube! We started with a 12AX7 - moved over to a 12AY7 and have now finally settled on the E88CC (also called 6DJ8) which not only has a more pleasant overtone structure and overall sound characteristics, it also has more headroom - allowing for a significantly higher max SPL.
- We refined the tube characteristics and also changed their order.
- Low-cuts changed from 40 / 80 / 160 Hz. To 40 / 80 / 120 Hz.
- Attenuation settings changed from -6 / -12 / -18 dB to -6 / -12 / -24 dB.
- We changed two connectors between the MIC and PSU from Neutrik minicon to Hirose HR10, which provide better haptics.
- We adapted the layout to allow for an easier recall of all the settings on the remote.
What happens next for Project 1040
Since the tube characteristic SATURATED was not consistently delivering great results by being too source-dependent, we decided to scrap it and develop something new from the ground up. And we came up with a brilliant idea to add more tube goodness!
After implementing all of the previous feedback, we're confident that our 5th-Gen prototypes are a huge improvement, but we will send out one last batch just to make sure that it's the perfect recording tool.
This will be the final round before making the very last adjustments.
We want to thank all the people that have been involved so far. You all helped us tremendously and allowed us to achieve something that exceeds everyone's expectations.