Hi backers, Sylvain (our CTO), is responsible for the technical development at Phazon. He has a message for you: Here’s the transcript: Hi backers, I’m Sylvain, I’ve been responsible for the technical development of Phazon since the beginning of the project. In the last update, we were hoping to get many pairs from our manufacturing partner in China. They messed up the first batch and we provided actionable feedback for the next one. I was confident they would resolve the issue. Turns out the new PCBs received are barely usable from this batch. That was quite a surprise to me. It’s inserting the electronic components on top of the PCB that is problematic, what we call the “assembly”, The same issue keeps reappearing even if we pointed them out earlier. I’m very confident that being physically present I would have quickly solved the issue. If only we could get to China. We can easily...Read More >
Dear backers, In this update, you’ll find the following: – Summary of the past weeks – What’s next – Chip shortage (resolved) – Applying for the early shipping SUMMARY OF THE PAST WEEKS After a number of video calls with our PCB manufacturer, we finally found what happened with the boards that were not functioning. 2 problems were identified: Their freaking supplier had incorrectly positioned our Bluetooth chip, on the right side only, by around 0.5mm, which makes all the difference. Then, they tried to fix it but they overheated the PCB, resulting in a wavy surface. Flexible PCBs are more sensitive to heat compared to hard PCBs. I won’t blame anyone here for being angry about the situation :/ This long-distance manufacturing is far from ideal. On the upside, they really acted professionally trying to fix this issue, put in a lot of man-hours. They refunded us the shipping cost and spent a lot of hours figuring out what happened. They are doing a new...Read More >
Hey guys, Been a while since the last update. I delayed this update because I wanted to provide more value. I think you’ll prefer this instead of keeping consistent updates with more or less value in them. While I’d love to provide this update with exciting positive news and deep value… well, we’re not there yet. Our historically reliable PCB supplier committed to provide us the assembled PCBs before the Chinese New Year. A few days before the deadline, they choked and rescheduled for a 3 weeks delay 😤 Assembled PCBs = PCBs with the electronic chips soldered on They were doing the nicest job making the PCBs out of everyone we tried. They said they could also assemble our PCBs, so we naturally tried them. They shipped the assembled PCBs and almost all of them were defective. We have 2 chips with tiny touchpoints underneath (called BGA), on the Bluetooth chip and touch...Read More >
Dear backers, The molds’ revision is now completed. We will receive the plastic parts next week to evaluate them. While the molds were being reworked, we assembled new pairs of prototypes. We initially had some struggles to make them work, for 2 reasons: The antenna circuit needed a new tuning since the earbuds’ shells are now made from plastic, versus the resin shells we had when prototyping. We reached the limit of the manual assembly. Sylvain is pretty good at working with components smaller than a grain of salt but sometimes he fails to get good soldering which makes the electronics not working properly. Let me get this straight, the earbuds are now working extremely well. To minimize potential problems during the pre-production standard manufacturing process and because of the pandemic still raging, we will start the pre-production – at home. We have ordered 50 sets of earbuds and chargers PCBs, manufactured & assembled,...Read More >
Hey backers, We finally received the 1st plastic (polycarbonate) shots of the molds. While it’s pretty good for 1st shots, some modifications are needed and required to make the earbuds sound & waterproof. We sent them detailed comments on the corrections needed. Some of our comments sent to our manufacturer The plastic (polycarbonate) parts we received While waiting for the 1st shots shells, we played a lot with the capacitive touch controls. It proved to be quite messy early on. Our sensor is quite smaller than the competition which makes it tricky to do its job right. Sylvain finally found a workaround and it’s working really well, so we’re sticking with the touch controls (vs our prior magnetic sensor). Touch buttons working right Also had an issue with the battery operating when it was on super low power. This is currently being addressed and shall be resolved pretty quickly Lastly, some tuning adjustment will be...Read More >
Hello backers, Quick update this time. In the last 4 weeks, our mold manufacturer has already provided the 1st shots of the mold, which is awesome. (see pictures at the bottom) In the meantime, Sylvain enhanced the connectivity for the earbuds. Therefore, the spotty connectivity that a few beta testers pointed out should be resolved. We don’t see any more tuning required in the future. At this point, the hardware and firmware of the earbuds are pretty much completed. A last checkup is required for the charging case electronics, making sure there is no surprise in the production. The last thing to correctly assessed is the capacitive touch sensor. In the past, we used an infrared sensor. It worked great inside but when going outside, slivers of the sun’s red light would interfere with the sensor. We did successfully test the touch sensor using a small PCB, with all the related components. We actually showed you...Read More >
Hi backers, Things are starting to move forward in a significant way. We officially requested the mold adjustments 2 weeks ago with our Chinese manufacturing partner. After the failed charging case enlargement we showed you in the last update, they sent a new prototype which is now pretty accurate & finely working. The only thing missing was the logo on the front of the charger. We won’t wait another 2-3 weeks just for that. So I called the shot to make the molds corrections right on. We’ll get the final files for the mold so we’ll double-check anyway. China had a full holiday week and they’re recently working on it. Besides that, we sent a new batch of pre-production prototypes to designated backers. Their response was quite positive in terms of sound quality and fit. They pointed out known issues such as spotty connectivity at times, battery management and pairing process. Those issues are...Read More >
Hi backers, If we had one sentence to say about this update is: we can’t wait for the borders to reopen. I almost called the shot to start the mold modifications last month. The last mechanical prototypes we received were near perfect, it only needed tighter tolerances. We told them exactly what to correct. They sent the 3D files back for validation and it seemed good. We hesitated to tell them to start right away the mold modifications instead of waiting for the 3D printed prototypes. A week or 2 is easily lost getting & testing the prototypes. Skipping this delay was quite tempting. However, the risk of modifying the mold without the final prototypes seemed too high, so the safe solution prevailed. They sent us the 3D prints. We received them and… … It was bad :/ They did not test them to see the fitting. The charger could not even close when the earbuds are in. That...Read More >
Hey backers, The main topic of this update is the pre-production prototype feedback. There is also a bunch of points you might be interested in: Activating Deep sleep Mic adjustments Switching touch controls Back & forth – 3d prints Plan for the next month Let’s jump in. Pre-production unit feedback Not all the packages got to their destination, it appears that customs still hold them. Fortunately, we got some good feedback. The good stuff: Outstanding sound quality Pretty good fit Things to work on: Charger battery dying quickly when earbuds are inside Earbuds battery dying quickly when idle Improve bevel on the long side for better comfort Activating Deep sleep The charger & earbuds battery dying too soon was an important problem which we tackled right on. Sylvain created a system measuring power levels but this was not working well so I suggested using the deep sleep feature which is already embedded in the firmware. ...Read More >
Hi everyone, Following on the building of pre-production prototypes, the first batch got shipped. It’s very long to manually assemble from scratch, programmed and then packaged in the earbuds and chargers. At this moment, the 1st batch is currently in transit so we are awaiting for their input. We appreciate everyone submitting their application, there was a ton of requests. This whole earbuds’ assembly process has such an extremely low tolerance. A component installed a few microns too far on the circuit board can easily derail the whole electronics. Be reassured, when the automatic assembly kicks in with our manufacturer, the success rate will be much higher. Firmware adjustments Besides the whole assembly process, we noticed significant needed firmware improvements. For example, the master earbud right now is the left, as it was by default. Since 90% of people are right-handed, it only makes sense to put the right earbud as the master. The whole pairing sequence was...Read More >
Dear backers, This last month we’ve been rolling full speed to get the pre-production prototypes ready to be shipped to a few backers. A lot of you applied and there are only 8 prototypes (earbuds + charger) available. I’ve made a shortlist of who’s getting them but it’s not yet final. The backers’ committee will likely receive half of them. So what remains so we can ship those prototypes? The electronics are pretty much done and the 3D printed parts almost too. There are some mechanical assembly and overall aesthetics to be worked on. So we’re estimating that by the end of next week, they should be ready to be shipped. I’ve made a video of our sequence for getting 3d prints. You can check it out below. Aside from the prototypes, one of our key suppliers recently reopened, so now we can start modifying the molds and then following up with pre-production. We sent out a report...Read More >
Hi backers, Notwithstanding this unfortunate pandemic, we are ready to build out the pre-production prototypes. The last prototypes were working really well with the connectivity but there were noticeable sub performances around them. To prevent a potential bottleneck, we made an improved electronic circuit design that would fix all the identified issues. Most importantly, the microphone failed to deliver clear audio. It was working but there were significant background noises. Sylvain fixed it in the revised circuit so you can expect decent audio quality during phone calls. To name a few other fixes: Touch sensor moved up of 0.5mm Reposition of the EMI for the microphone Lengthen of the microphone section of 1.25mm Shorten the antenna circuit (less torsion stress) 5 degrees angle correction antenna circuit (better fit in the shell) Reposition of the LED That took a while to do, including the back & forth with the manufacturer. During this time, we...Read More >
Hey backers, Most of our manufacturers are shut down due to the Wuhan virus. Around 25% of global manufacturing occurs in China so you can guess the consequences on the supply chain. This bottleneck is quite unfortunate. That being said, we’ve been able to do significant progress on the design of the earbuds and its performance. In the December update, we showed you earbuds’ top shell variations. They provided decent performances but were either too bulky or looked boring. We made more variations so they provide strong performance while maintaining a great look. We’ve made a cool animation showing the evolution, check it out: https://youtu.be/k7_INpSzDA0 Quick notes of each iteration: Base model The original antenna fitted well there but was underperforming. We changed it to a bigger one, therefore, changing the form factor was required. Antenna only We needed to make sure the antenna was working well under x amount of plastic thickness. Being extruded...Read More >
Hey backers, I hope you guys had sweet Holidays and got up to a great start in this first month. Since the connectivity is now fixed, which is by far the biggest challenge, we’re on track to get the smaller details to follow suit. Those details mainly revolve around the following: Firmware Microphone Prepare a release Smoothing the Firmware Better battery management The in and out motion with the charging case and earbuds Sleeping mode vs active mode vs completely off Fixing the P logo light so it stops flashing every single time. Now, it’s flashing at appropriate events. Watchdogs implementation. For example, when the battery is about to die, it shuts off so there is still energy to recharge and what not. Troubleshooting the mic All the logic for the mic was already implemented, ie the traces on the circuit board were properly drawn There are firmware issues related to the mic so...Read More >
Hi backers, We are excited to announce that the connectivity was finally, successfully achieved in multiple earbuds sets. We had 8 people coming for this third round of Beta testing, 7 of them were new beta testers. The results were impressive. All of them found the connectivity to be a 10/10. *They were also all delighted by the fit and sound quality **1 beta tester had 5/10 but when the earbud was rightfully orientated in the ear, it was a 10\10 This month, we made lots of earbuds’ shell variations since it’s greatly affecting the antenna performance and we found what works best. There are 2 designs that deliver great results, one where only the antenna portion is extruded and the other one where all the top surface is extruded. We are now making a release (completing documentation), for the hardware & firmware so we can move into pre-production. We are looking to implement the microphone...Read More >
Hey backers, We hosted the second round of beta-testing, thanks to 4 pairs of fully working prototypes we now have. Beta testers were asked to test the earbuds in the conference room and walk around. They also walk outside of the room and see how far they could go before the disconnect. We had about 8 people coming in yesterday to test those little buddies. The results were….. Good! A backer reacting to the sound quality we provide 6 of them said it was a 10\10 1 of them said it was a 7\10 1 of them said it was a 2\10 We noticed that people with deep ear canals are the ones that were not 10\10. The signal has more difficulty reaching the earbuds. These people tend to be quite older. They all found the fit and sound quality amazing. In the next few days, we are making shell adjustments, so even...Read More >
Hey backers, Yesterday & today were days of mixed emotions. We worked relentlessly to provide beta testing units so our backers could say that the earbuds are indeed working great. But 2 out of 3 the working units slightly broke so the good connectivity was compromised. Bringing only 1 pair for beta testing is way too risky. We did not understand why they broke. That deepened the wound on our pressuring long delays and the need to start shipping before the end of the year. That was hard emotionally and mentally. We then recollected ourselves and found the culprit, today. The antenna is on a flexible circuit. During the assembly process, the flexible circuit tends to wave a bit under the soldering heat. In addition, we have a crucial chip that has tiny pads to attach to the circuit. The slight wave, the bending and our manipulation on the flexible circuit sometimes...Read More >
Hey backers, Early this month, we succeeded in getting the earbuds to connect extremely well in different environments. That was such a relief for the team. The best scenario is when you are inside a structure, such as a room or else. Urban areas work surprisingly well too. The worst scenario so far is when there are no obstacles in the way. Let’s say you are on an open field, without tall buildings or structures around. Even with this scenario, the earbuds work very well, except when they are in the back pocket, opposite to the “master” earbud, which is the hardest way to get connectivity through. If we can’t resolve this, we’ll make it clear in the instruction booklet. We made a new PCB so the top surface of the earbud would not extrude since the antenna is much bigger now. We’ll receive those new PCBs early next week and...Read More >
Hey backers, The new antenna we implement in the last month is starting to be paying out. That was a painful change since we bet a lot in the previous one. We had from time to time great results but the results were just not sustainable for mass production, so we needed to do something. This new antenna, bigger in dimension, is very near to bring the desired performance. Bigger antenna, bigger gains. Please note there will be a top covering the antenna. There are essentially 2 external factors that influence the antenna performance: Wireless noise environment The users’ ear structure Now, Sylvain is able to use the earbuds in his home all around, without any interruption. If you recall with the previous antenna, it was cutting a lot for him. With low wireless noise environments, such as a regular home it’s working flawlessly. When you are starting to get a bunch of wireless signals, the...Read More >
Hey backers, So we finished understanding the new software and we saw a performance improvement, but it was not enough. Sylvain had to turn in a particular way the earbud in his ear to get a great signal strength. Let’s just say it’s not convenient. BTW, Sylvain had to go the hospital for kidney stone. Fortunately, he recovered rather quickly. Okay, it’s time to stop flirting with the tuning and get a major change for our lack of reliable connectivity. We are now currently looking at 2 antenna options: NFMI A bigger antenna For some context: Sylvain is still wondering how the heck he made it work really great in China back in November 2017. At the time, it was a total blessing, we finally made it work. We got back in Canada and could not quite get the same performance. We fixed many things but the connectivity was still choppy. What the hell happened?? Unfortunately, we can’t even...Read More >
Hey guys, Let’s chat about the beta testings and the new firmware. It was nice to see some of our backers, face to face during the beta testings. Sylvain and I explained our delays and why it was so hard. Of course, people played and experienced with the earbuds. People like the sound and the fit but the connectivity was still shaky. There was one person that no earbuds ever worked on her and well it worked with us 🙂 So we thought we had the firmware ready for the beta testings, but it didn’t go as expected I’ll let Sylvain go on to provide more explanation. Sylvain speaking: Hey backers, I’m Sylvain and I’m behind Phazon’s tech development. When Chris told me about the beta testings coming up, I was expecting I could make nicely working prototypes by the deadline. Turns out there was a lot more to understand from this new firmware so...Read More >
Hey backers, We noticed that when taking measurements in the ear for the tuning, the instrument itself is affecting the results. We could not think of a better way nonetheless. Sylvain then had the brilliant idea to 3D print the ear and take measures as if we were inside the head. After many troubles to 3D print the ear itself (we were using special materials), we finally got it. The results were… not significantly improved… ah crap! Meanwhile, we tried to adjust the transmission power of our Bluetooth chip. We finally succeeded with a new firmware update. That improved again the connectivity. While we could go into pre-production now, we felt there is just a little more work to do to get those 5 stars rating (instead of the 3 stars some known competitors get). We then changed our firmware to a custom one and we are now a lot more flexible on...Read More >
Hey backers, A month in electronics quickly goes by… You design a new version of a PCB, send them to the manufacturer, goes back & forth with design modifications. Once agreed, they start the job and finish it within a week (which is super fast, normally +2 weeks). You then assemble manually the PCBs, instead of going with a PCB assembly factory, since it’s faster and cheaper for prototyping. That takes usually a week if you don’t have any problems. We’re at the end of this cycle and got great results. Probably going to be in pre-production in a few weeks. Sylvain tried it and it worked almost perfectly (9 out of 10), there were very few cutouts. He then recharged it and… it stopped working as it should :/ That’s the price to pay when you assemble the PCBs yourself vs automation, you are more prone to slight imperfections in the assembly...Read More >
Dear backers, When we finished the campaign in January 2016, we had a working prototype and our goal was to make it smaller so virtually anyone could fit in. The miniaturization process was a hell lot more complicated than we thought. You guys saw updates after updates what we went through. The supply chain was freaking hard to get correctly and now the connectivity is quite nasty to nail down. We got the PCB manufacturer right after many tryouts. We got to a form factor that was slightly bigger than what we hoped for but still a lot smaller than the vast majority of earbuds out there. We hired a star consultant for our antenna tech. And we had significant connectivity improvements so far. I would now qualify the connectivity to be good but not totally great. Is it good enough? It depends. When it works really well: Standard male/female...Read More >
Hey backers, Very interesting stuff happened during this first month of the year. So as Sylvain predicted, we got a fully functional pair of earbuds that worked flawlessly (woohoo!). It worked perfectly on Chris… but not on everyone. Sylvain and Hoang (RF specialist) got some disconnects from time to time, which is pretty annoying when you listen to music. Why? Sylvain and Hoang have a deeper ear, so the earbud goes deeper. As a result, the impedance changes which equals to a less stable connection. Hoang suggested that we tuned the earbuds to match our average customer, which will result inevitably in a portion of backers having some disconnects. Sylvain & I were definitely not comfortable with this suggestion. Then Sylvain came up with super interesting ideas to work this problem around: Let’s try to shield the antenna circuit Let’s remove the bandpass filter chip Let’s incorporate some antenna friendly chemical The results thus far: Shielding the antenna circuit...Read More >
Hey backers, The antenna expert we hired about 2 months ago… well, it’s starting to pay off. His advanced antenna skills combined with Sylvain’s electronic experience makes a powerful technical team in nailing the antenna circuit. Well, I’m glad to announce the following: Yesterday, we’ve been able to establish a solid 30 feet distance connectivity, without breakouts (Me & Sylvain) with the left earbud only. We also tried the phone in the back pocket and it’s wonderful thus far. As for me, there was 1 disconnect in 2 minutes and this disconnect lasted just a fraction of a second. I have an average ear size while Sylvain has a much deeper ear, making it more difficult for connectivity. Sylvain tried it too (phone: back pocket) and it was cutting a few times. Early December, I would say the earbud’s performance was 3\10 and now it’s about 7\10. There is room for improvement. Sylvain and Hoang (the antenna expert) are...Read More >
Hi backers, 2 points will be covered in this update: Results of the audit from the RF specialist Our progress thus far The ‘audit’ we requested from the RF engineer (Hoang Nguyen) on our electronics, more specifically the RF (antenna) circuit, has proven to be a good move so far. Here are the general comments he made to me: Email from the RF specialist, Chris goes in more details in the video update, see it here. Now, what are the results so far? The connectivity is improving. It used to be a few inches away without disconnection and now it’s about 10 feet. However, we will feel ready to move into pre-production with the back pocket no drop works out. It means that putting your phone in your back pocket while having the earbuds in your ears will occur zero disconnect. What is really bugging is that we used to have better results last year but for some unknown...Read More >
Hey backers, Let’s see what happened last month: New circuits with an antenna friendly material Antenna tech revised by a specialist Let’s jump right to it: Written (and more detailed) update below. New circuits with an antenna friendly material: Alright, so the previous batch of circuits was made with a certain material that is widely common in manufacturing. We requested a special order to our manufacturer so it’s optimized to obtain a great connectivity. This way, it’s easier for Sylvain to tune the circuit. Antenna tech revised by a specialist: While tuning the circuits, Sylvain observed that the plastic shell has a significant impact on the electronic circuits, they disturb the connectivity. With the right adaptation, they can be reduced. The plastic top of the earbud shell. Sylvain also met with an antenna specialist and he will help simulate the plastic shell influence so we reach faster the connectivity we look forward to. Sylvain and...Read More >
Hey backers, Let’s make it short for this one. Our engineer Sylvain (responsible for all the tech) is going to tell you what is going on concerning our development. In addition, we’ll show you, in a timelapse format, all the process from getting the PCBs to tuning them. This is what we do each time we receive a new batch. In a short video format: In a written format: We received a new batch of PCBs in September from our handpicked manufacturers in Shenzhen. They were built exactly as we requested so that’s awesome. They learned to do it correctly. Therefore, we don’t need to go with the big guns yet. Now, Sylvain is in the process of tuning them so let’s see if he can nail it this time. Since we got the boards we desperately wanted for months, the ride should be smoother. We actually got working prototypes, but the distance reached without breaking up...Read More >
Hello backers, Okay so this month is about 3 main components: The crazy stuff we did to make and assemble PCBs (nobody thought it was possible) Why we delayed the big guns Debriefing the 1st meeting of the Phazon backers committee Let’s check them out: CRAZY (smart) STUFF WE DID We made extensive testings with the PCBs we received from the other manufacturers. They looked great so we could send them to an assembler. That’s what everyone usually does and this process takes about 2 weeks. Since we’re such in delay, we shortcutted the assembling process and our senior engineer (Sylvain) assembled them himself. Remember: he has to solder chips on the PCBs that are smaller than a grain of salt. He was successful in his attempt to assemble the PCBs, which is a feat by itself. We then tested the connectivity but this part was not a success. The connectivity was okay but still choppy. In other...Read More >
Hey backers! It’s common that in startups – as in life – to have things that work like planned and others that are bumps on the road. Fortunately, we prepared accordingly for those bumps. We resume the whole month in here: DEVELOPMENT STATUS We went quite in details in the video of what happened last month. To sum it up: Plastic parts received: almost ready for pre-production. The manufacturer actually hand delivered us the parts. Battery consumption tested: work as expected 🙂 Fine-tuning of the PCBs: expected and unexpected stuff, see below The PCbs were fine tuned at its finest, -40dbs (scientific measure for the radio frequency -“Bluetooth”- performance). So that was expected of Sylvain’s skills. Any specialist will tell you that those results are outstanding. However, the manufacturer forgot to make the correct antenna circuit adjustment (we discovered that a bit later on). They openly admitted their mistake once investigated. Fortunately, we planned a backup plan with another supplier...Read More >
Hey guys, From your feedback, we learned that most of you liked updates with videos more than just text and image-based updates. To better serve you, here’s the first of our new series of video updates with supporting text. Today, we’ll be highlighting 3 items: An interview with Sylvain, our CTO (the responsible for our tech) An online meeting with an investor Waterproof testings Check this out: DEVELOPMENT STATUS Sylvain So if you checked out the video, you saw we began with Sylvain explaining what he’s working on. Why? Although I’m the “face” of the company and in charge of all business-related matters, Sylvain, as CTO, is the one who ultimately calls the engineering shots. He’s the cornerstone of the whole tech development. He has great experience in audio and wireless projects, making him a tremendous asset for developing our project. He’s got the experience and the know-how to make this project a success. Yes, manufacturing challenges...Read More >
Hello guys, We got the earbuds’ plastic parts just in time for this update, so we prepared a short video showing them off to you. Enjoy! Of course, this was just a snapshot of the whole month, dig down below for a more complete picture. DEVELOPMENT STATUS We’ll try to be more focused on videos in these next updates, so you can get a better feeling of what’s going on behind the scenes. So let’s see what we have in store for you: Earbuds and charger mold results About 3 weeks ago, the “first shot” of the earbuds’ mold was built. It was good, but not good enough for us to use as an ‘almost final’ prototype. A few days ago, we received the “2nd shot”, which are new plastic parts from the improved molds. They are super good. It’s not yet final, but it’s getting pretty close. Concerning the charging case, the “first shot” is on its way. The...Read More >
Hola Backers, So we’re in the middle of the molding process with the charger and earbuds. That doesn’t mean we’ve been taking it slow, hell no! We used that time to make a few tweaks and a light drop test. Molds are scheduled to be ready at the end of May (most likely) or beginning of June. Once that happens, we’ll smash the pre-production start button, BAM! DEVELOPMENT STATUS Okay, so let’s make this update with more pictures and fewer words. The charger mold is being built since the beginning of the month. It usually takes 6-12 weeks to finish. For the earbuds’ molds, we were supposed to make only slight modifications to our earlier molds. But in collaboration with our mold maker, we realized there was a slight chance these minor edits could cause defects during the plastic injection process. Therefore, we decided to make brand new molds. That means the earbuds & charger are scheduled to be...Read More >
Hello backers, There was a lot of back & forth with our contract manufacturer in the last month. We’ve been able to secure the deal we had already initiated for mass manufacturing a while ago and get the ball rolling for pre-production. Check out below for the details. DEVELOPMENT STATUS The last update was mainly about getting the connectivity replicated. This time, we’re gearing up for production. Gearing up for pre-production is a crucial phase. It’s the time to anticipate all the problems that could arise during production and fix them. Let me point out some of them: For the earbuds The molds need to be adjusted so they can handle the plastic battery ring we modified. In red is the interference with the battery ring needing to be fixed. We used spring-loaded pins in the earbuds so they charge with the case. We figured out there was a better way to make the earbuds more reliable in its...Read More >
Hey backers, We’ve been able to get our PCBs in time, just before the Chinese New Year. We assembled them with all the components we need and… we nailed connectivity again 🙂 Check out below what’s next, because there’s a lot of relevant stuff going on. DEVELOPMENT STATUS Alright, so during the last month, we redesigned our PCBs to enhance battery performance and requested a batch from our manufacturer. We received them just before the Chinese holidays. They performed magnificently once again. We assembled them locally, tweaked them a bit and have been able to get solid results. Also, the battery management fixes we engineered are successful. The current earbuds’ shells are made of a somewhat flimsy plastic for prototyping purposes. We’re ready to upgrade this with the real deal: top-notch polycarbonate, which is the material we’ll use for the finished product. We’re also in the process of making improvements to the shells’ molds to better protect the electronics...Read More >
Dear backers, We’re actively pursuing the journey with fresh PCBs incoming soon. We’re expecting these new boards to be the ones we could basically start pre-production with. Check out below for more details. DEVELOPMENT STATUS Alright, so we fine-tuned the PCBs as hell this early January to make sure they would work out great. Doing this process made us realize that the battery management has been put aside because we were almost exclusively focused on getting the connectivity right. One of the prototypes we assembled in January. While learning valuable lessons during this specific process, we figured out that firmware adjustments were needed for the battery to perform at the desired level. With this kind of project complexity, when you play with the firmware, you need to adjust the electronic design as well. Therefore, a new electronic design (release V7) needed to be done so we could have a new batch of PCBs that will manage battery life...Read More >
Hey backers, Hope you’re having great holidays so far. The development of the earbuds is going strong and about to be completed so check out below what happened in the last weeks. DEVELOPMENT STATUS The technical staff got back from China 3 weeks ago. They made the awaited working prototype in China and then send it back to our lab in Canada. In Order to refresh your memory: this working prototype worked really well on small AND long distance. In the last update, we stated we needed three points to be confirmed before we move into pre-production, let me comment on those: Is the working pair effective on everyone and in different environments? Before the working pair needed repair, a handful of people tested them and they worked without a hitch. We will, for sure, test them on more people and in other environments but given the feedback from people who actually tried them was great, we won’t...Read More >
Hey backers, We spent the last month in China working hand in hand with our new suppliers. I am happy to announce that it was time well spent as it has yielded the results that we all have long waited for. Let me tell you about the progress below. DEVELOPMENT STATUS Alright, the back & forth with the suppliers we explained in the last update took longer than expected, mainly because the base material we requested for our PCB is quite uncommon. The suppliers came up with creative ways to address this challenge. We also checked their source files frequently during the interactions so they would build the PCBs just as we requested. We curated three suppliers. One shipped boards that did not work, the second has not shipped and the third shipped outstanding PCBs. We will quickly test the second one when they arrive for comparison to the third great ones. On the great PCBs we got,...Read More >
Dear backers, As you are well aware, we keep pushing our PCB manufacturers in North America to the limits of what they can do. It seems that their limit was reached 2 weeks ago. We anticipated this limit and figured out a strong plan to get to production ASAP in China. This update is longer than usual so you can get a better grasp on what’s happening behind the scenes. Check out the plan below. DEVELOPMENT STATUS Before I share the plan with you, let me quickly explain our development challenges concerning the printed circuit boards (PCBs): You can see what standard PCBs look like below. They are the backbone of all electronic devices. If the PCB fails, the device has basically no chance to work. Those are standard PCBs (not the ones we use). We can’t share images of our own to protect the Intellectual Property of the earbuds. We originally tried many manufacturers, hoping one would...Read More >
Dear backers, Today’s update will be a shorter one since we received the updated PCBs yesterday, which means we couldn’t assemble them in time for the update. DEVELOPMENT STATUS We made a few adjustments to the PCB (aka the green wafer) to improve the antenna’s performance. We had to adjust the internal mechanical structure of the earbuds and modify the electronic circuit so the RF would perform better in this kind of environment. It’s hard for us to provide more details without disclosing what could be the secret sauce to our antenna’s performance. Our senior engineer’s (Sylvain) sense is that we could possibly start pre-production with those new PCBs. However, as we all experienced in the past, it is not guaranteed that they will be the final R&D PCBs. For you to better understand what the inherent difficulty is, here are the two hardest things about getting the connectivity right: Antenna location (most important) In an ideal...Read More >
Backers, Mastering the RF (Radio Frequency aka Bluetooth connectivity for us) is incredibly hard. While we are extremely close, I have to admit there are hurdles getting to the finish line. DEVELOPMENT STATUS Let’s see what happened in the last 2 weeks on the tech side. The good news: We have been successful in achieving a good connection at a range of 90 feet (30 meters), outside, with no obstacles. The connection was stable for a couple of minutes then broke off. We have also been able to have a solid connection within 30 feet inside a house, with multiple walls interfering the signal. This being said, the connection was successfully tested by one of our team members, in one location, not by a whole bunch of people in different settings. The improvements needed: The few others that tested the connectivity did not experience a good enough connectivity. Sylvain, our head of engineering, made some adjustments to the...Read More >
Dear backers, We’re proud to announce that we achieved a significant improvement to the earbuds. We doubled the Bluetooth distance between the smartphone and the earbuds. Check out the details below. DEVELOPMENT STATUS In the last update, we mentioned that we were able to get a perfect Bluetooth connectivity for a distance of 10 feet. That is quite convenient for most of the tasks performed. However, we all want as much freedom as possible, so we’re still improving this. Our goal is to make it work to the Bluetooth specifications limit, that is 30 feet in a standard everyday environment. The theoretical limit could be up to 100 feet, which would be performed in an open space, such as a park or a football field. About 2 weeks ago, we sent a slightly modified antenna redesign to our local PCB manufacturer. Once again, the PCBs we received were not exactly following the design we had provided. After a deep...Read More >
Dear backers, Building a startup with groundbreaking tech is no small feat. There are highs and lows, as you experienced firsthand. Today, I’m glad to announce that we’ve achieved another primordial milestone: perfect connectivity between the 2 earbuds (inside the shells)! Check out the details below. DEVELOPMENT STATUS Yes, finally, we made it work. In the last update, we told you guys the fine-tuning was completed. We’ve put the electronics in the earbuds’ plastic shells. Because there was too much manipulation on the circuit, the right earbud failed. We needed to assemble more circuits to test the whole thing thoroughly (electronics + mechanics). When manually assembling the circuits, things are extremely small (remember the grain of salt picture) so it can easily go south. After a couple of trials and just in time for the update, we finally achieved a full pair of earbuds working very nicely. Be reassured, during production, everything is going to be fully automated. All these...Read More >
Hey backers, We completed an important milestone today. The fine-tuning of the antenna is completed 😀 Check out the full story below. DEVELOPMENT STATUS We’re super happy to announce that we’ve nailed down the antenna, which proved to be quite a challenge, and is still the #1 defect on the vast majority of truly wireless earbuds on the market. We’re very proud of this insanely tough feat considering the followings: First: We’re using a unique type of PCB Because of the uniqueness of our form factor, relying on standard PCBs would have made the earbuds much bigger. Therefore, instead of offering a perfect fit to about 95% of adults, using a standard PCB would have make that percentage plummet to 65% (which is what the competition considers the norm). We knew it was a challenge to make those kind of PCBs but we could hardly anticipate so many problems with the PCB manufacturers. Yes, we were at the edges...Read More >
Hey backers, Our long-standing quest to find the right PCB manufacturer for our prototypes has come to an end! We also received painted prototypes, so make sure you look at that too. DEVELOPMENT STATUS Since the last update, we ordered two batches of PCBs from Canadian manufacturers. We did this to be able to test a second PCB in case the first one failed, saving us valuable time. We received the first batch of boards this past Thursday and they’re exactly how we requested them to be. Our engineering team has worked almost non-stop since that moment so we could update our valuable backers in the most relevant way. Yesterday (Saturday), they worked from 7AM to 10PM. The hard work paid off: I’m happy to report that these boards are manufactured exactly as we requested. Therefore, the antenna is showing significant improvements compared to the best working prototypes we had. We’re still in a phase of fine-tuning the antenna...Read More >
Hi guys, The majority of the last fifteen days were spent on finding the right PCB supplier, as this proved to be an increasingly major bottleneck in the project. We took this matter in hands as never before. Let’s check it out. DEVELOPMENT STATUS In the last update, we mentioned it was excessively hard to find a reliable supplier for our PCB. It happens to be the thickness we’re looking at is not standard and causing the manufacturers to fail because they’re not used to do this. As a reminder, we designed in a way it’s possible to manufacture. To counter this inconvenient bottleneck, we did two things: We design the circuit board to make it more manufacturer friendly, so we shrank down the circuits traces and components, making it more standard. We investigated the suppliers of the PCB suppliers. In other words, we bypass the PCB supplier to look at the exact raw materials those guys need to...Read More >
Dear backers, As you’re certainly aware, building a great company doesn’t happen overnight. It’s especially true with any hardware company who goes above and beyond standard products. Maybe a relatively new well-known car company can remind you of this (now the world’s largest automaker by market capitalization). In our context, the process of designing the mechanics and electronics charging case has improved dramatically, you’ll see videos below. The electronics of the earbuds proved to be more challenging and we’ll clearly explain why. DEVELOPMENT STATUS Let’s start with the charging case. As mentioned in the last update, a lot has happened on the mechanics and electronics within them. The most important points were: Alignments of the magnets inside the charging case, so the fit would be natural once you drop the earbuds in them. We have it right. Judge for yourself: Magnet magic. As you can notice, you can easily pick them up with one hand. The twist and...Read More >
Hey guys, Chris here, Chief Nerd at Phazon. In case you did not know, I write all the updates myself. It’s super important for me that backers get the most updated, clear and accurate info on the development directly from me. We believe we identified the source of the antenna connection issue. We also squashed a thousand bugs in the charging case. Lots of stuff happened, check it out below & make sure to read until the very end 🙂 DEVELOPMENT STATUS Even if Sylvain and the tech team moved to China during those last 12 days, the jet lag did not affect our engineers, and it gave an instant boost to the development of the product. Our manufacturer provided us with an efficient workstation and key staff to start this process by storm. During crunch times, we had up to a dozen additional tech specialists working on the project with our core team. The master tech brain is...Read More >
Hola Backers, This update will mostly focus on the fine-tuning of the earbuds and how things are getting along. DEVELOPMENT STATUS Sylvain and the tech team are making steady progress with the fine-tuning of the antenna, using a variety of tools and resources, among them: A mathematical formula borrowed from the mining industry to get the right tuning. Definitely unorthodox, but it’s actually showing encouraging results. Mathematical simulations to enhance the RF (radio frequency) pattern correctly. Adding 2 top RF specialists as ad hoc consultants: The first one has 35 years of experience with a variety of antennas, even working with the US Army. The second one is a world-renowned antenna specialist based in San Francisco. We’re adding resources and creativity to find out what’s working and what’s not. You can see below some of the notes Sylvain is taking to get this done. Fine-tuning the antenna can be quite tricky. You can be lucky and hit it right on,...Read More >
Hey backers, We’ve got big pressure from everywhere to ship those sweet earbuds as fast as possible. Would it be awesome to enjoy them for this upcoming summer? Hell yeah! That’s why we’re maximizing everything we got to fix the antenna challenge. DEVELOPMENT STATUS You guys have been tremendously patient and that’s why we’re putting everything aside (including our evenings & weekends) to make these earbuds a reality ASAP. As pointed out a few weeks ago, we basically fixed everything in the earbuds… the only thing stopping us from going to production is the antenna (Bluetooth connectivity). It’s good, but not good enough for you guys to enjoy great music. As stated before, the vast majority of wireless earbuds out there are plagued with annoying breakouts. Sylvain is putting the uncovered earbud. Look at the fit and how small it is. The electronics inside have been blurred for confidentiality purposes. The wire is for testing the radio frequency...Read More >
Hey backers, For most of you, spring is right around the corner with its beautiful sunshine. It certainly feels good. The other thing looking good is how the Phazon earbuds are coming to fruition. DEVELOPMENT STATUS We’re glad to announce the final dimensions of the earbuds. We’ve been tweaking with it for a while to make sure we got the optimal size for the fit and audio quality. Going for a big size is a bummer for everyone, since the bigger it is, the less likely it will fit your ear. Ever heard of the quote “Less is more”? It’s totally the case for our product. Right below: earbuds’ dimensions – it’s basically 2cm*2cm*2.5cm (0.75in*0.75in*1in). We’ve made testings with lots of people and the results are amazing: it was a snug fit for 95% of the people. The industry standard for this type of product is 60%. The only downside is that making it this small dramatically increases the...Read More >
Hi Backers, I’m sure you guys know that some companies jumped into the true wireless bandwagon. Some even launched a product on the market but failed to provide the reliability and quality we all crave for. We know, we tested them all. Others are still banging their heads in labs. Our super smart lead engineer, Sylvain, is about to nail it down. Did you know he designed satellite parts and products for the secret services? 🙂 SHIPPING STATUS We identified the connection issue between the smartphone and the earbud. Without going into much details, it appears that by adding a specific material around the antenna, the connectivity (RF) improves dramatically to the desired level. Since we’re back in North America for the time being, the time to get our new PCBs is somewhat longer. We’ve been able to pull out a 5 day lead time for our circuit boards (usually 2 weeks). Now, this PCB is the one we believe...Read More >
Hello Backers, Let’s start with really interesting topics, we have 2 good news to announce! – The charging case is upgraded to offer 4 full extra charges for the earbuds – Volume control is now enabled on the earbuds
Hello backers, Oddly enough, we did NOT announce a delay in the last update, but some of you reacted as if it was a delay. This probably happened because we apologized for the ones we had before.
Dear backers, There are things we regret and others we don’t. We spent a lot of time working with Canadian manufacturers because it was important for us to build the earbuds in our own country. These partners did their best, but at some point we realized they just wouldn’t get us to production. Reliability and speed were problematic. The manufacturer we found in Asia is an absolute gem. With his help, there is no doubt we’ll ship way faster.
Hey backers, It’s me, Chris, your chief nerd writing here. The last update was hard to write but we’re fortunate to have great backers that support our journey, we can’t thank you guys enough! SHIPPING STATUS So as scheduled, the tech team is currently in Shenzhen, China. It’s not an ideal timing in China: it is the Chinese new year. Every manufacturer shuts down at that time. However, our Asian manufacturer was kind enough to provide us key staff to help us tweak our electronics quickly even during the holidays.
Dear backers, Our main focus since the beginning has been to deliver a superior product as rapidly as possible. The rapid part hasn’t been a success so far. We found a way to accelerate.
Hey backers, Again, lots of stuff to tell you about, especially that we’re in a big crunch time period. We also included a little educational piece at the end. SHIPPING STATUS This December month was just totally insane on the technical side. We even surpassed the straight 18 hours workday. Because we wanted to be ready for the beta testers and the CES, we had to go the extra mile – every single day.
Hey guys, A tremendous amount of time was spent into the final prototypes so we can be ready for the beta testers. Let’s dig down below!
Hey guys, A lot of things happened recently… must_reduce_wording to include them all.
Oh boy, So much to say, the 2,500 characters update limit is killing us! Let’s jump in asap.
Dear backers, This is Chris, Chief Nerd at Phazon. I apologize for this X-rated headline, but it felt appropriate in the circumstances. Check out why below.
MICROPHONE & SHIPPING STATUS (continued) Some of you requested to have the earbuds without a mic earlier. We had discussions with our manufacturer and having 2 different lines of the product is cost prohibitive at this point. Hey, we clearly understand it can be frustrating to have another delay.
Buenas tardes! Hope you’re enjoying la pura vida so far. At Phazon, we’re dedicated to ship a truly outstanding product – this is our credo. Here’s now the long awaited update!
Saluton! (Hello in Esperanto) We can see & feel you have high expectations for our product. It’s okay, we want to make it truly awesome too! We’re quite a small team – only 5 working full time right now. We’re small, yes, but super talented and incredibly focused, working around 80h/week. We plan to hire additional people in the future but at this point, we’d spend more time training them than getting ready for the final production steps.
Bon matin backers! Last 2 weeks were pretty intense, so hold tight!
Bonsoir backers! As promised, we made a short video showing you the miniature working prototypes. Here it goes! (Definitely important to see)
Hallo backers, We stopped videos with cool intros for a while. We’re gladly showing you a new one. Thanks to Edge Dimension for their incredible 3D rendering in the intro and Otakus & Geeks for the interview at the CE Week.
Konichiwa backers! The last 2 weeks have been highly focused on our PCB manufacturers while testing the audio quality in parallel… scroll me to learn more
Ciao backers! Hope you’re enjoying the summer so far. Here at Phazon we’ve been incredibly busy securing the supply chain. We’ve also got very good news for the audiophiles out there 🙂
Hello dear backers! Hope you’re having a blast for this summer. We sure know it would have been better with the Phazon earbuds, but we can assure you the wait will be worth it!
Hey backers! I’m Chris, the Chief Nerd here at Phazon. I’ll write this entire update so you’ll have a clear picture of what’s going on. For the first time, we won’t put a cool intro video in this update. It will be all about transparency.
Hola backers! Last month we made the fully functional miniature prototypes. The result has been outstanding in terms of the sound quality and connectivity. A lot more details will be provided in the next update. Check out our senior engineer working on them
Howdy ho! The past month has been dramatically innovative in terms of the development of our earbuds. We’re implementing some crazy cool tech that will make the Phazon earbuds a truly reference in the wireless world. We can’t tell you much right now but it’s just insane the level of engineering we put in those beauties!
Hey backers! Before anything else, here’s a short video of our factory making the working prototypes! (Go watch it – The intro is way too cool!)
It’s been 1 month since we finished our campaign. You can be sure we’re running full steam ahead to get you guys an amazing product. Check out below a summary of what happened within our first month.
Hey backers! Even in our wildest dreams, we did not anticipate that kind of response! Our Indiegogo campaign is over but our journey together has just begun,
As promised, here’s the link to ask our Chief Ninja all sorts of questions: Click here There is also an AMA app available in the App Store! 6 hours left…! P.S.: You’ll be prompt to choose your color after the campaign ends 🙂
This is real, only 24 hours left, no more extension possible! I’m sure many of you guys would love to get the SUNSET color! We’re likely close to get it (125k shy) and we need your help to achieve this! Hey, the referral program is still on! You bring in 3 friends, using your Indiegogo sharing links and you’re set to get your FREE earbuds 🙂
Some of you noticed that we extended the campaign for 3 days! We’ve raised so much in our final days that Indiegogo has been nice enough to allow us this little extension. We’re now at the maximum days allowed to run a campaign. No worries, our engineers are fully focus into the product development so June/July is definitely our target!
Just like the headline of our campaign’s page says, we make wireless earbuds guaranteed not to fall. What’s more incredible? It’s a one size fits all. One size fits all + guaranteed not to fall is a huge statement! We understand that and believe us, we made in-depth testings for setting the bar so high!
At Phazon, we’re obsessed at getting for our backers an incredible customer experience. We understand that shipping on time is part of this experience.
We are actually at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. It’s the biggest tech show in the world. This is a huge opportunity to meet up with a lot of people that could help us in our journey. We have talked with media, investors and suppliers!
We have reached today the $1M milestone! With 7 days left, the $1.2M stretch goal is not so far away 🙂 Let’s keep up this pace! P.S. For your information, we’ll provide about 1 update/day until the end of the campaign. So please don’t put us in the spam folder 😉
Quick update here: A few hours ago, we’ve been featured on ProductHunt. It’s a trendy website that attracts new projects. People vote on those projects. The more votes you have, the more visibility you get. You vote by clicking on the small triangle (see picture below).
Yes, you have read correctly, we have not 1 but 2 stretch goals! The first stretch goal was hardware related while the second was software related. This time, we are incorporating both!
As promised, we are adding a new stretch goal. It’s not as funky as tie dye earbuds, but it’s definitely a huge addition for music lovers! Introducing you the equalizer app
We’re about to lay a new stretch goal… on MONDAY. We have an idea of what it would be, but we’re very open to suggestions (time travel: the Midnight blue color was the most popular amongst backers).
The incredible crowdfunding journey of Phazon will end soon. Yes, the 10 days remaining will go by really quickly. Fortunately, you made it in time to benefit the huge discounts available ($199 retail price).
You asked, we listened! There are now 5 colors and we are adding a new one IF we reach 400K. After carefully reading all your emails, the favorite color amongst our backer is blue!
Hey guys, in just 6 days, we raised $250 000! That’s quite an impressive feat, a big clap for everyone from around the world!
For those of you that referred us 5 friends, you’ll be prompted to use your special code shortly after the campaign ends!
At this moment, you don’t need to choose a color. After the Indiegogo campaign ends, we will contact you so you’ll be able to tell us what is your favorite color is out the 5 colors available 🙂