InnerFideliBits: Pioneer SE-Master 1; Spotify Ear Health PSAs; Raspberry Pi DAC; Aivvy Q

Yo! Welcome back to InnerFideliBits! Today we've got a new flagship, some innovative crowd-funded projects, and a little TLC for your ears!


New Product: Pioneer SE-Master 1

Pioneer has returned to the headphone spotlight with their first flagship headphone unit, the Pioneer SE-Master 1. Having been in development for over 5 years, the SE-Master 1 sports a published frequency response range of 5-85,000 Hz. The headphone features a 14-position comfort headband and a price tag of $2600. Hopefully, Pioneer's first foray into ToTL headphones sounds as good as it looks!

Check out the head-fi release thread.


Hearing News: Spotify and Berklee Team Up For PSAs

When the tunes are flowing, sometimes it's hard to hold back the urge to crank it to 11. It's no secret that many people nowadays have hearing loss due to some flippancy with the volume knob. Spotify and Berklee college of music have teamed up to keep the music streamers of today aware of the need to be responsible with their ears. Keep an ear out for those PSAs between tracks on Spotify and safeguard those precious ear drums!

Check out the Berklee College news page for more info.

Kickstarter: Lucid Labs Pi DAC

The audiophile world and tech world have always been intrinsically interwoven. With the advent of digital transport, it seems that personal computing devices and hi-res audio are forever linked. The popular modular computer, the Raspberry Pi, has had a number of modules developed for it since its inception, but a hi-res capable DAC was never one of them until now. The Lucid Labs Pi DAC is built around a Texas Instruments 5102A 32/384 DAC and is currently in kickstarter funding. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new era in cheap hi-res streaming!

For more info, explore their Kickstarter page.


Kickstarter: Aivvy Q Storage-Enabled Headphone

The audio playlist. The ubiquitous individual music line-up. People keep playlists for everything from working out to special occasions to rainy days. Sometimes prepping playlists, downloading the tracks (or streaming them), and carrying around a device to play said files is a lot to handle, especially in today's busy world. Aivvy is hoping to reduce the struggle and cost associated with keeping your music orderly with their new Q headphone. The headphone features 32GB of internal storage which the headphone will automatically download track lists onto. The can then sorts these tracks into individual "channels" that you can sweep through with a touch of a button. This interesting new headphone is currently in pre-order via Aivvy's kickstarter.

For more info, explore their Kickstarter page.


Got any news you'd like me to check out? Leave a comment below and I'll look into it for the next InnerFideliBits!

cspirou's picture

The Raspberry Pi actually has many DACs for it. The HiFiBerry DAC is probably the best known using a Burr-Brown chip and outputs 24/192. They also have other modules including an SPDIF output and an amp.

Audiophonics is a French audio site which has a very strong DIY side. You can see plenty of Sabre based Raspberry Pi DACs for sale as well as other variants. They even go up to 32/384. The main thing about all these boards is that they are mainly based in Europe. The only real contribution of the kickstarter project is that its made in the USA.

Sean Sabino's picture

In all seriousness, at least there's now a US-based company producing a board like this. It's always nice to see a modular, affordable design getting picked across the continents.


stevovee's picture

Hey Sean,

Trying to find a way to reach you to provide you with some info on a new product launch. If there is a way you can provide me with email or other contact info that would be great.

Rillion's picture

Yep, there's a Cirrus Logic (formerly Wolfson) Audio Card too. When I checked a couple of weeks ago, it still required a specially built kernel, though. I've been using the pre-built operating system supplied by Cirrus with it. It roughly doubles the thickness of the Pi, so it is not really pocketable but I was able to set it up so most of the disk is read-only. That way I can just unplug it without worrying about corrupting the file-system. I'm using it to run headphone equalization and crossfeed. Software: ecasound, Steve Harris' LADSPA plugins, shell scripting. I've been thinking of posting a "how-to" somewhere but haven't gotten around to it.

Rillion's picture

I was using the model B+ Raspberry Pi. The model A+ is significantly smaller, so there might be hope for a personalized audio effects processor that fits in a pocket. I have some more research to do ...

ultrabike's picture

Excited about the Raspberry Pi story. Would have loved to see integration of the PCM5122 even more since thatone has equalization, drc and other cool stuff to play with.

I've been disappointed at Pioneer's headphone line. Maybe this new one will do better.

Also interested in the Aivvy audio quality performance, and interface reliabilty and functionality.

Sean Sabino's picture

Hi ultrabike!

Long time no speak, haha. Glad to see you're still reading my stuff.

I've historically been disappointed with Pioneer's stuff, but this new can is supposedly a partnership with Onkyo, from whom we've seen a few great sounding cans recently, so I'm hopeful.

The Aivvy is indeed very interesting. Depending on how it sounds, I'd be willing to give it a whirl.


Tyll Hertsens's picture
I liked the HDJ 2000 quite a bit. I'm trying like hell to get this one and the new Master SE whatever it is as well.
IgorC's picture

Raspberry Pi DAC will have 32bit/384kHz support ... and THD+N of -93dB (???)
Two things.

1. Until now nobody was able to spot the difference between 44.1 kHz and 96 kHz in blind test. Leave alone 384 kHz.

2. Instead of supporting Not required feature (see 1) they could go for better THD+N (something better than -93 dB). As -100 dB is considered as reasonable good mark.

SonicSavourIF's picture

As NwAvGuy has shown, building a good DAC is not about using some "audiophile" expensive parts but about chosing the right parts for the job as well as matching components and knowing what you do, i.e. a good design. First and foremost, it is about trying to achieve clean electronics. It is possible to achieve audible transparancy at an insanely cheap prices. See his discussion of op amps and related articles.

I would love to see someone doing his blind test challange (including donating money to charity in case one looses).

As for headphones with stated frequency responses up to 8+K. Why would anybody spend time on developping such a thing? Even if you were to develope a headphone for dogs, that would be too much. *Kopfschüttel*

cspirou's picture

Except that these RPi DACs actually aren't that expensive, audiophile or not. A lot of them are half the price of the ODAC and don't take up a USB port like the ODAC would. Not only that but they work straight off an i2s signal whereas the ODAC would need first convert I2S from USB.

Seth195208's picture

*/- 100db, but still!

Charlescolin's picture

I loved the HDJ 2000 a considerable amount. I'm attempting like hellfire to get this one and the new Master SE whatever it is also.

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