REV1 is our first big step in addressing some of the key technological issues that have been plaguing the wireless earphone market. In the past, we’ve constructed KANOA prototypes in order to analyze and pinpoint areas of needed improvement. Key issues with connectivity needed to be addressed before scaling towards mass-production. Otherwise, a product will be born that produces less joy and more headaches. You and I both want to avoid this at all costs, which is why careful testing is needed every step of the way.
REV1 (Pre-Alpha) Tester
The key features we tested for include — measuring the audio quality, microphone functionality and audio transparency, identifying mechanical engineering and electrical engineering issues, and analyzing in it’s entirety, the charging case.
The individual parts used to construct REV1
Entering REV1, we knew that all the individual components of KANOA functioned phenomenally, but combining everything together in a small plastic housing was a totally different story. Imagine constructing a tiny piece of powerful technology, similar to the size of your pinky nail, with only specialized pliers and microscope. The individual components are fragile, so you can imagine the level of difficulty in creating a single prototype unit. After countless man hours of construction, and many shorted out parts later, we had five Pre-Alpha units that we were able to put to the test.
Results from REV1 (Pre-Alpha) Test
Andy, Our Engineering Product Manager, conducting a quick initial test on audio output
We were surprised at the output (volume) generated with the new RAF driver. The quality of sound was truly impressive, and produced crisp highs, deep lows, and was pumping out solid bass throughout the duration of our test song. We have not experienced sound like this from any wireless earphone currently out in the market. This is early pre-alpha, and all testing was conducted within a control atmosphere. Further testing on audio quality is still needed, but we are extremely excited to what the future holds based on our initial testing of audio quality.
The microphones built into your pair of KANOAs are something special. Although, they pick up external noise extremely well, the firmware eq has a bad habit of picking up sound in a much lower pitch than actual reality. Further tuning is required to ensure that the sound received by the mics, is the actual sound transmitted into your ear. When conducting the test, the mics did not have any isolators or sealing technology, so they picked up more external noise than required. We are preparing the final hard tools, and are confident that once these features are in place; audio transparency and headset functionality will be golden.
Mechanical/Electrical Engineering of the Earphone
When assembling REV1, no issues were discovered with the construction, besides the size of the actual components. Once tooling and machining are used, this will increase the speed, quality, and precision of mass producing KANOA. The LED light on REV1 was too bright, so a dimmer must be added in the next revision. The tactile button on the earphone requires slightly too much force to initiate a command causing KANOA to push in your canal. Modifications will be done to ensure that the button will work with the least amount of force possible to minimize any discomfort or movement within the ear.
The flex circuit board that connects the RAF driver to the internal technology bends in such a way it may cause a break in the future lowering the internal durability of KANOA. We analyzed the curve, and will re-organize the flex to increase durability, while also providing you stable functionality.
Small details like adjusting the LED light brightness may seem small, but this all plays a crucial role in the user-experience and how the message is received when checking the battery life of the case.
The overall functionality of the case worked as expected, but minor adjustments are needed. On the charging case, we noticed that the LED gage was too bright, so a dimmer must be installed to create a smooth, yet powerful light when your earphones are charging. The dimensions of the pogo charging pins was slightly off, causing them to be loose and creating a rattle when the case was shaken. In order to combat this, we must use larger pogo pins to create a much more secure and quality fit when your earphones are within the case.
The hinge on the lid was flimsy, causing a huge issue with the case popping open with little force. We definitely do not want this to happen. We are going to insert a bigger hinge to offer a more rigid closure. This will help ensure that once the lid is closed, your earphones aren’t going anywhere.
The purpose of REV1 is to ensure that the new components within KANOA will solve some of the key fundamental problems currently plaguing the wireless earphone market. REV1 is nowhere near how KANOA will operate in the end, but it is an essential step in achieving a flawless final product. Testing is a time-consuming process, but in order for you to receive a technologically sound product, we must go through multiple stages of testing. Taking the time to do rigorous testing enabled us to locate key problems, and ultimately providing you a better product in the end.
Our team, discussing plans and improvements for REV2.
Thank you for reading our update. KANOA REV1 is not just another prototype, but a real solution in providing you a great wireless experience. We truly appreciate your continued patience, which allows to do things right, especially with testing. In the end, you will not be disappointed. We are doing everything in our power to ensure that KANOA will be well worth the wait.