AxiomAir as a Whole System

Posted by: Ian

AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/14/17 02:30 PM

Over the past nine months we have been working on an expanded line of wireless products. The focus has been on wireless stereo products that make an entire 2.1 system. The system would consist of a pair of speakers with the amplifiers built in and a small box (pictured below) that contains the AxiomAir computer, WiFi receiver, an optical input, a line level input, the High Res DAC, and the transmitter. All of our Subwoofers would be available with a wireless receiver so they could be added to your audio system by just plugging them into a wall outlet. The entire system would be controlled from the AxiomAir interface.

Our thinking is the optical input would be used for your TVís optical output so selecting TV on the AxiomAir interface would send the audio from your TV wirelessly to your speaker system. The Analog input could be for any other piece of equipment you may want to plug in, like the pre-amp box from your turntable.

We are thinking that our models M3, M5HP, M80, M100, LFR880, and LFR1100 (and all our Subwoofers) all have good potential for this type of product. Your thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. We are looking at having three amplifier levels available: a 50-watt amplifier built into each M3, a 200-watt amplifier built into each M5HP, and a 500-watt amplifier built into each Floorstander. The LFR models would have the DSP built into each speaker also thereby making the LFR series plug (into the wall)-and-play just like the other Floorstander models.

We will also have an optional box that could be plugged into this module for Karaoke. This box would contain our Karaoke module including our feedback killer, and either two or four wireless microphones.

Your comments on these new product concepts would be greatly appreciated.



Posted by: EFalardeau

Re: AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/14/17 05:58 PM

Let me see if I have the complete picture:

1. The speakers are both powered and with wireless receivers?
If yes, then 1a) Are they only compatible with AA or with 3rd party wireless transmitters?

2. The "AA box" would NOT be usable as as cheaper version of the stand alone AA (compared to the expensive metal chassis currently offered)?
Posted by: Ian

Re: AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/15/17 02:21 AM

You got ahead of me. The two products you are referring to are also part of this project.

1. The product in my post is an AxiomAir based product as it has the micro computer and can be controlled from the AxiomAir interface. We will however be releasing a small transmitter that's sole purpose is to connect to an existing RCA output on a receiver/pre-amp; thereby connecting the powered speakers, including the subwoofers, wirelessly to your receiver/pre-amp.

2. This chassis will also be used to house a much less expensive version of the current RP1 which allows one of the inputs on your main system to become an AxiomAir.
Posted by: chesseroo

Re: AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/16/17 10:09 PM

Probably could say a lot about this idea but the first two things off the top of my head:
1) people who want to pick the amp/receiver that powers their speakers won't go for this
2) it would have to perform FLAWLESSLY (picture any bug in the software, control app, wireless dropouts b/c someone turns on a microwave--yes my wifi drops in parts of the house when our m/wave gets turned on....). I also mention this as we have a Sonos system which is affected by various situations in which it becomes aggravating when it fails.
For our home theatre and costs to build/maintain it, this is 100% unacceptable.

Not trying to be negative, just critical thinking.
Posted by: Cohesion

Re: AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/16/17 10:58 PM

This seems like a really, cool idea!

I just keep thinking there's something missing...

Now I've got it. A robot head. Every AxiomAir wireless mesh system needs a robot head!!

It seems like you'd need a better name for this product though...
Posted by: jmone

Re: AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/17/17 12:59 AM

Ideally I'm after pair of Powered Book Shelf speakers that I can stream to (DLNA, Airplay, and Chromecast) as well as have a DAC and Analogue input.
Posted by: brwsaw

Re: AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/17/17 01:26 AM

I'm not sure I see the need for this type of package.
If it was a axiom air type set up (battery powered) with a pair of M5's maybe...I could get excited about that.
If its for around home I would likely use 2 channels from an existing avr or purchase a dedicated avr and run with it.
Bluetooth would be an obvious downside, having control over wifi would be a plus but I think you have that covered already.
It did get me thinking about outdoor subwoofers and outdoor in wall M5's.
I need to start purchasing lottery tickets again.
Posted by: CV

Re: AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/17/17 03:21 AM

I like the sound of the setup, even if I don't have a use for it. Just for clarification on the subwoofers, though, would these be new iterations of the subwoofer amps with the wireless capability built-in, or would the wireless receiver be a dongle that can be added to existing subwoofers? Also, how many subs can be managed in the system? Just one, or would you be able to run multiple subs?
Posted by: EFalardeau

Re: AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/17/17 10:52 AM

As it has been mentioned once or twice already, be very careful with wireless products. Alas, not a 100% solution that works in ALL circumstances, but the following guidelines can save you customer troubles (I sat for a few years as observer on the 802.11 committee and this was a common topic).

1. As much as possible support BOTH 2.4 and 5.8 bands; surprising how they get into different and unpredictable types of interference with other products regardless if you use Wi-Fi or non-Wi-Fi protocols [I have point-to-point audio relays at 5G that kills wi-fi networks and were therefore returned to manufacturer with 'carefully' worded explanations]

2. As much as possible, use 802.11 direct (not the embarrassing driver available for free in Linux boxes). "Miracast" is an excellent example of streaming protocol that works WITH a wi-fi network and not against it. That way, collisions and network thrashing can easily be avoided.

3. Exploit the fact that you can have as many wi-fi connections as you want with a wi-fi adapter. The limitation of ONE connection comes from lazy driver remapping of existing 802.3 networks (LAN) to offer TCP/IP over wi-fi. Not sure about open source linux drivers that can do that, but Windows has removed that limitation since Windows 7 (not made very visible to users to avoid confusing them, but it's there anyway and they use for fast media streaming).
==>> This means that, there are NO technical reasons why the AA cannot have BOTH hotspot mode and network mode at the same time... apart from possibly challenging linux driver work which may or may not be outside the existing skill set of your software development team.

4. If you are using TCP/IP network (802.3 artificial mapping of 802.11 associations), use UDP over TCP for streaming. Losing ONE packet is nothing (inaudible) compared of the stuttering caused by repeating entire sequences because of TCP re transmits of last 6-7 packets which can cause very audible "pops" or worse, stuttering.
Posted by: Ian

Re: AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/17/17 03:54 PM

Hi CV,

Our plan was to build the module into our subwoofers but I don't see any reason we couldn't have a separate receiver box for use with our existing subwoofers. Multiple subwoofers can be run from the system.
Posted by: Andrew

Re: AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/18/17 09:54 AM

Hi Eric,

All good points, but I should clarify that the wireless link we are talking about for these new products has nothing to do with the AxiomAir system, the Pi, or WiFi. We are using a proprietary system that runs on the 2.4GHz band but is not WiFi. It is a robust system that happily co-exists with WiFi, has excellent error correction, fidelity, and features frequency hopping to minimize issues with interference. You can think of the AxiomAir section to be independent of the wireless broadcast, and we will be looking at offering the system without AxiomAir capability for those who'd like the option of a wireless subwoofer or wireless stereo speakers, sourced from an existing device or system.

Andrew

Originally Posted By EFalardeau
As it has been mentioned once or twice already, be very careful with wireless products. Alas, not a 100% solution that works in ALL circumstances, but the following guidelines can save you customer troubles (I sat for a few years as observer on the 802.11 committee and this was a common topic).

1. As much as possible support BOTH 2.4 and 5.8 bands; surprising how they get into different and unpredictable types of interference with other products regardless if you use Wi-Fi or non-Wi-Fi protocols [I have point-to-point audio relays at 5G that kills wi-fi networks and were therefore returned to manufacturer with 'carefully' worded explanations]

2. As much as possible, use 802.11 direct (not the embarrassing driver available for free in Linux boxes). "Miracast" is an excellent example of streaming protocol that works WITH a wi-fi network and not against it. That way, collisions and network thrashing can easily be avoided.

3. Exploit the fact that you can have as many wi-fi connections as you want with a wi-fi adapter. The limitation of ONE connection comes from lazy driver remapping of existing 802.3 networks (LAN) to offer TCP/IP over wi-fi. Not sure about open source linux drivers that can do that, but Windows has removed that limitation since Windows 7 (not made very visible to users to avoid confusing them, but it's there anyway and they use for fast media streaming).
==>> This means that, there are NO technical reasons why the AA cannot have BOTH hotspot mode and network mode at the same time... apart from possibly challenging linux driver work which may or may not be outside the existing skill set of your software development team.

4. If you are using TCP/IP network (802.3 artificial mapping of 802.11 associations), use UDP over TCP for streaming. Losing ONE packet is nothing (inaudible) compared of the stuttering caused by repeating entire sequences because of TCP re transmits of last 6-7 packets which can cause very audible "pops" or worse, stuttering.
Posted by: TDIPablo

Re: AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/18/17 02:03 PM

I'm trying to determine if this is something I would need/use and I'm struggling to give this an enthusiastic thumbs up frown

Full disclosure, I already have a 4 zone SONOS setup and I have several Chromecast dongles around the house. Each has their positives but they also have their negatives.

Don't get me wrong, I kind of like what you are proposing but...

1) I'm not sure I want another wifi repeater like tower/device lying around for which I have to hide the wires. If you could somehow make a unit that can draw power from a TV's USB port (like the chromecast) and is small/flat enough to tuck in behind the TV... that would peak my interest... That said, as a unit comparable to a SONOS Connect, I'd be ok with that, especially if it isn't white!

2) The one reason I don't own a Sonos PlayBar is due to lack of HDMI connectivity. Optical will limit you to 5.1 if ever you want to expand this offering (Axiom is, after all, a Home Theater leader wink ).

3) The best unit, in my opinion, in my SONOS system is the Connect:AMP. A 50wpc 2ch unit that allows me to power any pair of speakers and stream music. What would be awesome though, would be 1-ch 25/100/250watt units that can be paired in any configuration (2.1, 5.1, 5.2.2!). I'd compromise finding wall outlets for shorter speaker wire runs...

4) Related to the point above, if you incorporated the above units into your existing speaker line as an option and for less than buying the two separately, that could work better for people with existing speakers not ready to trade in yet... I'm not sure I'd be willing to trade in my Totem's for a pair of M60's with Axiom Air integration just yet wink
Posted by: CV

Re: AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/18/17 05:53 PM

Originally Posted By Andrew
You can think of the AxiomAir section to be independent of the wireless broadcast, and we will be looking at offering the system without AxiomAir capability for those who'd like the option of a wireless subwoofer or wireless stereo speakers, sourced from an existing device or system.


Ooh, I would love to make my subwoofers wireless. If I could simply have a subwoofer control box that hooks up to the subwoofer output(s) of my receiver, along with wireless receivers for each of my subs, that would be my ideal. If a remote control for the box could select and deselect which subs are active, along with the ability to adjust volume levels, that would make the calibration process that much easier. Even more ideal would be the ability to power up and power down the subwoofers entirely with a remote. Not sure how much all of this functionality would cost, but hey, may as well put my wish list in.
Posted by: Ian

Re: AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/18/17 05:56 PM

Hi TDIPablo,

1) This box is designed to fit behind your TV. I does require a wall outlet but the presumption is that one is there for the TV.

2) We don't have any plans currently for a Surround Sound version of this. Our thinking is that most people will wire their theatre system with speaker wires as the surround channels normally do not have AC nearby. This said an amp box like you are mentioning in 3) could have a lot of benefit for some surround channel installations.

3) This is a likely future product for this project for the reasons you mentioned.

4) The price point of the combined speaker/amp combo will be less than the separates.
Posted by: Ian

Re: AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/18/17 06:18 PM

Hi Cohesion,

Very cool idea! I think we would have to call that an AirHead. Perhaps we should mock one up over the next few weeks and start a new thread about what it could do.
Posted by: chesseroo

Re: AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/18/17 07:31 PM

Originally Posted By CV
Originally Posted By Andrew
You can think of the AxiomAir section to be independent of the wireless broadcast, and we will be looking at offering the system without AxiomAir capability for those who'd like the option of a wireless subwoofer or wireless stereo speakers, sourced from an existing device or system.


Ooh, I would love to make my subwoofers wireless.


I second that idea. Given most subs already have its own power source (no other personal amp selection needed), eliminating a cable or two is always a plus.
Posted by: TDIPablo

Re: AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/19/17 01:25 PM

Thanks for the clarification Ian, the picture made it look like a larger unit.

If I didn't already have a Sonos investment, I'd certainly be interested. I like the fact that with Axiom proposed solution, the speaker lineup would certainly be better than the Play:1:3:5.

However, if you could jump the queue and offer a Sonos Connect like device with HDMI input, a Dolby/DTS codec module, and pairing capabilities for 5.1, 7.1, and even 5.2.2... so I could stream Netflix/Amazon and allowing me to ditch a receiver and DVD/BluRay player... I'd seriously consider that. I suspect this would also be popular amongst the condo/apartment crowd where space is a premium and ability to setup a surround sound home theater is difficult seeing they can't run speaker wires through walls.
Posted by: rrlev

Re: AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/29/17 12:02 AM

On the wireless products I'd like to see a single speaker Air (M3). Then a pair would play stereo. My use would be to have portable music which can be moved around the house and yard with decent imaging (like hanging out on the deck). I imagine that this concept could be extended for surround if someone really wanted ... but I'd have no interest in that.

On the bigger speakers I'm not sure WIFI makes sense ... now if your taking internal amplification ... That would be interesting ... just a run from the pre-amp/processor to the speaker. I also wondered if a speaker could be made better with an amp for each driver and lettingr a DSP do the crossover. I bet you could even tweak the parameters to dial in each speaker in the factory ... automatically of course. In any case given a speaker with an amp the WIFI part can be a small add-on the user could buy

Posted by: rrlev

Re: AxiomAir as a Whole System - 09/29/17 12:23 AM

One more thing ... if a sub is plugged in to an air then the DSP should adjust what's going to air's speakers automatically.

I find my air a bit boomy indoors with or with out a sub. It's understandable as you can only get so much from that small of a volume and the air is trying be a lot of things in a lot of situations.