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Old 16th September 2011, 07:31 AM   #1
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Default Audio Inovative Ideas and More ...

first of all i dlike to request moderators to allow my post here eventhough its not solid state issue still.. here it might be more lucky to collect real experts opinions ( if its so against forum rules please move it where ever its supposed to be ) THANKS FOR THAT !!!


Suppose you have a trully inovative idea related to an amplifier , car audio, pc based audio , tool or what ever ...WHAT DO YOU DO ??????

---knock the door of a big manufacturer trying toi sell the idea ?
--- produce samples and go door to door ?
---publish the idea on the internet and alert others ?
---start small scalle production benefit from retail profits and hope for the best ?
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Can you patent the Dx amplifier for example ? i presume not Dx amplifier is an application everyone will change the VBE scheme and patent his own circuit as the ...Px amplifier and so on ..

Can you patent a dimmer application ? obviously not same like the above apply .

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when i was 16 had the idea to produce an electric nail dryer to use at home or cosmetic shops at the time no internet so i sent a letter to Philips saying that i have one idea willing to give for free and bla bla bla .... they didnt even bother to answer .... Now days you will find things like that in every cosmetics shop or institute
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when i was 20 i thought about designing dimmers in a rail protocol since all the peripherals allready exist from home or industrial ready made switch boxes so a six ch dimmer could be housed in allready existiong box

( at the time no DMX only the first 0-10V dimmers and for a small bar that required a 6CH dimmer six of wall based home dimmers had to be housed in a piece of wood or diged in a wall and so on and on )


At the same time i velearned that patents can be very expenisve and also application like that actually can not be patented ...
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some 10 years ago i had the idea of the dual drill ( as seen on telemarketing shops ) a power drill with a dual choke so you dont need to change bits to drills while you are on a ladder ....I tryied to give the idea to Bosch a well known tool manufacturer and they simply didnt bother to listen ....( took almost 6 month of emailing and then i gave up )

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i had a car audio idea .... there i ve meet Bob Carver .. exchange emails with ( very nice guy actually ) he thought that my idea was trully inovative ...with loads of marketing power ....worldwide unic and so on ... try to get someone to listen to the idea in the car audio industry and they simply didnt bother to listen ...Bob at the time he was just about to leave sunfire and had no serious plans the play in the car audio market .

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story was an email telling the yamaha people that """i have a trully inovative idea that may change the car audio amplifier market for ever""" ( for example ) at the time didnt ask to sell the idea ...didnt ask for money ... didnt ask for a confidentiality paper and so on and on .... end of story is the same ... nobody is willing to listen ....

i could be happy if someone said to me that we listen to your idea and we dont think that it has any marketing power ...


any ideas ???

thanks for your time
sakis
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Old 16th September 2011, 09:09 AM   #2
Nrik is offline Nrik  Denmark
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Sakis
As your story shows, the right answer is that if you want to share your idea with the world, you will have to do it yourself ( no pun intended).

I have heard similar stories, and to get the other side of the story I have been discussing with a friend who worked as EE for an big electronics company.
All their engineers had personal qoutas for how many patents they should claim every year, knowing that only some will pass as a real patent, and that only very few where just marginally useful.
One example is, that if a clamshell-mobilephone accepts a call just by opening the clam, instead of opening and pushing a button/screen funtion - that's a patent!

The strategy of companies like these is that if you have a 1000 appearantly useless patents, you may end up using a few in your own products, and you can sue other companies for infringement of a few other of these patents - wich you might never have used yourself. And eventhough the last one is not very creative or part of a normal business of a producing company, it will generate revenue, and will be a strike on the competitor / other company.

So basicly you have to build and sell your own ideas, and hope that no-one throws a lawsuit on you for infringement of a patent wich looks a little bit like your idea.


The next thing is, that when you talk consumer electronics, everything is based on segment-sales strategy, design, marketing and how to position a brand.
The actual sound quality of the products has very little impact on the sales volume, and therefore noone will listen to your great ideas (and this is also the reason why so many high-end CD-players uses crappy opamps).
I worked for 10 years in the import/sales of consumer electronics, and ofcourse this way of doing things is the only way for the big japaneese and american brands. But try also to have a look at the so-called high-end products available these days: You will find that they all use variants of good old-fashioned amplifier technology - nothing wrong with that ofcourse - but they try to charge insane amounts of money if they:
1) Wrap it in a non-magnetic cabinet
2) Use a huge aluminium front ( the thicker - the heftier a price tag)
3) Use funny-named resistors, blue capacitors, red capacitors etc. ( always highlighting the 'sound' of these components - never the technical specs)
4) Use funky looking phono sockets, with extreeeeeeeeme precision in several kgs of goldplated copper ( - and to carry a signal of 0,1-2 volts, 1-50uA, with a maleplug that might be standardized but maybe delibarately avoided and definitily not the same precision, plus the amplifier will be outdated two years later and replaced multiple times, never reaching an age where gold-plating will have its reason.)
5) Overcrowd the sales-text with babble about "endless research" (what's unique in that?), "special selected components" (what's unique in that - it is even true for a chinese PC-loudspeaker), the good old "better than more expensive products" sales pitch, and maybe a feel-good picture of the very nice ( and probably skilled) founder of the company.

I think many people from this forum could have a go on this approach ( i might even do it )
But there must be a limit on how many 5.000-10.000 power amplifiers with thick aluminim fronts that can be sold, so don't sell your house to persue this.

...got a bit carried away there, but hey: - I love this forum!
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Old 16th September 2011, 09:21 AM   #3
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THANKS ... for the input ...

got one vote or going in the open market by me shelf ....I would like to listen to more opinions though

Kind regards
sakis
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Old 16th September 2011, 09:53 AM   #4
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Hi Sakis
Yes its down to your own effort but DIY Audio forum is great for getting your idea off the ground. Members in my experience are respectful if for instance you are just starting in electronics, or wanting to discuss on a sunny morning the conjugate match of an inductor and describe its phase characteristics.

If you have a good idea then publishing it here can semi- launch a small business. I totally agree with about patents. As relief. study what is happening with computers, such things as the GNU/GPL and Creative Commons, and Free Software, the principles there prove its much better to generally release your ideas and gain attribution for the effort you made rather than confine them to a patents office where they may never see the light of day again.

My own contribution has been an article in electronics world June 1997 about overcoming SPDIF and an ongoing work assisting persons to change and improve op amps at opamp - opamp construction

So you can contribute, form a small business if you want to to financially prove your ideas are good, maybe pay for the groceries and have lots of fun too.

Cheers / Chris
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Old 16th September 2011, 07:07 PM   #5
jez is offline jez  United Kingdom
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Nrik is right on the mark on this
I have tried to interest a couple of high end companies in taking on designs of my own over the years and the result was that they tried to get my ideas/schematics for free.... unsuccessfully I might add! There was no way I was going to hand over my IP without payment or legally binding agreement. On their part there was a sudden and complete loss of interest when they realised I wasn't daft enough to just hand over my ideas....
Many companies also have a "not invented here" syndrome, which I can sympathise with to some extent.
It took me far too many years to fully comprehend that engineers often make very bad salesmen or business men... and yes that applies to me as well!
We often approach the whole matter from what (unfortunately) turns out to be completely the wrong angle, spending loads of time trying to optimise the sound and specifications of the product when 95% of customers are only interested in the styling and appearance of the unit and in being able to boast to friends that their amp was awarded 5 stars in a recent review (probably achieved through treating the reviewer to a very expensive meal or a weekend in a posh hotel....).
An interesting example of all this is that when I designed the Alchemist Axiom integrated amp, the companies biggest customer (the importer into Singapore,who from memory was a wealthy and hard-nosed businessman who had his fingers in many pies...) came over to London to be acquainted with various new products. I was introduced as the designer and I began to explain some of the design philosophy etc and I offered a demo... I was very abruptly told that he couldn't care less what it sounded like He then spent quite some time discussing the finish and appearance of the product with my colleagues who were responsible for such matters...
That was a memorable lesson to me that as an EE and audiophile, everything that I hold dear is of little importance in the big, bad, hard world of actually making money.... hence I will probably always be poor whilst charlatans making designer mains cords or special green pens for "improving" the sound of CD's make a fortune!
I have all sorts of original designs and prototypes here which I would love to hope may one day make me some money (hence I don't share them on this very site... maybe one day) but I am not a good business man and have little sense of aesthetics.... These days it seems no longer possible to sell an honest, good sounding, but plain 19" rack cased amp. People want 1/2" thick polished brass front panels and burr walnut end-cheeks.... plus a remote control and USB connectivity of course! As one man running a struggling small business I can't offer that And all the people who want a good sounding amp and aren't too bothered what it looks like are probably on this very forum and getting great reward from DIY-ing it!!
If all this sounds like sour grapes well yes... after a life time in audio electronics it probably is! I know there are many on this site who share a dislike of that particular flavour!
Good luck to you Sakis! But if you want to make money you would be better of re-training in P.R, banking or law
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Old 16th September 2011, 10:25 PM   #6
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"everything that I hold dear is of little importance in the big, bad, hard world of actually making money.... hence I will probably always be poor whilst charlatans making designer mains cords or special green pens for "improving" the sound of CD's make a fortune! "

DIY Audio members, those who make a hobby or small business from audio design and manufacture have for many years been well ahead of commercial offerings. So there is opportunity to be truly innovative in between the period where the mainstream commercial world catches up if they catch up at all. for example:

George Lightspeed attenuator, great idea published on DIY Audio, how many manufacturers are making the same thing ? George no doubt is still selling.

Pass labs schematics and ideas published on DIY Audio, how many amps in the commercial world make the same thing. ? Nelson's products I have no doubt are still selling.

At this very minute I am checking my eBay sales for AD825 op amps with pass transistors, is anyone in the commercial world making the same thing ? NO - and my op amps are selling. I have designed a 4 input LDR preamp using push button digital volume control will anyone copy this I hope so - once I publish a schematic. Will anyone in the commercial world make the same thing ? I seriously doubt it. Will it sell ?- i would be surprised if it didn't, and if not I have made the best preamp possible using every idea I have that will improve my own hi fi system. If I can make and sell 3 of these before Xmas I will be very happy indeed.

A few ideas for making and selling items that I have learned are: Design using surface mount components, and be innovative be prepared when you sell your item to either refund the money or replace it. listen to customer feedback. Don't get stuck making the same thing if it is not selling- if needs be use that same well designed part in another way. Read forums and listen to what people need. Stick at your philosophy of doing the best you can. Be prepared to learn.
Initially have expectation of designing for yourself and if you are happy try selling that item - if you are pleased then maybe another person might be pleased too.

Cheers / Chris

Last edited by Chris Daly; 16th September 2011 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 16th September 2011, 10:51 PM   #7
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My Dear Sakis,

what you are talking about happens thousands of times in one day in different places and is not a unique experience. After you have proven that your idea can be consistently reproduced, then you must ask yourself one of two questions:

1) Are you a trader or
2) are you an investor

If you are a trader you go from door to door and try to trade your idea for money.- This is normally the case with I want to maximise my return as soon as possible and walk away from it with money in my pocket and no further relation with the product or idea.

On the other hand if you are an investor, then you are a different animal and you believe in the product or idea that you have totally and are prepared to invest in your own idea. From this point on you set medium and long term goals that is measureable and achievable, not dreams.

You will invest your own cash in bringing about a final product that is good for sale into the target market that you have chosen from the market intelligence that you have gathered. You have also established what all your investment into the idea or product is worth in MONEY, you need to know this to the last cent.

You now have two roads to follow, that of self finance or that of venture finance. In the self finance environment you believe so hard in your idea that you will take everything you have and turn it into cash and self finance your idea/product right into the market,

If you are short of money then you may find some venture capitalist - who is a person that will put up the finance, which should be made equivalent to what you have put up for some share in the venture and use the venture capitalist's cash to take the product idea to market,

Both these methods work but the guy with the long term vision WILL make money, while the short term traded could make some money or lose money because he is a gambler and will take what he can and leave in a hurry, only to start a new project.

The investor look at the long term, how to make it better, get more market acceptance and penetration, He researches why does other in his market fare well. He will analyze the strength and weaknesses of the organization as a whole and fix things slowly but thoroughly and consistently show his presence in the target market by offering real advantages and benefits where the competitor fall short, This business will slowly encroach on all the competitors slices of their pies and steal customers away from those who has been established in the market.

But with each incremental step you take you make the market aware of it and slowly a new brand is born. Once the brand is established and return on capital employed is positive, you are showing profit, This company has now reaqsed a point where investors see a delicate but tangible grouth path feeling comfortable to invest and buy shares in the company and further make money available to expand the business, Once this rolls out you would have already made several millions, but the chances of making many millions is now guaranteed,

Last edited by Nico Ras; 16th September 2011 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 17th September 2011, 08:04 AM   #8
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good to see you NIco ... nice to hear from you all this nice things ( which i allready know ) but just a blink of hope for some new approach or idea regarding the issue .

for example the amplifier thing we talked together some time ago i still penting not because somebody didnt finance it ...simply because nobody is willing even to listen what is the idea about ...

anyway ...points taken ...will think about it more and let you know

kind regards for you and family always nice to hear from you my friend !!!
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Old 17th September 2011, 08:04 PM   #9
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Hi Sakis,

you can believe it, I read all your posts, you have something interesting to say all the time. One thing I think is, you lack the ability to make other people as excited in an idea as you are.

This is probably why they fail to listen because you only tell uninteresting facts and not excite them in a way to support your idea.

I remember our conversation from three or four years ago well. You could prove to me the concept was good, but never did you sell me the enthusiasm to say okay lets do it together, I will do this and you will do that - it is a problem many analytical people have, they lack the skill to instill excitement and enthusiasm among others luring them into wanting to join in. Take an example from Stephan Jobs - there is nothing super about the iPod, but he influenced half the population to walk around listening to silly little ear buds 24/7.

Good luck my dear Sakis, one day will be your lucky day - it is coming.

Kind regards
Nico

Last edited by Nico Ras; 17th September 2011 at 08:07 PM.
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