Let's welcome Sprout into the world


#1

Sprout is the brainchild, passion and obsession of my son Scott. Scott’s our Director of Sales, but he’s been involved in high-end audio and music since he was, well, born.blush_gif After all, he is my son. itwasntme_gif

Scott loves music in a way that makes many of us look pale in comparison. His kind of music, live music, concerts, friends, turntables, and lots and lots of music.

Sprout started about 2 years ago when Scott came to me over beers and asked “I love concerts and live music. But when I go home and listen on my system (and he has a nice small system) it doesn’t sound even close to what it’s like live. Pipe dream or possible?” Of course he and his friends have been to Music Room One and been in awe. “That sounds live. But my friends and I haven’t the real estate or the money to come even close. We listen on vinyl and stream from our phones.” But he was passionate, and we all love passion at PS Audio.

So we gave him the reins and said “yes, it can be done, but it’s a tough big project.” It was important to Scott that every single detail was perfect: the sound, the look, the feel, the price, the accessories, the manual, the packaging. And over two years he’s really thought of nothing else.

We’ve gotten it built, but only a few and they are prototypes. There’s much more to go if it’s ever going to be a real product that we make a lot of (tooling, inventories, etc.). All the feature sets, looks and feel are cemented at this point. And it sounds freaking awesome! This product just is amazing.

Here’s some stats:

  • 50 watts per channel (4 Ohm) stereo power amp
  • Passive EQ MM phono preamplifier built in
  • Line level analog input
  • Line level analog output
  • Asynchronous 192kHz/24 bit DAC
  • USB and coax inputs for digital
  • aptX Bluetooth streaming
  • No silly wall wart power supply. AC inlet with real IEC connector
  • About the size of a novel
  • $799
Our hope in opening up this forum is to start a dialog and we're inviting Scott to manage it. I'll be here for technical help, of course. I hope the Community Leaders jump in and help Scott as well. Scott's never manned a forum and so be gentle and helpful please. This is truly a work of passion on his part. Every person that's ever laid eyes or ears on this product is stunned and wants one. To a person.

No remote control? Old school knobs? You bet, conscious choices agonized over for a couple of years. There’s a philosophy you’ll like with Sprout and I hope you enjoy talking, cussin’ and discussin’ with Scott.

Best of all? Scott’s 30 year old peers can own Sprout, can get into high-end audio, can get concert level performances out of their systems at home. Sprout does that. Sprout brings life to the music and we’re dying to share it with people. We will have 5 of them in Munich at the show. Come listen, touch and feel.

And yes, we’re planning on a Kickstarter program to fund the enormous tooling and inventory costs to allow us to achieve the price point.

Ready to meet Sprout?New-1.jpgNew-2.jpgNew-3.jpgNew-4.jpg


#2

I like it! It’s got sort of a Nagra look about it, very sleek… Only thing I’d suggest if possible is more power.That would allow a wider range of speakers and since if young-er folks buy it they’ll be less likely to blow up speakers with more power…But what do I know I can’t even install a board properlyconfused


#3

Excellent. It’s great to see the McGowan “kids” continuing the family tradition. Best of luck to Scott.

It looks like a good combination of features. I’m an old couch potato so a remote would have been nice but then I’m not the intended audience. (Doesn’t mean I won’t buy one, maybe for my wife’s system.) Very nice looking too. No PS logo that I can see–I take it this is going to be run as a semi-independent operation?


#4

Welcome, Sprout!

And Scott. :)

I, too, like the look and knobs. It has the appeal of the original Tivoli Audio Model One radio. Very nice. The knobs do look a bit like a Nagra (if only they could feel as nice - Nagra has wonderful build quality, but for a price.)

The inclusion of Bluetooth and a phono pre is very smart and reflects a knowledge of the intended market. I similarly love the names for the input selector.

Great to see real speaker connectors and a serious ground lug. Part of the enjoyment of a nice piece is that everything feels good and works well.

There are many great small speakers on the market now. I suggest as part of your marketing you provide express recommendations and either have them for sale or provide sources for easy purchase. The success of the unit depends a great deal on what actually comes out as sound - and you buyers often will not know what to get and will expect miracles from their computer speakers.

Excellent stuff


#5

Thanks guys. I am sure Scott will respond tomorrow. He’s not as insane as I am.


#6
Elk said Welcome, Sprout!

And Scott. :)

I, too, like the look and knobs. It has the appeal of the original Tivoli Audio Model One radio. Very nice. The knobs do look a bit like a Nagra (if only they could feel as nice - Nagra has wonderful build quality, but for a price.)

Excellent stuff


One of the criteria Scott worked really hard on was the feel of the controls. The volume control has a silky stepped attenuator feel while the input selector as about as good as I’ve ever experienced, even on the classy Nagra. I think you’ll be impressed.

#7

Nice looking piece of kit, Scott has learned well from you! This seems like a perfect introduction to the high end for the younger audience, but I’m a little perplexed by one of his goals, “I love concerts and live music. But when I go home and listen on my system (and he has a nice small system) it doesn’t sound even close to what it’s like live. Pipe dream or possible?”. How can a 50 watt system do this? When I think live (for a younger audience), I think loud. Maybe not entirely true, but the point is how does Sprout recreate the live event while other units fail to do this? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Sprout won’t fulfill his goal, I just need a little more explanation of how it gets there.


#8

Thanks @pmotz I am sure Scott will chime in as soon as he’s into the office. Here’s my two-cents worth.

It isn’t really the wattage, it’s everything else about the design. Think for a moment what people are actually listening to when they come home from a concert. His generation either listen to music stored on their phones or, as Scott does, grabs a vinyl record, puts it on the table and turns the volume up. The systems they use to do this aren’t close to high end in the slightest. They don’t have the experience and know how to assemble one, most not even knowing anything like that exists. So they get what looks cool, or use a hand me down cobbled system. And no, it doesn’t sound even close to live.

Sprout comes into the picture in a whole new way. Designed from the ground up as a high performance piece, when you stream from your phone, play a CD or vinyl, everything inside Sprout turns that into music that just sounds right.

Scott laid down the parameters to the engineers. Time and again he’d go to our Chief engineer saying “there’s not enough bass”, “it just doesn’t have the kick of what I hear live”. And each time, they’d know what to do, or come to me and ask. The beauty of our setup is Scott gets what he wants in how the product feels and sounds without having to know anything about what it takes to design and build a high end product. Just imagine how much fun you’d have with full access to our engineering team to build you whatever you want, just the way you want.party_gif

Coupled to a reasonable pair of efficient loudspeakers, that little 50 watt amp kicks butt and fills the room.


#9
Paul McGowan said Just imagine how much fun you'd have with full access to our engineering team to build you whatever you want, just the way you want.party_gif
Is it only me or is there an intentional 'hidden message' burried within this comment? giggle_gif

#10

This is a cool looking product and I am trying to figure out how and where I could use one. Somehow this is a really enticing product, even for a 56 year old kid like me. Problem is that I would have to sell some stuff to be able to buy it right now…

I think that Elk’s comment on recommended speakers and where to purchase is excellent advice. Folks new to this level of audio need some help selecting suitable equipment, and the modest power level of this unit narrows the viable matching options.

Welcome to the club Scott. I hope that this is just the beginning.

J.P.


#11

The size of this thing, match it with a mac mini…that would look great. now the speakers


#12
Frode said
Paul McGowan said Just imagine how much fun you'd have with full access to our engineering team to build you whatever you want, just the way you want.party_gif

Is it only me or is there an intentional ‘hidden message’ burried within this comment? giggle_gif


105_gifWell, just giving you something to think and wish on. No hidden message. But you can imagine how cool it would be …

#13

All the best . It looks great and has an headphone output. Paul I a sure you asked him why ? Hahaha. It’s good a desktop headphone or near field one box solution very good. And it should be good for high effincey speakers as well.

What dac is inside ? If I may ask.

Al


#14
erikm said I like it! It's got sort of a Nagra look about it, very sleek.. Only thing I'd suggest if possible is more power.That would allow a wider range of speakers and since if young-er folks buy it they'll be less likely to blow up speakers with more power...But what do I know I can't even install a board properlyconfused
Wow thanks so much erikm, I love the Nagra stuff too! Certainly everyone likes the most power (especially when it comes to marketing) but from a user's standpoint 50-watts blows the roof off my apartment. Today we were working on overload limits (i.e. how loud until the protection circuit cuts playback) and I was forced to wear earplugs laugh and it never cut out once. This was on a pair of Thiels in Music Room II. At home I use the Peachtree D5's and rarely go above 70% volume.

#15

Thanks @alrainbow it’s a high-end TI. Re headphones, we’ll bring Paul around somedaysmile but I think totally vital for Sprout. It’s a 1-1/4" jack as you can see, and it will come with a 3.5mm–>1-1/4" adaptor.


#16
Paul McGowan said One of the criteria Scott worked really hard on was the feel of the controls. The volume control has a silky stepped attenuator feel while the input selector as about as good as I've ever experienced, even on the classy Nagra. I think you'll be impressed.
Very cool. These things matter. My thought is convincing a new demographic to purchase audio needs to feel it is worth it, inside and out.

Plus, I love good ergonomics. :)


#17
Scott McGowan said It's a 1-1/4" jack as you can see, and it will come with a 3.5mm-->1-1/4" adaptor.
You have clearly thought this through.

#18
stevem2 said Excellent. It's great to see the McGowan "kids" continuing the family tradition. Best of luck to Scott.

It looks like a good combination of features. I’m an old couch potato so a remote would have been nice but then I’m not the intended audience. (Doesn’t mean I won’t buy one, maybe for my wife’s system.) Very nice looking too. No PS logo that I can see–I take it this is going to be run as a semi-independent operation?


Thanks @stevem2 I definitely lucked out :-) Sprout is 100% a PS Audio product, but you’ve noticed that “Sprout” itself is poised (hopefully) to acquire some brand recognition on its own. While we’re super jazzed that our die-hard PS’ers will find satisfaction in this new product, it is most definitely geared towards people who, well, have never heard of PS Audio before. So, why brand it Sprout? I look to the competition for example the NAD D3020 or the Olasonic UA1 or the TEAC AI-301DA (all mini-integrateds) and I don’t think those names engender much personality. If we have one goal with Sprout, it is to remove the alienation that so many “normal” people feel when they look at audio or A/V equipment. Hopefully the short/sweet/tangible name opens this door.

Re: remote control, the decision was made easier by bluetooth, whereby the user can adjust gain on their smartphone or tablet.


#19
Elk said Welcome, Sprout!

And Scott. :)

I, too, like the look and knobs. It has the appeal of the original Tivoli Audio Model One radio. Very nice. The knobs do look a bit like a Nagra (if only they could feel as nice - Nagra has wonderful build quality, but for a price.)

The inclusion of Bluetooth and a phono pre is very smart and reflects a knowledge of the intended market. I similarly love the names for the input selector.

Great to see real speaker connectors and a serious ground lug. Part of the enjoyment of a nice piece is that everything feels good and works well.

There are many great small speakers on the market now. I suggest as part of your marketing you provide express recommendations and either have them for sale or provide sources for easy purchase. The success of the unit depends a great deal on what actually comes out as sound - and you buyers often will not know what to get and will expect miracles from their computer speakers.

Excellent stuff


Thanks Elk, tactile excellence is one of the reasons Sprout took so long to develop. It only has two user interfaces, we we better get them right. Can’t tell you how many potentiometers we rejected for having the wrong feel. Certainly we are trying to make a hands-on, lifestyle product that will never break. Thanks for the input and yes pairing with excellent speakers is a must at some point!

#20
SF said How big/little is it (approx. dimension)?
6"W, 8"D, 1.75"H. About the size of a big novel. Certainly handheld. Weighs about 8lbs out of the box.