I got my Sprout today. Hooray!
But, as I was unpacking, I noticed a rattle inside the Sprout. I figured something had come loose inside?
I popped off the bottom panel and quickly found the source of the rattle - a loose screw used to secure one of the motherboards. Please see picture:
It’s pretty obvious where the screw needs to be so I screwed it into place. The screw threads were fine so I don’t think it came loose during shipping. I don’t think it was tightened down during the QC check?
Anyway, I’m glad I caught this. It potentially could have caused a short? I haven’t had a chance to power up the Sprout but I will test shortly and confirm that all is well.
Maybe PS Audio should slow down the QC just a little?
I’m kind of surprised there is no response from any PS Audio staff, but I am happy to report that I tested the S/PDIF input using my LMS Squeezeplug Wolfson DAC output (capable of 192k/24b) and all seems to me okay with my Sprout. I used my Shure 1840 headphones and found a volume level about 12 o’clock produced plenty of sound level. The detail and general sound quality seeemed to be about on par with many other devices I have such as the Benchmark DAC2 HGC and several other DACs I have lying around. I’ll continue to test the other inputs but so far so good!
That screw is one of four that need to be removed to install the copper shielding tape. Since this is a modification being made in-house in Colorado for the Kickstarter run of Sprouts, I would tend to concur with your observation that maybe QC needs to be reviewed. If I had to guess, I would guess the person making the shielding mod hand tightened the screw and forgot to snug it up. There would be enough play between the PC board and the metal standoff to allow it to wiggle loose in shipping. One solution (which would add a few minutes to each QC run) would be to specify a drop of reversible thread locker be placed on the screw before snugging it up. That way even if it weren’t totally tight it wouldn’t back out and the thread locker is typically an opaque color (blue usually) so visual verification is easy.
They seem to really be moving to get all the Sprouts out the door (a number have reported that the stretch goal cable wasn’t included in their order). Now that all of the units are through customs and in CO, there may be an opportunity to take a bit of a breather and refocus on the QC / EC process before the rest of the units (including mine!!!) leave Boulder.
Overall I’m glad to hear you are enjoying your Sprout, however.
Sorry about the screw! I appreciate you taking the time to photograph and send us the report. I have forwarded it on to production to let them know, although I will tell you there’s no big rush back there - as you might think - Sprouts chug out steadily and we do our best to be careful and not rush the process. They take their time, the two ladies working on them are quite good, and get about 30 Sprouts a day tested and updated. The bottom line is we’re not perfect and whenever you have people taking apart things you run the risk of them not going back together properly.
I am delighted you’re happy with it!
Thanks Paul and Andrew for your replies. I continue to put the mighty Sprout through the paces. Today, I tested the Bluetooth streaming. I have a pretty cool android phone called the OnePlus One. It has Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR support. I don’t think it supports AptX? I have heard that the bluetooth has been tweaked to send the highest quality audio possible.
I paired the phone to the Sprout which happened nearly instantaneously. I then used the MediaMonkey for Android app and connected to my LMS server of 6,000 FLAC albums via Upnp/DLNA via WiFi. I was amazed at how good the sound quality via Bluetooth was? I maybe heard a tad of congestion/compression during some really dense musical passages, but overall the sound quality streaming via Bluetooth via WiFi to the Sprout was amazing!
The Sprout is shaping up to be one of the most versatile audio devices I’ve recently had the pleasure to use.
Next up, testing the Phono input.
P.S. BTW, Paul, I think the first PS Audio device I have is the original Source Preamp which I assembled as a kit. So, I don’t mind doing a little assembly/QC on PS Audio’s behalf!
Now there’s a product I haven’t thought of for years. The Source! Thanks for the memories.