Sprout100, initial thoughts

Hi there. I just received my new Sprout100, and overall I’m quite pleased with it.

The remote control is a very clever design, being milled out of a solid lump of Aluminium, with magnets ingeniously used to hold the workings in with no visible fasteners.
A few thoughts I had, if the company is interested for their next generation, or incremental updates:

  • When I took it out of the box (very clever packaging, by the way), the first thing I noticed was that the thin metal bottom plate was very rattly. I would suggest some kind of thin rubber foam gasket or something between the unit frame and the bottom plate would prevent it being so rattly.

  • Next thing I noticed was that the rubber feet were glued on in mis-matched places, not symetrical, or placed in the indented spots for them in the aforementioned thin metal bottom plate, and they appear to be held on with a loose sort of double sided tape or glue of some sort, so it seems like they’ll fall off with the slightest sideways force. It’s a small lack of attention to detail in the manufacture, which is immediately noticable.

  • My initial feelings about the two knobs, the source selection and the volume rotary encoder is: These are the wrong way around. Let me explain what I mean:
    I feel it would be better to have a clicky digital rotary encoder knob for source selection, perhaps with small leds indicating the selected input, in the same style as the power LED. And it would be great if the power knob was a motorised analogue pot, with a marking similar to what the source selector knob currently has, so when I turn volume up or down with the remote, I see the volume knob turning clockwise or anticlockwise, and could then see at a glance where the volume level is set, and it would be ideal if it was only 3/4 of a turn from 0 to 100% volume, from say 8 O’clock to 4 O’clock positions, or perhaps from 7 O’clock to 5 O’clock with firm stops at each end.
    In effect, I wish the knob types were reversed; with a motorised analogue one for the volume, and an digital rotary encoder for source selection, (but still with good firm clicky detents).

This would then allow for my next suggestion, or feature request: Source selection from the remote!!
With a rotary encoder for source selection, it would be simple to add one more button to a redesigned remote control, for cycling through the source selections.

This way, if the unit is in a lounge or in a bedroom etc, one could change the input from digital to bluetooth etc, from one’s seat or bed, rather than having to get up and go over to the unit to change the source.

I also prefer a volume knob with a nice clear linear tactile feel from 0-100%, which has a firm stop at each end of that travel, and with a marker on the knob to see at a glance where the volume is set. The way it currently is, I never have any idea where the volume is set until I either blast my eardrums, or can’t hear it…
Also, the clicks of the current source selector don’t line up the machined line on the knob with the markings printed on the Sprout.

These two knobs need a design re-think, IMO.

As for the sound… It’s good. I’m running it into a pair of Klipsch RP-150M speakers. (The reason I replaced the Klipsch Powergate amp is because it kept auto turning itself into standby mode after 15 minutes of not being used, which drove me crazy.)

Keep up the good work with the Sprout iterations, and I look forward to seeing what comes next!