Update (9/13): Thanks for all of the entries into our Small States giveaway, @strikeux is our winner and he has been contacted.
Small States is a new series on 9to5Toys that features small companies that design and manufacture within the United States.
The world of Mac and iOS accessories is packed full of choices, from the gas station 30-pin cables to the top of the line wireless speaker systems. Whatever you are looking for, you are bound to find it in some capacity. But what Danny Mavromatis is setting out to accomplish goes beyond a high quality product, it’s building something with attention to detail in every area. It is creating a high quality audio experience that marries top-of-the-line digital-to-analog conversion with the convenience of AirPlay wrapped in a feel good Made in America package.
Danny has spent the majority of his professional life creating home automation systems for well paying customers in the Seattle, Washington area. That experience has allowed him to see where home automation thrives, but also where the industry is lacking. Many people that shell out a handsome payment for home automation want a high quality experience in every area, starting with the visuals. Frustrated by what was offered in the market place, that led Danny to take his first step into the home automation world with an interface that was both cleaner and easier to use.
“Looking around the market place, there was not really a solution that met the needs of higher-end homes.” Danny says of the home automation market, “There are a lot of these Fisher-Price-like interfaces, and people wanted something that was a little more sophisticated.”
Then it was time to correct the audio portion of home automation, AirPlay is clearly the easiest and most functional option, however the reality is that the AirPlay system cannot handle the highest quality music available on its own.
“We wanted an AirPlay system that offered two-way control with metadata…but also had this amazing digital-to-analog converter (DAC) on board.”
It doesn’t take an audio engineer, or an Apple Genius to know that creating high quality electronics in the United States is not an easy task. While the financial logistics itself are one part of the problem, it’s finding everything you need to accomplish that task that often leads companies abroad. At the heart of Myro:Air is a Wolfson WM8741 DAC that makes it possible to use Apple’s highest quality lossless format over AirPlay. The DAC takes your digital audio and converts it back to an analog signal, ultimately improving the sound quality and upping the volume in the process. This is a really big deal, while the price tag of this DAC is around $13, the majority of them found in your typical audio device run about $.25. As a matter of fact, the majority of you are using low to mid-quality DACs in every audio device that you use, you just don’t know it.
“You’ve got Beats Audio that fits a specific sound, it takes the low-end and makes certain songs sound amazing, but from an audiophile perspective you want a true, flat sound. That’s what you are paying money for. We are using the Wolfson for its quality, paying extra for that algorithym.”
It is easy to pin the Myro:Air into a corner of the audio marketplace, there for audiophiles and people with money to spend. The reality though is that the Myro:Air is a great solution for anyone that wants a high quality audio solution infused with iOS ease-of-use and function.
“Really, you have not been able to do this before, you had to bring in an Airport Express to get the AirPlay. You’d spend $300 to get a quality DAC, $100 on an AirPlay device then try to piece them together.” Danny says as he speaks of the design process, “We spent two-years working with Apple to become MFi-certified, after four or five revisions we found a product we are really proud of.”
Additionally, the Myro:Air provides an excellent opportunity to support a product that is Made in America and sourced from as many North American companies as possible. For Danny, he found that his location in Washington provided a great opportunity for doing just that. With Boeing just down the road, Seattle has a strong community of manufacturers with a skill-set that fit the Myro:Air perfectly. While there were many ways throughout the process that could have been cost-saving, the focus on using American retailers for each piece has proved to be a big piece of the puzzle. The electronics within are manufactured in Portland, the serial number plates are hand-struck in New Jersey, with the assembling happening in Tukwilla, Washington.
“With the restaurant industry, farm-to-table is so popular, and I really wanted to take that mindset to our product.” Danny says of his made in America mindset, “I think we’ve accomplished that, and will continue to strengthen that as demand builds.”
Obviously, first impressions are always key when seeing a new product for the first time. The Myro:Air did not disappoint, from the hand-pressed box label denoting your serial number to the cloth bag and gorgeous walnut stand, it’s a product that looks great on your shelf. When it came time to listen, we sampled a number of different tracks, from the Beatles’ “Hard Day’s Night” to “Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd. As promised, it was like hearing the music in a whole new way. The Myro:Air includes RCA and optical out and is connected to your network via ethernet, Danny himself recommends Audioengine speakers as a nice compliment to the system.
We are excited to giveaway a Myro:Air to our readers this week, which has a value of $599 dollars. Included will be everything needed to get your system up and running, with your own system. To enter, simply follow us on Twitter and retweet this article, or like us on Facebook and share with your friends. We will pick a winner on Saturday, September 13th. For more information on Myro:Air and other products Myro Control, visit their website.