We had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Christopher Vick, Sr. Product Manager – Oppo Digital, during the Oppo Sonica launch event where we conducted an interview with him. Excerpts of the interview as below:
HifiHunt (HH): Can you provide a background about yourself & your current profile with Oppo Digital
Christopher Vick (CV): I’m Christopher Vick, a Senior Product Manager with OPPO Digital in California. I’ve been with the company for just over four years now, working primarily with the personal audio division and now with Sonica. My love for hi-fi was passed on to me from my father, and I have fond memories of listening to music from his Sansui SP-5500 speakers and Yamaha R-9 receiver.
HH: What is the reason for Oppo entering into the wireless speaker market which is currently having a lot of players & one which is really getting quite crowded
CV: Before developing Sonica, we only had two product categories: our universal disc players and our personal audio products. Our universal players are excellent choices for people to enjoy music in a dedicated listening room, and our personal audio products are great for listening to music alone or on the go. But if someone just wants to have access to good music anywhere in their home, these existing products are not necessarily adequate: a music system based on our universal player may be too much trouble to setup and operate for casual listening, and wearing headphones while moving around at home is not an ideal proposition, either. We know that there are many wireless speaker products on the market, but many of these are either low quality, or expensive, or both. Our customers demand a quality music listening experience, and our experience with the universal disc players allows us to bring the high resolution audio decoding, wireless connectivity, and app-based user experience over from that product line into developing Sonica, and from the personal audio side, Igor Levitsky, who was the acoustic designer for our planar magnetic headphones, is also the acoustic designer for Sonica, so we knew that we would be able to create a great sounding speaker with his expertise.
HH: What would be the USP of Sonica vis a vis other wireless speakers available in the market
CV: Sonica sells for $299.00 in the US and will sell for ₹29,999/- in India.
HH: Based on reception of the Sonica, what is going to be the next step for Oppo Digital in the portable speaker segment
CV: It is highly likely that there will be additional sizes of Sonica speakers released in the future. Can’t really say more than that at the moment.
HH: Based on your experience, what do you think is the future of the market in general wrt the bluray players, head phones/head phone amps, portable wireless speakers, basically all the segments that your company is currently present in
CV: For our universal players, the future is 4K UHD, and we are currently on track to release our 4K UHD player by the end of the year. For the personal audio segment, I’m excited for the innovations we’ll see if the headphone jack is truly completely eliminated from smart phones. The combination of an efficient set of headphones paired with a high quality amp and DAC built-in to the headphones or the cable itself makes a lot of sense to me. And as for Sonica, we’ll just have to wait and see, though we are currently mulling over some preliminary ideas with regard to expanding the product line.
HH: What have you learned from the trip to India & specifically the market here in general
CV: First of all, this was my first time visiting India, and it was a great experience! I found that the Indian market is a very cost conscious market, and the customer base really seems to look at products very practically: what can this product do for me, what value does this add to my life, etc. A good example of when this way of thinking really “clicked” for me in my mind was after I ordered palak paneer at a restaurant, and the chef told me that it was his favorite dish (it’s mine, too!). But it wasn’t enough to say that it was his favorite, he also felt that it was necessary to add that it was “very high in iron”, so as to increase its value or worth to me. I think that in a way our products embody this way of thinking, because they offer so many features and options at a reasonable cost.
We are grateful to Mr. Christopher Vick, for spending a few minutes with us for the interview and to Mr. Yash Parwani – CEO (Oppo Digital India), for arranging the same.