The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Pono = Full Employment for Mastering Engineers? Digital Converters
Old 12th March 2014
  #31
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man View Post
Nothing wrong with flat-transfer of original master tapes to high-rez. Let newer generations hear what was!
Newer generations aren't interested in anything that isn't compatible with social media, and this is the antithesis of that. Since there isn't any way to transfer files off the Pono (AFAIK?), that makes it just a dongle for DRM'd music. Even if the files could be moved, they're too big to store and transmit conveniently.

In the approaching era of Google Glass and "wearable computing," the ability to move data around is much more important to younger generations than buying what is essentially a more portable SACD player with locked content.

It won't be popular with indie recording studios and home recording hobbyists either. I don't look forward to having a potential client ask me to record their project in 192/24, because that's ridiculous overkill (IMO) and just limits my available DSP options. My tracking converters could handle it, but there's no reason for me to edit and mix in that format, for the sake of having a "Pono certified" product.

It's all smoke and mirrors, just a way for the labels to churn their catalogs one last time. I'm all for an accepted standard for higher-res audio, but I don't think this is how we'll get there. We'll get there, at least here in the USA, when our Internet infrastructure is improved to South Korea-level speeds, and the kids walking around with their wearable computers can move big data around more easily. If you don't get why that's important, then you don't understand what the younger generations want from their music.
Old 12th March 2014
  #32
Lives for gear
 
Franco's Avatar
 

Verified Member
RubbaDub - All good!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User View Post
You might have missed the bulletin but so is ALAC. Here's some weekend reading: Apple Lossless Audio Codec.

You may also want to have a gander at the Core Audio Format which is very flexible and extensible.

"ALAC is a data compression method which reduces the size of audio files with no loss of information. A decoded ALAC stream is bit-for-bit identical to the original uncompressed audio file." Amazing.
Weekend reading!? It's only a paragraph man, LOL!!!

I haven't used iTunes/iPods since about 2010, and I see that ALAC (which sounds like Apple's answer to FLAC - open source, minimal BS) was developed late 2011. That's cool of them to get on board with things open source, but I wonder if it's too late?

I know lots of people in the audiophile community who have been using FLAC files for years have a dislike for Apple (I know I do). Great of them to finally get off the closed system thing, and as it's typical for Apple, they act like they've invented something that's been around for a while now, so my money is on Pono to lock in the high resolution playback market. As a consumer, I want nothing to do with Apple and I know a lot of people who listen to high definition audio feel the same way.

EDIT: The only info I've read on the Pono player from the Kickstarter page with regards to the player's quality says this: "But the best thing about this shape is that we were able to include the best sounding audio components with absolutely no compromises."

It's shaped like a Toblerone, man. If they did that so that they could pack a nice analog output stage on there, they've already got my interest. That's moxy right there IMO; instead of trying to challenge Apples' "smoooooth" curves and finishes, they opted for a design geared more towards quality. I'm excited.
Old 12th March 2014
  #33
Lives for gear
 
Franco's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foldedpath View Post
In the approaching era of Google Glass and "wearable computing," the ability to move data around is much more important to younger generations than buying what is essentially a more portable SACD player with locked content.
I honestly don't think this thing is aimed to change this type of user. They're aiming this to a small market of people who put audio quality above looking "cool" (in other words, the people who currently call those who wear Google Glass devices "Glassholes").

EDIT: Please look into the FLAC open source format. It's not DRM, you can manipulate the files any way you want on most audio editors (filters for various DAWs have been around for a few years now).
Old 12th March 2014
  #34
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foldedpath View Post
Newer generations aren't interested in anything that isn't compatible with social media, and this is the antithesis of that. Since there isn't any way to transfer files off the Pono (AFAIK?), that makes it just a dongle for DRM'd music. Even if the files could be moved, they're too big to store and transmit conveniently.

In the approaching era of Google Glass and "wearable computing," the ability to move data around is much more important to younger generations than buying what is essentially a more portable SACD player with locked content.

It won't be popular with indie recording studios and home recording hobbyists either. I don't look forward to having a potential client ask me to record their project in 192/24, because that's ridiculous overkill (IMO) and just limits my available DSP options. My tracking converters could handle it, but there's no reason for me to edit and mix in that format, for the sake of having a "Pono certified" product.

It's all smoke and mirrors, just a way for the labels to churn their catalogs one last time. I'm all for an accepted standard for higher-res audio, but I don't think this is how we'll get there. We'll get there, at least here in the USA, when our Internet infrastructure is improved to South Korea-level speeds, and the kids walking around with their wearable computers can move big data around more easily. If you don't get why that's important, then you don't understand what the younger generations want from their music.

I'm looking at the high-res format more as archival - something from which lossy-highly transferrable files can be made - not as a means of listening on the go.

The transfers can remain "flat" through all those stages - no modern processing needed.
Old 12th March 2014
  #35
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franco View Post
I honestly don't think this thing is aimed to change this type of user. They're aiming this to a small market of people who put audio quality above looking "cool" (in other words, the people who currently call those who wear Google Glass devices "Glassholes").
Okay, but does it even make sense for that niche market? Is the DAC on that thing as good as the Grace m902 I use for critical/pleasure listening? Is the headphone amp as good for driving my AKG K701's? And remember I can get high-res files from other sources.

The only advantage I can see for the niche audiophile market is that it's portable. That usually means listening in less-than-ideal environments like cars, or while jogging, where ambient noise makes it harder to hear subtle differences in quality. Audiophiles have better gear at home, and more controlled environments for critical listening.

If it was actually for audiophiles, wouldn't it be better to have a digital output so you could use your own high-end audiophile DAC? Except of course that would defeat the DRM and the labels' ability to churn back catalog, and we can't have that! As a portable player, this is more like Sony's consumer MiniDisk format, where the only outputs were analog, and for the same reasons.

Quote:
EDIT: Please look into the FLAC open source format. It's not DRM, you can manipulate the files any way you want on most audio editors (filters for various DAWs have been around for a few years now).
I know about FLAC and I use it, where it's appropriate. I think we've had direct edit support in Samplitude for FLAC since version 10. As far as I know, there is no digital output from the Pono, which means you won't be putting any files you acquire from the Pono service into your DAW.
Old 12th March 2014
  #36
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man View Post
I'm looking at the high-res format more as archival - something from which lossy-highly transferrable files can be made - not as a means of listening on the go.

The transfers can remain "flat" through all those stages - no modern processing needed.
And how do you plan to retrieve those high-res archives off the Pono device, if it has only analog outputs?

This doesn't meet any definition of "archival" that I'd recognize.
Old 12th March 2014
  #37
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franco View Post
I want nothing to do with Apple and I know a lot of people who listen to high definition audio feel the same way.
Sounds exactly like me and Google.
Old 12th March 2014
  #38
Lives for gear
 
Franco's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foldedpath View Post
Okay, but does it even make sense for that niche market? Is the DAC on that thing as good as the Grace m902 I use for critical/pleasure listening? Is the headphone amp as good for driving my AKG K701's? And remember I can get high-res files from other sources.
Again, I don't know enough about the player, except for the little bit they've mentioned on their page, but I see it's got two outputs, one Line the other Headphone, so it looks like they've got a headphone amp built in. If you know about CMOY amps, you know they can be built pretty small and they sound better than the headphone amplifiers that come built in most "prosumer" interfaces (my CMOY sounds eons better than the headphone amps they built on the MBOX, 002r, 003r which are the ones I've compared it to in the past).

EDIT: I'm not saying they'll put a Cmoy amp in there, just pointing out that headphone designs have improved quite a bit over the last few years and you KNOW Apple has sacrificed quality for the sake of portability; look at the size of the caps on the Pono player when you get a chance!

DAC chips have gotten cheaper over the last few years. I wouldn't be surprised if the DAC in there is comparable to what we were paying $1k for 5 years ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foldedpath View Post
If it was actually for audiophiles, wouldn't it be better to have a digital output so you could use your own high-end audiophile DAC? Except of course that would defeat the DRM and the labels' ability to churn back catalog, and we can't have that!
Why do you think there's DRM involved with this, where have you gotten that from? There's no need for a digital output on the Pono player, you download the FLAC files to your computer. The Pono software syncs the Pono player so you can transfer the FLAC files to it for playback.

If you want to use another DAC, you already have the files on your computer! It's not iTunes, where you can't get the files out of it to play them elsewhere without first having to convert the files to something you can play on other devices (for example, if you bought AACs and want to play them as MP3s, you'd need to convert them, whereas FLACs can be played through the Pono player, or any media player that supports it).

EDIT: The Pono player won't just play FLAC files, it plays: FLAC, ALAC, mp3, WAV, AIFF, AAC (unprotected).
Old 12th March 2014
  #39
Gear Maniac
 

Okay, here's what Wiki says about the file download and sync:

Quote:
"PonoMusic is the device's accompanying desktop-based "media management" system, which allows customers to download and sync music to player. They'll reportedly offer "the finest quality, highest-resolution digital music from both major labels and prominent independent labels". Their online store will also offer "PonoMusic recommended earbud and headphone products". Pono reportedly has backing from major record labels Warner, Sony, and Universal, and has signed a full agreement with Warner."
Nothing said there about DRM, you're right, and if that's the case then some of my objections are moot. I'm not sure we know exactly how this online store and sync'ing to the player works though, do we? I just assumed the majors wouldn't sign up without a DRM component. Has it been confirmed that this process of buying files and sync'ing to the Pono won't involve DRM?
Old 12th March 2014
  #40
Deleted User
Guest
No DRM. Components that surpass the X3 for audio quality.
Old 12th March 2014
  #41
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User View Post
No DRM. Components that surpass the X3 for audio quality.
Can you cite a source for that? Not trying to be difficult here, I'm just curious, because that's going to be key for market acceptance.

I just looked through the FAQ on the Pono web site. It doesn't say anything about being able to use the downloaded files from the online store in any other way than sync'ing to the player. Maybe they don't think you'd want to use the files any other way. But it's still not explicitly mentioning that possibility. Which of course, makes me suspicious.
Old 12th March 2014
  #42
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foldedpath View Post
Can you cite a source for that? Not trying to be difficult here, I'm just curious, because that's going to be key for market acceptance.

I just looked through the FAQ on the Pono web site. It doesn't say anything about being able to use the downloaded files from the online store in any other way than sync'ing to the player. Maybe they don't think you'd want to use the files any other way. But it's still not explicitly mentioning that possibility. Which of course, makes me suspicious.
Google Pono and No DRM.
Old 12th March 2014
  #43
Gear Maniac
 

Okay, Tech Hive calls it "DRM-free music" but there's still nothing about that on the actual Pono site, which is curious. Anyway, we'll see how it works when they release the player and get the store running.

They're doing very well with the Kickstarter campaign. Lots of people in the comment section are asking for digital output on the player, which I think is telling. Some home stereos now only have digital inputs.
Old 12th March 2014
  #44
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User View Post
Components that surpass the X3 for audio quality.
9 hours ago you hadn't even heard of the X3 and now you can confirm 100% that the Pono surpasses it in terms of audio quality. That was fast even by the low standards some set here.
Old 12th March 2014
  #45
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User View Post
9 hours ago you hadn't even heard of the X3 and now you can confirm 100% that the Pono surpasses it in terms of audio quality. That was fast even by the low standards some set here.
It should only take 9 seconds of comparing product info to get an idea of who's using better components. Plus the Pono's got that Toblerone shape to give it all that chocolatey goodness.

And I wasn't speaking personally before about the X3 - I have heard of it and considered buying it at that attractive price. I'm sure it's a cool thing. But the 8gb capacity is too small for me - Pono is 64gb.
Old 12th March 2014
  #46
Lives for gear
Are bats and cats the target audience for those albums?
There is no reason (except marketing) to use 192 kHz sampling for the end format.
Most converters spec worse at 192 than at lower frequencies.
Old 12th March 2014
  #47
Deleted User
Guest
I would agree that 96 seems "good enough". But in a few years disk space won't be a concern, so why should we settle for "good enough"? We've been listening to compromised digital for too long, let's not continue to make that mistake.
Old 12th March 2014
  #48
Gear Maniac
 

Here's another thought. Is it confirmed that the media manager app on your computer will actually save a local high-res file when you buy from the online store, without the Pono attached? Or does it just sync to the Pono player and transfer the file directly there, without saving a local copy on your computer?

If that's how it works (and I don't know, just wondering), then that would be a form of DRM, because you would still have no direct access to the high-res digital file. I'm still scratching my head and wondering why the labels are all so eager to sign up for this, otherwise.
Old 12th March 2014
  #49
Deleted User
Guest
If it's some special kind of FLAC that can't be saved on your computer and moved anywhere, I'd be very surprised.

I think the labels are eager to sign up for this because it's a way to sell a lot of great-sounding, relatively expensive music. The only question is why they didn't start selling FLACs 10 years ago - would've saved a lot of those knuckleheads their jobs.
Old 12th March 2014
  #50
Lives for gear
 

I don't think Pono will have any effect on Mastering or Engineers or music etc even though i like the idea. I am curious as to who the investors are that bumped Neil Young's Kickstarter over 800k.

Are they youngsters? probably not. Oldsters? Maybe...

At this studio we already make 88 or 96k versions of every project we work on. We only down sample for CD or streaming. Vinyl stays high res.

I assume most engineers are already in this boat.


As to the economic component of that question, I think we need a middle class in america if anyone expects to get paid better or even 'enough' in the arts. especially in music..
Old 12th March 2014
  #51
Lives for gear
 
Franco's Avatar
 

Verified Member
I can see why there's a ton of skepticism about the DRM thing; why would the major labels be on board with this if there isn't some big profit to be made?

Perhaps they've learned some things over the years. Maybe they understand that restrictions suck and that a lot of artists feel their music isn't being delivered to the masses the way they'd like it to be. With regards to you owning the music you've purchased and being able to play it anywhere you want, they say this in their FAQ:

"The record companies set their own digital music prices, label by label. High-resolution digital albums at PonoMusic.com are expected to cost between $14.99 -$24.99, and there may be exceptions. For this price you get the best quality digital music available anywhere, you own these albums forever - they don’t live only in the cloud, but also on your computer and backup disc, and you can play them anytime you wish on your PonoPlayer or other compatible devices."

I do agree that an argument for 192k sampling rates is a bit over the top. I think eventually, that's going to be the equivalent of 2" tape for digital (budget studios who can't track 24+ tracks at that sample rate might find themselves upgrading if they see business going to studios that can).

Imagine that, people saying things like "Oh there's a difference between 44.1k and 192k, I can hear the difference on my player." That's the polar opposite of what an iPod is to me, and I love it!

As far as Apple fanboyism, I have absolutely zero arguments against it that might make them see this as something better than what they currently have; some people will cut their own mother if she says "son, it's not all that." LOL! Interesting times for sure!
Old 12th March 2014
  #52
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewAllianceEast! View Post
As to the economic component of that question, I think we need a middle class in america if anyone expects to get paid better or even 'enough' in the arts. especially in music..
Here here. That's what I figured, that for most albums the highest res that exists is 96k. And in the video, Neil (and others) talk about how at 96k you're still underwater, you don't get to hear the "air" until 192k. So it seems that by that marketing logic (which I agree is a bit excessive), then all albums will have to be available at 192k or the customers aren't getting the real deal. No problem for the old stuff recorded analog - that can be transferred at 192k. But most modern stuff was only done at 96k or below. I guess you could "re-master it for Pono" at 192 but I don't know how many records will actually be re-mastered that way.
Old 12th March 2014
  #53
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franco View Post
I can see why there's a ton of skepticism about the DRM thing; why would the major labels be on board with this if there isn't some big profit to be made?

Perhaps they've learned some things over the years. Maybe they understand that restrictions suck and that a lot of artists feel their music isn't being delivered to the masses the way they'd like it to be. With regards to you owning the music you've purchased and being able to play it anywhere you want, they say this in their FAQ:

"The record companies set their own digital music prices, label by label. High-resolution digital albums at PonoMusic.com are expected to cost between $14.99 -$24.99, and there may be exceptions. For this price you get the best quality digital music available anywhere, you own these albums forever - they don’t live only in the cloud, but also on your computer and backup disc, and you can play them anytime you wish on your PonoPlayer or other compatible devices."

I do agree that an argument for 192k sampling rates is a bit over the top. I think eventually, that's going to be the equivalent of 2" tape for digital (budget studios who can't track at 24+ tracks at that sample rate might find themselves upgrading if they see business going to studios that can).

Imagine that, people saying things like "Oh there's a difference between 44.1k and 192k, I can hear the difference on my player." That's the polar opposite of what an iPod is to me, and I love it!

As far as Apple fanboyism, I have absolutely zero arguments against it that might make them see this as something better than what they currently have; some people will cut their own mother if she says "son, it's not all that." LOL! Interesting times for sure!
I hear you. Sometimes when something really cool happens and the question is "if this was possible, why didn't anyone do it before?", the answer is "Neil Young."
Old 12th March 2014
  #54
Lives for gear
 
silverking's Avatar
 

With 1.5 million dollars in crowd-funding in less than a day (almost double the target number), it appears the general public is speaking out quite clearly about PONO and how they feel about a higher quality audio player.

All Neil Young's doubters and naysayers immediately become irrelevant once the public starts making clear what they want to see in an audio player.

There will still be lots of "it won't work because........." comments still, none of which matter when people are clearly eating PONO up before it's even launched.

The references to Apple simply making an equivalent product available with an iDevice firmware update to existing players are definitely interesting and no doubt will be monitored by millions of Apple fans. But the massive number of folks out there who despise Apple will make their presence known, all of whom would jump at a PONO (higher quality and more open, and NOT Apple) music player.

I've felt Neil Young was right all along ... the general public do want higher quality audio and a higher quality audio playback device whether they know it or not
Old 12th March 2014
  #55
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User View Post
It should only take 9 seconds of comparing product info
Where do you find detailed information regarding the hardware and software? All I see on the Pono Music site is four spurious statements written by marketing. They spend more time outlining dimensions and the easy to use controls than on anything that is vaguely useful.

Even their math is faulty in the comparison of different formats, I didn't even need 9 seconds to notice.

The only thing the Pono does that is vaguely interesting is the little blinking light that alerts the listener that "hi-res" music mode is now active. I am sure Blackberry users will enjoy that feature. The rest is poorly executed marketing and false advertising that apparently few notice.

cheers,
Reynaud
Old 12th March 2014
  #56
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewAllianceEast! View Post
At this studio we already make 88 or 96k versions of every project we work on. We only down sample for CD or streaming. Vinyl stays high res.

I assume most engineers are already in this boat.
We're at 96k and have been for a while, but no plans to go higher. It won't affect mastering engineers that much if clients start bringing in 192k mixes, but imagine the impact on smaller recording and mix studios. Especially since there is no reason to go higher with today's converter and filter quality.

It's also silly to spec 24 bits of dynamic range in an end-user format, but I guess that's a different discussion.
Old 12th March 2014
  #57
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User View Post
I would agree that 96 seems "good enough". But in a few years disk space won't be a concern, so why should we settle for "good enough"? We've been listening to compromised digital for too long, let's not continue to make that mistake.
Agreed! Why not?!
Old 12th March 2014
  #58
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User View Post
I would agree that 96 seems "good enough". But in a few years disk space won't be a concern, so why should we settle for "good enough"? We've been listening to compromised digital for too long, let's not continue to make that mistake.
96 isn't just good enough, it's more than good enough.
Many converters have higher distortion and noise in the audible range when used at 192 than when used at lower sampling rates.

It's almost like shooting a film with an IR camera.
Old 13th March 2014
  #59
Gear Maniac
 

And how is a large portion of the world going to obtain this new format over the feeble narrowband? Oo I bought a new album - it will finish downloading in 3 weeks. And yeah, it sounds so much better in my earbuds.

Nice idea - park it next to minidisk and 8track cartridge.
Old 13th March 2014
  #60
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
The snipers, experts and GS guessers need to wait until the fully fledged product / store is out this Fall.

Posters are simply not informed about the product.
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump