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Launch of Pono Studio Headphones
Old 12th April 2014
  #2971
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bogosort's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
Yikes.
Really? Thought you were encouraging people to be nice.

Quote:
If you're taking samples of a 60 hz signal, and you're taking them at 192K and averaging them together so you output the average of four adjacent samples, it's going to be more accurate than if you had just used the one. This works in scanning, in photography, and certainly in audio. Weighting them might reduce the effect because some samples will dominate, keeping coefficients purely equal will optimize the effect, but as long as there's sampling error in the data point taken at a given sample, averaging will improve accuracy of low-frequency information sampled, and suppress noise.

That's distinct from handling it in normal sampling-theory manner, where you'd get 96K output but would probably end up with more noise than with a 44.1K sampling (a point I think Monty made).
This would all be relevant if we were talking about noise.
Old 12th April 2014
  #2972
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ephi82 View Post

I don't think is an argument about who can hear the difference between MP3 and 96/24. It's an argument for better recordings AND better hardware to hear them close to what they sounded like at the mix or master
!
Sure, that's great, I agree.
But they want to charge up to $25 for an album and haven't announced any single song downloads yet.
You talk about mass consumers. The biggest trend in music consumption is streaming. Pandora and Spotify are either free or charging peanuts. One of the most popular platforms for playing music is YouTube!
I'm all for better quality, but if you just price quality out of the budget of most people you might as well not bother.
Old 12th April 2014
  #2973
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
what I would love to know is WHY people hope for one thing over another.
Ya, I concur... I don't get it. I mean, if you are an investor in Pono then I guess you might have such hope. So there is that. But for the rest of us? Why "hope?"

I think the record companies might also share that hope, because that would mean there is yet another reason why they can resell you all your classic rock and jazz recordings.

I think if we were going to have "hope" I personally would hope we would find a way to make an audio chain from microphone to transducer that sounds the way it really sounds in the room. So far though we ain't got that!
Old 12th April 2014
  #2974
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
If you're taking samples of a 60 hz signal, and you're taking them at 192K and averaging them together so you output the average of four adjacent samples, it's going to be more accurate than if you had just used the one. This works in scanning, in photography, and certainly in audio. Weighting them might reduce the effect because some samples will dominate, keeping coefficients purely equal will optimize the effect, but as long as there's sampling error in the data point taken at a given sample, averaging will improve accuracy of low-frequency information sampled, and suppress noise.

That's distinct from handling it in normal sampling-theory manner, where you'd get 96K output but would probably end up with more noise than with a 44.1K sampling (a point I think Monty made).
I don't really understand this, but it sure seems to go against what I understand about digital audio.

Moving the sampling points closer together would only result in the ability to represent higher frequencies. A 60hz waveform can only be represented in one way regardless of how many sample points. Any additional harmonics in that 60hz waveform will be represented properly up to 22k, so more sample points would indeed allow you to properly capture additional harmonics above 22k... but you can't hear those harmonics. So whether those additional frequencies are properly represented in the waveform or not... they cannot be heard, at least according to our current understanding.

I'm surprised that you would use photography/scanning as an example because that just doesn't seem relevant. More dots = pixel density which can be useful in many ways (up to a certain point). But in any case as long as you are representing colors inside the visual spectrum they can potentially be seen.
Old 12th April 2014
  #2975
Hope?

Well I don't like mp3's and I don't like Spotify. So I'm hoping for a retail situation to emerge that puts consumers in touch with creators, and where good (enough) quality audio can be exchanged for real money.
I've looked at Bandcamp and most of the artists I like don't have anything on there, or maybe one album. ITunes is a middleman that doesn't care about music, but at least you can find most music, at a reasonable price, now in CD-ish quality.
I 'hope' that mass consumers will start financially supporting recordings (specifically) again. Because records are a product distinct from live.
I cherish my Earth, Wind and Fire albums. I've listened to them over and over, thousands of times. I saw them live once but it was a waste of money. They played the local enormodome and all you could hear was the bass and bass drum.
Old 12th April 2014
  #2976
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bogosort's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
I don't really understand this, but it sure seems to go against what I understand about digital audio.
What he's talking about has to do with quantization: the noise floor of a sample is fixed by the word length. But if we're allowed to average the amplitudes, we can actually lower the noise floor a small amount. You're right though, this has nothing to do with the sampling theorem or frequency.
Old 12th April 2014
  #2977
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by S21 View Post
Preparing for a possible course of action is not the same as taking that action.
which is just you way of admitting you have no idea what Apple is going to do and when they are going to do it. I guess it is also your way of admitting you did not read the linked article.

Quote:
99.9% of users of apple devices are not aware that hires audio exists. 99.9% of users of apple devices are not aware that their DACs and headphone amps are not good enough.

99.9% of users of apple devices care about the music, not the audio. ....
99.9% of all statistics are made up on the spot. But thank you for doing the thousands of dollars worth of demographic polling and market research.
Old 12th April 2014
  #2978
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paul brown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post

99.9% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
the old ones still make me chuckle!
Old 12th April 2014
  #2979
S21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
which is just you way of admitting you have no idea what Apple is going to do and when they are going to do it. I guess it is also your way of admitting you did not read the linked article.



99.9% of all statistics are made up on the spot. But thank you for doing the thousands of dollars worth of demographic polling and market research.
Yes, 99.9% of statistics are made up on the spot. :-)

I did read the linked article. Rumours are not always the truth. How can hires give better bass extension? LOL.
Old 12th April 2014
  #2980
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chrisj's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
What he's talking about has to do with quantization: the noise floor of a sample is fixed by the word length. But if we're allowed to average the amplitudes, we can actually lower the noise floor a small amount. You're right though, this has nothing to do with the sampling theorem or frequency.
Right! Exactly. And it doesn't get you anything in terms of frequency, but in normal digital-audio terms 192K is wasted frequencies, with virtually nothing up top at 90K to be heard and nobody to hear it.

Used as grist for a moving-average mill, it's not wasted. We lower the noise floor a bit, and the transition from passband to stop band has zero ripple. Any 'bad filtering' stuff that gets through is already very weak (because the signal ain't there in the first place), attenuated somewhat by the 'bad' filter, and can't be heard in the first place because it's 90K.

It's a good design. I want one
Old 12th April 2014
  #2981
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
Buying hand made IEC power cables for your gear is also "raising the bar on the quality of hardware." But will it make an audible difference? There's lots of ways to raise the hardware quality bar.. what's the point if it doesn't improve the sound?

I appreciate your perspective but an improvement just for improvement sake doesn't make sense to me.
I'm going to assume you are a pro in the audio world? Please confirm?

I am the last person to buy into the snake oil aspects of audio technology (like rare unobtanium speaker wire). My speaker wire came from Home Depot. No special stones sitting on my CD/DVD/BR player either.

You seem very cavalier in dismissing my (and several other's points) that a playback system, with high quality DACs, a robust and well made analog output stage and great phones, won't sound appreciably better than an IPOD with $10 earbuds, especially if playing a recording that was done with care.

As someone who I assume is a audio pro, (or is at least an educated hobbyist like me) you lose credibility with me in saying gear doesn't make a difference?

Quality gear, great engineering, tracking, mixing and mastering all impact how great things sound. So too, playback gear.

Final comment: I again find great irony that many AE's, based on the current ABX testing methodology, have concluded that MP3 320 is as good as anyone can hear. I am not qualified to weigh in on these technical bits

However, if MP3 320 is all you need, all of you should be fired for advocating for the equipment that your studios buy that records and plays back in what we call "Higher Res" formats. What the frig is up with that?????????
Old 12th April 2014
  #2982
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Oh, don't be so bloody awkward Joe. Is it really so tricky to relate to hope for a standard of a better sounding delivery format? You don't like the idea of that?
I was primarily referring to those magical thinkers who apparently "hope" for thing like: human beings hearing higher than human beings can hear! What's it to them that scientists measure it to be about 20k? (And you know, if someone said it was 25k, they would "hope" for 30!) What's up with that? It's like "hoping" that water boils at 98 degrees Celsius instead of 100.

Here is my "hope" for a better format: a format that actually sounds better enough that you can pick it out with your eyes closed, at normal listening volumes, with music that you are not necessarily familiar with, in front of witnesses on almost any speaker. A format so obviously better that all the QUIBBLES about how 'hard' ABX testing is, melt away; and all the "pressure" of taking a "test" rolls off your back.

I do like the 'idea' of a better-sounding delivery format, but time and again most humans find themselves incapable of distinguishing the "better" format from the current one with their eyes closed. In fact, they are hard-pressed to differentiate high rate mp2 from .wavs!

To "hope" that they CAN distinguish it is not the same thing as them hoping for a better format. To argue against the evidence staring them in the face does not improve the format itself. The bottleneck seems to be in THEM - not in the format. Only once this rather inconvenient fact is faced, can we get on with what should have been our primary mission from the beginning: improving the quality of the original CONTENT.

For example the Loudness Wars: how about using more than 3dBs of the current 90 we have available on CD before crying that our delivery system needs 144?
Old 12th April 2014
  #2983
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S21 View Post
Yes, 99.9% of statistics are made up on the spot. :-)

I did read the linked article. Rumours are not always the truth. How can hires give better bass extension? LOL.
if you have read many of my posts in the thread I am one of the "Scoffers." Nevertheless, it seems pretty clear Apple is getting on the bandwagon.

Until I hear a difference that matters to me with my eyes closed, I will be using my discretionary income to purchase more songs at "regular" quality!
Old 12th April 2014
  #2984
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ephi82 View Post
You seem very cavalier in dismissing my (and several other's points) that a playback system, with high quality DACs, a robust and well made analog output stage and great phones, won't sound appreciably better than an IPOD with $10 earbuds, especially if playing a recording that was done with care.

As someone who I assume is a audio pro, (or is at least an educated hobbyist like me) you lose credibility with me in saying gear doesn't make a difference?
Sorry, not what I am trying to say. The biggest differences are transducers of course, so better headphones and speakers will improve the sound audibly. You don't need Pono for that. Whether better DACs will make a difference these days, believe it or not, is not something I have a strong opinion on. I certainly used to hear a difference in DACs, but today I don't seem to anymore. Sure, my macbook has more noise/higher noise floor than my studio converters. But even my macbook is far better than what we used to get in old DVD players.

I guess I'm saying that the main feature of Pono appears to be higher sample rate/bit depth audio that is not "underwater listening." That is not a real difference, IMHO. I have a hard time believing the DAC is going to be appreciably/audibly different than what is in my iPod/iPhone, but if it is that is great! That is not what they appear to be selling though.

Quote:
Final comment: I again find great irony that many AE's, based on the current ABX testing methodology, have concluded that MP3 320 is as good as anyone can hear. I am not qualified to weigh in on these technical bits

However, if MP3 320 is all you need, all of you should be fired for advocating for the equipment that your studios buy that records and plays back in what we call "Higher Res" formats. What the frig is up with that?????????
You are certainly qualified to determine what you can and cannot hear!

24 bits is a very sensible improvement when recording digital audio as it allows you to be more relaxed and forgiving in your recording levels, and record at safer levels. Also, some people have said there are advantages for plugins when recording or operating at higher sample rates (I don't know).

But we all know there are no companies in the world who will stop marketing the next big thing just because it's not worth it.
Old 12th April 2014
  #2985
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ephi82 View Post
Final comment: I again find great irony that many AE's, based on the current ABX testing methodology, have concluded that MP3 320 is as good as anyone can hear.
as a delivery format

with a mixed and mastered album of full-program material, only a few people are passing blind tests. So to be on the safe side, sure lets have 44.1 to be fair to the handful of Outliers, or for the occasional album of Triangle Duets.

But in the studio, capturing raw files, processing them, manipulating them, mixing them down, you don't START WORKING with your delivery format.

That's a Straw Man.

If someone wants to pass an ABX for 44.1 vs 96k - I am prepared to accept that as well. But I see no convincing evidence that anyone can under normal circumstances. The guy linked earlier has had his challenge up since September. Not even one taker.
Old 13th April 2014
  #2986
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
quotes from that clip:

"this is like vinyl"
"this is like vinyl but better"
"like from a vinyl record player" "it's vinyl quality"
"it's vinyl on the palm of your hand"
"it sounds so organic, everything sounds so digital now days"
"vinyl quality sound"

like... what?
Pono brought those kids there via a time machine? No wonder they're amazed of the quality..

That video doesn't make any sense what-so-ever.
Old 13th April 2014
  #2987
As a quality benchmark, I don't think we need to settle on the average - what most in the audience can identify. We can still go above average.
I would think most people can't determine between base level mp3 and CD.
We just don't want to sell snake oil.
Old 13th April 2014
  #2988
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teofunk View Post
quotes from that clip:

"this is like vinyl"
"this is like vinyl but better"
"like from a vinyl record player" "it's vinyl quality"
"it's vinyl on the palm of your hand"
"it sounds so organic, everything sounds so digital now days"
"vinyl quality sound"

like... what?
Pono brought those kids there via a time machine? No wonder they're amazed of the quality..

That video doesn't make any sense what-so-ever.
To be fair, vinyl is the fastest growing sector in music retail. So it's very likely people attracted to Pono may have heard vinyl and enjoyed the experience.
caveat: Vinyl sales are up from a very low base and remain destined for an uber niche market.
Old 13th April 2014
  #2989
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
To be fair, vinyl is the fastest growing sector in music retail. So it's very likely people attracted to Pono may have heard vinyl and enjoyed the experience.
caveat: Vinyl sales are up from a very low base and remain destined for an uber niche market.
I'm a super hipster myself, like baseball cap and everything, and I don't listen to vinyls.. damn I don't even know anybody who does. I know some folks that listen to casettes.. and I do spin some old reel-to-reels on parties..

But I've to give credit to Pono for digging up these vinyl loving youngsters.. from under a rock made of.. vinyl.. I suppose.

And honestly "the fastest growing sector" - that doesn't mean anything since every single market is dropping..

But yeah, they do press vinyls around here as well, like a small special edition (I don't think they make any money out of those though).

edit: It's not like nobody has vinyls, everybody has vinyls but nobody listens to them anymore..
Old 13th April 2014
  #2990
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Ephi82's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
Sorry, not what I am trying to say. The biggest differences are transducers of course, so better headphones and speakers will improve the sound audibly. You don't need Pono for that. Whether better DACs will make a difference these days, believe it or not, is not something I have a strong opinion on. I certainly used to hear a difference in DACs, but today I don't seem to anymore. Sure, my macbook has more noise/higher noise floor than my studio converters. But even my macbook is far better than what we used to get in old DVD players.

I guess I'm saying that the main feature of Pono appears to be higher sample rate/bit depth audio that is not "underwater listening." That is not a real difference, IMHO. I have a hard time believing the DAC is going to be appreciably/audibly different than what is in my iPod/iPhone, but if it is that is great! That is not what they appear to be selling though.



You are certainly qualified to determine what you can and cannot hear!

24 bits is a very sensible improvement when recording digital audio as it allows you to be more relaxed and forgiving in your recording levels, and record at safer levels. Also, some people have said there are advantages for plugins when recording or operating at higher sample rates (I don't know).

But we all know there are no companies in the world who will stop marketing the next big thing just because it's not worth it.
Great! We are actually closer in our thinking than I thought.

You aren't George Massenburg by any chance?
Old 13th April 2014
  #2991
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ephi82 View Post

You aren't George Massenburg by any chance?
You are closer than you thought, he isn't an 'audio professional'.
Old 13th April 2014
  #2992
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teofunk View Post

And honestly "the fastest growing sector" - that doesn't mean anything since every single market is dropping..

But yeah, they do press vinyls around here as well, like a small special edition (I don't think they make any money out of those though).

edit: It's not like nobody has vinyls, everybody has vinyls but nobody listens to them anymore..
But whatever the argument, you need to accept the true facts. Vinyl sales are going up, NOT dropping.
Lot's of people are buying and listening to vinyl, especially in the EDM scene.
Nielsen/Soundscan sales figures for first quarter 2014 - digital sales down 13% EDM up 2.7%.
Old 13th April 2014
  #2993
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ephi82 View Post
Great! We are actually closer in our thinking than I thought.

You aren't George Massenburg by any chance?
LOL.. NO! I'm a big fan of his... the sound of some of his records is amazing.

Lyle Lovett... "Josha Judges Ruth"... sublime!
Old 13th April 2014
  #2994
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teofunk View Post

edit: It's not like nobody has vinyls, everybody has vinyls but nobody listens to them anymore..
What about this guy!?!?



Coolest hipster EVAH!
Old 13th April 2014
  #2995
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Ephi82's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
as a delivery format

with a mixed and mastered album of full-program material, only a few people are passing blind tests. So to be on the safe side, sure lets have 44.1 to be fair to the handful of Outliers, or for the occasional album of Triangle Duets.

But in the studio, capturing raw files, processing them, manipulating them, mixing them down, you don't START WORKING with your delivery format.

That's a Straw Man.

If someone wants to pass an ABX for 44.1 vs 96k - I am prepared to accept that as well. But I see no convincing evidence that anyone can under normal circumstances. The guy linked earlier has had his challenge up since September. Not even one taker.
I admit I went extreme to make a point. I dont question that most music consumers dont hear a difference between MP 3 320 and CD's or even SACD etc. My kids have been pounding me on this for 15 years.

However, I bought back some credibility with them when I sat them down at the mix position in my studio and played back a mix from my RADAR. I know from their faces, and comments, that they never heard "audio" like that before.

Whats up with this? This was 44.1/24 bit audio delivered through quality conversion and quality transducers? Heck, if you worry about expectation bias, my kids were predisposed to dismiss the sonic quality of what I was playing for them!

Because of this, I believe hardware makes a big difference and there might be more to the story than the conclusions reached based on today's "state of the art" ABX testing methodology.

It's an amateur's opinion, but its mine !
Old 13th April 2014
  #2996
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Ephi82's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
LOL.. NO! I'm a big fan of his... the sound of some of his records is amazing.

Lyle Lovett... "Josha Judges Ruth"... sublime!
Yes sir, sublime and incredible! One of my favorite "recordings" from a sonics perspective. Brilliant.

and one of my few DVD audio discs (have it too on CD)

I could be deluded, but the DVD audio has a better soundstage and a sonic weight not available on the CD. It sounds to me like being in the control room. (according to ABX testing, this is delusional!)

Might be a different master than for the CD?
Old 13th April 2014
  #2997
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
But whatever the argument, you need to accept the true facts. Vinyl sales are going up, NOT dropping.
Lot's of people are buying and listening to vinyl, especially in the EDM scene.
Nielsen/Soundscan sales figures for first quarter 2014 - digital sales down 13% EDM up 2.7%.
Yeah, you were totally right: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinyl_revival

US #2 vinyl 2012: Abbey Road by The Beatles
UK #2 vinyl 2012: Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie

I suppose I've to stop living in the past and jump on this vinyl craze while I still can.
Old 13th April 2014
  #2998
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teofunk View Post
Yeah, you were totally right: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinyl_revival

US #2 vinyl 2012: Abbey Road by The Beatles
UK #2 vinyl 2012: Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie

I suppose I've to stop living in the past and jump on this vinyl craze while I still can.
You just can't help yourself from twisting the truth.
The number one spots were filled by Jack White and The XX.
If you look at the top ten in US and UK, the contemporary artists vinyl sales are outstripping the 'legacy' artists.
Old 13th April 2014
  #2999
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
To be fair, vinyl is the fastest growing sector in music retail. So it's very likely people attracted to Pono may have heard vinyl and enjoyed the experience..
vinyl has a very distinct sound, though. And it has all kinds of noise and artifacts of a specific type not present in any digital, much less high resolution digital

the syllogism seems to be:
"I like vinyl"
"I like this"
"Therefore this sounds like vinyl"


these are hardly the people whose ears I wish to entrust the future of delivery formats to

I said it before, I think a big chunk of this "sounds like vinyl" ridiculousness is just a face-saving way to cave in to digital and skip the HASSLE of vinyl.
Old 13th April 2014
  #3000
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ephi82 View Post
This was 44.1/24 bit audio delivered through quality conversion and quality transducers? Heck, if you worry about expectation bias, my kids were predisposed to dismiss the sonic quality of what I was playing for them!
Well that's the thing about expectation bias! Just because you think you know which 'direction' it is supposed to work does not let you off the hook from designing a test that eliminates it.

nevertheless, I would tend to agree about 24 bit. My own personal listening experiments give much more weight to 24 bits vs 16 bits than double or quadruple sample rates.

Quote:
Because of this, I believe hardware makes a big difference and there might be more to the story than the conclusions reached based on today's "state of the art" ABX testing methodology.
I believe it has to be one or the other.
if it is a "big difference", then even today's "poor" ABX testing methodology should be sufficient for determining that difference is real. If we need to wait for more sublime hair-splitting ABX testing - perhaps a professional massage therapist giving you a backrub while you listen?- then the difference is, by definition, not very "big"

Once again, I do tend to agree that better converter hardware is going to be more audible than high sample rate per se. But Pono and its partisans are flogging double, quadruple and even octuple sample rates as if they are not only a silver bullet, but as if each subsequent doubling make a greater and greater difference instead of a smaller and smaller difference.

We audio people know better. We can quibble about exactly where the diminishing returns kick in. Many top converter designers say 60k would be ideal. The Pono schtick is to say 96k is "still underwater" and even 192k is just "breaking the surface". 384k is where its at. This is utter bull**** and they should be ashamed of themselves for saying it without a providing a shred of proof.
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