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Launch of Pono Studio Headphones
Old 14th April 2014
  #3031
Gear Head
 
bandpass's Avatar
 

Can't find the post to reply to now, but someone suggested to look at the free NIN hi-res album (http://dl.nin.com/theslip/signup), so I did

The ultrasonics are all over the place. Some tracks have virtually none (rolling off well below red-book in some cases). Others have what appears to ultrasonic 'detritus' i.e. spectral images, possibly the result of 'poor' resampling etc. in plug-ins. Of course, it may be deliberately 'poor', to give better audible performance or faster performance.

It certainly seems dubious to make effort to deliver ultrasonic detritus to the consumer (and hope their playback chain is linear enough to make sure it all stays ultrasonic).
Old 14th April 2014
  #3032
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by toine6 View Post
So YAY! for Pono, but I'm already happy with what I have. Now the LOUDNESS wars on the other hand, well.... I hope Bob Katz is right and the war is over. That's the real revolution I'm waiting for.
I'm with you on that, let me tell you. All we can do is continue to throw out arguments insisting that loudness war is old hat and obsolete. On the 'iPod' side of things, we can line up with Bob Katz and say that Apple Replay Gain means all loudness WILL backfire in practice, which didn't used to be the case.

My angle (supported through 'Righteous', which is outselling my best 2-buss compressor which itself cannot be told from expensive hardware in an ABX test) is that really luscious, nice sound rewards turning up in a way that mp3s don't: with mp3s (also 44.1/16 in my opinion) you don't want to turn it up because you begin to get hints and suggestions that all is not well with the low level detail. It's not always a constant thing (though sometimes it IS), but it makes you feel like you turned it up enough to hear a problem, a fault.

With Pono, I think everybody can agree that you CAN'T turn it up enough to hear a problem under any conditions no matter who you are. Golden ear or not, picky or not, you can't do it. As such, any mix you do can have any dynamic range and be okay and supported with that, as if you had a magic 'analog tape or vinyl' that didn't give noise or rumble. And this is why people go 'like vinyl but better': it is, and that also covers people used to picking out digital artifacts and rejecting them even though they'll accept a host of vinyl colorations.

It's just another reason to forge ahead with mixes that are like the old Rolling Stones record: big label on it saying 'TO BE PLAYED LOUD'. That one, as well, had a scale on it that wasn't properly represented at quiet levels. We don't ever HAVE to make elevator music again, or music for the car. The whole loudness war thing has really been restrictive in so many ways, and it's good to have multiple reasons to abandon it.
Old 14th April 2014
  #3033
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
Well, an improvement means something that makes an audible difference. We would all love that... right?

44/16 comes from sound understanding of how humans hear sound, so unless we grow new hearing appendages or we discover some new sciences about how we perceive higher frequencies another way...
As I said...
Old 14th April 2014
  #3034
17,674 backers; $6,017,490 pledged; 29 hours to go.
The Pono Kickstarter has been successful.
Old 14th April 2014
  #3035
Gear Head
 
bandpass's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
The Pono Kickstarter has been successful
If you're interested in the business angle, note that "The plan is to do an equity financing round in May or June".
Old 14th April 2014
  #3036
j_j
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
On the contrary, Dan Lavry would be the FIRST person to tell you that 96K audio content is useless and this averaging technique is the only relevant way to handle that information. There may be converter designers who would want you to keep the 96K frequencies in the audio output, but Lavry is not one of them.
On the other hand, I doubt that Dan is telling you to use an oversampling technique that has no noise shaping involved.

It takes 4x oversampling to get 1 bit, if you don't use noise shaping.

If you use noise shaping, you can get 6*4-3dB for a 4th order system, give or take.

BUT you don't use a "moving average" filter. No, not ever. You use a filter with a carefully designed frequency response that does not cause any in-band dips. A simple sum of 4 samples is far, far from the optimum filter, either perceptually or analytically.

There is a slide deck at PowerPoint Presentations from recent (or not so recent) meetings. that shows some of the process of oversampling and noise shaping. It's old, but the mathematics doesn't change, unsurprisingly. Look for the "convertor tutorial".
Old 14th April 2014
  #3037
j_j
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
It was a persistent tone at exactly 11.025K. I don't know what was causing it. I never had a chance to hear it, and you know me, if I figure I can hear something I'll say it, but THIS was way beyond anything I could register.
Perhaps it hit a subsidary resonance in his equipment, or his auditory system.

Furthermore, the fact he knew where to listen is key, here.

Most auditory "sensitivity" comes from learning where to listen, which is why I keep saying tests require EXTENSIVE TRAINING.

Having an expert listener is required.
Old 14th April 2014
  #3038
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by j_j View Post
On the other hand, I doubt that Dan is telling you to use an oversampling technique that has no noise shaping involved.

It takes 4x oversampling to get 1 bit, if you don't use noise shaping.

If you use noise shaping, you can get 6*4-3dB for a 4th order system, give or take.

BUT you don't use a "moving average" filter. No, not ever. You use a filter with a carefully designed frequency response that does not cause any in-band dips. A simple sum of 4 samples is far, far from the optimum filter, either perceptually or analytically.

There is a slide deck at PowerPoint Presentations from recent (or not so recent) meetings. that shows some of the process of oversampling and noise shaping. It's old, but the mathematics doesn't change, unsurprisingly. Look for the "convertor tutorial".
I could see another FIR-type filter being perceptually better (I'll accept as a given that it's analytically better) but I'm not sure it can really be called 'far from optimum' given that the optimized averaging has a function at lower frequencies, and these are likely the only ones we'll ever hear. To sacrifice effectiveness at this averaging in order to get better performance above human hearing seems not automatically better.

Are you the JJ who did the 'top ten mistakes' list? I absolutely love #5, 'giving people a pan pot' (complete with pointing out the absence of time delay information, and that mono compatibility's not exactly relevant anymore).

I see the converter paper's advocating 19 bits word length or better. Sounds good to me

I do NOT see the paper arguing against a moving average filter versus a more high-order and well-behaved filter. If anything, they raise the time domain issue themselves. I'd need a reason to care about things like 'the moving average rejects the stop band poorly' given that our ears reject that stop band too.
Old 14th April 2014
  #3039
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bandpass View Post
ultrasonic detritus
good name for a band
Old 14th April 2014
  #3040
Gear Head
 
ampguy's Avatar
 

Thanks Chris!

Your post below was very informative to me.

What I've been doing for friends lately, is having them create, or listen to my setup which is old DVD-A 24/96 and 24/192 LPCM, or even this free DIY method of making up a few DVDs with lplex and finding some good classical music recorded and stored in 24/96, and playing their dvd through their stereo. Most of my friends can hear sounds and quality they haven't heard from their cd sources, but of course, the material isn't exactly the same either, even the DVD-As I have of CD's have been remastered.

As for downsampling to 16/44 and upsampling to 24/96 for a test, that would be tricky, even for me, as my original 24/192 files of a DVD-A I sold on cdbaby in 2004, were mastered in steinberg products, which "may" have been using early versions of now understood algorithms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
I dunno. To me, reading that they're implementing it with moving average filters is a real game-changer regarding their claims.

It means they literally cannot implement that at 44.1K, they can begin to implement it on content sampled at 96K and they can get an entirely different implementation if they're given 192K direct-sampled content.

The choice of a moving-average means that they're trading off blatantly supersonic frequencies for better passband behavior. With the same data, they COULD be implementing a regular design that passes 96K in-band, but they're not. They're taking in the extra data, throwing out everything above 25-30K or so, and getting to average the values of lower frequencies across several adjacent samples. That is a clear benefit to linearity in the audio band, measurably so. They are going to have lower noise floor from that calculation, because it's an averaging of sample values. It's also the only way they can get NO ripple… none at all.

You're free to be of the opinion that the information at 24 bit was already so far below any practical noise floor that it wouldn't matter, but their averaging technique still does have that effect of improving the accuracy of the signal… at audio frequencies, like 2K or 60 hz. It's effectively averaging together two or four samples in the space of one, so the data's being used, it's just not being used to deliver 96K signals.

Is that any help? It seems like the Pono guys are not as far off base as was thought. Of course, they may be indicating for MARKETING reasons that the sample rate delivers more high frequencies, because it's too difficult to explain what they're really doing. But it's obvious since they have said what they're really doing.
Old 14th April 2014
  #3041
Gear Head
 
bandpass's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
good name for a band
heh
Old 14th April 2014
  #3042
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

JJ was one of the first two people ever posting anything to the internet about audio back when he was at Bell Labs. He's the only reason many of us know Diddly squat about digital audio and it's a shame audio manufacturers and developers can't/won't afford engineering talent at his level.
Old 14th April 2014
  #3043
^^^ And anyone who quotes Paul Robeson in his bb-signature is someone with the deep and long view.




FWIW, I've been waiting for someone with j_j's technical grasp and understanding to weigh in on the whole apodizing filter thing. Now I have to go back and catch up again.
Old 14th April 2014
  #3044
Lives for gear
 
bogosort's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
JJ was one of the first two people ever posting anything to the internet about audio back when he was at Bell Labs. He's the only reason many of us know Diddly squat about digital audio and it's a shame audio manufacturers and developers can't/won't afford engineering talent at his level.
+1

I know that the mp3 and aac formats get no love around here, but no one can deny the brilliant engineering behind them. One of the few cases where the word revolutionary is not an overstatement.
Old 14th April 2014
  #3045
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
^^^ And anyone who quotes Paul Robeson in his bb-signature is someone with the deep and long view.
And I thought it was science.
Old 14th April 2014
  #3046
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
And I thought it was science.
Scientists are the gatekeepers of temporal truth and what we have good reason to believe is fact.

Artists are the gatekeepers of eternal truth.


Big difference.


The people who prattle on and on about the 'eternal truth' intrinsic to one technology or another crack me up -- but, worse, I think they distract both themselves and others from what is 'real' in either field of endeavor.

It's like the guy in another thread in here who appears to claim that "mojo/viscerality/feel" come from the proper choice of recording medium.

Silly me, here I was thinking mojo, viscerality, and feel came from the music. heh


You know what that conflation REALLY makes me think of?

People who want to improve their guitar playing -- so they go buy a new stompbox.
Old 14th April 2014
  #3047
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Scientists are the constructors of temporary truth. For us all to hold onto for the time being. But I'll stop annoying you with my 'prattling on' now. As you were.
Old 14th April 2014
  #3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Scientists are the constructors of temporary truth. For us all to hold onto for the time being. But I'll stop annoying you with my 'prattling on' now. As you were.
There's a bit of difference between temporal and temporary, of course, but 'temporary' does work here, and probably works better in a sense, since what I called temporal truth is an evolving thing. We only know what we know at any one time.

We're free to speculate -- and, obviously, plenty of folks do, often without any sort of grounding in evidence or the current understanding of how things work -- but Science is what offers the discipline and rigor to sort out idle speculation from the sort of insights that might actually expand and sharpen that understanding.


So, in that sense, on this particular point, we seem to agree.
Old 14th April 2014
  #3049
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

I am so glad you approve.
Old 14th April 2014
  #3050
The "temporary truth" of science is what is allowing all this prattling to take place in te first place.

Too bad it's only temporary...
Old 14th April 2014
  #3051
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
I am so glad you approve.
It's not so much approve/disapprove, but agree.

I just think it's important to note common ground of understanding.
Old 14th April 2014
  #3052
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nspaas View Post
The "temporary truth" of science is what is allowing all this prattling to take place in te first place.

Too bad it's only temporary...
The prattling is as constant as the speed of light.
Old 14th April 2014
  #3053
Quote:
Originally Posted by nspaas View Post
The "temporary truth" of science is what is allowing all this prattling to take place in te first place.

Too bad it's only temporary...
Of course, what I am suggesting is that Science doesn't offer certainty or 'eternal truth' -- but DOES tend to offer the best explanation of observed phenomena that is available at any given time.

The presumed verity of this sort of notion (in the quote) lies in its proper qualification.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
The prattling is as constant as the speed of light.
When they say everything is relative, they mean everything...

Speed of Light May Not Be Constant, Physicists Say | Cosmology & Astronomy | LiveScience

But what do I know? I'm a failed poet, not a physicist.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3054
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
I think people tend to make the kind of music for whatever medium they've got. You don't play tabla riffs on a taiko drum, or worry much about bent notes on a banjo (note's gone so quick that the things you'd do on a Les Paul with bending and vibrato are meaningless)

It's the same with delivery formats. If you have a shallow, opaque, blocky, vibeless digital format you might do things with blocky, dense, hard robotic beats and run with the physicality of it since you can't really be grooving on the sheen of the rosin of the violin bow. With vinyl, certain things had problems too (like really pristine ambient music: some people were bothered by surface noise particularly on that)

With a really overperforming digital format, we might be able to do very neat things with tones and space and BIG dynamics
Old 15th April 2014
  #3055
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
I think people tend to make the kind of music for whatever medium they've got. You don't play tabla riffs on a taiko drum, or worry much about bent notes on a banjo (note's gone so quick that the things you'd do on a Les Paul with bending and vibrato are meaningless)

It's the same with delivery formats. If you have a shallow, opaque, blocky, vibeless digital format you might do things with blocky, dense, hard robotic beats and run with the physicality of it since you can't really be grooving on the sheen of the rosin of the violin bow. With vinyl, certain things had problems too (like really pristine ambient music: some people were bothered by surface noise particularly on that)

With a really overperforming digital format, we might be able to do very neat things with tones and space and BIG dynamics
That reminds me of the story of the blue grass band in the studio that upon hearing they were going to be recorded at 44.1 Khz decided to do some industrial tekno instead....

Alistair
Old 15th April 2014
  #3056
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
I think people tend to make the kind of music for whatever medium they've got. You don't play tabla riffs on a taiko drum, or worry much about bent notes on a banjo (note's gone so quick that the things you'd do on a Les Paul with bending and vibrato are meaningless)
I was thinking those were, like, instruments, not media.

Quote:
It's the same with delivery formats. If you have a shallow, opaque, blocky, vibeless digital format you might do things with blocky, dense, hard robotic beats and run with the physicality of it since you can't really be grooving on the sheen of the rosin of the violin bow. With vinyl, certain things had problems too (like really pristine ambient music: some people were bothered by surface noise particularly on that)

With a really overperforming digital format, we might be able to do very neat things with tones and space and BIG dynamics
This must be why I spend so much time listening to acoustic roots music, classical, and my new favorite, European Renaissance-style kora (talk about yer multiculti), on my streaming music subscription.

Er, wait...
Old 15th April 2014
  #3057
Gear Head
 

From the Pono site:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
I'm an audiophile. Explain what is so special about the PonoPlayer technology

The PonoPlayer was designed with a “no compromises” approach to sound quality. We partnered with the engineering team at Ayre (Ayre Acoustics) to include some of their world-class audio technology in our PonoPlayer. The Ayre team describes their contribution to the PonoPlayer design as follows:

• The digital filter used in the PonoPlayer has minimal phase, and no unnatural (digital sounding) pre-ringing. All sounds made (including music) always have reflections and/or echoes after the initial sound. There is no sound in nature that has any echo or reflection before the sound, which is what conventional linear-phase digital filters do. This is one reason that digital sound has a reputation for sounding "unnatural" and harsh.

• All circuitry is zero-feedback. Feedback can only correct an error after it has occurred, which means that it can never correct for all errors. By using proprietary ultra-linear circuitry with wide bandwidth and low output impedance, there is no need for unnatural sounding feedback.

• The DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) chip being used is widely recognized in the audio and engineering community as one of the best sounding DAC chips available today.

• The output buffer used to drive the headphones is fully discrete so that all individual parameters and circuit values and parts quality can be fully optimized for the absolute finest sound quality. The output impedance is very low so that the PonoPlayer delivers perfectly flat frequency response and wide volume range using virtually any set of headphone
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

If that 2nd bullet doesn't peg your red-flag-o-meter, than your meter must be broken. Although I suppose if you're looking for the answer to the title question, you sort of asked for it.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3058
Lives for gear
 
nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
This must be why I spend so much time listening to acoustic roots music, classical, and my new favorite, European Renaissance-style kora (talk about yer multiculti), on my streaming music subscription.

Er, wait...
Ya, that has to be one of the strangest comments I've read in a long time. I mean... I can understand how the tool sometimes influences the art you create. For example Ableton Live is usually not used by people making bluegrass music. But at the same time.. since EVERYONE is using a DAW or other digital recorder (except for a tiny minority) and that music is quite varied in character and style and sound... just.. strange comment.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3059
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
Ya, that has to be one of the strangest comments I've read in a long time. I mean... I can understand how the tool sometimes influences the art you create. For example Ableton Live is usually not used by people making bluegrass music. But at the same time.. since EVERYONE is using a DAW or other digital recorder (except for a tiny minority) and that music is quite varied in character and style and sound... just.. strange comment.
It makes perfect sense if you just joined the space cadets academy. I think it is covered in the "How to push your best selling plugin to unsuspecting neophytes" course.

But then again, I look at posts here and after reading C's response to those posts I wonder if he ran the text of those posts through his Righteous plugin before reading. It is rumored that it removes all the glaringly obvious, and the extra bloom provided by Righteous seems to give him a very spacial interpretation of the content. A pitty the average level of his responses remains at a lowly -18 dB FS. If only he would limit his posts a bit more...

Oh gawd. Why am I posting at close to 5am? Obviously not to be taken seriously.

Alistair
Old 15th April 2014
  #3060
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
Ya, that has to be one of the strangest comments I've read in a long time. I mean... I can understand how the tool sometimes influences the art you create. For example Ableton Live is usually not used by people making bluegrass music. But at the same time.. since EVERYONE is using a DAW or other digital recorder (except for a tiny minority) and that music is quite varied in character and style and sound... just.. strange comment.
I think we've all been in this thread for a long time.
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