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Launch of Pono Studio Headphones
Old 15th April 2014
  #3091
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So does this contraption come with some amazing headphones or what? To me it sounds like a lot of very good marketing hype. And the form factor is bleh: if people liked toblerone-shaped media players in their pockets, I am sure Apple would have noticed out long ago.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3092
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
Pay better attention!



Alistair
Ok, you get the icecream.

I still want to hear the Pono thing though, as even that doesn't tell me irrefutably that it can't sound good.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3093
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Actually, no, in the other thread the guys are saying with totality that 16/44.1 pcm is the end. Your human perception is not equipped to appreciate anything any better. As a delivery format, yes, but no other quantifying that statement whatsoever.
Well, I don't think careful folks who know the science would intentionally say such a thing -- because, at the least, it's contradicted by what we know about the dynamic range of human hearing.*

But, to be sure, many of us have likely slipped up in this thread and missed properly qualifying our statements -- and, of course, it is by proper qualification that we make our statements more accurate. (Band limits again, eh? They're everywhere. heh )


* The 'fidelity' and quality of our hearing is, of course, greatly affected by extremes in level at either end and it may be more appropriate, in at least some ways, of thinking as the human dynamic range as a sort of movable window... in the presence of very loud sounds, our ability to perceive comparatively lower sounds is greatly diminished over what it would be if we were only listening to the lower level sound. Happily, I imagine that's one bit of perceptual understanding that should prove easy to grasp on an intuitive/experiential interpretation level.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3094
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Well, I don't think careful folks who know the science would intentionally say such a thing -- because it's contradicted by what we know about the dynamic range of human hearing.*

But, to be sure, many of us have likely slipped up in this thread and missed properly qualifying our statements -- and, of course, it is by proper qualification that we make our statements more accurate. (Band limits again, eh? They're everywhere. heh )


* The 'fidelity' and quality of our hearing is, of course, greatly affected by extremes in level at either end and it may be more appropriate, in at least some ways, of thinking as the human dynamic range as a sort of movable window... in the presence of very loud sounds, our ability to perceive comparatively lower sounds is greatly diminished over what it would be if we were only listening to the lower level sound. Happily, I imagine that's one bit of perceptual understanding that should prove easy to grasp on an intuitive/experiential interpretation level.
Happily? Love that.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3095
Yeah... that may be a qualification that not much truth was actually contingent upon.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3096
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Yeah... that may be a qualification that not much truth was actually contingent upon.
Just keep it simple, so I can grasp it.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3097
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Just keep it simple, so I can grasp it.



Hell, sometimes I have to read what I wrote a couple times to figure out what I was on about.

(Of course, there, I was just making a meta-comment about how the word happily appeared as a form of qualifier in the sentence -- referring back to our previous conversation about missing qualifiers subverting meanings -- but in this case, 'happily' is really more just a writing tic, a conversational habit. Like sticking that said in every post five or six times. I gotta watch that. )
Old 15th April 2014
  #3098
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
No, they wouldn't say that, they are never done. But that doesn't mean they wouldn't possibly miss the wood for the trees, because of orienteering based on the already 'known'. Usually when the border moves forward it will take someone leaping out of the present status quo headstate to even see the next possibility.
Given the previously unimaginable conclusions from the last century or so of science -- theory of evolution, general relativity, and quantum physics come to mind -- that resulted simply from following the math and the data, I'd say science is pretty good at leaping way outside the status quo.

Quote:
I am trying to say that the things we can measure about our audio today are missing measurements for parameters we have not named yet. There are no measurements of a loudspeakers today that can tell you what it actually sounds like by reading them. Only vague clues. The only thing measuring it really is your ear/brain when you hear it.
Follow your logic to its conclusion: if we could find this unmeasurable parameter, then we could know what a speaker sounds like without listening to it. But that's not how humans work. We're really bad at looking at a list of numbers and extrapolating meaning or insight, even if that thing is completely characterized. If I give you a list of numbers representing a handful of coordinates from the unit circle, it is very unlikely that you will see the list and think "ah, a unit circle". For simple things -- like unit circles -- we can arrange the numbers in the form of a graph and get a better idea, but only for the simplest of things.

Humans plainly suck at intuitively interpreting numbers, which is no surprise when we consider that the very concept of numbers is a recent phenomenon in the history of our evolution. We're simply not wired to think numerically. But that is no reason to throw away such an immensely powerful tool.

More to the point: we do not use metrics like frequency response to digitize analog signals. We sample and quantize, which are physical processes, and any "hidden parameters" that may exist in an analog signal will also be sampled and quantized. If you do not believe so, then you must offer an alternative explanation for how this hidden parameter is not captured. The mathematics assures us that everything is captured, and mathematics has a long and very successful history of being right in these types of things, so why should we distrust the math?

Quote:
Tape captures something about the content of the audio that isn't to do with any measurements we have.
Do you really understand the measurements enough to say that they are lacking? Or are you just guessing based on a hunch?

Quote:
And the fact you say that the physics of magnetical tape storage are well understood is about as valid in ascertaining these things as saying "I know the chemical composition of the paint used on the Mona Lisa" would be in order to determine why it feels a certain way to look at and has a certain value of expression coming off it.
Ugh, you've lost the plot here. If we are talking about the artistic value of Beethoven's 9th symphony, then the storage medium is irrelevant -- the art lives in abstract space. If we are talking about the centuries of color degradation of Leonardo's masterpiece, then most certainly the chemical composition of the paint is relevant.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3099
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Well, I don't think careful folks who know the science would intentionally say such a thing -- because, at the least, it's contradicted by what we know about the dynamic range of human hearing.
From what I can tell, most of us arguing against quad sample rates are perfectly happy to standardize on 24/48 linear PCM as a delivery format. It's already standard in the film industry, is already supported by a ubiquitous consumer device (DVD players), and has enough bandwidth and dynamic range to account for every possible outlier among us.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
Given the previously unimaginable conclusions from the last century or so of science -- theory of evolution, general relativity, and quantum physics come to mind -- that resulted simply from following the math and the data, I'd say science is pretty good at leaping way outside the status quo.



Follow your logic to its conclusion: if we could find this unmeasurable parameter, then we could know what a speaker sounds like without listening to it. But that's not how humans work. We're really bad at looking at a list of numbers and extrapolating meaning or insight, even if that thing is completely characterized. If I give you a list of numbers representing a handful of coordinates from the unit circle, it is very unlikely that you will see the list and think "ah, a unit circle". For simple things -- like unit circles -- we can arrange the numbers in the form of a graph and get a better idea, but only for the simplest of things.

Humans plainly suck at intuitively interpreting numbers, which is no surprise when we consider that the very concept of numbers is a recent phenomenon in the history of our evolution. We're simply not wired to think numerically. But that is no reason to throw away such an immensely powerful tool.

More to the point: we do not use metrics like frequency response to digitize analog signals. We sample and quantize, which are physical processes, and any "hidden parameters" that may exist in an analog signal will also be sampled and quantized. If you do not believe so, then you must offer an alternative explanation for how this hidden parameter is not captured. The mathematics assures us that everything is captured, and mathematics has a long and very successful history of being right in these types of things, so why should we distrust the math?



Do you really understand the measurements enough to say that they are lacking? Or are you just guessing based on a hunch?



Ugh, you've lost the plot here. If we are talking about the artistic value of Beethoven's 9th symphony, then the storage medium is irrelevant -- the art lives in abstract space. If we are talking about the centuries of color degradation of Leonardo's masterpiece, then most certainly the chemical composition of the paint is relevant.
Feel free to think what you like. I most definitely have not 'lost the plot', but you thinking so is fine with me.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
From what I can tell, most of us arguing against quad sample rates are perfectly happy to standardize on 24/48 linear PCM as a delivery format. It's already standard in the film industry, is already supported by a ubiquitous consumer device (DVD players), and has enough bandwidth and dynamic range to account for every possible outlier among us.
Funny, that's the format I was instinctively picking in the beginning of the thread, when most of you others were shouting 16/44.1 is enough and sounds no different. This being before i learned about the possibility of Pono's filter doing anything extra.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
I believe if you take a close look at those who state their claims carefully, I think you will find that the claim is that 16/44.1 is for most purposes entirely adequate as a delivery format, in that, with a good implementation, it can deliver 20 kHz of bandwidth with a ~90 dB signal-to-noise ratio and what perceptual scientists would suggest should be inaudible distortion.
The thing the anti-science types CONTINUALLY miss is, if there is ANYTHING that proves the 16/44 carrier as inadequate, science will happy change to match it.

Is 16/44 adequate? So far! Do I personally think it's the end state of audio delivery? Not sure... probably not. In the meantime, you don't choose a delivery system by magical thinking and "wishing".. you change it based on sound science.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
From what I can tell, most of us arguing against quad sample rates are perfectly happy to standardize on 24/48 linear PCM as a delivery format. It's already standard in the film industry, is already supported by a ubiquitous consumer device (DVD players), and has enough bandwidth and dynamic range to account for every possible outlier among us.
Yep! But not for twice the money!!
Old 15th April 2014
  #3104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
But what hasn't been sussed out is whether there is anything being missed in this encoding/decoding.

The claim is that there have been enough tests done to prove that there isn't. Many people, myself included, find that claim unproven. Linking to a website of "some guy" who claims he will test you and write an article if you can refute that claim does not help the argument.
No, again, you keep missing it.

Nobody said there is nothing missing. We only know that nobody has proven there IS ANYTHING MISSING.

You are turning it around to match your magical thinking.

Science is very simple. You prove it, and the opinion moves.

Science works on knowing that their is to know, and not having an opinion on what it doesn't know.

So... if there is something missing, that remains to be proven. So far ALL evidence shows 16/44 is enough. If there is proof it is not enough, then perspective changes.

It's really not all that complex.

You and others seem to want to make your point based on magical thinking, and honestly that is perfectly fine! Don't expect others to make faith based leaps in logic though. And don't bastardize science that way... science has no opinion on the unknown.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
What we know from real peer-reviewed research that has been agreed upon by real scientists is:

1. a 21-22 bit window is required to capture what a conductor hears while conducting a symphony orchestra.

2. a 50-60 kHz. sample rate is required for absolute transparency below 20kHz. using real world filters.

Anything less than this becomes a question of what can be gotten away with subjectively.
I would really like to read more about this Bob, can you please point me in the general direction? I thought #2 has been addressed by oversampling, but I'd like to know more.

Quote:
People also want to believe that our hearing is linear and what one person hears is what everybody will hear. This couldn't be less true.
I can't believe there is anyone who truly argues this point. Hearing is not linear, and certainly people train themselves to hear lots more detail. That is why you hire professional mastering engineers.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3106
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
From what I can tell, most of us arguing against quad sample rates are perfectly happy to standardize on 24/48 linear PCM as a delivery format. It's already standard in the film industry, is already supported by a ubiquitous consumer device (DVD players), and has enough bandwidth and dynamic range to account for every possible outlier among us.
That would certainly be fine with me.

With regard to delivery formats, I've been rolling the transition into a mixed-SR media world in my mind and the one thing that does rather concern me is the SR-handling of my device (it gets cranky over SR changes) as well as the widespread SRC-on-the-fly strategy employed in many consumer devices -- which, in such devices, I suspect most of us can probably agree, is most likely to lead to a degradation of repro rather than improvement from higher sample rate sources.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
From what I can tell, most of us arguing against quad sample rates are perfectly happy to standardize on 24/48 linear PCM as a delivery format. It's already standard in the film industry, is already supported by a ubiquitous consumer device (DVD players), and has enough bandwidth and dynamic range to account for every possible outlier among us.
There is an even more ubiquitous consumer device that handles 24/48 even more apt for our situation: The iPod.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Now maybe I am tripping, but that description isn't a million miles away from what Chris has been describing.

Wouldn't it be hilarious if this thing actually does take those hi res files and through its filter difference to your normal converter is able to make the AUDIBLE range sound rather better through making it respond better in the time domain, needing the hi res to do it without eating up the highs in the process, as the filter decends way down compared to a brick wall. And then all the neysaying would go really quiet rather swiftly.

what would be "hilarious" would be if it turns out there is nothing "special" or "different" about the Pono converters. Perhaps it is a bit better than the typical phone or consumer player. Is it better than the other Hi-Res players already on the market?

Well?

Is it? In what way?

Is it better than the professional studio interfaces many of us use every single day? Is there one thing in that literature that no other manufacturer of converters can say about their product? Can someone please explain to me what it is about Pono that is absolutely unique to how they handle conversion? Not a speculation but an actual point of design that is theirs alone?

I don't want to hear how they made a "damn good wheel" - I would like to see the specific point at which they have reinvented the wheel.

Because if they haven't reinvented digital to analog conversion, then we are right back where we were before - looking at extreme claims for something that we are all familiar with and which we KNOW does not make THAT much difference.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
...We're doing 24 bit. I'm guessing that's enough for anybody, as I struggle to get even a fugitive sense of things like dithering to 24 bit: I have to go by what's technically correct, as I wouldn't be able to hear 24 bit truncation...
Back in the '90s we couldn't easily hear it but with modern converters and program material recorded from microphones that hasn't previously been truncated the difference can be pretty obvious to me. Only TPDF dither is technically correct and it indeed sounds better to me on well recorded material. Where you are not going to hear a difference is virtual instruments. The difference is in depth and reverb tails although if there is a lot of truncation such as a Pro Tools TDM mix done without the dithered mixer, it is also a matter of crunchiness.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3110
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Bob has much better speakers and monitoring than me, BTW, being a mastering engineer and not a mad plugin-mongler

I have probably better than 110db over the full chain using my Lavry Black! Maybe not 127db, but I don't feel that the analog noisefloor is perfectly opaque. A truncation noisefloor is pretty damn opaque, but I don't feel that analog noise floor is that impervious to picking out detail under it. This is pretty trivially demonstrated by playing noise and then sneaking a tone in there: way before the tone equals the level of the noise, you still hear it.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
A truncation noisefloor is pretty damn opaque, but I don't feel that analog noise floor is that impervious to picking out detail under it. This is pretty trivially demonstrated by playing noise and then sneaking a tone in there: way before the tone equals the level of the noise, you still hear it.
As long as it is properly dithered, there is no qualitative difference between a digital and analog noise floor; they are the same thing. The reason we can hear a tone below the noise has to do with averaging, which effectively lowers the noise floor. On other hand, transients played below the noise floor are impossible to hear.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3112
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A truncation noise floor is chattering noise gate-like distortion that masks low level detail. Subjectively stuff at the lowest level just goes away.

People should read this: http://www.aes.org/sections/pnw/ppt/jj/heyser.pptx
Old 15th April 2014
  #3113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
A truncation noise floor is chattering noise gate-like distortion that masks low level detail.
Only if it hasn't been dithered. As the great Paul Frindle explains it, there is too much certainty in mathematics, while the universe contains randomness. By truncating the quantized sample we are "pretending" that we've fixed its value with perfect precision, but of course this is an illusion due to the lack of randomness in math. So we add the randomness ourselves in the form of dither, sacrificing two of the least significant bits. This does not "cover up" the quantization distortion; it eliminates it entirely. Once dithered, there is no difference between the analog amplitude + noise function and the digital amplitude + noise function.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
If you believe that a time-varying voltage can represent the audio signal, then that time-varying voltage can be digitized to at least the level of precision of the time-varying voltage itself.
At least? So in addition you are suggesting that the digitization can some how improve it?


Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
What exactly do you believe is missing?
That is up to science to figure out, but it is pretty obvious to a lot of people with ears.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
Only if it hasn't been dithered...
Which was my point about why dither is necessary and the lack of it creates audible problems.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Sounds Great et al that there must be 'something else going on' -- but who can't put any sort of finger on it or point to any credible evidence for it --
There is plenty of evidence, millions of people with ears that can hear it!
Old 15th April 2014
  #3117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
That is up to science to figure out, but it is pretty obvious to a lot of people with ears.
...and yet it's not obvious in a/b/x testing... magical thinking.
Old 15th April 2014
  #3118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Who here has a repro system with an end to end signal-to-noise ratio of 126 dB?

Old 15th April 2014
  #3119
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
...and yet it's not obvious in a/b/x testing... magical thinking.
Would you say that what is apparent in abx testing does not fall under "magical thinking"?
Old 15th April 2014
  #3120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
There is plenty of evidence, millions of people with ears that can hear it!
Whether they really hear it or not, millions of people say meh: HDCD, SACD, DVD-A, Pure audio Blu-ray, all barely blipped the radar of public conciousness.
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