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Launch of Pono Studio Headphones
Old 19th April 2014
  #3421
So, Alistair, you're an ex-pat? Brit? American? Or is the 'location' in your avatar area wishful thinking?


There's plenty of times I wish I was back in Amsterdam, sipping strong coffee by a canal. Etc.
Old 19th April 2014
  #3422
Airwindows
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Nor mine. And please don't comment on that if you can help it. I'm off on holiday now. Have a good time of it chaps.
Catch ya later! We'll keep the thread warm for you
Old 19th April 2014
  #3423
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
LOL. Nah, we're good. I probably stated that a little strongly.

But, in addition to having had a marginal career freelancing and then running a little project studio, I did also stay in a Holiday Inn -- while I was the marketing director of a small electronics manufacturer.

That was on the communications sector -- but I do know that turf -- and I know the pressure your bosses -- even those who know better -- put on an MD to get the most impact for the advertising and promotional dollar possible, truth be pretty much damned.

But I've also been following audio since I was 12 years old and put together my first stereo in 1963 (and read every single audio related book in my local library over a period of about 3 years -- I even picked up Faulkner's novel, The Sound and the Fury a couple times because some wacky jokester -- or quasi-literate librarian which seems a bigger stretch even in the late fifties -- had filed it in the Dewey Decimal System as sound-related non-fiction) and was a tireless reader of in-depth reviews and bench tests and really learned to hate the BS-spew that went on in a lot of audio marketing even then.

With re: Memorex, no, I only bought good tape if I had any choice. I have enough Memorex to know it was crap.

But I get the reference. Still I thought Maxell's 'sound-blown' guy in the chair was a far better ad and image. And far more poetic. Not that the shattered Memorex glass was at all 'unbelievable.' Nor did it suggest anything about the quality of the tape. Turn it up loud enough at the resonance frequency, the glass will break. Easy to believe. But no poetry. And no info. But an image. And, you know, people are little ideogram processing nerve bundles.
You are a mensch. I have enjoyed the dialogue immensely.
Old 19th April 2014
  #3424
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ephi82 View Post
You are a mensch. I have enjoyed the dialogue immensely.
You're too gracious.


I know I'm a piece of work.

But... it's a work in progress. By the time I'm 90, I intend to be a reasonably nice guy.

Long way to go. Distance-wise, if not time-wise. heh
Old 19th April 2014
  #3425
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
No, I'm sincere in my statement which intends to speak out against guessing,
ad infinitum personal attacks, super extended grousing and drama stirring; ignorance of the principals of digital audio, lack of business sense, gross ignorance of digital theory and philistine-like insults towards Neil.

It is a cesspool thread that has brought out the amateur hour nature of the current GS community.
I've immensely enjoyed both the comic and technical aspects of this thread, but based on your post, I am scouring the medicine cabinets and nightstands in my house for leftover antibiotics.

Thanks for the warning about this being a cesspool!
Old 19th April 2014
  #3426
As I said about 3 or 4 hundred posts ago... we've all been in here a long time...
Old 19th April 2014
  #3427
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ellisr63 View Post
Well it has been about a month sense I heard it... AIR the sound was the most lifelike I have ever heard in a recording. You could hear every little nuance that was in the recording... As an example, there were comments made as to what type of damping was used on the kick drum as it was so very distinct. Vocals sounded like the singer was standing in front of you singing, and some of the participants knew the artists and made comments that it sounded exactly like they did in real life. Soundstage depth and realism was right on the money IMO. It really was the best I have ever heard next to a live session. I wish that I would have taken notes at the time but I was too busy enjoying the performance.

It would have been better to compare the same songs but this was not a coordinated effort but a GTG that happened to have a Pono presentation, and some others that brought their best music for trying out the new JTR speakers.
Are you an audio engineer? (I'm curious, not looking an "angle" in the debate)

What do you believe were the reasons why, what you heard, sounded so good?
Old 19th April 2014
  #3428
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
So, Alistair, you're an ex-pat? Brit? American? Or is the 'location' in your avatar area wishful thinking?


There's plenty of times I wish I was back in Amsterdam, sipping strong coffee by a canal. Etc.
I live here. I'm officially a Brit but you know... I just feel European or an Earthling more than anything else...

Alistair
Old 19th April 2014
  #3429
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
It has been a very long time since I worked with a Masterlink so I can't really remember how good or bad the converters are but even if they are very good, if you are going analogue to the Masterlink, you are either going to end up with clipped recordings or the level of your recordings is going to be lower and the noise floor higher. Of course you prefer the sources.
First off, the Masterlink is said (by many on this site) to have among the best stock converters of any digital 2 track recorder.

And no, I am not clipping, and no, noise floor is not an issue. I've been recording new and previously recorded music with every type of device and format available for well over 40 years, I think I know what I'm doing.

So why would I prefer the source if the CD recording was the same as the source? I wouldn't, I prefer the source because the CD recording is not the same as the source.

I do prefer most of the CD's I've recorder more than the store bought CD's because they usually have more dynamic range, even though they are recorded from vinyl, go figure. There are exceptions, like Stevie Wonder's 'Innervisions', which happens to be an extremely smooth and uncompressed mastered CD. Still not the same as listening to the vinyl though, which I happen to have a perfect copy of.
Old 19th April 2014
  #3430
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
I live here. I'm officially a Brit but you know... I just feel European or an Earthling more than anything else...

Alistair
Your English is pretty good for a Brit (or, worse, an American, like me) -- it's why I figured you really were Dutch. heh
Old 19th April 2014
  #3431
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Your English is pretty good for a Brit (or, worse, an American, like me) -- it's why I figured you really were Dutch. heh
Hehe, I thought the same thing.

As for us yanks and our butchery of the King's English, I'll take the Fowler brothers over Strunk & White, every time. (In our defense, though, we're the better spellers: viz. colour, et al.)
Old 19th April 2014
  #3432
I can handle the occasional extra O's -- but I'll never get over how they pronounce controversy heh (The 'conTROversy' over changing pronunciations)

Actually, after reading the article linked above, I now realize I WASN'T going crazy after all. ConTROversy is a NEW pronunciation in the UK and is replacing the traditional British (AND US American) CONtroversy there -- for some.

That makes me feel hugely better. I've been listening to British comedy and British news via the Beeb since I was about 10... but the first time I heard a BBC announcer use the relatively new conTROversy pronunciation, I thought I was going nuts. Or the announcer was. Turns out it's just a new pronunciation fad. Some folks apparently tried to blame us Statesiders, but we STILL say CONtroversy.

I absolutely can't imagine a Yank saying, cahn-TRAH-verz-i with a straight face; but that is how a subset of current BBC World Service announcers currently say it.
Old 19th April 2014
  #3433
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i lived in california for a couple of years some thirty years ago. the only change that i adopted was with the pronunciation of 'schedule'. i like the differences, though. they can be amusing for both parties. try saying, "emphasis on the wrong syllable". that is how an englishman hears american-english.

if an american got monty python. that was more important as a language test!
Old 19th April 2014
  #3434
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
Hehe, I thought the same thing.

As for us yanks and our butchery of the King's English, I'll take the Fowler brothers over Strunk & White, every time. (In our defense, though, we're the better spellers: viz. colour, et al.)
You can keep butchering the King's English as much as you like, it can't be worse than the english spoken by King George I. He spoke english with a heavy german accent. Over here it's been the Queens English since 1952. ;-)

Also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viz_(comic)
Old 19th April 2014
  #3435
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul brown View Post
i lived in california for a couple of years some thirty years ago. the only change that i adopted was with the pronunciation of 'schedule'. i like the differences, though. they can be amusing for both parties. try saying, "emphasis on the wrong syllable". that is how an englishman hears american-english.

if an american got monty python. that was more important as a language test!
Ah... I'll bet you found out that British accents are, like, verbal aphrodisiacs to California girls. I don't know how it is in the rest of the States, but Cali girls are a sucker for a Brit accent.

I had an American pal who grew up here but, when he was a young, dumb, impressionable kid, he started talking with what he thought of as an English accent (he was a big British Invasion fan). By the time I met him, it was this very softened, indistinct thing -- but it was so subtle, I just figured it for the real thing -- I figured he'd come over to the States from the UK when he was 12 or 13. It wasn't until we ended up going out drinking together that I found out he was from Arcadia, CA. He'd thought I already knew.

He said, well, I tried to get rid of my fake English accent after I grew out of that phase -- but it's so good with the girls... heh
Old 19th April 2014
  #3436
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
Lol. I was quite suprised at the strength of feeling expressed by some against Pono...in fact I've never seen so much mud thrown at any device on GS ever...even the B-word; I'm sure most reasonable people will welcome anything that improves the enjoyment of music.
I think you are misreading the reaction. The reaction is not to the device itself but to the obvious bull**** around the "quadruple sample rate" selling point in the Pono video and promotional material.

we don't need to "wait and see" if 96k is like 'coming up for air' - we have most of us held our breath and come up for air - and most of have listened very carefully to 96k files trying to be certain if it really sounds better or if we are just imagining it sounds better. That's the "huge" difference these people are talking about. The comparison is beyond inapt. It's baloney.

This baloney is not merely harmless "marketing". It is encouraging people - even some who call themselves audio engineers, to latch onto and reinforce some of the most inane pseudoscience and myths of digital audio- things that were busted long ago -rising from the grave.

It should be fairly pointed out that the people who are most vociferously "PRO Pono" have written reams of text in favor of it, but they have never heard it either. Yet they are not only planning to buy one, unheard, they are pinning their hopes for an entire societal 'revolution' on this device. Even though Pono is only one of many such devices on the market (and a Johnny-come-lately at that), the 30-Second Attention Span Generation is going to grab a glass of wine an sit down in a leather chair and listen to a whole album start to finish (like we used to do) because: sample rates.

There is TONS of room for a detente in the loudness wars NOW, oodles of headroom that 16 bit recordings are not using. The idea that this product will change human nature and deeply entrenched commercial forces by doubling tripling and quadrupling sample rates is a farce.
Old 19th April 2014
  #3437
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Dpro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Nor mine. And please don't comment on that if you can help it. I'm off on holiday now. Have a good time of it chaps.
Have a good holiday man.
Old 19th April 2014
  #3438
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
Funny. I was so happy when CDJs replaced vinyl. Much better sound!
In the scene I am in, there were quite a few DAT DJs in the old days. They always sounded MUCH better than any Vinyl DJs. It was very noticeable when vinyl DJs played right after DAT DJs. Vinyl just sounds noisy, crackly and the low-end is a resonant mess as the bass from the PA feeds back into the decks and stylus. Then the CDJs came and quite quickly the crappy vinyl disappeared from the scene. Hurray!
Sorry to hear you were having those problems but it’s good that you found a workaround. Apart from your subjective preference on sound quality the reasons you give for preferring digital over vinyl e.g. noise, crackles, low-end resonance feedback, are not significant problems with fresh, well-pressed vinyl through a properly set-up system in a suitable venue or location; the reasons you give concern system/environment imperfections rather than the quality of the medium itself.

In the context of our discussion, when digital arrived (London 90’s) IME it was primarily for reasons other than sound quality: artists securing their material; mobility of playback systems; cost; environmental factors; ease of use; etc. My first impressions were that there was a hollowness and lack of substance in the digital sound in comparison to vinyl. ..that lack of essence was accentuated on larger PA’s.
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
...I think some people just don't like good accurate sound...
Yes, many people enjoy the inaccuracies of vinyl, tape, etc. but then that’s a subjective preference which is equally as valid as yours.
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
That is fine but they should really be posting in the lo-fi section.
…or failing that perhaps you could post elsewhere? [/JOKE]
Old 19th April 2014
  #3439
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
I think you are misreading the reaction...
I think I just have a different perspective to yourself; judging by some of the hysterical reactions to Pono I think my post was reasonable (but I appreciate your feedback).
Old 19th April 2014
  #3440
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
I think I just have a different perspective to yourself; judging by some of the hysterical reactions to Pono I think my post was reasonable (but I appreciate your feedback).
well certainly MY "negative reaction to Pono" is a negative reaction to the hype and baloney they are using to sell 'bandwidth' to people who have not asked for bandwidth.
Old 19th April 2014
  #3441
Lives for gear
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
It should be fairly pointed out that the people who are most vociferously "PRO Pono" have written reams of text in favor of it, but they have never heard it either. Yet they are not only planning to buy one, unheard, they are pinning their hopes for an entire societal 'revolution' on this device. Even though Pono is only one of many such devices on the market (and a Johnny-come-lately at that), the 30-Second Attention Span Generation is going to grab a glass of wine an sit down in a leather chair and listen to a whole album start to finish (like we used to do) because: sample rates.
I think a big group of people are not "pro Pono", they just are not going to knock something until they hear it, see some value in it, and it's intriguing. I even said I have no interest buying one myself, I should say, I have no interest being an early adapter to this system, I think many others are with me. I may or may not be interested but I would have to hear it first. However, I can say the same about almost any product I have ever purchased. I only buy about 1 of maybe every 10 products that I have both extreme interest in, and can afford.

I don't think it's unreasonable to think positively about a product that is interesting, even if it's just somewhat interesting. Some people have to see the proof for it to be encouraging, others may find something encouraging and hope it proves itself once it comes to the market.

I don't think it's unreasonable to doubt this product either, I just don't personally see any negatives about it existing and that's where I take some issue with some people's posts or mentality.

I do think it's a bit unreasonable to say that unless you paid into a kickstarter, before you hear it, then you really are not welcome to have an opinion. Very few people buy consumer products before they can have a good idea about what it is all about. I also think it's unreasonable to assume this is going to inevitably be the greatest thing in the world as well.


As for other similar products, the do exist but they have been extremely cost prohibitive for the regular music lover to take seriously for a long time. I just looked online and there is maybe one device that is affordable. Most of the others start at what I consider to be over priced and go up to where only the eccentric buyer really would have interest, given all the other areas you can improve the listening experience.

Going further, many of us using other devices that are only MP3 or CD have invested in better car audio, headphones, and home playback systems. Meaning, we want better audio and have already made this a priority so any further gain in quality, at a reasonable price, is globally a good thing for us, be it this or something else in the future.

IMO, it's more of looking at this from the glass is half full, or the glass is half empty side. Those who are 100% opposed to this, and those are 100% convinced that have yet to have any experience with it, to me, are the ones whose opinions matter the least to myself, and likely others.
Old 19th April 2014
  #3442
S21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
well certainly MY "negative reaction to Pono" is a negative reaction to the hype and baloney they are using to sell 'bandwidth' to people who have not asked for bandwidth.
Cars get sold all the time on the basis of X horsepower or Y cu inches. The marketing for Pono is tame compared to many audio products too.
Old 19th April 2014
  #3443
@3rdDegree: That's a good, balanced analysis.
Old 20th April 2014
  #3444
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rd Degree View Post
I don't think it's unreasonable to think positively about a product that is interesting, even if it's just somewhat interesting. Some people have to see the proof for it to be encouraging, others may find something encouraging and hope it proves itself once it comes to the market.
Right, it's fine to have wishful thinking; hope is an integral part of humanity. But in this domain a professional audio engineer (or even a committed hobbyist) should know better. It's as if half the people in this thread expect a $300 consumer device to outperform the pro converters sitting in their racks. Does anyone really think a portable device can better the performance of a Lavry for a fraction of the cost?

But it goes way beyond that: people are hoping Pono will deliver a musical experience like surfacing from underneath the water.

Ridiculous!

Short of a true paradigm shift -- along the lines of inventing technology that makes speakers unnecessary -- improvement to music production/reproduction is incremental. Things get cheaper, faster, and maybe even sound a little better. But people are hoping that the Pono device represents a step function: bam! we were underwater and now we're not. Except that the Pono device is a PCM decoder and headphone driver, and both are mature technologies. There are no more low-hanging fruit. Consequently, the vast majority of engineering effort goes to things like reducing size and lowering power consumption. Of the things that directly affect sound, sure we can always squeeze out one more zero behind the decimal point, or get the noise just a tiny bit lower. But there are no coming up for air changes. That's a pipe dream and we should all know it.
Old 20th April 2014
  #3445
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
Right, it's fine to have wishful thinking; hope is an integral part of humanity. But in this domain a professional audio engineer (or even a committed hobbyist) should know better. It's as if half the people in this thread expect a $300 consumer device to outperform the pro converters sitting in their racks. Does anyone really think a portable device can better the performance of a Lavry for a fraction of the cost?

But it goes way beyond that: people are hoping Pono will deliver a musical experience like surfacing from underneath the water.

Ridiculous!

Short of a true paradigm shift -- along the lines of inventing technology that makes speakers unnecessary -- improvement to music production/reproduction is incremental. Things get cheaper, faster, and maybe even sound a little better. But people are hoping that the Pono device represents a step function: bam! we were underwater and now we're not. Except that the Pono device is a PCM decoder and headphone driver, and both are mature technologies. There are no more low-hanging fruit. Consequently, the vast majority of engineering effort goes to things like reducing size and lowering power consumption. Of the things that directly affect sound, sure we can always squeeze out one more zero behind the decimal point, or get the noise just a tiny bit lower. But there are no coming up for air changes. That's a pipe dream and we should all know it.
I haven't read every page of this thread but I don't I have read anything close to what I italicized in your quote.

As per everything else, that is there marketing, I don't know that most have that expectation of the device that are potential consumers. I pay as much attention to their marketing as I do to other marketing.

I get the last part, I get that the technology is mature but I am not certain that it's being used in portable consumer devices, I may be wrong. I am not sure many expect a paradigm shift, I would imagine most who would be considering this would expect a player that is higher quality than an iPod that is worth the extra money. Again, just because it's marketed in such a way doesn't mean that's the actual expectation.

Some really think the marketing on this device is overstated but I think it's the same as most other industries. I think engineers understand this marketing more than many would understand something like car commercials which IMO, are equally, or maybe similarly overstated.
Old 20th April 2014
  #3446
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Software sells all hardware.
Old 20th April 2014
  #3447
Gear Guru
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
Apart from your subjective preference on sound quality

...

but then that’s a subjective preference which is equally as valid as yours.…
There is absolutely nothing subjective about CD being a superior medium over vinyl when it comes to accuracy. I would say the quality of CD is much much better if you want to hear how the masters sounded. Vinyl really is a lower fidelity medium compared to CD. It truly is lo-fi.

Alistair
Old 20th April 2014
  #3448
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
....But it goes way beyond that: people are hoping Pono will deliver a musical experience like surfacing from underneath the water.

Ridiculous!...
Is the metaphor is misplaced? Not sure about the sea level...maybe 96kHz given my level of understanding and limited knowledge about the workings of Pono and the sound benchmark in professional studios. I'm allowing for the possibility that I'm mistaken about that and perhaps 192kHz is critical to Pono's operation - in which case the sea level would be appropriate.

In the Pono video, Neil Young precedes the water metaphor by saying that the idea is to convey the authentic sound from the recording studio to the listener via the 'Pono ecosystem'. That can be tested by letting experienced individuals listen and make a judgement; if Pono is as good as claimed and reported (so far) then that makes the metaphor reasonable (in the context it is used); as to whether it is morally and ethically appropriate then that would depend on the intelligence the critic allows the video viewer: are interested viewers (potential customers) savvy enough to 'get' the metaphor in the context? Will viewers think the difference is exactly the same as listening below and above water or will they realise that it's an advertising metaphor?

I'd like to read more accounts from listeners and hear Pono myself before drawing conclusions as to how appropriate the metaphor is. Claims that people are being victimised, 'need protecting' and the comparison between Pono and Tamiflu do seem ridiculous prior to sensibly-reached conclusions.
Old 20th April 2014
  #3449
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rd Degree View Post
I haven't read every page of this thread but I don't I have read anything close to what I italicized in your quote.
Quotes are always italicized. You might try putting the relevant parts in bold.

Alistair
Old 20th April 2014
  #3450
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
There is absolutely nothing subjective about CD being a vastly superior medium over vinyl when it comes to accuracy. I would say the quality of CD is much much better. Vinyl really is a lower fidelity medium compared to CD. It truly is lo-fi.

Alistair
I'm not disputing that (in general); but the discussion's about what was preferable...that is subjective.

Another point: Vinyl itself can be a part of the creative process - if artists create music to sound a particular way on vinyl then that is the most accurate representation of the work, more representative than a digital copy of that work.
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