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Launch of Pono Studio Headphones
Old 29th April 2014
  #4351
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
So you've added this to the list of excuses why it might actually sound better, they must have cheated? With "some kind of enhancement"?
When you regain your reading comprehension skills look at my #1. The alternative explanation that says that the sample rates DO make such a difference and the people are really hearing what they say they are hearing and that I am wrong. For you to object to my #2 #3 and #4 means you don't believe that #1 either. You tried it blindfolded yourself and learned it is not "night and day".

I am trying to list ALL the explanations I can think of that fit the experience of watching that video. It makes me sad, because only my #1 makes them look good and clearly nobody believes that one.

Many such devices have indeed been shown to have built in EQ curves and even enhancers that you have to dive into a menu somewhere to shut off. Would any of us be 'shocked' to find out Pono does the same?
Old 29th April 2014
  #4352
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Plug-ins really help me fight expectation bias because I never know what to expect and always try several likely candidates! It's amazing how one can tower above the rest yet I never know which one it will be without trying.

What I meant by implementation is that a crappy filter with a great line stage can sound better than a great filter with a line stage that sounds like crap unless it's running unloaded into a few megs. And then there are ground loops from digital connections and RFI problems in some devices. All things are never close to equal unless you are bread-boarding and only changing one part of a converter at a time. Even that can create problems in a device where analog audio is passing right next to what amounts to a radio station. Context is everything in the digital world.
Thank you for elaborating, Bob. That last sentence about context is basically what I was alluding to. As many here are still ignoring the possibility of this Pono device potentially sounding good in a surprising way, using various reasons all of which out of context.

@bogosort....I am not giving Chris any hot air, no. And I was just questioning your hot air, which says the thing can NOT sound surprisingly good, without hearing it, using various separate aspects to argue this. None of which are the whole system. All speculation. I know you hate the idea of it, but that is what it is, speculation.

So is mine and Chris's position, only he and I are open to the possibility of this thing sounding surprisingly good, and you are not. Cool Aid? Whatever, we'll see. Maybe your guess is right and ours is wrong, then you can gloat later. I know that if my hope is right I'll be busy rejoicing and getting on the waiting list for a Pono.
Old 29th April 2014
  #4353
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
The DAC filter is supposed to be transparent. You're saying it's a good thing for a DAC to color the sound, but I vehemently disagree. It is in the same vein as those "Loudness" buttons on old stereos that would apply a smiley EQ curve to the output, except the user can't turn it off.
Speakers are supposed to be transparent too. So? Do you really think these things, especially at this price point, are going to be transparent as a rule? Is that not the same argument of 'CD players are already perfect' that most posters here are not going to allow as an axiom?

Let's assume by contrast that people's experience with DACs can be described as 'thin' and 'cold' and 'bad', when they are comparing them with analog tape or vinyl records. If their experience with Pono is less colored by these associations so that they don't observe 'digitally cold' colors, what is really transparent to the musical expression?
Old 29th April 2014
  #4354
Motown legend
 
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Digital "coldness" in my experience sounds like the same crappy line stages I remember from 1/2" 8 tracks.
Old 29th April 2014
  #4355
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
Yes, this is most certainly true (and not just in the digital world). The extra engineering effort is what drives cost in converters -- the chips themselves are commodities.

Generally we don't find well-engineered design in $400 consumer products, but I'm perfectly happy to believe that it's possible. What I find quite difficult to believe is that the Pono engineers discovered some super amazing design techniques that will put our pro converters to shame.
I don't think the Pono engineers worked on that at all. They utilized Ayre Acoustic's hard work. Seems like a smart move, since the heavy lifting has all been done and at this point, it's all licensing and optimization. My experience in hearing their products tell me that it's going to sound pretty good. I'm looking forward to checking it out, but I doubt I'll purchase one. Just not in my budget. I'd rather get another M88.


Ayre and the Pono player - Ayre News
Old 29th April 2014
  #4356
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
@bogosort....I am not giving Chris any hot air, no. And I was just questioning your hot air, which says the thing can NOT sound surprisingly good, without hearing it, using various separate aspects to argue this. None of which are the whole system. All speculation. I know you hate the idea of it, but that is what it is, speculation.
So my position (a conservative one) is speculation, but Chris's position ("hallucinatory vividness") is not?

Quote:
So is mine and Chris's position, only he and I are open to the possibility of this thing sounding surprisingly good, and you are not. Cool Aid? Whatever, we'll see. Maybe your guess is right and ours is wrong, then you can gloat later. I know that if my hope is right I'll be busy rejoicing and getting on the waiting list for a Pono.
Look, I love what you and Chris stand for -- naturally dynamic masters served to a genuinely music appreciating audience. Who wouldn't want that? Seriously? I got into the whole audio engineering thing because of my love for music. I am first and foremost a musician and songwriter; the audio stuff, the engineering stuff, I love that too, but my passion is music.

So I get the hope, I really do. Call my cynical, but from what I understand of analog and digital engineering, I cannot believe that Pono will be more than a better iPod.
Old 29th April 2014
  #4357
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This has turned into such a great thread re discussion of audio art and science that I hate to bring this up but...

The name, "Pono", looks and sounds too much like "Porno" to be an effective product name with the general public, whether or not it means "righteousness" in Hawaiian.
Old 29th April 2014
  #4358
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bogosort's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
Speakers are supposed to be transparent too. So? Do you really think these things, especially at this price point, are going to be transparent as a rule? Is that not the same argument of 'CD players are already perfect' that most posters here are not going to allow as an axiom?

Let's assume by contrast that people's experience with DACs can be described as 'thin' and 'cold' and 'bad', when they are comparing them with analog tape or vinyl records. If their experience with Pono is less colored by these associations so that they don't observe 'digitally cold' colors, what is really transparent to the musical expression?
The first manufacturer that figures out how to make transparent speakers is going to make a lot of money. The problem there is that the very physics of speakers as currently designed prevents them from being transparent. Speaker makers literally have no choice.

DACs are different; there is neither physical nor mathematical reason why they cannot be made transparent. As audio engineers we have to live with the knowledge that our mixes will be listened to through imperfect speakers in sub-optimal listening conditions. Now you want the DACs to muck it up even more?
Old 29th April 2014
  #4359
Gear Head
 

Let's not forget that the video is edited. Maybe not by Scorsese, but someone did. It is a video made to sell PONO. We don't know if those comments was all that was said. Propably not. Some comments might have been edited out to get the maximum effect out of the video. To get the message clear.
Old 29th April 2014
  #4360
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
So my position (a conservative one) is speculation, but Chris's position ("hallucinatory vividness") is not?



Look, I love what you and Chris stand for -- naturally dynamic masters served to a genuinely music appreciating audience. Who wouldn't want that? Seriously? I got into the whole audio engineering thing because of my love for music. I am first and foremost a musician and songwriter; the audio stuff, the engineering stuff, I love that too, but my passion is music.

So I get the hope, I really do. Call my cynical, but from what I understand of analog and digital engineering, I cannot believe that Pono will be more than a better iPod.
I say all our positions are speculation, as the first sentence of the second quote quite clearly spells out, not just yours. But yours is the closed one with no room for the possibility of this thing sounding great and affecting people in a way that will benefit us all.

Maybe it will just be exactly that, like a better iPod. But in the process it may still bring the mere idea of sound quality to masses of people who happily graise mp3's right now, so to me that as an option wouldn't even be a failure, but still of value. And if the thing sounds amazing, well...it could really get some wind happening, if so with Apple following suit I expect.....let's see.

I also think that there is an energy in the act of being hopeful, as there is in the act of being cynical. And there is definitely no lack of cynical energy as it stands........more people switching their energy transmission to 'light' is about right for what I would like to see, regardless of any Pono.
Old 29th April 2014
  #4361
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
The first manufacturer that figures out how to make transparent speakers is going to make a lot of money. The problem there is that the very physics of speakers as currently designed prevents them from being transparent. Speaker makers literally have no choice.

DACs are different; there is neither physical nor mathematical reason why they cannot be made transparent. As audio engineers we have to live with the knowledge that our mixes will be listened to through imperfect speakers in sub-optimal listening conditions. Now you want the DACs to muck it up even more?
We also listen to them through ears, which are far from perfect. In the end, which perfection is the important one is possibly one of the better questions. Is it all about frequency response? If it was, no one would use NS10's.

And vinyl would be a ridiculously crap medium for listening to music. But people mostly love hearing music off vinyl. Regardless of the imperfections.
Old 29th April 2014
  #4362
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy Lawler View Post
This has turned into such a great thread re discussion of audio art and science that I hate to bring this up but...

The name, "Pono", looks and sounds too much like "Porno" to be an effective product name with the general public, whether or not it means "righteousness" in Hawaiian.
in the web searches that I have done for my posts on this topic, Google seems to think it knows better than me what I am looking for. For example if you do a search for "bribery, lawyers" you will also come up with pages that have "bribery, attorneys". Reasonable. Searches with the word "Pono" - spelled correctly - are yielding very high amount of pages with the word "porno". I have to actually put "-porno" and "-porn" into the search field.

It doesn't even pop up and give me the option:

did you mean "sample rate, Porno"

it just assumes I did. Perhaps if the device becomes widely popular Google will adjust their algorithms.
Old 29th April 2014
  #4363
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Timothy Lawler's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post

did you mean "sample rate, Porno"

it just assumes I did. Perhaps if the device becomes widely popular Google will adjust their algorithms.
No doubt they would. I was thinking more along the line of at-a-glance consumer perception of the name, especially in print, since the word "porno" is in common use but "pono" isn't, and one tends to see what they expect to see when reading, haha.

Doesn't matter much to those of us interested in the audio quality aspects, but might end up mattering a lot in the marketplace.
Old 29th April 2014
  #4364
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
We also listen to them through ears, which are far from perfect. In the end, which perfection is the important one is possibly one of the better questions. Is it all about frequency response? If it was, no one would use NS10's.

And vinyl would be a ridiculously crap medium for listening to music. But people mostly love hearing music off vinyl. Regardless of the imperfections.
don't knock the ears, by far the best measuring device we have

good audio is all about 'fast' audio, the pono people claim a good pulse response, this is what you want in any audio device.
Old 29th April 2014
  #4365
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post

If you don't believe #1, how can you explain the reactions without making either the artists or the Pono people (or both) look bad?
This is my position Joe, as clearly and simply as I can put it.
I don't know. I'm not ruling anything in or anything out.
I'm not an audio engineer or technician, and when I made the mistake of pontificating about the sample rate earlier in the thread, I (and a few others) was abused and treated like a moron by others in the debate.
So I'm not ruling anything out, but I'm trying to stick to things I have experience of.
I'm open to this thing actually sounding very good. I'm open to it not.
Old 29th April 2014
  #4366
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timesaver800W View Post
don't knock the ears, by far the best measuring device we have

good audio is all about 'fast' audio, the pono people claim a good pulse response, this is what you want in any audio device.
Exactly what I was alluding to, i.e. the ear isn't too fussed about 'perfect' frequency response, but proper impulse response makes things more real.
Old 29th April 2014
  #4367
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post

2. The rock stars were experiencing expectation bias.
.
And the record producers, and the CEO of Warner Music in Nashville.
You hadn't watched the Foo Fighters segment yesterday. It sounds like you haven't watched many.
Is Jim Keltner a 'rock star'. He's a phenomenal drummer whose been around the block and back again. I don't think anyone would have heard of him if you asked people on the street. Can you be a 'rock star' that virtually no one in the public has heard of?
Old 29th April 2014
  #4368
Lives for gear
 
nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy Lawler View Post

The name, "Pono", looks and sounds too much like "Porno" to be an effective product name with the general public, whether or not it means "righteousness" in Hawaiian.
People felt the same way about the iPad, as it sounded too much like a feminine hygiene product. Worked out OK.
Old 29th April 2014
  #4369
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
And the record producers
Actually I was talking specifically about rock stars.
Old 30th April 2014
  #4370
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Timothy Lawler's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
People felt the same way about the iPad, as it sounded too much like a feminine hygiene product. Worked out OK.
Good point. Could be though that the several iXxx Apple products that preceded it helped with its naming acceptance... iMac, iPod, iPhone...
Old 30th April 2014
  #4371
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy Lawler View Post
Good point. Could be though that the several iXxx Apple products that preceded it helped with its naming acceptance... iMac, iPod, iPhone...
Ya... I did wonder the same thing about pono/porno, but I think it's going to be OK from a branding perspective. From a technology perspective... that's another story.
Old 30th April 2014
  #4372
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Digital "coldness" in my experience sounds like the same crappy line stages I remember from 1/2" 8 tracks.
Not in mine. Which is why I don't mind narrow gauge tape recording, even cassette when it is working properly. Yes there are other problems introduced, but in my experience I find tape -> vinyl -> tape more enjoyable to turn up loud than digital.
Old 30th April 2014
  #4373
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
Actually I was talking specifically about rock stars.
So you either don't think the record producers, studio musicians, recording engineers and record company executives in the video experienced 'expectation bias' (scenario 2 in your post) or forgot to include a scenario for them in your 5 possible scenarios?
If it was just the 'rock stars', then there are several other people in the video who really did hear a difference, and without being handicapped by expectation bias according to your list of 5 possible scenarios.
And is it only 'rock stars' who might be being nice to Neil (scenario 3)? Who does the 'they' refer to?
Might it just be the 'rock stars' who were paid for their endorsement, or the record company executives, the record producers, studio musicians and recording engineers too?
It's confusing because you specifically mentioned 'rock stars; in your second scenario, then referred to the people in the video as 'they' in your following scenarios.. Prompting one to assume you were referring to the same people as scenario 2 - the 'rock stars'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
I agree with joe, I think there are five most likely scenarios.

1. There really is an audible difference in sound... likely that is not due to high sample rate/bit depth. This could be something like an audio enhancer/exciter or whatever. It could be audio voodoo. Or it could be some audio awesome they created.

2. The rock stars were experiencing expectation bias.

3. They were being nice to Neil, as friends/community who care about audio but don't want to say the emperor has no clothes.

4. They were paid for their endorsement.

5. There is something very different in the mastering.
Old 30th April 2014
  #4374
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bogosort's Avatar
Out of curiosity I created a 4-sample moving average filter. I downloaded a well-recorded 96 kHz file (my converter doesn't do 192), made a 44.1 version of it, and then played each through the filter. At 44.1 kHz, the MA filter is totally unusable (sounds like heavy drapes over the speakers); at 96 kHz it is much more subtle, but still audible -- less bright. Extrapolating to 192 kHz, it probably sounds fine, better than I thought it would (though this is just a guess). It's also important to point out that I'm using this filter before my DAC's own reconstruction filter, so it's not a perfect listening test.

It makes me curious, though, what filters they're using for 44.1 and 96 playback. I don't think they're using a "smaller boxcar" for lower sample rates: a 1-sample MA has too wide of a passband, and a 2-sample MA is audible at 44.1. So they're probably using entirely different filter designs for "underwater" sample rates. If we finally get to hear Pono and its playback sounds different at different rates, this could well be the reason.
Old 30th April 2014
  #4375
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
So you either don't think the record producers, studio musicians, recording engineers and record company executives in the video experienced 'expectation bias' .... (snip)
I know I can be a pedantic twit, but... wow.

Congratulations, you win the internets.
Old 30th April 2014
  #4376
Just wondering why you persist on describing the people in the Pono video as 'rock stars'?
It's a genuine question. You could just answer it.
I can't think of any other times ''rock star' is used on Gearslutz.
Which Rock Stars are working ITB?
Name a Rock Star using UAD plug-ins?
What do Rock Stars think, analogue or digital?

When they aren't trying to question the reputation, honesty and validity of successful professionals, most people talk about artists, bands, musicians, producers.
Old 30th April 2014
  #4377
……………..
Old 30th April 2014
  #4378
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
... Searches with the word "Pono" - spelled correctly - are yielding very high amount of pages with the word "porno". I have to actually put "-porno" and "-porn" into the search field. ...
Goggle adjusts its results (and adverts) according to what it remembers you have searched for recently. I tried a search for "pono" and that was all that I got. YMMV.
Old 30th April 2014
  #4379
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Just wondering why you persist on describing the people in the Pono video as 'rock stars'?
LOL. Because the people I saw in the video before I turned it off were... drum roll please... rock stars! Sting, Springsteen, Neil Young, Flea.

There is REALLY no need Chrisso for you to be so argumentative. I didn't mean to strike a nerve with you, I was literally talking about rock stars because that is who I saw in the video. I don't think I should need to type up a long legal disclaimer that the people in the video might not all be limited to being rock stars, and that I didn't watch much of the videos because I found them hard to watch.

When did the term rock stars become a pejorative term for you anyway? Sheesh.
Old 30th April 2014
  #4380
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
LOL. Because the people I saw in the video before I turned it off were... drum roll please... rock stars! Sting, Springsteen, Neil Young, Flea.
Hmm, ok. So you've posted numerous times about the video, including what you think might be going on, and you haven't watched much of it?
Besides, I and others have repeatedly informed you of the recording engineers and record producers in the video, and you insist on referring to the people in the video as 'rock stars'.


Quote:
When did the term rock stars become a pejorative term for you anyway? Sheesh.
When you are posting on a specific music forum, including input from professionals in the industry, rather than a fan site for teenagers.
Do they hand out Grammy awards for Best Artist of the year, or best 'Rock Star'
Do they give Oscars to 'Best Movie Star In A Supporting Role'?
I think we are above People Magazine or TMZ level of discussion when it comes to Pono. It's only you who has failed to admit record producers and recording engineers are in the video. It's only you who insists on calling them 'rock stars' every time you mention them.
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