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Launch of Pono Studio Headphones
Old 17th May 2014
  #4951
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Hills View Post
But what is the "flat master"? Is it the 2-track that goes to the mastering engineer, or the one that comes back? Even if individual tracks are OK, some "mastering" is usually necessary to make the tracks into a more cohesive whole.
Flat master is the 2-track that goes to the mastering engineer, before any mastering eq / limiting / compression: the master mixes, untouched. That's what Pono articles have been saying the record labels have been transferring for a number of years to 192k etc.: digital transfers from the analog 2-track mix masters. So the record labels have already done what Pono considers a viable "audiophile flat transfer from the master tapes", and as audiophiles that's what they wanted in the first place. No further mastering needed. Maybe they'll need to nudge levels, make sure correct versions used, etc, etc, but so far they don't even have a set-up to do that. But I'm sure they'll work it out. Such "flat transfers from original masters" have been done many times for audiophile releases. How they got everybody to sign off on those I don't know, but they did.
Old 17th May 2014
  #4952
Lives for gear
 
doom64's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
Marketing answer? "The first one, that you can't get anywhere else". They'd be idiots not to make it sound obviously different, and the work of 'differing' it has been done by the newer CD remastering wrecking it to fit in with the state of commercial audio.

May or may not be really 'flat transfers' but they would be absolute fools not to run with that marketing angle and claim they are selling you the 'real' music for the first time ever. This holds for something like Nirvana, too. Of course, which Nirvana? Butch Vig's? Or Steve Albini's? Do you remix Nevermind to take away the fancy mixing tricks and make it sound like they just put up mics and hit record?

But that aside, 'original mix transferred flat' is clearly the marketing answer. Much like they'd be getting the original quirky mixes of 'Anthem Of The Sun' and 'Aoxomoxoa' from the Dead, and selling those. They're the ones you can't go buy on a CD from the regular music industry. THOSE ones.
+1 If they just release what can be purchased on CD/MP3 Pono Music (the service) will be a failure. You need a Unique Selling Proposition to stand out in business. Uncrushed masters would be their USP. Keep the EQing, noise reduction, track spacing, etc. that the master engineer did...just get rid of the damn brickwall limiter...or at least reduce it so it's only chopping off a decibel or two.
Old 18th May 2014
  #4953
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by doom64 View Post
or at least reduce it so it's only chopping off a decibel or two.
What? No! No compromise, no further processing.

There's a fair number of things I would actually hunt down and buy if there was NO dicking around with it. I'm a lot more interested in hearing what was actually there, than I am in hearing what 2014 mastering engineers think I should want.

I always go back to albums like 'Aqualung' or 'Gris-Gris' or 'Bayou Country' (which is not to say they will be available). Those should be DARK. Some of the stuff I like best is just not supposed to be 'hey, now I can hear the hi-hat, and the tape hiss is a lot quieter as if it was a CD'. *shudder*

Especially the de-noising. Do you have any idea how hard it is to do that with any degree of grace? It's a hard technical problem and you really can't totally alter the background noise of an album once it's there, without wrecking it. I have no trust whatsoever in remasters to brighten and noise-reduce. Worst possible thing.
Old 18th May 2014
  #4954
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by walter88 View Post
Flat master is the 2-track that goes to the mastering engineer, before any mastering eq / limiting / compression: ...
... but after the mix engineer has put an L2 across the 2-buss, so all the mastering engineer can do is

Quote:
Originally Posted by walter88 View Post
... That's what Pono articles have been saying the record labels have been transferring for a number of years to 192k etc.: digital transfers from the analog 2-track mix masters. ...
You must have better sources and powers of reading comprehension than I do, because I haven't seen this in any Pono article. I agree it would be the logical way to do it, but we're talking record labels here...
Old 18th May 2014
  #4955
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
There are issues other than sound quality. Can 192x24 be turned into AAC or MP3 relatively undamaged using "free" software?

It might be a lot less convenient for looting.
I think that is an irrelevant point, connections are so fast now I think it matters not.

But to answer your question... yes I think they can.
Old 18th May 2014
  #4956
Lives for gear
 
nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Laughable guessing in this thread by compulsive posters who MUST have the last word. I've never seen anything like it.
I can't understand how you could have never seen anything like it... but you've been here for a decade. Most long threads are the same.
Old 18th May 2014
  #4957
j_j
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
There are issues other than sound quality. Can 192x24 be turned into AAC or MP3 relatively undamaged using "free" software?

It might be a lot less convenient for looting.
MP3 not so much. I'm pretty sure I remember defining scale factor bands for AAC for 96kHz, and it wouldn't be hard for 192. Be a bit tough to define the psychoacoustic model for 40kHz to 96kHz though
Old 18th May 2014
  #4958
mixmixmix
Guest
QUOTE "Laughable guessing in this thread by compulsive posters who MUST have the last word. I've never seen anything like it."

Why trying finding sense in GS bikering? Pointless epic speculations and opportunity to argue is one of the attractions to many posters. GS is an electronic playground.

It also happens to be highly educational at times.
Old 18th May 2014
  #4959
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by j_j View Post
MP3 not so much. I'm pretty sure I remember defining scale factor bands for AAC for 96kHz, and it wouldn't be hard for 192. Be a bit tough to define the psychoacoustic model for 40kHz to 96kHz though
I've made 96kHz. AACs from 96kHz mixes and they sounded great. I didn't tell people what they were and got a "what did you do? It sounds better!" response from folks. IPad and iPod couldn't play it but iTunes on PC and mac was fine.
Old 18th May 2014
  #4960
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Hills View Post
... but after the mix engineer has put an L2 across the 2-buss, so all the mastering engineer can do is
Wow, you're right. I didn't think about extreme mix buss compression. If Pono was locked in to that, and no alternate from the mixer, maybe they would have a problem with it. I think they have the right intentions though, and I think they're lucky to have the freedom to pick and choose.

This is an article that mentions the record label archiving, from a long time ago:
Neil Young Expands Pono Digital-to-Analog Music Service | Music News | Rolling Stone.
It might be the only one. I tend to exaggerate.

Have you seen this Nirvana Nevermind? UMG Pure Audio 2013, "original master tapes, no compression".
Amazon.com: Nevermind [Blu-ray Audio]: Music
The funny thing is all the comments at the bottom are about the 2011 remaster, which is criticized for being "over-compressed". Even Amazon can't keep up with all these remasters.

Last edited by walter88; 18th May 2014 at 09:22 AM.. Reason: added original master tapes
Old 18th May 2014
  #4961
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by walter88 View Post
Have you seen this Nirvana Nevermind? UMG Pure Audio 2013, "original master tapes, no compression".
Amazon.com: Nevermind [Blu-ray Audio]: Music
The funny thing is all the comments at the bottom are about the 2011 remaster, which is criticized for being "over-compressed". Even Amazon can't keep up with all these remasters.
uh, Nevermind (so to speak). Apparently it's the 2011 mastering stuck on a Blu-ray with some very questionable wording in the product description. Maybe this is one of the ones you were talking about earlier Don. It's an issue brought up by this interviewer:
INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Pure Audio boss on plans for the blu-ray format | superdeluxeedition

Last edited by walter88; 18th May 2014 at 10:29 AM.. Reason: added very
Old 18th May 2014
  #4962
Lives for gear
 

Thanks for the links, Walter. And I noticed Supertramp's "Crime Of The Century" in that photo of Olivier Robert-Murphy. That's another album that deserves an "original dynamics" release.

Quote:
Originally Posted by walter88 View Post
uh, Nevermind (so to speak). Apparently it's the 2011 mastering stuck on a Blu-ray with some very questionable wording in the product description. ...
A perfect example of why I'm worried... we'll just have to wait and see, I guess.
Old 18th May 2014
  #4963
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Hills View Post
Thanks for the links, Walter. And I noticed Supertramp's "Crime Of The Century" in that photo of Olivier Robert-Murphy. That's another album that deserves an "original dynamics" release.

A perfect example of why I'm worried... we'll just have to wait and see, I guess.
I was really surprised by this (but I guess I shouldn't be). Putting the same non-audiophile over-compressed mastering on 96k and calling it hi-res with a fancy name when nobody in the world could differentiate it from the 44.1. Selling 96k just for the sake of 96k, and taking great liberties with the word "uncompressed". That was a bad move, and hopefully they'll take heed from the criticism they're getting from the audiophiles. No matter what I think of 192k delivery, I think the audiophile complaints are going to be important in all this.

Last edited by walter88; 18th May 2014 at 08:42 PM.. Reason: added uncompressed
Old 19th May 2014
  #4964
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doom64's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Hills View Post
A perfect example of why I'm worried... we'll just have to wait and see, I guess.
Indeed. Green Day's 2004 "American Idiot" was released in 2012 on HD Tracks and it is more dynamic than the CD release. So there is hope!

Old 30th May 2014
  #4965
Gear Head
 

For those who think Pono will make a difference...

Get your best gear ready and try this easy-to-take blind test that compares HD audio vs iTunes plus (AAC 256 kbps).

Be honest to your ears! Music and Truth deserve it!
Old 30th May 2014
  #4966
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cd.vs.mp3 View Post
Get your best gear ready and try this easy-to-take blind test that compares HD audio vs iTunes plus (AAC 256 kbps).

Be honest to your ears! Music and Truth deserve it!
Oh come on now. 256K? Casual

o/` somebody hasn't read this whole thread! o/`
Old 31st May 2014
  #4967
Old 31st May 2014
  #4969
Lives for gear
 

pasted below from the link. The modern recording drawing did not paste but its pretty funny.
“First we want to thank all of you, again, for your tremendous support in our hugely successful Kickstarter campaign. We’ve been overwhelmed by your enthusiasm and reception of Pono. We know many of you have been spreading the word about Pono and we truly appreciate it. In fact, there have been hundreds of requests from those that missed the Kickstarter deadline. For those of you with any payment problems or special requests, contact us at [email protected]. Please give us a few days to get back to you due to the large volume of emails. We’re working diligently to reduce the backlog.

We are making great progress on the development of the new and improved PonoPlayer (the one you pledged for), as well as the on-line store, the content delivery system, and the desktop media center application. We have established a number of key partnerships to help us expedite our development process.

We are proud to announce that we have reached a strategic partnership with JRiver (JRiver Media Center software), who will be providing us with a Pono-branded version of their world-class desktop media center software. This software will be similar to the iTunes® desktop app in that it will allow you to manage your music, create playlists, sync your music to your PonoPlayer, access the PonoMusic store, purchase & download music to your desktop, do player firmware updates, etc.

We are also thrilled to announce our partnership with CloudCraze (Cloudcraze | Salesforce eCommerce), an eCommerce platform that runs natively on the salesforce1® platform; as well as our partnership with SalesForce.com where the PonoMusic store will be hosted. We are using the CloudCraze/salesforce1® platform to develop a world-class social music store. We expect to have our PonoPlayer pre-order store (for post-Kickstarter pre-orders of PonoPlayers and some accessories) up and running in mid-to-late June. We will be automatically creating user accounts on our store for each of our Kickstarter supporters. Look for an email notification in June once your account is set up. You will need to login and ensure that we have your correct contact information and billing address.

Lastly, we are days away from finalizing a partnership with a world-class content delivery partner who has great expertise in the content management and quality management issues near and dear to us at PonoMusic. We will notify you once our partnership is finalized and let you know why we are so excited about this partnership. We have also begun the work with the major music labels in order to have the PonoMusic store on line with a very large, relevant and interesting content catalog by October. Stay tuned for more news on this front. This work will be on-going at Pono as we will continue to add content to the PonoMusic.com store every day after the launch.

Last but not least, we are excited to announce that Bruce Botnick (Bruce Botnick - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) has joined the PonoMusic leadership team. He is a legendary audio engineer and record producer known for his work with the Doors, Love, Buffalo Springfield, the Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, and many other artists. Also, on Bruce’s list of credits are numerous motion pictures including the Star Trek movies (Bruce Botnick - IMDb). Bruce is responsible for establishing our content strategy and ensuring that we provide you the highest quality version of each recording sold in our music store. Bruce recently shared with the team the following graphic, which captures the state of modern recording today and depicts his motivation for joining Pono to help us save music from the lossy formats such as MP3.

modern_recording

As for the PonoPlayers, we’ve built our first batch of new circuit boards incorporating the Ayre audio electronics and are beginning to build dozens of PonoPlayers in both California and in Shenzhen. These units will be used for testing everything from audio performance to the durability of the player. We will be exercising every function of the player thousands of times and are building testers to do some of this automatically.

Our very first board went to Charlie Hansen, founder of Ayre Acoustics, and he was ecstatic with the results of his design. Ayre has designed our audio system electronics in the PonoPlayer using the same principles used on his company’s amplifiers, DACs, and preamplifiers that are revered in the challenging world of audiophile standards. These products are famous for the use of discreet components (rather than off the shelf ICs), fully-balanced circuitry and a zero feedback design. The PonoPlayer project is the first time in history that technology of this caliber has been designed and built into a portable device. And from our listening experience, the results are spectacular and well worth the effort. We are grateful to Charlie and his team. This is all part of the Pono commitment to bring you an unmatched audio experience in a hand-held device.

Several of us recently returned from Shenzhen, China, where our terrific team at PCH is hard at work in preparing for several successive product builds, as well as testing and manufacturing process improvements. We visited several of the factories that will supply parts for the player and the factory that will be doing the final assembly and testing. We also visited the labs where we are still working to perfect the finishing and laser etching on the Limited Edition players.

Many of you have inquired about the types of PonoPlayers that will be available once we fulfill our Kickstarter commitments. We are currently planning to offer four models: yellow and black with a soft touch finish, each retailing for $399, a version finished in brushed chrome at $499, and a clear model at $499. The latter two models will likely include some special packaging and accessories.

To those of you that have asked about headphones, we are working on several offerings that we are very excited about. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to experience the flawless sound from Pono soundtracks, and do so at an affordable price. We also will be testing headphones from many of the major manufacturers and posting our recommendations on our site in a few months.

We will soon be moving into our offices located in the Potrero Hill area of San Francisco (see pics below). Finally, the team will all be located together. For those of you that pledged for t-shirts and posters, they will go out in June as promised. Lastly, we are on schedule to meet our Kickstarter commitments to deliver players beginning in October. We will continue to provide updates as we move closer.

We thank you for your support and patience as we work on bringing you the best Hi-Res music experience by October.”

- The PonoMusic Team
Old 1st June 2014
  #4970
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
Oh come on now. 256K? Casual

o/` somebody hasn't read this whole thread! o/`
Try it. You have nothing to lose... or do you?
Old 2nd June 2014
  #4971
Gear Addict
 

Went to the Newport Beach Hi-Fi show. No Pono. Sorry if I misdirected anyone there with my relayed misinformation. But there was a room with all Ayre electronics and Sonus Faber speakers and it sounded just wonderful. Best room I heard. When I was there they were playing a 44.1KHz file from a Macbook and it sounded .... wonderful.

If anybody knows if Pono will be previewed anywhere before release, I'm still interested. No idea how to ask them.
Old 4th June 2014
  #4972
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cd.vs.mp3 View Post
Try it. You have nothing to lose... or do you?
We're not speaking the same language. You're talking DBT jargon, and not only that you're arguing that freaking 256K AAC is the same as our high resolution and that we are all posing and you're the only one daring enough to call us on our make-believe.

You're expecting to do this by pushing tests and then mocking anyone who can't hear a difference 100% of the time.

This thread has at times spent days arguing up and down over the concept that confidence levels are a gray-scale, and that fugitive impressions are significant to long-term experience with audio gear. In essence, you hear those one-in-a-hundred 'windows' of perception now and then, and only occasionally glimpse the real sound of the gear, but it wears on you if it can't keep up.

Sometimes you're able to pick out stuff more often and can get used to/learn the sound of gear quicker. Sometimes it's super obvious and takes no learning at all because you hear it every single time, provably.

We are not interested in gear that's only good on first listen, and falls apart on extended audition with its faults becoming increasingly annoying, though fugitive.

As such, even if we can all pick out your 256K AAC every time, that is meaningless to the topic of discussion here. And we've got a very good consensus that for output formats, somewhere between 48K and 64K sampling rate and somewhere between 20 and 24 bit is the real threshold beyond which there is no more, in practical terms.

Bits are cheap, though, so bring on the 96K/24 or even 192K/24 since they have a neat filter that's meant to work with quad rates. That's just like upsampling 96K but with better data, and for archival purposes I like the idea of getting better data—maybe we'll find better ways to work with it in the future.
Old 6th June 2014
  #4973
Gear Head
 

I am struggling to get the point of HD audio... but I'm afraid I won't be able to succeed.
Take a look at this spectrogram of an HD track I recently bought... (and it is not an exception in what I've seen so far)

spectrogram

Excuse my ignorance if I am wrong, but doesn't it just look like inaudible high frequency noise, up there, in the upper band (and quite loud, by the way)? What's the point of saving all that useless data! Thank God my ears are not good enough to hear it!

__________________
cdvsmp3.wordpress.com
Old 11th June 2014
  #4974
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cd.vs.mp3 View Post
I am struggling to get the point of HD audio... but I'm afraid I won't be able to succeed.
Take a look at this spectrogram of an HD track I recently bought... (and it is not an exception in what I've seen so far)

spectrogram

Excuse my ignorance if I am wrong, but doesn't it just look like inaudible high frequency noise, up there, in the upper band (and quite loud, by the way)? What's the point of saving all that useless data! Thank God my ears are not good enough to hear it!
[/URL]
really, what is happening here? upsampling error? thanks for posting this.
Old 11th June 2014
  #4975
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cowudders View Post
really, what is happening here? upsampling error? thanks for posting this.
I think you all should be interested in the result of this experiment (I used Adobe Audition):

1. Pick an HD track that is sampled at, say, 96k/24bit.
2. Convert it to 44.1/16bit PCM (.wav)
3. Upsample the .wav file to the original 96k.
4. Invert one of the waves, say, the converted and upsampled one.
5. Mix the two tracks and listen to the result. VERY IMPORTANT! You must align the tracks PERFECTLY for the experiment to work.

I did it, and here are the results:

First, take a look at the spectrograms

Original 96k/24bit track

Converted 44.1k/16bit track upsampled to 96k.

Mixed track (What you see is what you cut when you downsample the track. Certainly, there is a huge amount of data there!)

Now listen to the mixed track (that's exactly what you are losing when you convert this track from HD to CD). Surprised? If you don't believe it, try it yourself! (and remember to perfectly align the tracks when you mix them).

______________
Lossless vs. Lossy | Can your ears tell the difference?
Old 11th June 2014
  #4976
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by cd.vs.mp3 View Post
I think you all should be interested in the result of this experiment (I used Adobe Audition):

1. Pick an HD track that is sampled at, say, 96k/24bit.
2. Convert it to 44.1/16bit PCM (.wav)
3. Upsample the .wav file to the original 96k.
4. Invert one of the waves, say, the converted and upsampled one.
5. Mix the two tracks and listen to the result. VERY IMPORTANT! You must align the tracks PERFECTLY for the experiment to work.

I did it, and here are the results:

First, take a look at the spectrograms

Original 96k/24bit track

Converted 44.1k/16bit track upsampled to 96k.

Mixed track (What you see is what you cut when you downsample the track. Certainly, there is a huge amount of data there!)

Now listen to the mixed track (that's exactly what you are losing when you convert this track from HD to CD). Surprised? If you don't believe it, try it yourself! (and remember to perfectly align the tracks when you mix them).

______________
Lossless vs. Lossy | Can your ears tell the difference?

:-)))) I knew it ... the audiofools are selling hot air once again. and all the believers will buy it. once again.
Old 14th June 2014
  #4977
Lives for gear
 
api2500's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cd.vs.mp3 View Post
I am struggling to get the point of HD audio... but I'm afraid I won't be able to succeed.
Take a look at this spectrogram of an HD track I recently bought... (and it is not an exception in what I've seen so far)

spectrogram

Excuse my ignorance if I am wrong, but doesn't it just look like inaudible high frequency noise, up there, in the upper band (and quite loud, by the way)? What's the point of saving all that useless data! Thank God my ears are not good enough to hear it!
Now this is testing the digital audio knowledge I picked up at University, but it looks like the alias defects from a poor AA filter. Usually that gets removed by the anti-aliasing which filters them out from that frequency. They are harmonics which are no longer harmonically related to the source audio. And at lower sample rates those harmonics get reflected back into the audible spectrum.

Though, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
Old 17th June 2014
  #4978
Here for the gear
 

Anybody seen this thing SQ wise, I think this thing will slay pono and an Astell&Kern AK240(retail $2500) for that matter. The components specd in this thing are sic and the engineer/designer, Larry Ho, is even more sic. He designed the Light Harmonic Da Vinci Dual DAC($30k), he also has a new model called the Sire which will be priced at $120k.

Anyone have any thoughts?
Old 17th June 2014
  #4979
Here for the gear
 

When is the pono suppose to shiip?
Old 17th June 2014
  #4980
Lives for gear
 
doom64's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bexar View Post
When is the pono suppose to shiip?
This fall.
Topic:
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