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Launch of Pono Studio Headphones
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5101
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
...My point is that humans generally do not scrutinize their own beliefs in any rigorous sense...
What scientific evidence do you base that assertion on? The best we can say is that there is disagreement amongst experts; IMO that invalidates any strong position until it can be properly determined (as fact). Shallow-thinking may be the result of physiological economy rather than mental capability (given the brains energy requirements); optimised for environmental activity but not precluding the deeper thought processes necessary to develop discernment over time. To be valid, relative listening tests should account for that IMO.
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5102
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by stratology View Post
No, if you read the article, Pogue actually expected the Pono to sound better than the iPhone, but in double blind tests the iPhone won by a large margin.
And WHY does the Pono sound worse than that shining beacon of audiophilty - the iPhone? I'd like somebody to find an explanation for that.

You think Neil Young is foolish enough to assemble a technical staff and market a product that manages to DEGRADE the sound quality of the iPod?

Maybe the average listener used to mobile phone 'HiFi' and hyper-limited music just can't stand better audio quality. Or needs time to get used to it. Just saying....
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5103
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post

Maybe the average listener used to mobile phone 'HiFi' and hyper-limited music just can't stand better audio quality. Or needs time to get used to it. Just saying....
No maybe about it.
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5104
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stratology's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
No maybe about it.
No maybe about this: according to Young's response to Pogue, he created low resolution mp3's that are significantly worse in quality than what's available in iTunes for his listening tests with the musicians (not 'average listeners') that endorse his product.

So, he intentionally attempted to falsify tests by creating files that sound like crap. Young's methodology borders on fraud.


I'm not debating that the Pono may sound better than an iPhone in a more controlled test with level matching and high end listening gear. But there is no proof either way as long as there is no double blind test. Assumptions by Pono apologists/endorsers are no replacement for testing.

What is clear at this point is
- the hardware is poorly designed (touchscreen, memory)
- the user interface is poorly designed
- the software is years out of date (Android 2.3)
- the Pono store is making false claims ("Highest Resolution for over 2 Million tracks" when less than 10% are better than standard resolution)


So even if the Pono does clearly sound better (either due to good DACs or the alleged superiority of 192k files) after double blind testing with guys who know how to listen to reverb tails and the decay phase of cymbals, it's not a terribly convincing product.
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5105
Someone, somewhere will invent that superior audio platform - will it be Pono? ...time will tell.

UHD supports that notion - have you seen 4k, 6k, 8k video up close & personal? It's something to behold.

Most of us here on gearslutz are on a never-ending search for that new converter technology that will vastly improve our sound, workflow & leisure listening, and there's no shortage of talented companies that are on that development quest...

One reason gearslutz exists is because of the dialog that surrounds that particular ambition.
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5106
Someone, somewhere will invent that superior audio platform - will it be Pono? ...time will tell.

UHD supports that notion - have you seen 4k, 6k, 8k video up close & personal? It's something to behold.

Most of us here on gearslutz are on a never-ending search for that new converter technology that will vastly improve our sound, workflow & leisure listening, and there's no shortage of talented companies that are on that development quest...

One reason gearslutz exists is because of the dialog that surrounds that particular ambition.
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5107
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bogosort's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
What scientific evidence do you base that assertion on? The best we can say is that there is disagreement amongst experts; IMO that invalidates any strong position until it can be properly determined (as fact). Shallow-thinking may be the result of physiological economy rather than mental capability (given the brains energy requirements); optimised for environmental activity but not precluding the deeper thought processes necessary to develop discernment over time. To be valid, relative listening tests should account for that IMO.
I'm not sure what you're talking about; it doesn't seem related to the point I addressed.
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5108
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
I'm not sure what you're talking about; it doesn't seem related to the point I addressed.
You made this point:
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
What about it? My point is that humans generally do not scrutinize their own beliefs in any rigorous sense. Presumably, neither do chimpanzees.
I'm asking about the evidence to back your point.
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5109
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
Maybe this is where AB tests get finally (and unjustly) debunked. If people's direct experience too obviously contradicts 'science', they'll abandon 'science' with great eagerness and even an backlash effect.
If you listen to what the people are saying in the video, the "science" is not contradicting what they are saying at all. It is confirming it.

Let's look at what you believe and how you approach the subject:

Quote:
Notably, the whole ABX thing. If competing devices 'can't be distinguished' blind but one gives you occasional glimpses of twice the sound quality you can reliably concentrate on (but not ten or a hundred times) you may form opinions that can't be readily supported.
Quote:
If competing devices 'can't be distinguished' blind but one gives you occasional glimpses of a thousand times the sound quality you can reliably perceive…if every last moment of 'audio enlightenment' is met and matched by the hardware during the flickering of your fallible human perceptions, while the other device reveals the cheap transistors behind the curtain almost enough to be caught out by the ABX test, but not quite… then you're going to think the test is pretty stupid as a guide to life decisions.
You start with the explicit assumption that the Pono sounds better. Science is for people with open minds that want to learn but you already have your mind fully made up.

Alistair
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5110
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
You made this point: I'm asking about the evidence to back your point.
Are you even questioning that?

Alistair
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5111
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stratology's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
You start with the explicit assumption that the Pono sounds better.
Maybe the most interesting part of the Pogue test was that he assumed that the Pono sounds better, and then, regardless of confirmation bias, seemed genuinely surprised when it didn't, and tried to find out where the hype came from...
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5112
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
Are you even questioning that?

Alistair
Isn't this conversation itself evidence that we do rigorously scrutinize our beliefs? That's why we are questioning the interpretation of the AB test.
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
From the article:



I call bull!
Those "expensive" headphones are sony mdr7506.....lol
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5114
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
Isn't this conversation itself evidence that we do rigorously scrutinize our beliefs?
How so? I see people scrutinizing other's beliefs but not so much their own. That doesn't happen too often IME.

Quote:
That's why we are questioning the interpretation of the AB test.
I'm not sure the test itself tells us much. We don't really have enough information about it but the results as they stand are hardly surprising.

More interesting is how people react to it.

Alistair
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5115
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by stratology View Post
Maybe the most interesting part of the Pogue test was that he assumed that the Pono sounds better, and then, regardless of confirmation bias, seemed genuinely surprised when it didn't, and tried to find out where the hype came from...
Maybe he has horrible taste

I know exactly what I want out of high performance audio. My pet example is 'Aqualung'. I want the kind of immediacy and visceral impact of THAT album, for all that it is murkier and 'older sounding' than say Thick Is A Brick (and that's in Tull alone: I could also say I want ideal playback of Kind Of Blue, or Time Out, rather than say Heavy Weather, a much more studio-sculpted album).

I even know what KIND of audio gear best delivers this performance, and what tends not to, because I have experience with gear and listening. It is flatly ludicrous to suppose that I'm imagining it all, particularly if the people I'm expected to defer to, have radically different values. If you can't relate to how awesome and alive so much 40s/50s/60s vinyl is, we're not talking the same language. If you aren't even talking about the same thing, why should I automatically defer to you, any more than I'd tell you how to best conduct YOUR listening?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stratology View Post
- the software is years out of date (Android 2.3)
I couldn't let this pass. As a programmer: have you flipped? I don't want the player to suddenly go all iOS 8 on me. I don't want the controls to be dictated by fashion, always different! I don't care if it's Android 0.9, all I care is if it works, or can be fixed if it doesn't work. Software of this kind has a nasty tendency of feature creep and to get more crufty and unmaintainable. Maybe they are consciously avoiding known problems. I like that it's a specific, embedded form of Android known to work with the device. Why should it ever change? Ever?

Serious question. How is this even a bad thing? It's an advantage. What do you think it's going to do, smell funny?
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5116
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bogosort's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
You made this point: I'm asking about the evidence to back your point.
You need evidence that humans generally do not scrutinize their own beliefs? Seriously? Do you analyze most of your opinions, thoughts, and judgements?

The particular cause of our shallow thinking is certainly open for debate, but no one seriously denies it. The evidence of our irrational and inconsistent behavior is literally everywhere you find people. Just talk to a few of them!

As for the cause, the evolutionary explanation makes sense to me; I cannot even imagine how a deep thinking proto-human would have survived for very long. Each of us makes hundreds of thousands of decisions every day, almost always with incomplete information, yet we barely notice it! The human brain calmly swings from branch to branch of innumerable decision-trees, making snap judgements as it goes. Along the way -- amid the bewildering complexity of it all -- certain judgements are reinforced, others are rebuked, and personality is shaped. The stuff that's there, that vast majority of it, isn't deep or particularly meaningful; it's just familiar.

Christian parents tend to raise Christian children, racist parents tend to have racist children, and if you grew up in Nebraska, you're very likely to be a Cornhuskers fan. So it goes.
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5117
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stratology's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
I couldn't let this pass. As a programmer: have you flipped? I don't want the player to suddenly go all iOS 8 on me. I don't want the controls to be dictated by fashion, always different! I don't care if it's Android 0.9, all I care is if it works, or can be fixed if it doesn't work. Software of this kind has a nasty tendency of feature creep and to get more crufty and unmaintainable. Maybe they are consciously avoiding known problems. I like that it's a specific, embedded form of Android known to work with the device. Why should it ever change? Ever?

Serious question. How is this even a bad thing? It's an advantage. What do you think it's going to do, smell funny?
The Arstechnica review, among others, describes an extremely poor user experience. Part of that is laggy touch response, part of that is tap areas that are too small.

I'll never understand the advocacy for outdated software. Newer releases address bugs, security issues and performance issues from older releases.

As a developer, ignoring current tech in favour of outdated tech when developing your own software is, at least for me, not a good advertisement for your products.



In the comments section of the Arstechnica review, some Pono owners state that they have already given up on the device, due to the incredibly poor user experience.

One owner also points out that the Pono uses 5 Ohms internal impedance, while iPods use 0.5 Ohms, to better match 8Ohm earbuds or headphones.
This may be a better explanation for why the iPhone won in the double blind test than just insinuating that the testers are deaf.
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5118
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by stratology View Post
One owner also points out that the Pono uses 5 Ohms internal impedance, while iPods use 0.5 Ohms, to better match 8Ohm earbuds or headphones.
This may be a better explanation for why the iPhone won in the double blind test than just insinuating that the testers are deaf.
I'm using 300 ohm Sennheiser HD600s. How about 'they might as well be deaf for all the relevance their reactions have to my situation and needs'?
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5119
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stratology's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
they might as well be deaf
Thanks for the comment, it inspired me to look up actual audio specs for Android:

***
FLAC:
Mono/Stereo (no multichannel). Sample rates up to 48 kHz (but up to 44.1 kHz is recommended on devices with 44.1 kHz output, as the 48 to 44.1 kHz downsampler does not include a low-pass filter). 16-bit recommended; no dither applied for 24-bit.
***


That means that Android would always downsample to 44k, and reduce the bit depth to 16bit.

If anyone has information that this does not apply for Android on Pono, or that Pono uses some tech to work around it, please link to it. Genuinely curious.

Downsampling on the device would be another explanation for the test results, and possibly for the poor battery life.
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5120
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stratology View Post

I'll never understand the advocacy for outdated software. Newer releases address bugs, security issues and performance issues from older releases.
I'll never understand the perpetual demand for upgrades. Quite often they introduce bugs etc etc.

It is an attitude that Microsoft and similar companies have brought about, because to them it is a business model. Without it, they do not get get repeat payments from their customers (hey, does this remind anyone of the recorded music industry?)

For a dedicated device, it does not matter what version the OS is, only that it does what is required. If later versions actually do those dedicated tasks better, then it becomes a valid argument. Do they?
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5121
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stratology's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
If later versions actually do those dedicated tasks better, then it becomes a valid argument. Do they?
But isn't that the point? I remember when I first tried Android, I could not believe how slow and laggy it was. That has improved with every release. Using a current (or at least more current) release of Android could be a solution for the performance issues on Pono.
Old 3rd February 2015
  #5122
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
Without it, they do not get get repeat payments from their customers (hey, does this remind anyone of the recorded music industry?)
While records were still king, there was no update. But records are consumable, they needed to be replaced now and then.
Old 4th February 2015
  #5123
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doom64's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by stratology View Post
No maybe about this: according to Young's response to Pogue, he created low resolution mp3's that are significantly worse in quality than what's available in iTunes for his listening tests with the musicians (not 'average listeners') that endorse his product.

So, he intentionally attempted to falsify tests by creating files that sound like crap. Young's methodology borders on fraud.
Can you post a link to Neil Young's response to this Yahoo Tech test?
Old 4th February 2015
  #5124
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stratology View Post
But isn't that the point? I remember when I first tried Android, I could not believe how slow and laggy it was. That has improved with every release. Using a current (or at least more current) release of Android could be a solution for the performance issues on Pono.
What are the performance issues with Pono?
Old 4th February 2015
  #5125
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stratology's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doom64 View Post
Can you post a link to Neil Young's response to this Yahoo Tech test?

Sure.
You have to click on 'Read More', and then scroll down to the middle of the piece, that's where the quote is. Or better, just read the whole thing.
Old 4th February 2015
  #5126
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stratology's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by michael cleary View Post
What are the performance issues with Pono?
From the arstechnia review:

"we found ourselves frequently needing to pick the hardware up and wait for its screen to rotate just to get new tracks going."
and
"Sluggish touchscreen is made worse by interface's tiny, tappable details."


It's also worth reading through the comments, some Pono owners chime in with their experiences (if you don't want to read through it all, just pick the 'Reader Favs'.)
This and this are good examples.

Last edited by stratology; 4th February 2015 at 01:56 AM.. Reason: added links to ars comments
Old 4th February 2015
  #5127
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doom64's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by stratology View Post
Sure.
You have to click on 'Read More', and then scroll down to the middle of the piece, that's where the quote is. Or better, just read the whole thing.
Ahh, sorry about that. I didn't catch your original post about it being in the Yahoo Tech article and not in a follow up/blog post.
Old 4th February 2015
  #5128
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stratology View Post
But isn't that the point? I remember when I first tried Android, I could not believe how slow and laggy it was. That has improved with every release. Using a current (or at least more current) release of Android could be a solution for the performance issues on Pono.
It's the point if it's the point! I'm no great phone geek, but I look at the android threads on a couple of forums that I belong to, and it is common to see people saying that rom/version x.n.n is slow on hardware abcde, and that an upgrade to hardware fghij has caused major performance or battery-drain problems. So we cannot rely on assumptions and could-bees. You could be right! In fact I'll add another could-be into the mix. Weren't early Android versions really-not-very-good at audio?

It is perfectly possible that the developers have made one or more wrong decisions, it's perfectly possible that they did, somehow, in a moment of madness, choose a version that might not be as good as another version --- but I don't think we can tell this just by the numbers.

ISTR that, in the British Navy, "Windows for Warships" (God help us *) is Windows98! And it is within the past few years that I read that.


*ASIDE:

It looks as if you are trying to launch a missile. Would you like some help with that?

heh
Old 4th February 2015
  #5129
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stratology View Post
The Arstechnica review, among others, describes an extremely poor user experience. Part of that is laggy touch response, part of that is tap areas that are too small.

Have you held one in your hand? Didn't strike me as particularly laggy at all. If you e.g. go through amazon reviews for phones you will also find a whole other reality of impressions of perfectly fine devices, often written by teenagers with adhd. Best make a judgement with the thing in your own hand....just saying.
Old 4th February 2015
  #5130
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stratology View Post
The Arstechnica review, among others, describes an extremely poor user experience. Part of that is laggy touch response, part of that is tap areas that are too small.

I'll never understand the advocacy for outdated software. Newer releases address bugs, security issues and performance issues from older releases.

As a developer, ignoring current tech in favour of outdated tech when developing your own software is, at least for me, not a good advertisement for your products.



In the comments section of the Arstechnica review, some Pono owners state that they have already given up on the device, due to the incredibly poor user experience.

One owner also points out that the Pono uses 5 Ohms internal impedance, while iPods use 0.5 Ohms, to better match 8Ohm earbuds or headphones.
This may be a better explanation for why the iPhone won in the double blind test than just insinuating that the testers are deaf.
All things considered this reads like a positive review and jibes with most hands on experiences. Great amp and DAC make it a premium player at a reasonable price.
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