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22nd February 2015
#5281
Airwindows

Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort
Excellent, then let's make even more progress.

(…)

Anyway, I've run out of energy. I fear I haven't been clear enough on this admittedly eye-glazing subject. Hopefully there's enough to at least get us on the same page.
Wow. *applause* we ARE making progress! That is a really thorough outlining of your terms, and it's much easier to understand where you're coming from. Thank you.

We might need to get into your variance concept, because the thing about very large samplesets is that subsets cease to matter. We don't care if there's 100 heads in a row if we have an infinite series, BECAUSE we have an infinite series and it soaks up all such departures from the norm. Indeed, any pattern (including heads-tails-heads-tails-heads-tails) is equally likely and unlikely. The subsets don't matter, only the total results.

The key point here is that your model for a statistical distribution is a coin flip. This gives us our results, which converge either to 50% (for a normal coin) or to 100% (for, say, a coin with two heads). So, working from that, I can say that your model for human perception is indeed a situation where a result is either there, or it's not.

Let's try to incorporate some of the lossyness of human perception into this, but in a way that's still mechanical, with no humans involved. Consider that the coin flip's being recorded by a camera, so that if the camera sees heads, it returns a result of heads.

We can model human fallibility by doing our coin-flip, but then interposing something like a spinning fan between camera and coin. In this way we can introduce an element of data loss that we know is the case for human perception, and begin to simulate humans' failure to return reliable results: but the model's still purely mechanical. All it does is ensure that sometimes, the camera does not get good data. The coin's obscured, in part or entirely, by a fan blade, and the data isn't there (neither heads nor tails, though the coin still exists and hasn't gone anywhere).

I'm going to suggest the behavior of humans isn't so unlike this obscured-by-fan condition: any number of things can happen to damage what would otherwise be pure, robot-like perception. In fact to perform on ABX well, we have to calm ourselves and focus and try to free ourselves of distraction (as one who has done well on ABX testing I can assure you this isn't optional: you MUST chill and just take in the data calmly and attentively)

The thing is, with this coin-fan-camera rig, we can draw conclusions over extended trials of the combination of the coin and the fan, and we can expect infinite series to converge on values that are neither 50% or 100%, EVEN THOUGH the base test is and will always be a 50% test. The introduction of a partially obscuring factor (and anything, even environmental background noise in a place that's not an anechoic chamber, can work as such an obscuring factor) leads to distinct and valid results you wouldn't expect to converge. Just mechanically, you can work out what it does to the statistics. Essentially, it renders some of the tests to always return 'guessing' even under conditions where you could otherwise identify the coin flip.

In audio ABX testing, the result is also binary. You correctly heard a difference and identified it just like you were calling 'heads!', or you called wrong thus establishing that for that iteration of the test, you did not perceive the difference correctly. On the surface, it looks like it will therefore always converge either to 50% or 100%.

But with the real world and real humans we ALWAYS have this 'obscuring fan' in so many ways, whether it's attention or background sounds or feeling challenged upon missing a guess for the first time (they'll make fun of meee! oh noes!). Part of the purpose of gathering a larger statistical sample is to show what the real value is: this is why we talk of confidence levels. That's why I'm raising the idea of infinite series: if there is a condition where an infinite series on a binary test returns an intermediate value such as 70%, that establishes it's not wholly a binary test!

And that means: statistically, the larger the sample set you have, the more likely it is that you're being led not towards 'variance' but to an accurate representation of the underlying condition. In fact, it becomes likely that you can quantify the condition. You can SAY, 'according to this test, I can only hear this thing that bugs me one time out of ten. I've done a billion trials and the probability of me hearing any given occurrence of the event is one time in ten, no more, no less. AND IT STILL BUGS ME.'

In short: there are times you can hear the truth of a sound, and times that it gets by you. Might be only one time in ten that you can hear the 'grunge' or unpleasant artifact, but if it exists, every ten times or so, there it is again. Can you pin it down, can you prove it? Nope. But you complain vociferously, all the more when told you are imagining things!

Those who fuss over things you can hear only one in a hundred are getting awful picky, but they are legion. You'll see them all over, insisting things like no digital format can ever capture a cymbal, or something else like that, and they'll be ignoring huge and obvious errors in whatever they like: because they are singling out something in the format they dislike that bugs them, and they will not forgive even one in a hundred incidence of such a problem. The instant they pick up on an artifact, it's all they hear and they imagine ten times as much of it as there is.

Such is human nature.

Can we agree that humans hearing 'is X like B, or like A' and picking one, is not really a binary test because extraneous factors will spoil the human's otherwise legit perception some of the time? Or do we have to assume that every human on every ABX test is infallible up to the point that they're deaf to further information?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Carlo_method
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probabi...isk_assessment
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_...e_(statistics)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stochas...ng_(insurance)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_reliability

Last edited by chrisj; 22nd February 2015 at 09:36 PM..
22nd February 2015
#5282
Lives for gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70
But I still find it funny how easily people focus on something to moan about when they are faced with something that could also be applauded, if you were to choose to view it from a different angle.
According to reports and reviews on YouTube that actually show the device, Pono looks pretty bad when you look at it from a different angle, due to the crappy screen. Extremely poor viewing angles of the screen are one of the many criticisms that go beyond sound (like battery life, touch responsiveness, failing screen rotations, etc) that you find in pretty much every review.
22nd February 2015
#5283
Gear Guru

Quote:
Originally Posted by stratology
According to reports and reviews on YouTube that actually show the device, Pono looks pretty bad when you look at it from a different angle, due to the crappy screen. Extremely poor viewing angles of the screen are one of the many criticisms that go beyond sound (like battery life, touch responsiveness, failing screen rotations, etc) that you find in pretty much every review.
So have you had one in your hand yet? I have. Screen issues were not a thought that jumped at me. Maybe try one out and see for yourself, or are reviews always right for you?? If your reality is based on interknot reviews you better not buy a mobile phone, because they're all complete ****e it seems....lol
22nd February 2015
#5284
Lives for gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by edwinhurwitz
A good question, but not really relevant to a lot of the objections about the Pono phenomenon. Most of the detractors will concede that it's probably a good sounding unit. The complaint is more around the misleading hype. If it had been marketed as merely a great DAC in a versatile player, then it wouldn't be very controversial at all.
"If it had been marketed as merely a great DAC in a versatile player, then it wouldn't be very controversial at all"

Of course, but then it wouldn't get as much attention and probably wouldn't sell a fraction of what it will sell/has sold. They need to have marketing hype to sell this to the general public, this is not geared towards audiophiles who understand and appreciate high end DAC and robust headphone amplifiers.
I found the initial marketing silly with the underwater comparison and HD with angel wings. Even the current campaign, "your soul rediscovers music" makes me gag. But I understand the need for it and I'm not offended by it, any more than a car manufacturer trying to sell me on the experience of getting a new car.
It is marketing, it is hype, but is it worth getting so worked up over it?
22nd February 2015
#5285
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakewalk
"If it had been marketed as merely a great DAC in a versatile player, then it wouldn't be very controversial at all"

Of course, but then it wouldn't get as much attention and probably wouldn't sell a fraction of what it will sell/has sold. They need to have marketing hype to sell this to the general public, this is not geared towards audiophiles who understand and appreciate high end DAC and robust headphone amplifiers.
I found the initial marketing silly with the underwater comparison and HD with angel wings. Even the current campaign, "your soul rediscovers music" makes me gag. But I understand the need for it and I'm not offended by it, any more than a car manufacturer trying to sell me on the experience of getting a new car.
It is marketing, it is hype, but is it worth getting so worked up over it?
Well, personally, I'm not so worked up over it, and I'd even like to have one that I'd populate with my own files if I had the disposable income, but I understand the problem. If you understand how digital audio works, then it is a bit insulting to be told a number of things by NY and his crew that are misleading or simply untrue. I won't go over them because they've been addressed ad nauseam in this thread, but it comes down to whether you think it's mere puffery or false advertising. Hyperbole coupled with bad science has been used to direct policy for various governments and societies with bad results, ranging in issues from the Iraq War to climate change. Here, the stakes aren't nearly so high, the worst that happens is that someone spends money unnecessarily, either with the device or more likely at the Pono store where they think they are getting an upgrade from CD quality but it's in fact the same exact music.

Is there a "need" for this kind of hyperbole? That depends on your point of view, whether or not it's OK to lie in the service of making an almighty dollar. Supreme Court decisions suggest that in 2015 it is and that the damage caused is mere externality and insignificant when balanced between the greater good (economic activity). Is false or misleading advertising something that we can accept when we think the harm is less than the good? Morally, I'm not so sure. Is it OK here because the customer gets a pretty good device despite the misleading or false hype? I think that marketing companies think that it's useful to employ these tactics, but I don't think there's a need for it.
22nd February 2015
#5286
Airwindows

Easy, folks! Do not be nasty toward scientific types. We are hashing out some disagreements and points of contention that have never been settled in decades of pitched battle. Might not be as important as world wars, but it still matters in many ways.

As for "where they think they are getting an upgrade from CD quality but it's in fact the same exact music", that could be read several ways. If there's stuff which is repackaged 16/44.1 upsampled with all the low bits just zero information, there are ways to tell that and I'd really want to know about it before spending money and getting progressively frustrated with my purchase and, in the end, sick of it.

I'm told the labels are archiving their master tapes to 192K wholesale just because the tapes are deteriorating, and it's not unreasonable for them to want to re-sell everything again, but an archival 'museum quality' flat transfer is JUST what I'd want for many treasured albums. If the idea is that there will be 192K, 24 bit captures legitimately available, but it's an outrage because it's SUPPOSED to be 'the exact same music as the CD' and we never hear different, that objection is wrong.

Please crusade against record company treachery only if they are in fact upsampling and faking things from existing, CD quality masters. That can happen too, but getting archival-quality, scientific-analysis-quality copies of beloved albums is just what I'd like to see happen and I'd be willing in many cases to pay for that, as it is better than anything I've been able to buy as a consumer, and not 'the exact same thing' as previous CD releases.

Even discounting the damage of the loudness war, and so on.

Last edited by chrisj; 22nd February 2015 at 11:03 PM..
22nd February 2015
#5287
Lives for gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj
Do not be nasty toward scientific types.
You may be on to something here. Your classification 'scientific types' is an indication of something I see as uniquely American. Creationism is a uniquely American phenomenon. In Europe, it's pretty much non existent, not even the pope buys into it. Rejecting science seems to be a lot more socially acceptable in the US than in the rest of the world.
22nd February 2015
#5288
Lives for gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush
Unless you own and use PONO, then I hardly see why you're writing.
Finally another one who actually owns a Pono.
Could you please describe how the viewing angles of the screen compare to current iOS and Android devices? Much appreciated.
23rd February 2015
#5289
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj
As for "where they think they are getting an upgrade from CD quality but it's in fact the same exact music", that could be read several ways. If there's stuff which is repackaged 16/44.1 upsampled with all the low bits just zero information, there are ways to tell that and I'd really want to know about it before spending money and getting progressively frustrated with my purchase and, in the end, sick of it.
I only bring this up because it's been related that the actual number of high resolution (i.e., above CD quality) releases are not ubiquitous. If I'm an unsophisticated consumer and say I love Little Feat. I might have all their CDs, but I've bought the Pono and I want the best Little Feat experience, so I repurchase the catalog from the Pono store. Look at the Little Feat page on the Pono store. It's all 44.1/16 bit. 44.1/16 may not mean anything to me, if I'm just a fan, so I might get fooled into buying everything over again in the same resolution in which I already own it. Of course, if there's a fine print that says that upgrades are free, that might be a different story. But, if I've bought into the Neal Young hype and think he's watching out for me, I'd be wrong. I'm not alleging that the high res files are merely CDs with zeros added, I'm just saying that a lot of people might not know what they are buying and are buying it on the basis of hype. They might even thing that 44.1/16 is higher res than a CD. Who knows?

Again, I think the device can stand on its own, so if I'd get one, it would be despite all of the above. Just check out the catalog and see what you are actually getting. Look at the music you are interested in purchasing. I might buy the Pono but get my files elsewhere or just rip FLACs from my CDs.
23rd February 2015
#5290
Gear Guru

Quote:
Originally Posted by edwinhurwitz
It's all 44.1/16 bit. 44.1/16 may not mean anything to me, if I'm just a fan, so I might get fooled into buying everything over again in the same resolution in which I already own it. Of course, if there's a fine print that says that upgrades are free, that might be a different story. But, if I've bought into the Neal Young hype and think he's watching out for me, I'd be wrong. I'm not alleging that the high res files are merely CDs with zeros added, I'm just saying that a lot of people might not know what they are buying and are buying it on the basis of hype. They might even thing that 44.1/16 is higher res than a CD. Who knows?
Yes, you better get out on the interwebs and protect all the little people that aren't as smart as you. Lest they get eaten by Mr. Young, aka the big bad wolf.
23rd February 2015
#5291
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great
Yes, you better get out on the interwebs and protect all the little people that aren't as smart as you. Lest they get eaten by Mr. Young, aka the big bad wolf.
Nice. Attack the messenger instead of dealing with the content of the message.
23rd February 2015
#5292
Lives for gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj
But with the real world and real humans we ALWAYS have this 'obscuring fan' in so many ways, whether it's attention or background sounds or feeling challenged upon missing a guess for the first time (they'll make fun of meee! oh noes!). Part of the purpose of gathering a larger statistical sample is to show what the real value is: this is why we talk of confidence levels. That's why I'm raising the idea of infinite series: if there is a condition where an infinite series on a binary test returns an intermediate value such as 70%, that establishes it's not wholly a binary test!
We agree that more trials (greater n) leads to more accurate stats, though I think you're being cavalier with the concept of infinity. I don't think either of us are equipped to address the theoretical implications of infinite trials, so we should stick with the finite case.

Quote:
And that means: statistically, the larger the sample set you have, the more likely it is that you're being led not towards 'variance' but to an accurate representation of the underlying condition.
We need to be careful with our words as this stuff can be treacherously tricky. To be clear: we're comparing each ABX test event (choose X=A or X=B) to a Bernoulli trial with success probability p of 0.5. The sequence of these trials comprises a binomial distribution with n equal to the number of trials. Let S be a random variable of this distribution representing the number of successes in n trials. Then the mean of S is np; since p=0.5, the mean is n/2. The variance is np(1-p), which works out to n/4.

We can see that as n increases, the mean grows faster than the variance, nonetheless variance is increasing. This has the effect of widening the peak around the mean and raising the tails. For example (from a different distribution), if we sample ten families, the likelihood of finding one with 8 or more children is very low; but if we sample a million families, the probability increases greatly.

Our goal in determining the significance of a sequence of ABX tests is to set the maximum acceptable probability associated with the result, after which point it is indistinguishable from a "random" result. Symbolically, if p represents this max probability and x the result, then P(x > S) < p indicates a statistically valid result and we can reject the null hypothesis.

In many fields where this stuff really matters, p = 0.05 is considered appropriate. Thus if P(x) > p, regardless of the number of trials, we do not assume that our result is statistically meaningful. In other words, increasing the sample size doesn't change the p value; it just means we have to score that many more correct to reach the required p. So even if you run a million ABX trials, if P(x) > p it is inconclusive.

Quote:
In short: there are times you can hear the truth of a sound, and times that it gets by you. Might be only one time in ten that you can hear the 'grunge' or unpleasant artifact, but if it exists, every ten times or so, there it is again. Can you pin it down, can you prove it? Nope. But you complain vociferously, all the more when told you are imagining things!
Is it possible that ephemeral perception is occurring, that one out of ten or so listening sessions reveals an artifact that is always there but just real hard to hear? Sure it's possible, but then you have to come up with a plausible reason why it is heard so infrequently. Consider the well-documented phenomenon of "enlightened" listening: once a subtle aspect of a sound is heard or pointed out to you, it's almost impossible to "unhear" it thereafter.

Quote:
Can we agree that humans hearing 'is X like B, or like A' and picking one, is not really a binary test because extraneous factors will spoil the human's otherwise legit perception some of the time? Or do we have to assume that every human on every ABX test is infallible up to the point that they're deaf to further information?
No one is arguing that ABX is a perfect test for every situation, nor that every ABX test is ideal. Certainly if extraneous factors -- lack of sleep, too much stress, the phone doesn't stop ringing -- interrupt an otherwise appropriate listening session, then the results of that test should be ignored. And while the average person may be more susceptible to losing focus or whatever, critical listening is our bread and butter; it's what we do. I have a hard time believing that an audio engineer -- a person well-accustomed to relying on their hearing for long sessions with all kinds of distractions going on -- would suddenly become inept or unable to perform at maximum capability when faced with a relaxed, private ABX listening session. Further, statistical significance does not demand infallibility; the criterion is basically get 15 out of 20 right and you can be pretty confident that you hear a difference.
23rd February 2015
#5293
Gear Guru

Quote:
Originally Posted by edwinhurwitz
Nice. Attack the messenger instead of dealing with the content of the message.

I was dealing with the content of your message.

The message seems to be that you were concerned with all the unsophisticated consumers that were likely to be taken advantage of by the misleading or false hype being generated for this product. And the message also appears to be maligning Neil Young in the process, which I find rather inappropriate at the least, and possibly even slanderous.
23rd February 2015
#5294
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great
I was dealing with the content of your message.

The message seems to be that you were concerned with all the unsophisticated consumers that were likely to be taken advantage of by the misleading or false hype being generated for this product. And the message also appears to be maligning Neil Young in the process, which I find rather inappropriate at the least, and possibly even slanderous.
"Yes, you better get out on the interwebs and protect all the little people that aren't as smart as you. Lest they get eaten by Mr. Young, aka the big bad wolf."

That's not addressing the content. I am the subject of your sentence. Snide condescension is not an argument about the issues, it's an ad hominem attack, which is a logical fallacy. You think I'm an idiot, big deal. Who cares? Lots of people do. Even I do every now and then. I'm not the issue here.

Look, there are lots of unsophisticated consumers out there, many of whom are music lovers. I'm not making value judgments about them, I'm just saying that they don't really pay attention to the technical details. If you go to the Pono Store, the front page implies that what you buy from them is superior. The featured albums there are all higher than CD resolution, but when you dig deeper into the catalog, many are not and are 16/44.1. But, the front page, showing how superior Pono is to CD, implies that it's better just for being Pono. I've had discussions with people around Denver/Boulder who fancy themselves recording engineers who don't understand the difference between bit depth and sample rate, let alone Nyquist (I find it pretty funny after explaining some of the stuff to them that they ask "How do you know all that stuff?" and then dismiss it as not relevant). I don't claim to have as deep knowledge as many here, but I do know that this is a business venture and while buyer beware is the operative attitude, this device and it's catalog is being sold with misleading hype, which is unnecessary as there are attributes which make the thing stand on its own.

As far as it being slanderous, if anything, it's libel. But it's not because what I said is not disprovably false, it's a statement of my opinion about his marketing strategy and how it might affect consumers who aren't technically savvy. Since Mr. Young is a public figure, I am only liable for libel if it can be shown that I defamed him by knowingly spreading false facts about him. Since this is my speculative opinion about his marketing strategy (not a statement of facts) and I believe it, it's not defamatory. Your determination that it's inappropriate is your opinion and matters not to me. Again, that's about me and not about the subject under discussion, which is Pono, its catalog, and how it's being marketed. I can spew my opinion about Mr. Young all day long. If I say he's a lousy guitarist, you could respond by showing me examples of his playing that show he's a great guitarist. Here, you could show me studies that the vast majority of music consumers are aware of the bit depth and sampling rates of CDs and how that affects sound quality would refute my statements, but telling me I'm an idiot and suggesting that I'm guilty of libel is pretty weak sauce.
23rd February 2015
#5295
Gear Guru

Hi Edwin,

You actually make good arguments and they are laid out quite well. And I am sure you are correct about my misuse of terminology. Except I never implied you were an idiot, so I'm not sure where you got that. And I do think you think I was making this more about you than I was, at least that was not my intention.

I think my response was more collectively to all the posts in this thread that seem to imply that Mr. Young is intentionally trying to mislead people with the purpose and abilities of this product. I don't believe that is the case, it seems to me that he really believes in it, whether rightly or not. He has always been a big advocate of high fidelity from way back. Though I think he should explain 'Hey Hey, My My'.

b.t.w. I really miss Boulder, I still kick myself for moving back to this ridiculous place, MN, where I grew up.
23rd February 2015
#5296
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great
Hi Edwin,

You actually make good arguments and they are laid out quite well. And I am sure you are correct about my misuse of terminology. Except I never implied you were an idiot, so I'm not sure where you got that. And I do think you think I was making this more about you than I was, at least that was not my intention.

I think my response was more collectively to all the posts in this thread that seem to imply that Mr. Young is intentionally trying to mislead people with the purpose and abilities of this product. I don't believe that is the case, it seems to me that he really believes in it, whether rightly or not. He has always been a big advocate of high fidelity from way back. Though I think he should explain 'Hey Hey, My My'.

b.t.w. I really miss Boulder, I still kick myself for moving back to this ridiculous place, MN, where I grew up.
I'm sure if we were having this conversation over a beer, whether in frozen MN (which I miss, although I never lived there) or snowy Boulder, we'd be laughing more than not.
24th February 2015
#5297
Airwindows

Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort
Is it possible that ephemeral perception is occurring, that one out of ten or so listening sessions reveals an artifact that is always there but just real hard to hear? Sure it's possible, but then you have to come up with a plausible reason why it is heard so infrequently. Consider the well-documented phenomenon of "enlightened" listening: once a subtle aspect of a sound is heard or pointed out to you, it's almost impossible to "unhear" it thereafter.
Ah, but can you prove you are hearing this thing you can't 'unhear'?

This is essentially my position, which covers a lot of what I've seen in people's attitudes: we pick up on things at almost arbitrary levels of listening confidence and it 'primes' us to hear more of that thing. Digital flatness, the leaching out of emotion and convincingness, can be recognized in this way and when we do, it's all we hear.

And some of this is IMAGINED. We get flooded with negative reaction, quite a lot of which is not real, and it's fed by the stuff that's below (or very near) the threshold for 'high confidence, hear it every time 9/10'.

Yet, once you see through the veil you're hyper-sensitized to the problem, pick it out at levels both obvious and fugitive, pick it out even when it's false positives and you're imagining it, and you only relax when you're presented with a gratituously different experience (ideally, with additional differentness cues like Pono's goofy triangular design and bright yellow case: hey, totally different!) which utterly lacks that problem. And sometimes you can measure how much it lacks the problem, underscoring that an effort has been made.

Pono's for the people who really hated CDs, never mind mp3s. Understandable as it's BY those same people (Neil Young has always, always hated CDs and made no bones about it).

What you describe as 'enlightened listening' is a great example of how a market for this sort of thing can legitimately arise, to deal with people who've become sensitive to drawbacks in a format, until that's all they hear, EVEN when they are imagining it part (but not 100%!) of the time.

I probably imagine my issues with CD 25-30% of the time, and still don't like the 70-75% of the time I'm picking out small and genuine failings. Reverse that. Still legitimate?
24th February 2015
#5298
Lives for gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj
Pono's for the people who really hated CDs, never mind mp3s. Understandable as it's BY those same people (Neil Young has always, always hated CDs and made no bones about it).
Pono's for people too stupid to not get a cheaper and more capable product.

PS: There's already a market for this sort of thing
25th February 2015
#5299
Gear Guru

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great
I wish Neil would call me, I have an idea that would revolutionize hi-fidelity portable music listening more than anything done in a long time, with any type of music player. I've had this idea for 20 plus years, just never had enough money to present it to potential investors properly. And still surprised that nobody has done it.

Well, I had no clue, somebody already developed my idea and turned it into an actual product. Beat me to the punch! (pun intended).

As always, I am apparently late to the party....

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elec...ng-subpac.html
25th February 2015
#5300
Airwindows

Pono arrived. I am making copious notes, obligatory unboxing pictures etc. and am currently wrestling with the rather clunky (but I'm an old Mac guy and spoiled) interface for loading your own files on. In fact I'm going to try just doing it directly on the device and see if it's cool with that: I'd rather just make my own folders etc.

So far, what I've observed with both Neil's demo track and the rawest, most raucous stuff I could come up with at Airwindows is this: this thing is really polite. You can get any flavor of super-highs you want as long as it's 'nice'. It can do sibilance on Neil's voice, rosin pouring off the strings, and the chiming steel of tubular bells all at once, all ostentatiously and obviously part of the sound they're coming from: I've never heard headphones (naked Senn HD600s, nothing between the driver surfaces and my ears) sound so wide or heard such obviously different sonic characters coming across simultaneously without any congestion or blur.

When I played my own stuff, including things like a real Farfisa organ cranked into a guitar amp blasting incredibly squealy high notes and my very abrasive guitar tones, it did a similar thing: no matter what a track did, it could not disrupt other things in the soundfield, and the obnoxious-sounding stuff (by design) came out very musical and NOT as obnoxious as I'd intended them. I think this is partly refusal to add electronic grit no matter how badly provoked, and partly the averaging thing: yeah, I think that is in play and you can probably get more raucous tones at 44.1K from this device for that reason. Everything sounds more pleasing, and it sounds like it has all the super-high extension you could want, but the way it does it makes everything sound polite and beautiful.

I'm making test tones of all kinds, all at 192K. White noise, pink noise, 1K tone at FS and -96db and -144db, and a 192K/32 bit version of the -144 db to see what the converters make of it (this is AT 24 bit so it may or may not be able to produce a tone) and a 30K tone at -6 just to make the point about AndroidOS

Will post when I have stuff to report.

It sounds better than my Lavry DA10, but relentlessly nice and pretty (that means it is not as accurate). Also, I can't blow my ears off with the thing even at full crank. Not good for deafening yourself with, but damn does it resolve the positions and textures of instruments with positively arrogant ease.
25th February 2015
#5301
Lives for gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj
Pono arrived. I am making copious notes, obligatory unboxing pictures etc. and am currently wrestling with the rather clunky (but I'm an old Mac guy and spoiled) interface for loading your own files on. In fact I'm going to try just doing it directly on the device and see if it's cool with that: I'd rather just make my own folders etc.

So far, what I've observed with both Neil's demo track and the rawest, most raucous stuff I could come up with at Airwindows is this: this thing is really polite. You can get any flavor of super-highs you want as long as it's 'nice'. It can do sibilance on Neil's voice, rosin pouring off the strings, and the chiming steel of tubular bells all at once, all ostentatiously and obviously part of the sound they're coming from: I've never heard headphones (naked Senn HD600s, nothing between the driver surfaces and my ears) sound so wide or heard such obviously different sonic characters coming across simultaneously without any congestion or blur.

When I played my own stuff, including things like a real Farfisa organ cranked into a guitar amp blasting incredibly squealy high notes and my very abrasive guitar tones, it did a similar thing: no matter what a track did, it could not disrupt other things in the soundfield, and the obnoxious-sounding stuff (by design) came out very musical and NOT as obnoxious as I'd intended them. I think this is partly refusal to add electronic grit no matter how badly provoked, and partly the averaging thing: yeah, I think that is in play and you can probably get more raucous tones at 44.1K from this device for that reason. Everything sounds more pleasing, and it sounds like it has all the super-high extension you could want, but the way it does it makes everything sound polite and beautiful.

I'm making test tones of all kinds, all at 192K. White noise, pink noise, 1K tone at FS and -96db and -144db, and a 192K/32 bit version of the -144 db to see what the converters make of it (this is AT 24 bit so it may or may not be able to produce a tone) and a 30K tone at -6 just to make the point about AndroidOS

Will post when I have stuff to report.

It sounds better than my Lavry DA10, but relentlessly nice and pretty (that means it is not as accurate). Also, I can't blow my ears off with the thing even at full crank. Not good for deafening yourself with, but damn does it resolve the positions and textures of instruments with positively arrogant ease.
Fantastic. I have heard similar comments from friends but they are not engineers. Looking forward to hearing it myself. Thanks!
26th February 2015
#5302
Lives for gear

Me thinks most consumers would get far more mileage by upgrading their headphones and speaker systems...
26th February 2015
#5303
Lives for gear

Wait till iTunes launches 24bit 96khz downloads they have it planned. Sony and a few others launched 24bit 196khz walkmans last year. I don't think people will care about the sound much I think they will just must have the new more modern thing with higher numbers.

The thing I hate about these new 24bit music downloads is they are all data compressed so even though they are more bits and more kHz they are still less detail than CD from the 1980s.
26th February 2015
#5304
Lives for gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaboom75
Wait till iTunes launches 24bit 96khz downloads they have it planned.
Do you have any actual source for this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaboom75
The thing I hate about these new 24bit music downloads is they are all data compressed so even though they are more bits and more kHz they are still less detail than CD from the 1980s.
Ouch.
Data compression in FLAC and Apple Lossless (and zip and rar) is lossless.
That means, when a file is 'played back' (decompressed), it's 100% identical to the source file. That's what 'lossless' means. Imagine you'd zip a word document, and the compression would 'lose detail', like letters and words and spaces in the original document - it would be disastrous, completely nonsensical.
26th February 2015
#5305
Lives for gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by ksandvik
Me thinks most consumers would get far more mileage by upgrading their headphones and speaker systems...
Not to mention treating their rooms acoustically. It never ceases to amaze me when people proudly show photos of their audiophile setups, beautiful really expensive gear with extra everything, in a room with all 90 degree corners, a room that's a big box with bare untreated walls and no carpet....
26th February 2015
#5306

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj
Pono arrived.

...

...

...

Will post when I have stuff to report.

It sounds better than my Lavry DA10, but relentlessly nice and pretty (that means it is not as accurate). Also, I can't blow my ears off with the thing even at full crank. Not good for deafening yourself with, but damn does it resolve the positions and textures of instruments with positively arrogant ease.
Interesting. I remain interested in other people's subjective impressions. Do you have any other audiophile/consumer-market device to compare it with?

(you're using my headphones too)
27th February 2015
#5307
Airwindows

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom
Interesting. I remain interested in other people's subjective impressions. Do you have any other audiophile/consumer-market device to compare it with?

(you're using my headphones too)
A recent iPhone. working on it: I had a product update to put out and I've had to make some extra test tones because the most the iPhone will play is 48K. I made a FS 1K tone to see how the iPhone handles that (might try to put out more voltage, though) and a -96 db 1K tone, so I should be able to study the extremes of its dynamics/noisefloor and compare that to the Pono.

Haven't decided whether to build special cables to run it into the Focusrite, or just use some I have which are about six feet of generic semi-cruddy coax. Might make fancier wires (shorter, solidcore, air dielectric and either foil shielding or not bother with shielding at all as it's line level and very short runs)
5th March 2015
#5308
Airwindows

And here… we… go…

I've got a bunch of unboxing pics too, showing closeups of the screen etc. Your wish is my command.

This is the comparative plots of Pono and iPhone on a -96db 1K tone. I also included iPhone playing a 320K mp3 (with a 128K one, it refused to play the -96db tone at all and did silence). Also, I include a no-device plot because I was getting interference from the nearby iMac screen over both players more or less identically, and to show what the noisefloor was at the gain scaling I used.

I did this several times: the cruddy coax rolled off the highs on all devices measurably, and the first cable I made had much worse artifacts. I foil shielded it with bubble-wrap for a dielectric and ran with that, and still got some interference, and that's what we're seeing.

Sampling Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 at 96K/24 bit, front XLR jacks driven from headphone output at full crank, gain knobs cranked up all the way and then the gain trimmed back to the correct amplitude in Logic using PurestGain.
Attached Thumbnails

Last edited by chrisj; 5th March 2015 at 09:51 PM..
5th March 2015
#5309
Airwindows

This is the comparative plots of Pono and iPhone on a Full Scale 1K tone. The iPhone put out a slightly hotter output than the Pono, and produced less harmonics and hash above 10K but more harmonics below that. In particular, Pono produces considerably more even harmonics than iPhone when producing a full scale sine wave. Contrast to very low levels, where Pono produced no harmonics at all other than the screen interference common to all samples, but iPhone still produced harmonics on the sine.

Sampling Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 at 96K/24 bit, front XLR jacks driven from headphone output at full crank, gain knobs at minimum and then the gain trimmed back to the correct amplitude in Logic using PurestGain.
Attached Thumbnails

Last edited by chrisj; 5th March 2015 at 09:47 PM..
5th March 2015
#5310
Airwindows

This is a plot of generated white noise at 96K and at 192K, played by the Pono. We can see that at 96K, there is averaging in effect and it is starting to roll off by 30K and clearly attentuated by the time it hits Nyquist, but not a total cancellation either. At 192K, we can't see much beyond the bare minimums of a roll-off at 48K, the highest frequency I could sample using the Focusrite. We can predict a similar behavior, I think: I was dead wrong about cancellation 'nodes' in the response and am not sure quite what they're doing, but it seems to be working.

Again, the perceived high frequency behavior of this unit is complete and total absence of anything grating or 'digital' in the sound, but all high frequency textures come through simultaneously, strongly localized to their sound source in the image, and over HD600s the effect is VERY 'polite' to the point of seeming rolled off. Over poorer but edgier headphones, more aggression comes through but still is never grating or harsh.

Sampling Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 at 96K/24 bit, front XLR jacks driven from headphone output at full crank, gain knobs at minimum and then the gain trimmed back to the correct amplitude in Logic using PurestGain.
Attached Thumbnails

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