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Launch of Pono Studio Headphones
Old 9th March 2015
  #5341
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
Back to your analysis: the spectral components in the full-scale plot of both devices are characteristic of symmetric distortion: even and odd distortion products. Both devices showed remarkably similar distortion (too similar?), though the magnitude of the distortion was clearly worse in the Pono. I don't understand why you think the Pono did well here.
My point exactly. And am I the only one noting the irony?
Old 11th March 2015
  #5342
Wow you fellas lost me quite some time ago. Square this with your math --- in my various headphones and listening environments -- PonoPlayer sounds so much better than iPhone I pull every last one of your cards if you think they compare.

Really? iPhone sounds like such dookie playing anything, and I'm not even an audiophile snob. Even low-end interfaces and thrift store stereo gear sounds better than iPhone or any iPod, to my ears.

PonoPlayer plays 16/44 FLAC better than anything I've ever heard.

PonoPlayer plays 256k mp3 better than anything I've ever heard.

I do not have high-end converters in my studio, and I cannot afford to hang at stereo stores, I'm a Low End Theory type. And to me, PonoPlayer is revelatory. It sounds better than most studios I've been in, especially these days. Not that I sit and crank Zeppelin in every studio I get into, but I know what I know and Pono works. It just works. It sounds amazing playing just about anything. Not hyped, not strange, just nearly perfect digital. YMMV.

It's the perfect mix of DAC and analog and purity, and it pays off. I do want to hear what Fiio did with $100 worth of IC's on the X1 but I haven't gotten out much lately, haha

So I know you guys are busy in your science experiment, but I wonder if any of you are actually just listening and comparing in your daily life?
Old 11th March 2015
  #5343
Oops soon as I posted I saw this was in Converters forum, so I apologize for my general ignorance of your field. I was reading along and my internet tourrettes kicked in. I hang in low-end, saved my pennys for ponoplayer.
Old 11th March 2015
  #5344
ChrisJ says worth every penny and he has studies to prove it. Most excellent.

I only have conjecture from regular folks. I'm kinda hippy about my audio, I want everyone to enjoy it at highest quality.

If PonoPlayer cost $1200 or $10k I wouldn't care. I want the masses to access recorded music at the highest fidelity.

Most good stuff has not been killed in loudness wars, not yet.
Old 11th March 2015
  #5345
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezraz View Post
ChrisJ says worth every penny and he has studies to prove it.
I guess you missed the part where his "studies" actually DON'T prove part of what he says they do.
Old 12th March 2015
  #5346
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Mania's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezraz View Post
ChrisJ says worth every penny and he has studies to prove it. Most excellent.

I only have conjecture from regular folks. I'm kinda hippy about my audio, I want everyone to enjoy it at highest quality.

If PonoPlayer cost $1200 or $10k I wouldn't care. I want the masses to access recorded music at the highest fidelity.

Most good stuff has not been killed in loudness wars, not yet.
You seem to have ignored the premise that has caused this thread to be so large. Everything youve said here is not objectively true.

Theres been in depth discussion about this... none of that is correct...
Old 12th March 2015
  #5347
Airwindows
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezraz View Post
Wow you fellas lost me quite some time ago. Square this with your math --- in my various headphones and listening environments -- PonoPlayer sounds so much better than iPhone I pull every last one of your cards if you think they compare.

Really? iPhone sounds like such dookie playing anything, and I'm not even an audiophile snob. Even low-end interfaces and thrift store stereo gear sounds better than iPhone or any iPod, to my ears.
Not so. iPhone is actually very nice (the 6 is said to be even better than my 4s). It's a darn good device even if it can only play a max of 48K and doesn't do anything fancy like Pono is plainly doing.

On the other hand, Pono has a much lower noise floor, totally different filter behavior on high sample rate recordings (clearly shown at 96K and also inferrable on the 192K from the beginnings of roll-off) and has unmeasurable harmonic distortion on very low level tones—NOT true of iPhone or low end interfaces.

Yeah, it's distorting a bit more than iPhone at full crank on 1K full scale tones. So don't play stuff twice as loud as the loudest commercial masters, and you ought to be fine

Ya know, I didn't HAVE to reveal that information. I was being honest. I still think the difference in harmonic spectra under those conditions says something, but yeah, unless you're really excited about clipping being 'warm sounding' and not producing stuff over 10K, that is a losing argument
Old 12th March 2015
  #5348
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
unless you're really excited about clipping being 'warm sounding' and not producing stuff over 10K, that is a losing argument
Did you disagree with what I pointed out or are you ignoring it? Or am I missing something here?
Old 12th March 2015
  #5349
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezraz View Post
ChrisJ says worth every penny and he has studies to prove it. Most excellent.

I only have conjecture from regular folks. I'm kinda hippy about my audio, I want everyone to enjoy it at highest quality.

If PonoPlayer cost $1200 or $10k I wouldn't care. I want the masses to access recorded music at the highest fidelity.

Most good stuff has not been killed in loudness wars, not yet.
The masses should invest in better speaker or headphone systems then. I'll take a 320 MP3 coming out of an Onkyo amp and Axiom M60 v3 speakers with nice room acoustics than a Pono with typical consumer speakers in a typical untreated room.
Old 13th March 2015
  #5350
Quote:
Originally Posted by doom64 View Post
The masses should invest in better speaker or headphone systems then. I'll take a 320 MP3 coming out of an Onkyo amp and Axiom M60 v3 speakers with nice room acoustics than a Pono with typical consumer speakers in a typical untreated room.
/thread!
Old 19th March 2015
  #5351
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
But you can see why: to drop the noisefloor of the measurement ADC to nearly -150db, greater than you can get out of a straight 24 bit capture. Same as the full scale output of the devices weren't coming into the ADC at 0db, but way lower. I wanted to see the noisefloor of the devices without interference from the capture ADC, and the distortion of the devices under load without adding distortion from the ADC.

The iPhone only has a headphone jack, and that's what I wanted to measure: it's possible the Pono's other jack measures even better but I think they're the same circuit. You can set them up to be dual balanced outputs, but I'm not testing that, I'm testing what normal(ish) people would actually do and what they'd get. As it stands, the noise floor is a whopping twelve db below the best the iPhone, itself a strong performer, can do, and that's at the 192K rate that potentially creates worse noise issues than lower-rate sampling.

This is the scenario Monty (yeah, I know, him again) was warning us against: that the higher rates would be actually worse, more noise and introduction of frequencies that stress out downstream gear. From my testing I'm gonna say nope, nor does it sound anything like there's a problem. Thing sounds awesome: the behavior under test shows markedly better performance than a known-good normal device, apart from increased even and odd harmonics at full crank (only below 10K, reduced above 10K)

Also, clearly not downsampling to 44.1/16, but that was always a very, very silly suggestion that has been conclusively debunked.
Both devices has a noise floor worse than a redbook system in the audio range. None really a problem if you can't hear the noise and the noise is not significantly signal dependent.

Also I think you are mistaken about Montys claims. From what I understand, he says that increasing bandwith will increase noise and everything equal that is always true. It does not mean that the noise in each bin in the FFT below 20kHz is increased but as another member pointed out to you, the noise is not what you see in the FFT graph, it's the "sum" of all FFT bins. For example, what looks like -130dBFS noise may be -90dBFS. The actual numbers depends on number of FFT bins, window used for FFT and if averaging is used or not. None of these affects actual noise, only what you see in the FFT graph.

I don't see how your tests take negative effect of HF/RF energy into account. You need to measure an amp for example receiving a signal with and without HF crap in order to come to any conclusion. Also naturally different equipment (amps or whatever) will respond differently depending on design.

Pono has really poor linearity at higher levels which is surprising. The ideas of a specific sound like "tubes vs solid state" judging by harmonic distortion at one single sine at one level is something we all can forget about. Things are way more complex than that and a tube amp can easily be designed for dominantly odd order harmonics just as a transistor amp can be made to have mostly even order harmonics.

Did you listen to the -96dBFS signal? I was just wondering if you can hear that at all at typical gain settings with your playback chain.

I applaud all attempts of more objective and scientifical evaluation of gear, let's not just jump to conclusions.
Old 10th April 2015
  #5352
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vernier's Avatar
I want a Pono player and am saving for one.
Old 1st May 2015
  #5353
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Ephi82's Avatar
 

I like coming back to this thread once every couple of months.

I have a lot of hi res, well mastered digital files and I am traveling a lot.

I am buying one
Old 18th June 2015
  #5354
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Well, I finaly did get one. It sounds terrific. Great detail, clarity and depth without sounding like an "electronic" device. I know it sounds dumb, but it is really smooth and effortless.

It is a very high quality player and it comes down to the components and the engineering.

For me it's got nothing to do with hi res formats except that more and more you are finding great recordings and dynamic masters put out in hi res.

I don't understand why they don't get these out into retail Kiosks? Hearing is believing
Old 18th June 2015
  #5355
Airwindows
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ephi82 View Post
Well, I finaly did get one. It sounds terrific. Great detail, clarity and depth without sounding like an "electronic" device. I know it sounds dumb, but it is really smooth and effortless.

It is a very high quality player and it comes down to the components and the engineering.

For me it's got nothing to do with hi res formats except that more and more you are finding great recordings and dynamic masters put out in hi res.

I don't understand why they don't get these out into retail Kiosks? Hearing is believing
Yup. Smooth and effortless and great detail and ability to resolve simultaneous textures, sounds anything but electronic. I do feel the hi res formats help though I'm not sure you have to go all the way to 192K for it. However, I did get the new Beauty Pill album in 192/24 and it is awesome.

I tried valiantly to work out why it sounds so good on a technical basis, but predictably it became a mess of a thread. At least I obliterated the claim that it automatically resamples everything to 44/16, but that was always madness.

Also, I'm happy to say that by now I've got a MOTU 16A which is technically capable of doing this all over again, this time sampling at 192K for measurement purposes.

Forgive me for feeling there is NO POINT to doing any such thing

Because it would only give the same results over again, perhaps a little cleaner and better, and the Ponoplayer would continue to sound awesome and show behaviors like impressive freedom from high-frequency artifacts no matter how faint… and people who bother to listen to the thing would continue to hear it as deeply satisfying and people who are crusading against its very existence would continue to say the SAME things they have always been saying since before the device existed.

Nothing new to see here, and I am still real happy with mine. I've not yet taken to making 192K recordings just to listen to them on the Ponoplayer, but it's interesting to have the technology and know that consumer playback of it costs only a few hundred bucks now. Finally progress, I guess.

Last edited by chrisj; 18th June 2015 at 07:42 PM..
Old 19th June 2015
  #5356
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I've had an A&K for a while now. I love the sound, don't love the user interface.

I'm receiving a Pono on Tuesday. Excited.

In general, detractors of hi-res are people I don't take seriously.

- c

Last edited by Silver Sonya; 20th June 2015 at 01:18 AM..
Old 19th June 2015
  #5357
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
I've had an A&K for a while now. I love the sound, don't love the user interface.

I'm receiving a Pono on Tuesday. Excited.

In general detractors of hi-res are people I don't take seriously.

- c
Cool. After you've had a chance to hear the Pono, please post your thoughts on how the two units compare sonically. TIA.

Cheers,
Eddie
Old 30th June 2015
  #5358
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I love this thing a lot.

The sound is jawdrop. Anyone who says it isn't is being contrarian. It is obviously great.

I personally give the slight edge to the A&K because the headphone amp gets a little bit louder. And the A&K can be used as a USB DAC. Which is nice.

But the Pono is an absolutely gorgeous piece of equipment. Highly recommended to anyone who engineers or loves music. Stop being a boring, folded-arm cynic and give it a try. Regardless of whether you believe in 24/96+, a nice DA is a nice thing to have!

I think listening to hi-res music very loud is a complete thrill. You hear all these details you never noticed before.

For example, I never realized Lindsey Buckingham's breathing was so audible in the left channel of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain."

It's a song we've all heard on the radio a hundred million times. But suddenly you realize how beautifully metallic and brittle the dobro is. And what an unusual arrangement...

- c
Old 30th June 2015
  #5359
Gear Addict
Thanks for that ... apart from the headphone amp, would you say there are any audible differences between the Pono and A&K?

Cheers,
Eddie
Old 30th June 2015
  #5360
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
I love this thing a lot.

The sound is jawdrop. Anyone who says it isn't is being contrarian. It is obviously great.

I personally give the slight edge to the A&K because the headphone amp gets a little bit louder. And the A&K can be used as a USB DAC. Which is nice.

But the Pono is an absolutely gorgeous piece of equipment. Highly recommended to anyone who engineers or loves music. Stop being a boring, folded-arm cynic and give it a try. Regardless of whether you believe in 24/96+, a nice DA is a nice thing to have!

I think listening to hi-res music very loud is a complete thrill. You hear all these details you never noticed before.

For example, I never realized Lindsey Buckingham's breathing was so audible in the left channel of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain."

It's a song we've all heard on the radio a hundred million times. But suddenly you realize how beautifully metallic and brittle the dobro is. And what an unusual arrangement...

- c
it seems that all of the people that had their panties in a bunch over the Pono marketing have either gotten over it or moved on. Glad to hear you are enjoying it!
Old 30th June 2015
  #5361
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cakewalk View Post
it seems that all of the people that had their panties in a bunch over the Pono marketing have either gotten over it or moved on. Glad to hear you are enjoying it!
According to Chris's measurements the Pono distorts. People like distortion but we knew that already so there is nothing to add really.

Alistair
Old 1st July 2015
  #5362
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
According to Chris's measurements the Pono distorts. People like distortion but we knew that already so there is nothing to add really.

Alistair
LOL, nothing to add? What about the people that are really enjoying the Pono? Are you saying they like it because of distortion?
Old 1st July 2015
  #5363
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
According to Chris's measurements the Pono distorts. People like distortion but we knew that already so there is nothing to add really.
Yet you still felt the need.
Old 1st July 2015
  #5364
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michael cleary View Post
What about the people that are really enjoying the Pono? Are you saying they like it because of distortion?
It is probably not the only reason but it goes some way to explaining the hyperbole used by some.

Alistair
Old 1st July 2015
  #5365
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
According to Chris's measurements the Pono distorts. People like distortion but we knew that already so there is nothing to add really.

Alistair
I spoke too soon.
Old 1st July 2015
  #5366
Airwindows
 
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I just love that Chad saw fit to get hi-res Rumours in some ways it seems so un-Chad but then at the same time it is SO perfect. Got to love that Lindsey Buckingham arranging, and Mick Fleetwood drums through two layers of analog tape is mighty easy to listen to…

UnderTow is of course twisting and misinterpreting my results, which include sine wave output levels far above normal playback loudness, and which clearly showed a staggering lack of distortion or artifact at low levels (not true of typical consumer playback gear even as posh as an iPhone).

But then that's why this thread has been more for entertainment value. If people simply did what Chad (thread-starter) suggests now and give it a try, they would hear for themselves that the thing is staggering sonic value for money. I'm not sure what else even exists within an order of magnitude of how much this brings for a few hundred bucks.

Of course, I've been listening on Senn HD600s that I stripped to expose the driver diaphragms (work tool for me, originally used with my Lavry) and I'm not sure what Chad was using but I'll bet it wasn't earbuds. Possibly the word on this is 'if you already have genuinely great headphones, Pono is staggeringly good and absurdly cheap for what you get'. If you don't have great headphones, you might be stuck hearing the limitations of your transducers.
Old 1st July 2015
  #5367
Gear Maniac
 

I've been looking for a new media player and all the options today kinda suck IMO. We're really past the days of awesome portable music players.

I used to own the swiss army knife of media players, the Irivier h140. You could mod in a 120gig hdd. It has two headphone outs. One output jack could do line out optical or 3.5mm. It also has a line input that could also handle optical ins. You could grab a third party battery and get days and days of continuous playback.

You could install rockbox on it and gain a silly amount of audio features that no other player today can even come close to. Back when they still made them, my buddy and I used one as a limiter and the other as a xover for out DIY pa system.

Come on iriver, bring it back. I'll buy ten myself.
Old 1st July 2015
  #5368
Gear Guru
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
UnderTow is of course twisting and misinterpreting my results, which include sine wave output levels far above normal playback loudness, and which clearly showed a staggering lack of distortion or artifact at low levels
So there are no harmonics added at full scale?

Quote:
(not true of typical consumer playback gear even as posh as an iPhone).
Look at this review of the iPhone 6. It is impressive IMO: Apple iPhone 6 Plus Review

Alistair
Old 27th July 2015
  #5369
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I came back to this thread again because there was such a battle about a product most posters had never tried.

I can only tell you that this PONO has changed the way I listen to music, and it seduces and soothes me into listening for hours. Does that sound like Neil Young hyperbole?

Yes, but it's not Neil saying it, it's me. If you are a music production pro, or a music lover, you must hear well recorded, mixed and mastered music at 44.1/16 or higher resolution through the PONO with a quality headphone ( I have Denon AHD 2000, AT 50x, and Beyer DT 770's). I think the Denons are best, but the point is that the player's DAC and headphone amp are simply top quality. Ayere is going for the mass market. This PONO product is incredible, but it needs to be out in retail stores demoed with good headphones and source material if they are to be successful. Everyone I show the PONO to, (like my kids and friends ) are blown away by the sound.

By the way, after a long time, I don't buy into 192/24 as better than 44.1/24 as a playback format, but for some reason, I still can "hear" the difference between 16 and 24 but depth. Call me crazy!
Old 28th July 2015
  #5370
It looks like Ayre is leveraging some of the research and design they did for Pono into a new DAC/heaphone amp, the Codex 1. Sadly, it requires mains power. If the Pono included a USB DAC, I'd get one.
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