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Launch of Pono Studio Headphones
Old 12th March 2014
  #31
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Check this out:

Why Neil Young's New Pono Music Player Doesn't Make Any Sense

So now there's no audible quality difference between a 16/44.1 CD and a 24/192 file? Jesus christ...how do they get to print such crap? Way to pi** on the parade with nonsense.

I am not really one for super high sample rates, but the 24bits alone compared to a CD surely is audible to even the total punter on half decent gear.......
Old 12th March 2014
  #32
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I signed up and supported it this morning.

Can't wait to get my chrome foo fighter edition Pono.
Old 12th March 2014
  #33
I'm in for a Pearl Jam edition.
Old 12th March 2014
  #34
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I got a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young version.
Old 12th March 2014
  #35
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I see Pono is involved with and supported by Audioquest, purveyors of snake oil cables to the rich & stupid.

At least it is my firm belief that one must be mentally under-developed in some respect to pay $16 800 for 8ft of speaker cable or $6700 for a 2m RCA lead.

Another company which helped Pono out with 'technology' is Ayre Acoustics who will sell you a cd of a high-rez sweep tone which allegedly improves the sound of your stereo if you play it regularly.
They will also sell you some myrtle wood blocks to rest your cd player (or other component) on because 'it improves the musicality'.
Mind you at least they make real gear as well, like a pair of 300W mono amps for only $18500.
Old 12th March 2014
  #36
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Xperienced's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
So now there's no audible quality difference between a 16/44.1 CD and a 24/192 file?
There has never been.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Jesus christ...how do they get to print such crap?
I don't know, but it's good that they do it because it's the truth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
but the 24bits alone compared to a CD surely is audible to even the total punter on half decent gear
Keep dreaming.
Old 12th March 2014
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xperienced View Post
There has never been.


I don't know, but it's good that they do it because it's the truth.


Keep dreaming.
Old 12th March 2014
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
In a car?
Come on Kenny. No, not in a car.
Old 12th March 2014
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O.F.F. View Post
I see Pono is involved with and supported by Audioquest, purveyors of snake oil cables to the rich & stupid.

At least it is my firm belief that one must be mentally under-developed in some respect to pay $16 800 for 8ft of speaker cable or $6700 for a 2m RCA lead.

Another company which helped Pono out with 'technology' is Ayre Acoustics who will sell you a cd of a high-rez sweep tone which allegedly improves the sound of your stereo if you play it regularly.
They will also sell you some myrtle wood blocks to rest your cd player (or other component) on because 'it improves the musicality'.
Mind you at least they make real gear as well, like a pair of 300W mono amps for only $18500.
It is totally unfortunate that the money behind Pono had to come from guys like that, but then I suppose it is the only place it would have come from and to me still better than not happening at all. Makes it tricky though as snake oil pollutes the goodness.

Although I can't help thinking the only proper change for better sound will come when the tech is fast enough to stream 24bit 44.1, as opposed to dealing with files on people's computers.

Old 12th March 2014
  #40
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So it's a renamed FLAC player that Neil Young can make money on.

I remember when Steve Jobs was dying, this project was mentioned. They made it sound like they were inventing a new audio format, but I figured it would be this.

And I thought they'd call it ZUMA. lol
Old 12th March 2014
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PVJesper View Post
You don't have to buy music from them. Use whatever music you have or want.

400 bucks for a 128gb music player is very good. That the playback probably is better than average is a plus. The possibility of buying high quality music is a plus.

But yes, it' wont exactly fit neatly into a jeans pocket.
Less than $100 gets you a 128 gb micro sd card. Stick that in your Android phone and load it up with FLAC files... instant lossless music player, without having to carry another device.
Old 12th March 2014
  #42
Yes, and the video is light years beyond anything you've ever seen, clear and scintillating and gorgeous, it's like the dream of video players, finally realized, at long, long last.

Old 12th March 2014
  #43
Quote:
Originally Posted by O.F.F. View Post
I see Pono is involved with and supported by Audioquest, purveyors of snake oil cables to the rich & stupid.

At least it is my firm belief that one must be mentally under-developed in some respect to pay $16 800 for 8ft of speaker cable or $6700 for a 2m RCA lead.

Another company which helped Pono out with 'technology' is Ayre Acoustics who will sell you a cd of a high-rez sweep tone which allegedly improves the sound of your stereo if you play it regularly.
They will also sell you some myrtle wood blocks to rest your cd player (or other component) on because 'it improves the musicality'.
Mind you at least they make real gear as well, like a pair of 300W mono amps for only $18500.
HAHAHA
Old 12th March 2014
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
I am not really one for super high sample rates, but the 24bits alone compared to a CD surely is audible to even the total punter on half decent gear.......
With what source material and in what room? Not for pop music (maybe the fade out?), and certainly not in most listening environments. Those extra 8 bits of dynamic range usually only come into play in music production, not reproduction.
Old 12th March 2014
  #45
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Well, I think it's all been covered already in this thread, but I seriously believe this product preys on and takes advantage of ignorance among people who don't really understand digital audio. That being said, the GENERAL CONCEPT of providing higher quality audio to the masses is a good one.

You can say mp3 has "6 times" less information than a lossless file all day if you want, but if people can't tell the difference in a blind test between a CD and a high quality mp3, then it's a completely moot point, and manipulative marketing.

They advertise that even mp3 will sound better on the PonoPlayer. Ok so maybe it has a great DA converter. However, considering this is a tiny, consumer device for $400, do you really think the converter is any better than an iPhone or iPod? If it was technically "better," would you be able to actually notice the difference in a blind test? Will the typical consumer be able to hear that minute difference using their $30 earbuds? This is not a Lynx/Burl/Apogee/Mytek/whatever in your hand. It's kind of funny viewing this product through the lens of an audio engineer.

I thought it was a decent buy for $300 since it can play mp3 and FLAC, until I saw the 160GB iPod Classic is still available for $249.

My Advice: If you want portable music, 1) Buy your music in physical form. 2) Rip the CD to 320 mp3s, and put them on your iPod. 3) Listen with high-quality headphones. You're good to go. I'm sure there's even better ways if you HAVE to have more than 320kbps. Like buying Apple lossless or something. I admit some ignorance once we get to this point, as I have never purchased an mp3, or music in non-physical form in my life.
Old 12th March 2014
  #46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Check this out:

Why Neil Young's New Pono Music Player Doesn't Make Any Sense

So now there's no audible quality difference between a 16/44.1 CD and a 24/192 file? Jesus christ...how do they get to print such crap? Way to pi** on the parade with nonsense.

I am not really one for super high sample rates, but the 24bits alone compared to a CD surely is audible to even the total punter on half decent gear.......
As always seems to have to be pointed out to some folks who come away sputtering from that article, it is talking about delivery formats.

The solid info in that article is solid and well-vetted. If you're arguing with its conclusions, by and large, you are arguing with conclusions derived from solid logic based on accepted science.

But one does have to pay attention to the details and not go off half-cocked.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Xperienced View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
So now there's no audible quality difference between a 16/44.1 CD and a 24/192 file?
There has never been.

[...]
But this is not true, either, without proper qualification.

No one is seriously suggesting there is no difference between formats* -- but that the CD Audio format of 16 bit/44.1 kHz is a reasonable minimum delivery format, since, at normal listening levels, with properly mastered material at proper levels, it is capable of delivering broader frequency response than the overwhelming majority of humans can hear at better signal to noise ratios than most folks' playback can deliver.

*If you're being tested in an improperly controlled ABX test you can easily 'cheat' by turning the volume up on a fadeout and comparing super low level signal, for instance. But the point, of course, is that you aren't going to be jacking up the volume 20 or 30 x to listen to a fadeout at levels that would take your ears off during the main program in normal listening.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Melodeath View Post
Well, I think it's all been covered already in this thread, but I seriously believe this product preys on and takes advantage of ignorance among people who don't really understand digital audio. That being said, the GENERAL CONCEPT of providing higher quality audio to the masses is a good one.

[...]
I suspect a lot of people in this thread would subscribe to that.

Neil's heart is in the right place but artists have often got conned by fast-talkers.

There probably wasn't a sharper observer of human behavior in the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries than Mark Twain, but he lost his entire fortune and went deeply in debt by investing it in various, mostly technological systems, like a highly advanced but highly unreliable automated typesetting system.
Old 12th March 2014
  #47
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Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

Watch the video again.

- c
Old 12th March 2014
  #48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
Absolutely!!

But it doesn't need to be in the form of a portable player.

If high quality audio (that contains frequencies that you think you can hear) is your thing. You should be listening to it at home on a really good stereo. Maybe a Macintosh Tube amp as well. Audio file stuff. But this is not for the average consumer.

You're not going to hear the difference on headphones or in your car.

Are some of you guys really disappointed with sending out mix references at 16 bit? Does it really NOT sound like your mix?

"Listening to a CD is like someone twanging on a rubber band" - Flea

Really? Where were all these people complaining when CDs came out?
Actually, assuming the units use good, well designed converter circuits, the difference between that and 'regular old' consumer converters found in laptops, desktop motherboards and in various mobile devices will likely be fairly noticeable to sharp ears.

I know that when I set my rig up to playback subscription streams (320 kbsp lossy codec) over my good converters instead of just using the mobo converters, it was a quite distinct difference. Less distinct but still noticeable was the difference between my 'pro' converters (nothing fancy, just MOTU 828mkII) and a late model SoundBlaster X-Fi Titanium that a friend gave me (a several hundred dollar top-of-line model).


"Really? Where were all these people complaining when CDs came out?"


With regard to the last, I'm certainly well on record as having complained about the first CD playback I heard -- which was awful. But it was the very first Sony CD player. Within a couple years I began to hear other devices with better filters and by 1984 I was comfortable enough with the format to buy a deck (a nice little Magnavox/Philips well reviewed in some audiophile mags for its good analog converters -- and its low price). I still have it but you have to help the disc tray out with a fingernail file or other such. In retrospect, the filters may be a bit on the aggressive side, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing in the very early days of CD releases. There was some poor mastering and engineering. Though, come to think of it, I'll usually look for the original CD release when poking through album choices -- since later releases of popular titles often got the squeeze for competitive loudness issues.

(Hell, if the streaming companies are so obsessed on curating content [show these marketing jagoffs a crowded box to think in and they climb right in], maybe they ought to put some young meat puppets to sorting out all the crappy re-re-releases and bogus hits packages and what not that clog those '20 million' songs everyone has in their library.)
Old 12th March 2014
  #49
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sleepingbag's Avatar
also don't know if anyone noticed but this thing is a triangle
Old 12th March 2014
  #50
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sleepingbag's Avatar
like WHY is it a triangle
Old 12th March 2014
  #51
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If you read on, they explain why it is a triangle.

Say or critic what you want but this seems like a successful kickstarter campaign backed by labels and artists.

I would take this positive vibe any day of the week.
Old 12th March 2014
  #52
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How anyone in a career supposedly committed to audio excellence can have an issue with a product like this is seriously beyond me.
Old 12th March 2014
  #53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
I would agree but now we're talking about something different. I think everyone knows that your average mp3 players output is less than professional. But we're ignoring the file resolution in this. I would bet that with my Aurora 16 or your MOTU piece that a 192k or 256k mp3 would sound better on our system than an iPod using it's highest resolution file type.



Again. Yes. But you were not listening on ear buds or in your car. You were using a good monitoring system where you could hear the difference between cheap DAC and pretty good ones.

And if they were marketing this device as just a better mp3 player due to higher quality components, I'd have nothing to add. But they're not.



Which brings up another good point. If Apple sees a real demand for this, they'll just do it too. Next generation iPods and iPhones will allow higher resolution files. The end of Pono.

The fact that this thing uses dedicated software pretty much makes this dead in the water. Do you want another app for cataloging your songs?
I think, really, the only difference between us on this is that you're more focused on the device as a portable unit -- an iPod replacement, as it were -- while I've been more thinking of it as a way for Joe and Mary Sixpack to upgrade their playback systems without the 'trouble' of shopping for and buying good outboard converters (something I'm thinkin' Joe and Mary know jack nada about) while also having a reasonable amount of portable storage. (Reasonable as long as you don't get too greedy on the format front... at full b/w, 24/192 is gonna suck down hard drive like no tomorrow, more than 6-1/2 times the space required for 16/44.1.)

But, for sure, typical earbuds in portable use, car playback, etc? You could probably tell if you listened hard -- I know at times I'm a little disappointed when I listen from one of my 'lesser' devices, but, you know, if I'm doing serious listening, I'm at home. I'd certainly LIKE it if my cheapo LG phone or my Google Nexus 7 tablet (or my laptops or my mobo) had better sound -- there's definite room for improvement. But, once you're out in the world, I mean, you got other stuff on your mind.


Geez... I'm talking but I'm not convincing even myself. Now that I'm thinking about it, it really DOES bug me that the sound from my beloved $60 refurbished LG Android is at the same crappy level as the rest of this consumer stuff. I mean, it doesn't SURPRISE me. heh But... in a perfect world... now that I popped that 32 GB microSD in it that I can load up with 320 kbps files from my subscription service, it WOULD be nice to be able to plug in my good headphones and take it out to the park and sit under the trees... Of course, I've been meaning to do that with my guitar for months now... and I know I love doing that. [sigh]


But I can tell you one thing -- as a matter of practice -- for my purposes, if I can get reasonable fidelity from my phone -- which I 'have' to carry (and which has so very many other really handy capabilities that I personally use all the time), there's not much likelihood that I'm ALSO going to carry around a second, larger, awkward shaped device -- unless I'm going to be doing some serious listening elsewhere. It would NOT be something I would carry around on a day to day basis.
Old 12th March 2014
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camus View Post
How anyone in a career supposedly committed to audio excellence can have an issue with a product like this is seriously beyond me.
because we know better than to buy into another batch of audiophile snake oil
Old 12th March 2014
  #55
Quote:
Originally Posted by camus View Post
How anyone in a career supposedly committed to audio excellence can have an issue with a product like this is seriously beyond me.
The problems people have -- I suspect -- are not with the promise of greater fidelity. Who doesn't want that?

I suspect that most folks on the skeptical side here suspect that this device may simply not deliver or deliver fully on that promise. As others have noted, snake oil is a common commodity in the consumer audio business. And then, of course, there is the issue of Neil's, shall we say, fanciful take on audio and perceptual science.
Old 12th March 2014
  #56
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I guess we'll all have to wait to HEAR IT, then.

- c
Old 12th March 2014
  #57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
In case you want a snack.

Having carried those around in my jeans pockets on trips through Europe I have to say that is the very first thing I thought of when I saw the form factor.

It's not a comfortable thing to have in one's pocket in actual physical terms -- but the fact it had chocolate in it always made it sort of vaguely welcome. Until you managed to get it jammed into your gut or worse in a crowded Metro or such.
Old 12th March 2014
  #58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
I guess we'll all have to wait to HEAR IT, then.

- c
Old 12th March 2014
  #59
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Again, I urge everyone not to miss the spirit here. WATCH THE VIDEO AGAIN. It is coming from an earnest, artist-driven attempt to honor music. With all of the music technology of the last couple decades, the people with the purse strings are almost never concerned with the artist's perspective.

I mean, you've noticed that liner notes disappeared without anybody objecting, right? How could that happen?, you have to wonder. It happened because the people behind iTunes did not give a f**k.

There are people on this site who can debate the minutiae of an AMS Neve 1084 vs. BAE 1084 and yet something like this is greeted with snark and cynicism. It's a bummer.

- c
Old 12th March 2014
  #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camus View Post
How anyone in a career supposedly committed to audio excellence can have an issue with a product like this is seriously beyond me.
Not just AN issue, I have LOTS of issues with it:

1) It's a toblerone. Seriously, who wants that in your pocket?
2) It's $400
3) It's something else to carry around
4) It only does ONE thing
5) It has affiliations with some snake oil organizations
6) It is putting out a bunch of hype with kickstarter when they don't really need that money - it's just a marketing trick to make people feel a sense of ownership in the concept
7) Other HQ options are cheaper and good enough
8) The whole endorsement and marketing process (especially the VIDEO on their site) is like a hippie love fest


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