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Launch of Pono Studio Headphones
Old 15th March 2014
  #721
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Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

I like this article.

Smart dude. Recommended read.

cheers,
c
Old 15th March 2014
  #722
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
I strongly recommend you try one, don't just read about it!
Such a great idea... that I already did it!!

I couldn't tell. Well, rather... I THOUGHT I could tell. But my guesses were no better than random. This is why I'm asking for more specifics. As I said... I have never heard of anyone else who could tell in controlled testing. That's why I find it interesting that everyone in your circle could tell.

Knowing success rate is a key thing, as it determines whether you are guessing or not.

The reason why I asked you the analog vs. digital switch question and level match question (which you didn't answer) is there are cues in switching sometimes. Maybe the level match isn't good enough, or maybe the switch itself has a particular click in one direction. We might not even realize we are doing it, but we (as humans) WANT to succeed and we'll use any advantage we can to find a difference.

Quote:
When not listening "blind," (which, as I said, was excruciatingly dull), my main observations on the differences in resolution were not in frequency response. It was more in a difficult-to-describe sense of increasing vividness. I found I was able to hear more of the textural details --- "Red Medicine" is a trippy, heavily-manipulated album, it's certainly no purist documentary recording --- and feel exactly where each element/event was panned.
I hope you don't take offense at this but this could very well be, and is most likely, confirmation bias.
Old 15th March 2014
  #723
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
I like this article.

Smart dude. Recommended read.

cheers,
c
It's an interesting one. I think it's bunk, but it should be considered.

I would read this one too, to hear the other side explained well:
24/192 Music Downloads are Very Silly Indeed

The people in Neil Young's test weren't listening over a long period of time. They had a short sampling and they walked away speaking in superlatives.

I would also suggest that double blind test can be run as long as one wants. There can be plenty of time to settle in with the music to pick up these extremely subtle cues that some people think are there. That is a very worthwhile test! I think more people should test in controlled situations, more data is better.

EDIT: My personal opinion though is longer is worse... ear fatigue sets in and it becomes more difficult.
Old 15th March 2014
  #724
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bogosort's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
This was not a formal test where we'd publish the findings in an AES white paper or anything like that.

There were many unusual elements. First of all: everyone in the room was an audio professional. There were no "regular people."
Also I had my hand on the volume knob. And we listened LOUD... much louder than most people listen to music. I don't think any of that would be the case if we were attempting some kind of academic study. It was just an informal way for the Magic Shop to demonstrate the differences for the purposes of my client's archiving project.

They played a passage from the song and the tester said "This is 'A'..." and then "This is 'B'..." Etc. Then we were asked to rank them in order of preference.

Personally I almost always preferred the one that turned out to be DSD. This is why I'm disappointed Pono does not use that technology.

The whole thing is not that interesting, really.

- c
There's no problem with everyone being an audio professional, nor is there necessarily a problem with controlling the volume (as long as all the sources were level-matched to begin with). It doesn't seem like there were any controls, which is critical for detecting flaws in the test. Probably the most important part of the test would have been the switching: how was it achieved? Did the tester know what each source was?

It's cool if this was just a friendly listening session where such details weren't worked out, but that precludes it from being reasonable evidence of anything. Maybe you can try an ABX of DSD and 16/44.1 of a mix you're mastering. The free foobar2000 player has an ABX plugin that can handle the switching and stats calculation.
Old 15th March 2014
  #725
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
Some science papers demonstrate that the ears are not the only part of the body involved in 'hearing.' The science behind this is good enough that at least one 'name' company has patents on the application of these technologies.

The human body is more remarkable than many understand e.g. cells can communicate with each other using bioluminesence where the strength of light is the equivalent of one candle at a 1/4 mile distance.

The bottom line is that in addition to subjective impressions about listening tests there is scientific data which shows even subtle differences can affect perception.
That is undoubtably true.

How many speakers can reproduce those details?

In other words... those things you hear when a band is performing live still have to make it to the recording medium. How high does the microphone go? Is your preamp linear to 80k? Lavry has written what it does to other equipment, even if you have speakers with a ribbon tweeter to be able to hear it!

How high do you think Neil's LincVolt goes?
Old 15th March 2014
  #726
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
I hope you don't take offense at this but this could very well be, and is most likely, confirmation bias.
This is why I tried to acknowledge that there were observations I made once I knew what I was listening to.

I personally don't believe it was simply bias contamination that lead me to those observations, but I would have no way to prove that to anyone.

Regardless: In the totally blind tests, we were all able to express preferences.

I'm personally stunned that that's uncommon. I imagine people must be listening with lesser monitoring circumstances (or, probably more importantly, lower listening volumes.)

- c
Old 15th March 2014
  #727
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
I recognize that you're really upset about this, but the video suggests that Neil Young played people an MP3 from a cheap iPod, a CD on a CD player and then hi-res stuff from the Pono player. There were more variables than just file type.

- c
Right. So let's ignore the cheap iPod for now. There are two main differences between a CD player playing a CD and the Pono playing a high resolution file.

1. The resolution of the two files.
2. The components of the hardware playback units.

This is (of course) assuming that the actual mixes were the same. Otherwise, there's obvious deception going on here. And we're going to assume that Mr. Young would never do that.

Most of us can agree that the resolution of the file is either not noticeable, or fairly subtle. Even in your test, it sounds like you were really listening intently and focusing on the resolution. It wasn't over the top hitting you over the head. But let's assume it was at least audible.

Now we're left with the components.

None of us have heard them but if we're taking the testimonials as being honest and not exaggerated, they must be really good. Let's use the word "striking".

Wouldn't it be fair to say that if the Pono just sounds that much better mostly because of the hardware, that it would also sound amazing with a 44.1kHz mix at 16 bit?

And if so, why the importance on the resolution of the file.

Why not talk about the quality of the unit? Much like a company like Bose does?

I would think that if it's the Pono that makes the difference, and the Pono is what they're selling, they wouldn't stress how bad CD audio is. Unless they're being disingenuous.
Old 15th March 2014
  #728
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
There's no problem with everyone being an audio professional, nor is there necessarily a problem with controlling the volume (as long as all the sources were level-matched to begin with). It doesn't seem like there were any controls, which is critical for detecting flaws in the test. Probably the most important part of the test would have been the switching: how was it achieved? Did the tester know what each source was?

It's cool if this was just a friendly listening session where such details weren't worked out, but that precludes it from being reasonable evidence of anything. Maybe you can try an ABX of DSD and 16/44.1 of a mix you're mastering. The free foobar2000 player has an ABX plugin that can handle the switching and stats calculation.
The topic is a completely uninteresting area for me. Even thinking about doing that makes me yawn.

I will definitely say this: In my work as a mastering engineer, the mixes submitted to us at higher sampling rates were invariably the worst mixes. This was usually the result of an overly careful/less intuitive engineer. In my experience, the best engineers are almost always the confident/instinctual/musical ones not the finicky/scientific ones.

- c
Old 15th March 2014
  #729
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
I like this article.

Smart dude. Recommended read.

cheers,
c
I don't see how that article is relevant to Neil Young and friends when they are clearly hearing a dramatic difference.

Have you ever done a quick AB test and heard a radical difference?

Could you ever be confused afterwards?

If you want to argue that two very similar sounds could be confused in an AB test, I'll give you that one. But if these reactions are realistic (and they would never lie) they should be noticeable in an AB test 100% of the time.

And if not, you're being duped.
Old 15th March 2014
  #730
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
Right. So let's ignore the cheap iPod for now. There are two main differences between a CD player playing a CD and the Pono playing a high resolution file.

1. The resolution of the two files.
2. The components of the hardware playback units.

This is (of course) assuming that the actual mixes were the same. Otherwise, there's obvious deception going on here. And we're going to assume that Mr. Young would never do that.

Most of us can agree that the resolution of the file is either not noticeable, or fairly subtle. Even in your test, it sounds like you were really listening intently and focusing on the resolution. It wasn't over the top hitting you over the head. But let's assume it was at least audible.

Now we're left with the components.

None of us have heard them but if we're taking the testimonials as being honest and not exaggerated, they must be really good. Let's use the word "striking".

Wouldn't it be fair to say that if the Pono just sounds that much better mostly because of the hardware, that it would also sound amazing with a 44.1kHz mix at 16 bit?

And if so, why the importance on the resolution of the file.

Why not talk about the quality of the unit? Much like a company like Bose does?

I would think that if it's the Pono that makes the difference, and the Pono is what they're selling, they wouldn't stress how bad CD audio is. Unless they're being disingenuous.
You're presuming they give a f**k about meeting ANY scientific criteria. I imagine they don't. They're not targeting you or me or any other skeptic audiophile or technician. We're not who they're trying to impress.

They're essentially advertising a new restaurant that just opened that they want people to check out. They're catching people walking out of the restaurant going "The food was great! Try it sometime!" etc. It's nothing that sinister.

- c
Old 15th March 2014
  #731
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skira's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
I like this article. Smart dude.
I prefer this one.
Old 15th March 2014
  #732
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
I don't see how that article is relevant to Neil Young and friends when they are clearly hearing a dramatic difference.

Have you ever done a quick AB test and heard a radical difference?

Could you ever be confused afterwards?

If you want to argue that two very similar sounds could be confused in an AB test, I'll give you that one. But if these reactions are realistic (and they would never lie) they should be noticeable in an AB test 100% of the time.

And if not, you're being duped.
Here is the thing: Respectfully, I don't care as much about this stuff nearly as much you do. I personally don't give an eff about sampling rates and I certainly never think about them outside of discussions like this one. I print mixes to a 24/88 Burl B2 DAC. Also: I tend to print hot... I'm not particularly careful as an engineer.

As I've said repeatedly, what excites me about Pono has been the way it has immediately value-shifted my non-musician friends into suddenly thinking what I do all day matters a lot. That feels radical and welcome to me. I can't imagine why I wouldn't enjoy that.

- c
Old 15th March 2014
  #733
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Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skira View Post
I prefer this one.
Yes, we're all aware of the concept.

- c
Old 15th March 2014
  #734
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
You're presuming they give a f**k about meeting ANY scientific criteria. I imagine they don't. They're not targeting you or me or any other skeptic audiophile or technician. We're not who they're trying to impress.

They're essentially advertising a new restaurant that just opened that they want people to check out. They're catching people walking out of the restaurant going "The food was great! Try it sometime!" etc. It's nothing that sinister.

- c
It might not be "sinister". I'm not accusing them of that. But if the sound is that much better, the unit must be great.

So why not talk about how great the player is?
Old 15th March 2014
  #735
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skira's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
Yes, we're all aware of the concept.
Not well enough.
Old 15th March 2014
  #736
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skira's Avatar
 

Confirmation bias, the placebo effect, and double-blind

Haven't checked out every post in the thread but I thought that this article was valuable, from 'Monty' Montgomery, creator of the Ogg software container format and Vorbis audio codec:

24/192 Music Downloads are Very Silly Indeed
Old 15th March 2014
  #737
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
Even if the science behind this was indisputable, it is utterly irrelevant to music production and audio engineering...
...in your opinion, I accept that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
...Or are you suggesting that ultrasonic information is a qualitative factor in music enjoyment?
That's what the scientific studies suggest.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
...Not sure what your point is.
My point is that there hasn't been adequate research yet to make definitive case either way...so what we're left with is subjective opinion. Personally I hear a difference between a 24 and 16-bit mix on my system...everytime.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
...I think we're all suitably impressed by the amazing electro-chemical machinery that is the human body. You seem to have a strong belief that 24-bit audio sounds "better" than 16-bit
...equally as strong as your belief it doesnt?
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
...and I suspect you're bringing up these irrelevant "mysteries" of human sensory perception to bolster this belief.
The scientific studies are only really irrelevant from your perspective. The reason I introduced them was not to bolster a belief but to demonstrate that there is much we do not yet know about how the human body/brain/mind perceives music.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
After all, maybe we don't understand enough of human hearing to really say which is better, right?
That's my point.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
...Wrong. The physics of quantization have absolutely nothing to do with human perception. We can 100% quantify exactly what it means to quantize an amplitude to varying word lengths, and the only difference between 16-bit and 24-bit quantization is about 48 dB of noise floor. There is literally nothing else different. We don't need to know anything about the ear-skin-brain system to know that if you think you hear a difference, it's literally all in your head.
Perhaps the noise floor is important?
Old 15th March 2014
  #738
i posted that article somewhere in post #324.
boo haa.
Old 15th March 2014
  #739
Mr. Arthur Stone's right you know,
there's so much more than just freq's reaching our ears that make us perceive music the way we do.
It's in the processing in the brain of the info given where lies a huge chunk of the quality, and feelgood factor of what we hear. Chop that info up and the brain will process it differently...
Art we the only ones taking that into this huge equation i ask ?

:-p

But that's not what this thread is about.
Pono baby!
Old 15th March 2014
  #740
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luizdepalma View Post
i posted that article somewhere in post #324.
boo haa.


On another forum a self-identified audiophile is pretty skeptical too, saying,

"What's the output voltage and impedance?
Crosstalk?
Noise?
THD?
Dynamic range?
If I plug to charge via USB while I'm playing it, will
it isolate the noisy power line?
You're trying to sell something "audiophile" without
mentioning any of this?
Really?"
Old 15th March 2014
  #741
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Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skira View Post
Not well enough.
Come on, man. I think it's pretty self-apparent at this point that this kind of condescension doesn't work on me.

- c
Old 15th March 2014
  #742
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skira's Avatar
 

I was serious.
Old 15th March 2014
  #743
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Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skira View Post
I was serious.
Ok, but you were also wrong.

- c
Old 15th March 2014
  #744
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
This is where I get lost. How is putting one pound of burnt meat into a four pound container a "step in the right direction?"

Especially when you've proven (to yourself) that it doesn't matter?
Im guessing you misread the 'non limited'part of my post you quoted, I was saying one pound of quality meat in four pound container is at least one small step in right direction over one pound of burnt meat in one pound container, to use your analogy
Old 15th March 2014
  #745
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
Ok, but you were also wrong.
You like someone's non-technical short post whose opinion is yours and he's a "smart dude" who just happens to confirm your worldview. Not even a slim possibility confirmation bias at all!
Old 15th March 2014
  #746
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
No offense, but the confirmation bias in this thread directly mirrors the bias of humans when it comes to 192/24.

I have NEVER heard of a controlled double blind test where people could pick out 24/96 vs 16/44.1. Why not? Why can't poeple do it?

One can argue "you need to be trained" or "it's subtle" but if that's true, then 24/96 doesn't BLOW AWAY anything. If there is a difference, it's extremely subtle, so subtle many mastering engineers and other "golden ears" failed to pick it out in testing.

If you REALLY BELIEVE you can hear a difference then do yourself a favor and read up just a little on confirmation bias. Your mind is your enemy when it comes to your own objectivity. If you think you are immune.. then you are making the point... you are actually providing evidence of your own confirmation bias.

Once you understand confirmation bias, then there's only one thing left to do.. test yourself.

That, my friend, is the real "end of story."
I agree. And I argue that if higher frequency sources can be detected by human ears, it is because they are causing an artifact WITHIN the range of human hearing. As Lavry points out, it is ONLY necessary to record the artifact... Again within this range....to accurately reproduce it. Like... If there is an X- ray source causing an artifact in say a video recording...to experience the artifact...within the bandwidth of the video...do we also need to record the X-ray source? Of course not and we cannot do it anymore than we can record a 192 KHz audio signal. What signal chain could I possibly assemble to do so?
Old 15th March 2014
  #747
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
... There are two main differences between a CD player playing a CD and the Pono playing a high resolution file. 1. The resolution of the two files. 2. The components of the hardware playback units.
I'm guessing there are three, and you're leaving out the big one. (I edited your quote to outsmart the horrible new "+" thing. Sorry.)

Quote:
This is (of course) assuming that the actual mixes were the same.
I'm guessing the mixes are the same, but the mastering (or lack of it) is not. Never mind all the analog copying and 1630 archiving and cloning and loudening the source of the CD version might have undergone.

Quote:
Otherwise, there's obvious deception going on here.
But is there? From the Kickstarter page:

"We are pursuing this vision by building a system for the entire music listening experience – from the original master recordings to the PonoMusic.com Store to the portable PonoPlayer." (my italics)

So they prioritize:

1. Original masters
2. Store
3. Player

But their video presentation of this is kind of upside down and backwards. And the yellow plastic thingy makes a much nicer photo and symbol of the brand than a pile of dusty old tapes, most of which they probably haven't made deals for yet.
Old 15th March 2014
  #748
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arksun View Post
Im guessing you misread the 'non limited'part of my post you quoted, I was saying one pound of quality meat in four pound container is at least one small step in right direction over one pound of burnt meat in one pound container, to use your analogy
Yes.

I didn't realize you meant limited as in compressor/limiter.

My apologies.

We agree. If we need the 4 pound container to have the meat cooked correctly. I'll take it.

But I have yet to hear any mention of the cooking of the meat any differently.

Call me cynical, but I think we're going to get a similar cooking process.
Old 15th March 2014
  #749
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cinealta's Avatar
 

What's the point of 24 bit audio with the loudness wars? There's no dynamic range to be revealed anyway.
Old 15th March 2014
  #750
I just rendered the same mix twice at 48kHz 16-bit and 24-bit then checked each files statistics in Sound Forge...there was a difference between them
e.g. Average Value (dB): the sum of all values in the selected region divided by the number of samples.
24-bit (Left) -91.127 (Right) -91.052
16-bit (Left) -90.309 (Right) -90.309

In theory there may be no apparent difference between 16/24-bit; in practice there is.

However this is interpreted, personally I'd much prefer to publish to formats where the files can remain at 24-bit.
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