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Launch of Pono Studio Headphones
Old 16th March 2014
  #841
@joeq - so how do you account for the reports of improved listening experiences via higher-quality audio?
Old 16th March 2014
  #842
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My favorite detractor riff so far has been

"Sorry, nobody's going to care. Only audiophile nerds care about sound quality. Regular people will never give a ****."

"It's all over the mainstream news. They're making a million dollars a day!"

"Regular people are sheep."
Old 16th March 2014
  #843
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
My favorite detractor riff so far has been

"Sorry, nobody's going to care. Only audiophile nerds care about sound quality. Regular people will never give a ****."

"It's all over the mainstream news. They're making a million dollars a day!"

"Regular people are sheep."
You get all manner of stuff in the mouth of the 21st century....
Old 16th March 2014
  #844
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Higher and higher resolution must be harnessed not only by greater polarity but by greater strength at that polarity, because the combination is what determines the level of resonance perceived. Because the combination is cumulative on the music experience impact. MP3 files put a significant limit on that combination, the emotional potential is dramatically reduced. In other words, looking only at quantifying the quality gain of moving one step higher in resolution, does not mean so much until you add the strength component to the equation and also the polarity of the content of course, then you get a difference that increases cumulatively by strength and cumulatively by polarity of content. This is extremely generalized though, in reality you also have polarity/strength of consumer, polarity/strength of playback context and so on, all with a cumulative impact. The important thing to understand is that through this component pipeline there is frequency acceleration and deacceleration occurring (amounting to various resonance levels) when playing the song caused by how the polarity and strength of all the components are tuned/impacted. By increasing the resolution, you increase the emotional impact potential all in all, with various component chains you will then be able to observe the relative differences.
Old 16th March 2014
  #845
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
My favorite detractor riff so far has been

"Sorry, nobody's going to care. Only audiophile nerds care about sound quality. Regular people will never give a ****."
In my view, anyone who does care about sound quality is by definition an audiophile. You may have a different idea about what an audiophile is, but it doesn't square with my experience. When I ran with that crowd (I admit it's been a while), guys like Bob Clearmountain and Doug Sax were revered. The audiophiles are the people who give a **** about the work you do as an audio engineer. I don't understand the contempt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
"It's all over the mainstream news. They're making a million dollars a day!"
This is the phase of initial hype. It will die down. If and when the product arrives, there will be a bit more hype, which will likewise trail off as people discover it's not the life-changing experience it was cracked up to be. The rapturous reactions of the rock stars were caused by a cherry-picked example of music that had been remastered to sound much better than what was previously available (the article you kindly posted tends to confirm this -- "Harvest" never sounded good to me in digital form until the hi-res version came out). Not all the content will have the same sonic improvements.

After the novelty dies down, only your contemptible audiophile nerds will buy the content; typical music fans won't be paying big bucks to replace music they already own for marginal benefits.

Of course, it would be fantastic if I'm completely wrong about all this. But I think I've seen this movie before, and I remember how it ends.

Cheers,
Eddie
Old 16th March 2014
  #846
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
Silver, I share the opinion that maybe you don't seem to have a full understanding of your own confirmation bias
Question for the Bias Police: given that the possibility of bias exists at all times and in all situations, why don't you post in every thread here on GS where people are discussing the sound of this or that piece of gear? Shouldn't everyone be warned that they may not really be hearing what they think they're hearing?

Cheers,
Eddie
Old 16th March 2014
  #847
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I have a $700 DAC and $350 headphones, so I guess that somewhat makes me an audiophile nerd but I don't really see what all the fuss is about.

Also, maybe I'm looking past it but where is this Pono store? It seems like people are very quick to preorder without having a clue what they will actually be able to buy. I must say though, the idea is great. Sell everybody music they already own but MORE BETTER

I mean, I get all the artist endorsements - it;s brilliant. If people can be convinced the music is better and musicians can actually start selling music again, well that's just great. I'm all for selling music. The video does a good job at leaving out the other HALF of the equation though. What are they actually listening ON? Is there a $20,000 stereo in Neil Youngs car? Because the video didn't show anybody on Apple earbuds. Should I plan on also ordering a set of HD800's with my Pono in order for music to captivate me yet again?
Old 16th March 2014
  #848
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I hear the difference in higher sample rates. I was always told that you can't. But I truly, honestly, 100% FEEL the difference. The first time I recorded at 192/24, I was sure that I had to be wrong. BUT I FELT IT. Maybe it's all in my head. but so is everything?

I am sort of appalled at the haters. I am not trying to disagree with the science. I've read the articles that "you can not hear the difference".

I think of it like organic food. Most taste no difference. But if you eat it over time, you end up healthier. That is my experience. Do the same engineers who hate on the idea of Pono eat at McDonald's every day? Most engineers I know do....

I just bought my Pono. even if it doesn't sound better, which I am sure it does, I have faith in these artists and especially in Neal Young. I am proud that someone is TRYING
Old 16th March 2014
  #849
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inverted314 View Post
Also, maybe I'm looking past it but where is this Pono store?
It doesn't exist yet. Nobody knows what will be offered, but it's a safe bet than when/if it arrives that Neil Young's stuff will be there. Which is great, if you're a Neil Young fan and don't already have his remastered hi-res stuff. Otherwise, you pays your money (into the KS thing) and you takes your chances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inverted314 View Post
What are they actually listening ON? Is there a $20,000 stereo in Neil Youngs car? Because the video didn't show anybody on Apple earbuds. Should I plan on also ordering a set of HD800's with my Pono in order for music to captivate me yet again?
Some demos have been done with Senn Momentums, so your existing cans should be fine! But that's the thing -- not many consumers own equipment that will allow them to discern whatever sonic improvements are brought to us by Pono. Audiophiles already do.

Cheers,
Eddie
Old 16th March 2014
  #850
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie TX View Post
After the novelty dies down, only your contemptible audiophile nerds will buy the content; typical music fans won't be paying big bucks to replace music they already own for marginal benefits.
We'll see. I think that musicians continuing to champion it as their own preferred release format will excite the public. I expect it to occupy the same space in contemporary culture that vinyl does. Just another release format for the more passionate/engaged listener.

I certainly don't claim to know the future. As of right now, I feel optimistic and I think there are lots of signs to be reasonably optimistic.

With regards to audiophiles: you're right.

In its purest etymology, "audiophile" is simply "one who loves sound." And what could be wrong with that?

However, in actual practice and culture, audiophiles as a community are perceived as a largely anhedonic, persnickety, square, antisocial lot who tend to value "expensive" more than "good" and are more excited by the principle of fidelity than by charisma or content. They're usually loudly contemptuous of the masses. They're the kind of people who are reflexively suspicious of the galvanizing joy expressed in that Pono video.

I concede this is probably a stereotype. But that's what I [and most people] think of when I think of "audiophile": the kind of person I dislike. I like artists.

I mean, technically, I could certainly reasonably be tagged "audiophile"... I've built my entire life and career around my love of music and sound. But I shadder to accept that mantle.

In practical terms, "audiophile" is almost purely a pejorative.

Many of the posts on this thread [including mine] are textbook examples of why.

- c
Old 16th March 2014
  #851
Lives for gear
So far I am moderately impressed by the Pono concept: Can I replace my existing players with Pono to end up with a single digital player solution? No because Pono's service is pay per album, I am on a budget and do not want to lower my monthly music consumption and it is unknown what the quality of the music catalogue will be. Qobuz already does what Pono says is not possible/suitable today today. Sure, I can understand that huge [email protected] audio files consume a lot of bandwidth, but at least offer CD quality as streaming so that it is as good as Qobuz. Being able to play virtually unlimited CDs in FLAC on Qobuz will be greater than consuming a couple of albums per month at [email protected] on Pono. I can still route signal through my PrismSound converter, so that won't be an issue and when I am on the run and use the mobile device I typically have so much backround noise anyway that I think it will be difficult to justify going more expensive by using the Pono like I use Qobuz... The fact that they are eliminating the streaming option is multiple dimensions less impressive than Qobuz, Qobuz has already managed desktop and mobile streaming in FLAC quality and their music catalogue is growing. Their price of 25 EUR per month is very fair too. Qobuz is great! I already want Qobuz inside the Pono player heh...
Old 16th March 2014
  #852
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie TX View Post
Some demos have been done with Senn Momentums, so your existing cans should be fine! But that's the thing -- not many consumers own equipment that will allow them to discern whatever sonic improvements are brought to us by Pono. Audiophiles already do.

Cheers,
Eddie
I actually have Sennheiser Momentums, and they are great; but this arises an interesting question. Is the Pono "a-HA!" Experience going to be more so the revelation of people's first taste of high end headphones? I mean, CLEARLY they haven't said it anywhere, but it should certainly be implied that this device will only be as good as the headphone/speaker source. Now that I think about this, every audiophile already has a DAC, so are they really going to fall for this?
Old 16th March 2014
  #853
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Rockin’ in the HD world: Explaining Neil Young’s shockingly successful PonoPlayer


If you had told us a year ago that a glorified iPod would be the toast of the tech world in 2014, we’d have to stifle our chuckles of disbelief. As much as we love the fidelity of HD audio, getting the masses to embrace a clunkier form of music in the age of Spotify just wouldn’t have seemed realistic. Yet that’s exactly what Neil Young has done with his $399 Pono Music player, which blew past its ambitious $800,000 Kickstarter fundraising goal, acquiring over $2.5 million in pledges in about 60 hours.

In the days that followed, HD audio has gone from a backwater obscurity among audio gurus to front-page news, inviting both praise and criticism, inciting debate, and generating lot of misinformation about HD audio. Is Neil Young an audiophile messiah or just a shrewd marketer? Is HD audio worth the expense? Can you hear the difference? Throw on some vinyl and grab a glass of Scotch, we’re here to get you up to speed on the audio trend you never expected.

What’s the point of Pono?

Neil Young started with all this Pono stuff almost three years ago, but the topic got a big boost of awareness when he appeared on CBS’ David Letterman Show, where he showed off a prototype of the player and explained what he was trying to do. In a nutshell, Neil Young aims to turn digital music around by getting music lovers and listeners closer to the quality of music as it was created by the artist. He points out that even the CD is a dumbed-down version of the original master recordings, devoid of its dynamics and detail, never mind an MP3, which can have as little as 5 percent of the original information.



How did it get this bad?

In a word: convenience. The ability to load hundreds to even thousands of songs into device you could stick in your tiny jeans pocket was undeniably cool – and practical. People saw digital music as a way of freeing themselves from CDs and all the hassle of storing and caring for them. Digital files also made music portable again – no more bulky Discman, I’ll take this iPod, thanks!

Though storage space is cheaper, and new codecs make for small files, folks are used to the status quo.
Unfortunately, storage space didn’t come cheap back then like it does now. To make digital music files work, they had to be squished down to a fraction of their original size. The MP3 compression scheme was really efficient at doing this job, and it set a precedent that’s been hard for proponents of HD audio to turn around: quantity over quality. Even though storage space is cheap now, and newer codecs allow smaller file sizes without the loss of quality, folks have gotten used to the status quo. Perhaps that’s why the HD audio players and HD music stores that came before Pono have faced an uphill struggle for recognition the past couple years.
How is Pono different?

We’ve seen a lot confusion and flat-out misinformation being batted about in public discussions attempting to answer this question. References to the player’s ability to play back FLAC (free lossless audio codec) files are frequently hailed as a key differentiating factor, but that’s highly misleading. What makes the Pono Project a potential game-changer in audio is actually a combination of several factors: high-quality file types, improved file resolution, music re-mastering, premium electronics, and an interface people can use. Let’s dig into each of those for a better explanation.

Better music files

The PonoPlayer will actually be able to play any audio file type. Perhaps the reason its ability to play back FLAC files is getting so much attention is because FLAC files are often discussed as being superior to MP3, and it’s therefore an accessible point of discussion. But FLAC playback isn’t exactly a new trick for portable media devices, Android 3.1 devices and better can all play FLAC files, as can the HiFiMan portable player, several iRiver devices (such as the Astell and Kern series), plus a few others you probably haven’t heard of.

Other excellent audio file formats include AIFF, ALAC and WAV, and the Pono will be able to play those, too. But the file type isn’t really what’s important here. It’s the sample rate and bit depth with which these files were created.

Better resolution

To put things in perspective, a CD has a sample rate of 44.1 kHz and a bit depth of 16. The premium, “HD” audio files being sold through online music stores like HDTracks can go as high as 192kHz/24-bit. That’s a significantly higher sampling rate and slightly higher bit depth. But what the hell does that actually mean?

Very generally speaking, higher bit depth = higher levels of detail; 16 bit is better than 8 bit, and 24 bit is better than 16 bit. To understand what differing levels of bit depth do for audio, it helps to look at what bit depth does for a digital image, so we can see the difference. Below is an 8-bit image next to a 4-bit version of the same image. The loss of detail in this illustration is clear because it is down in a range where the loss of information is well within the visual range – the difference between 8 bit and 16 bit still noticeable, but less obvious. This calls into question whether the difference between 16-bit and 24 bit audio is all that important.

Meanwhile, sampling rate is the number of times a sample (a sonic picture, if you will) is taken of an audio signal per second. The more times you sample an audio signal, the more information you end up with. Sampling an audio signal is like shooting a video of a fast-moving object. The higher the frame rate (sampling rate) the more depth and detail you can capture and the smoother the end product is going to be. Say you’re shooting a video of a cheetah running across the savannah. At 24 frames per second, you will still be able to tell it’s a cheetah, but the details are lost in a blur. At 1000 frames per second, though, you might be able to see all of the cheetah’s whiskers, count its spots and notice its tail is slightly kinked toward the end. Again, it’s all about more depth and detail.

Re-mastering music the way artists (not record moguls) want you to hear it

Some are arguing that none of this high-resolution stuff makes a bit of difference if the source is no good to begin with – it’s the old “you can’t polish a turd” argument. If all that was happening with HD audio was a “high quality” adaptation of an existing product, we might tend to agree. That’s not all that’s happening though. Many of the people producing these HD audio files are obtaining re-mastered versions of the original, raw recordings or re-mastering the originals themselves. In re-mastering, they can leave out a lot of the dynamic compression that has fueled what audiophiles like to call “The Loudness Wars.” In music, dynamics usually refers to the wide swings in loudness, from very soft to very loud. Dynamic compression is a process that takes dynamics out of the picture. It makes almost everything you hear the same volume level. Then the entire level of the recording can be pushed way up, creating a very loud record where the strum of a guitar is as loud as the snap of a finger.

Dynamics are a big part of what make a live concert sound like a live performance. By leaving more of the dynamics in place, mastering engineers argue that it gets the listener closer to the performance. And it’s a very convincing argument.

Premium electronics

Here’s a sobering fact: None of the work being done to make digital music sound better means anything unless the hardware used to play it back is also of high quality. That’s the final piece of this Pono puzzle: Inside that Toblerone-shaped bar is a bevy of premium guts.



The two most critical components to sound reproduction in a portable music player are its DAC (digital to analog converter) and its headphone output stage, which amplifies the signal to drive the tiny speakers inside headphones. The PonoPlayer is meant to have very good-quality versions of both. In fact, the people behind the Pono say its shape is, in part, a result of the need for enough space to put the quality components in, and in the right places. Since the Pono team partnered with premium audio company, Ayre Acoustics, to develop the hardware, we have every reason to believe it will deliver on this front. We’ll know for sure once the PonoPlayer begins to ship.

Pono’s amazing Kickstarter success

Nobody – probably not even Neil Young himself – expected the Pono project to do so well, and so quickly, on Kickstarter. How in the world did a geeky, audiophile-aimed portable media player snag $1 million dollars in pledges in less than 24 hours? And how did it sail right on past that to $2.5 million in just a couple more days?

The PonoPlayer could be the right blend of high quality, portability, affordability and accessibility that enthusiastic listeners have been waiting for.
Marketing likely has a lot to do with it. Neil Young probably didn’t do this on his own (though we’re sure he brought a bunch of Canadians to the campaign), but throw in a bunch of heavyweights like Sting, Marc Ford, Eddie Vedder, Rick Rubin, Jack White and Arcade Fire, all enthusiastically singing your product’s praises, and you’re going to get some traction.
But we think some credit should go to the notion that the PonoPlayer could be the right blend of high quality, portability, affordability and accessibility that enthusiastic listeners have been waiting for. What good is a high-definition audio player if you don’t like using it? And who’s going to blow a mortgage payment-worth of cash on electronics that’ll never leave your house? Maybe the PonoPlayer is just the first audiophile-grade product that really spoke to a broad range of people, and those folks decided to vote with their wallets.

One thing is certain: the Pono project is off to a very strong start, and if word spreads that it is as good as it’s hyped up to be, it could be the game changer proponents of HD Audio have been looking for. Imagine if Pono does for HD Audio what Beats did for headphones; we could be looking at the birth of a whole new era.

Neil Young's Pono Hi-def MP3 Player | Digital Trends
Old 16th March 2014
  #854
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie TX View Post
Question for the Bias Police: given that the possibility of bias exists at all times and in all situations, why don't you post in every thread here on GS where people are discussing the sound of this or that piece of gear? Shouldn't everyone be warned that they may not really be hearing what they think they're hearing?

Cheers,
Eddie
Speaking for myself, I only comment on threads I have an interest in... there is a HUGE amount of confirmation bias in the world.

Frankly learning about it was a HUGE revelation for me... It completely changed the way I think in a positive way. It is a fascinating topic! But I only have so much time... need time to create music, not police the internets.
Old 16th March 2014
  #855
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1) Will this soon make .wav files the most commonly distributed and listened to type of file or will FLAC files constantly be preferred due to the desire to preserve bandwidth ? IOW, will FLAC files win out over .wav files due to them being viewed as less costly and less space/time consuming ?

2) Wouldn't it make tracking/mixing/mastering/distribution much easier and simpler if .wav files became THE option, instead of having to convert ?
Old 16th March 2014
  #856
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The more I think about this the more critical things seem left out. No mention of a headphone amp? Will this even power critical reference headphones? Why no 1/4" jack? I'm very curious to hear NEW music on this thing. Of course all that old stuff is gonna sound great - even with my now "desolate" iPod I can hear the nuances... Because old tunes were mixed and mastered properly and not squashed to hell. What about new music? I don't see how it will unsquash any recent pop tune.
Old 16th March 2014
  #857
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billcarroll View Post
If ever a product was destined to bomb ... Pono.

They are solving a problem more than 80% of consumers care nothing about. Do I care? Yes. I'd love everything on 192kHz/24 bit, but the guy on the Subway with Beats and an iPhone doesn't give a damn.
Until this guy in the subway heard the difference, then for sure, he will care and go for PONO.

The problem is how to reach the guy in the subway. Best is simply to make a deal with Apple and make it a top Apple product. Then you will have exposure. So far it's only for the insiders...

Roger
Old 16th March 2014
  #858
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ways to listen

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post

I concede this is probably a stereotype. But that's what I [and most people] think of when I think of "audiophile": the kind of person I dislike. I like artists.

I mean, technically, I could certainly reasonably be tagged "audiophile"... I've built my entire life and career around my love of music and sound. But I shadder to accept that mantle.

In practical terms, "audiophile" is almost purely a pejorative.

Many of the posts on this thread [including mine] are textbook examples of why.

- c
I have seen an Audiophile described as "An Audiophile is one who does not listen to music, an Audiophile is one who listens to the sounds in music."

On a visceral level the quality and intended "accurateness" of a sound can be used to help create the experience the artist wants to convey... but if audio quality is all the music has going for it then it could end up being classified as "just for Audiophiles".

My concerns always get back to what the artist is doing with their "art". How many more songs do we need about why he/she is bad because they did wrong to whomever, or how great sex is, etc. Do we really need this stuff in HD to get the message ?


Also, I would be hesitant (speaking as if an owner of material) in putting the material out there at "beyond original master quality". With all of the thieves out there it just makes their rips that much better.

I guess what Neil is after is trying to give young people who have never experienced a fresh record on a decent system the chance to do so (and bring back that experience to those who have enjoyed it) thus hopefully changing the future of intent and concept for many forms of recorded music.
Old 16th March 2014
  #859
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29 pages and all I actually need to do, is read The Emperors New Clothes again. And Kenny - please don't delete your comments! I enjoy them very much.
Old 16th March 2014
  #860
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How Neil Young's Pono Music Raised $2 Million in Two Days

On a breezy weekday morning in the hills just outside Austin, Texas, Neil Young slides onto a couch and smiles.

His relaxed countenance belies the fact that, at this very moment, he’s raising money for Pono–his long-awaited music player and service for high-quality audio files–at a rate of about $700 per minute via Kickstarter. Along with previous support from some outside investors, that will be more than enough to bring Pono to market this fall.

“Thank goodness that we have the investors that we have, because we were able to get as far as we could” before launching the Kickstarter campaign, says Young. “Far enough to be able to show the product. … But we couldn’t get [corporate] investors to get interested in saving an art form.”

Even so, the numbers behind the rollout are eye-popping. Pono (Hawaiian for “righteousness”) topped the $1 million mark within 12 hours debuting on Kickstarter, among the fastest to seven figures of any campaign. In the 48 hours since its launch, the total has surpassed $2.5 million.

For Young, though, Pono is about much more than a Kickstarter campaign. He wants to create an entire iTunes-like ecosystem for high-quality digital files, complete with an answer to the iPod (the PonoPlayer) and the iTunes Store (the PonoMusic.com Store).

Pono’s business model is similar, too: revenues will be divided in a manner similar to the 70/30 split between content creators and Apple AAPL -1.12%. Says Pono chief executive John Hamm: ”That’s the same deal we have. That’s the same deal everyone has.”

Most mp3 files have a bit rate of 192kbps or 256kbps, a small size that’s a product of the compression that allows users to store so many of them on a single device. High resolution files—the sort that Pono will champion—tend to run anywhere from 44.1kHz/16 bit (six times as much information as a typical mp3) to 192 kHz/24 bit (about thirty times as much).

“It raises the consumer-level quality of music to where it was pre-1980,” says Young. “Which is kind of amazing when you think of how great everything is in the 21st century, but audio quality has gone downhill to the point where it’s the largest opportunity for improvement of any media.”

The songs reaching users’ ears through streaming services like Spotify and Pandora tend to be of a similarly low quality. But that hasn’t stopped their popularity from surging. According to a presentation by Nielsen at SXSW, 68% of U.S. consumers streamed music in 2013; services saw a 40% year-over-year increase in listening.

“Digital consumption has reached the masses, with a majority of consumers in the U.S. streaming music last year,” said Nielsen’s David Bakula in a statement. “The change in consumption requires us to continually evolve how we measure and define success.”

For Pono, that means success will depend on carving out a corner of the market that truly cares about sound quality—enough to afford the $399 player and a projected $15-$25 per album price tag when the entire system goes live in October.

A good comparison might be vinyl, which currently makes up about 2% of total U.S. album sales and continues to grow; Hamm believes high-quality digital downloads could exceed that market share by a factor of at least ten. Says Young: “I don’t have any doubt that it’s going to be bigger than vinyl.”

He’ll have some competition. Already, services like HDtracks.com have seen triple-digit growth in downloads of top-notch digital files like the FLAC format touted by Pono as well as AIFF, WAV and ALAC offerings. And a handful of portable players tailored to such files currently exist.

In that regard, Young’s venture is in some ways similar to Dr. Dre’s Beats headphones: it’s a case of a well-regarded musician putting his personal touch on existing technology and creating a movement.

Dre’s most recent move has been to expand into streaming, something that will be tricky for Young. At the moment, the limitations of bandwidth make it very difficult to stream the highest-quality.

But as technology continues to evolve and improve, that may change. Could we see a Pono streaming service down the line?

“It may be on the horizon,” says Young. “It doesn’t exist right now. … There’s a lot of parts of it that have to be right.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/zackomal...n-in-two-days/
Old 16th March 2014
  #861
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Barely anybody will buy a $10 album but now they will buy a $25 album?
Old 16th March 2014
  #862
j_j
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
But if you just can't stand the thought of 16/44.1 and you want ubiquity, then go with 24/48 as our brethren in film have.
Since this is future proofing, can you guarantee that this will work for small children, people with hyperacusis, and people with genetic disposition to asthma?

Nope, you can't, and for simple, testable reasons.

Perhaps you should do some more research on infant/toddler hearing, some of the effects of asthma, and what hyperacusis is.

Then get back to me, m'kay?
Old 16th March 2014
  #863
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inverted314 View Post
Barely anybody will buy a $10 album but now they will buy a $25 album?
If they've got downloadable 24/192 samples that hold up to the hype, I'm first in line.
Old 16th March 2014
  #864
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Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inverted314 View Post
Barely anybody will buy a $10 album but now they will buy a $25 album?
I agree that this is a misstep. The pricing is wrong-headed. High-res people always think that hi-res is an opportunity to charge people MORE.

This is one of the things that killed SACD/DVDA.

It's music industry hubris, in my opinion.

- c
Old 16th March 2014
  #865
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FeatheredSerpent View Post
'Perception' and 'scientifically repeatable' are not words that sit together very well, as anyone that has taken mescaline will readily agree with. Perception is something that touches on different levels of consciousness, and nobody knows enough - nobody - to start stating what is and what isn't perceived or perceivable.

Pretending that you know what depths human perception reaches, based on a few medical studies is ridiculous.
Exactly. For every junior scientist here that thinks they have it "all figured out", just try contemplating the known universe on DMT. You will soon realize your knowledge about reality is very small and insignificant and that science and language are currently not sophisticated enough to explain what "reality" truly is!

Music and sound can be explained only in the most superficial terms at the moment. There is still much more to learn.

As Frank Zappa said: "The whole universe is one big note..."
Old 16th March 2014
  #866
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by topperf View Post
29 pages and all I actually need to do, is read The Emperors New Clothes again.
You haven't actually read the 29 pages?
Old 16th March 2014
  #867
Lives for gear
 
Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

A brief article in Mix on, among other things, mastering engineers perspective on hi-res.

- c
Old 16th March 2014
  #868
Lives for gear
Neil Young on Pono, His New Album and Using LPs as Roof Shingles


FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images
March 14, 2014 9:22 AM ET

Neil Young sits on a couch in a boutique hotel in Austin, Texas, with a bright red bandage wrapped around his right wrist. "It's OK," he says. "I can still play." Although Young has an album coming out — A Letter Home, including two songs with appearances by Jack White, and released on White's Third Man label — he is in Texas to roll out Pono, his new line of high-end digital music players.

Neil Young reaches $800k Pono Kickstarter goal in one day

In the hotel courtyard, Pono CEO John Hamm was talking tech and demoing Pono prototypes for journalists, and the units sounded as excellent as advertised. (Important caveat: this impression was based on limited listening on a unit paired with $250 headphones, and involved no head-to-head comparison with other audio sources.) Pono players are scheduled to come out this fall, and cost $399; high-resolution digital albums (FLAC files) will be available on Pono's online store for 15 to 25 dollars. Two days after Young announced the Pono kickstarter, where people could preorder a unit for $99 less, 8,000 people had pledged over $2.6 million.

"We blew by our stated goal," Young says, "so we're out of the woods. For the first couple days".

Are you a good businessman?
No. But I'm not in charge of the business. I'm just the mascot — the hood ornament.

Do you remember the first time you worked on a record that didn't come out sounding the way you wanted?
Well, I love making music, and I love making great-sounding records. I check on the mastering of my LPs, making sure it sounds good — and when we got to the CD, that part went away, because there was no physical thing to deal with. There's nothing wrong with digital: it's a tool, it's a way to do things. In 1982, I first got my 16-bit digital machines with Sony, and I used a lot of the digital master players to create things. But I noticed that if I went to digital, I lost the echo. After that, the ability to play loud went away — it was really loud, but whoa, it hurts. I never had it hurt before. And it went downhill from there, instead of getting better. That was devastating,

So I made the records analog for myself, and transferred them to digital. Part of me went backwards: as the resolution went up, I went backwards with the technology.

It's ironic that you're rolling out the high-tech Pono at the same time as A Letter Home, which you recorded on a 1947 Voice-o-Graph machine, an old-fashioned vinyl recording booth.
Yeah, we did the whole album on that. We're going to get it out there. It's an amazing time capsule. From nothing, to nowhere. No one knows why. [Laughs] It's a good piece, a real nice piece. I look forward to people getting it, especially in light of what I'm doing now. It's coming out pretty soon.

I was thinking about another time when you were dissatisfied with sound — there's a story that you bought 200,000 copies of Comes a Time in 1978 and then destroyed them.
Oh, that was because it was a mastering error. The tape got damaged when it went through the airport or something. I had to go back and use a copy of the master — it was a copy, but it had better-sounding playback than the other one.

Did you take a shotgun to the albums?
No, no, I made a barn roof out of them. I used them as shingles.

What does success look like for Pono?
Success is more people finding out about good-sounding music and music choice, whether it's Pono or some other company that decides to do the same thing and beats us because they've got millions and millions of dollars to work with — but we're first.

What's surprised you about Pono?
It's been pretty predictable, because I'm a musician and I know how musicians feel about sound. The record companies made some bad choices and did not realize how big this tech [MP3s] was going to be. And when that happened, there was no alternative to the cheap sound. Smartphones can do anything, but they do it all at the same kind of level. It's a little above a Fisher-Price level: it's a toy stove. So if you want an MP3, and that's what you can afford, and that's what you like, and you really don't think you want anything else, that's fine. But now you have a chance to hear something else, that you didn't before, unless you were an audiophile and you went through all these hoops to get it. We're going to be able to play records back just like the artists made them — with absolutely no magic sauce, no DRM, no encoding, decoding, none of the things that screw with the sound and make it an intellectual property.

Are you an audiophile?
No, I'm a music-lover! I'm trying to bring consumer-level listening to the point it was in the Seventies.

Eric Clapton told us recently that he was surprised you could hear the difference between different audio sources after all these years of loud volume with Crazy Horse.
[Laughs] I'm Canadian. He'll understand that. He's next to Ginger Baker's cymbals — he knows what can happen. No matter how bad your hearing is, or how much damage you have, what you do hear is what you hear. And if it's good, it's good, and if it's bad, it's bad. You still recognize it.

Do you think of yourself as a gearhead?
Absolutely. I'm a big car guy. I have a hybrid 1959 Lincoln — I drove it across the country without using any gasoline. Went up to the tar sands in Canada on the way and made good time there on the trip. I used a very clean fuel of the future, "freedom fuel": cellulosic ethanol. That's ethanol based on plants, made from the waste of food. We have a model for day-to-day transportation that could replace fossil fuels. There's ultimately going to be a carbon tax, and we have to be ready for that. Cars have to be smart enough to burn different fuels. That's all gearhead stuff — it's all about machines that do things, like smart environmental impact sensors that can broadcast what your impact is, to your government, to you, everybody who needs to know about it so you can pay your debt to society.

You always got to pay for the damage you do. Pretty soon CO2's going to be anti-American. Corporate America, with the loss of profits from climate change, are going to say, we're going to have to reverse this: the CO2 has to come back from the sky into the ground. Farming practices are responsible for 50% of the CO2 in the air. That's the biggest cause of climate change, worldwide: farming practices. And second is transportation.

All your interests ultimately converge.
Yeah, it's all the same thing. Clean, quality, get back to what makes things work for people and what's better for society.

What else do you have going on this year?
I got that record we talked about. I'm playing the Dolby Theater in L.A. in a couple of weeks for four nights. It's a beautiful acoustic hall, so I'm playing there solo acoustic. Then I play Dallas a couple of weeks later, they have a beautiful concert hall there. Then I go up to Chicago, just solo acoustic. This summer I play with Crazy Horse and I do the Pono thing.

What's the most Canadian thing about you?
That I care about Canada, and Canada's environment. I care about the stewardship of the land, and I care about the First Nations people. And I care about hockey.

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/ne...ngles-20140314
Old 16th March 2014
  #869
tkr
Gear Addict
Quote:
This is the phase of initial hype. It will die down. If and when the product arrives, there will be a bit more hype, which will likewise trail off as people discover it's not the life-changing experience it was cracked up to be. The rapturous reactions of the rock stars were caused by a cherry-picked example of music that had been remastered to sound much better than what was previously available (the article you kindly posted tends to confirm this -- "Harvest" never sounded good to me in digital form until the hi-res version came out). Not all the content will have the same sonic improvements.
Actually, it`s happening already:

PonoMusic - Where Your Soul Rediscovers Music by the PonoMusic Team :: Kicktraq

Quote:
After the novelty dies down, only your contemptible audiophile nerds will buy the content; typical music fans won't be paying big bucks to replace music they already own for marginal benefits.
I hav been trawling through some audiophile forums, and Pono isn`t making much of a splash on either Scandinavian, German or US sites. The tone seems to be that "16/44 is good enough" and "A new player? So what?"

I loved this picture, BTW:
Attached Thumbnails
Launch of Pono-pono.jpg  
Old 16th March 2014
  #870
Lives for gear
 
doncaparker's Avatar
 

Maybe the Pono player should be renamed "The Chock."
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