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Launch of Pono Studio Headphones
Old 12th March 2014
  #61
KFW
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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 it is OBJECTIVELY bull****.

I posted this article already, but anyone who believes in this product...give this article a solid read. It's a bit wordy, but it goes into great detail and provides examples. After reading, I can't possibly imagine how you'd still think there is an audible difference between 16/44.1 and 24/192:

24/192 Music Downloads are Very Silly Indeed

Simply put, 16/44.1 captures all the audio data we could possibly hear. Anything beyond that is larger, only to capture frequencies and decibel ranges that we can't hear, and probably don't exist in the source of the recording (considering microphones and gear capture up to what, 20hz?). And most, if not all pro recordings are hi/lo passed to the point where it wouldn't matter.

Hardware is what makes a difference. Like someone else said, if this thing was touting that it had the very best possible hardware--I'd think it was great. But all it is is a rebranded Zune (which those could play back FLAC files).
Old 12th March 2014
  #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
Yes. The quicker this thing fails, the quicker we can stop thinking this will save music.



It's completely wrapped in snake oil.

Using the Apple Lossless Audio Codec, you can playback 24bit 48kHz audio on iPods and iPhones.
using an app called CanOpener, you can play back FLAC files on your iDevices for $0.99 if you desire.
Old 12th March 2014
  #63
Quote:
Originally Posted by bambamboom View Post
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 is like a hippie love fest


[...]
I liked hippie love fests (up to the point where everyone started getting, you know, old) but, yeah, some good points on the cynical side above, too. I have to say that, based on my observations of human nature and the audio biz in particular, that none of these concerns above are very far from my mind.
Old 12th March 2014
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
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
No ****. It is indeed a bummer.
Old 12th March 2014
  #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepingbag View Post
because we know better than to buy into another batch of audiophile snake oil
Are there shakti stones strapped to the output of this thing? Releasing archival quality masters and a portable device capable of playing them is audiophile snake oil? The mind boggles...
Old 12th March 2014
  #66
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So far nobody has seemed to notice or care that the name is just an "r" shy of "Porno."

But why go halfway? If you're gonna go there, really go there. Call it "Niple" or "Clitris" or "Tesicle."
Old 12th March 2014
  #67
What if all the people who buy this eventually catch on that 24/192 isn't better and then get disillusioned and think "they lied to me, I can't even hear a difference, iTunes 256 AAC really was as good as CD quality". It could hurt audio quality in the long run
Old 12th March 2014
  #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
isnt anyone a but preturbed by some of the chat on the Kickstarter video from all the musician endorsements?



Sorry if that sounds cynical but Im unconvinced the 192 is necessary although a nice converter might be helping...?
Indeed, I agree. Maybe there really IS a difference... I don't buy it until I experience it. I have tried with my home system but honestly I couldn't really tell and doubt that I could reliably pick out 96 or 192 over 48. Maybe I'm wrong... Would like to be proven wrong.

The bottom line... maybe I've missed it but I don't remember ever seeing an A/B/X test of different sample rates above 48k that actually proved people can hear the difference... if it exists I would love to know.
Old 12th March 2014
  #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
So far nobody has seemed to notice or care that the name is just an "r" shy of "Porno."

But why go halfway? If you're gonna go there, really go there. Call it "Niple" or "Clitris" or "Tesicle."
Remember the stuff people said when the iPad came out?

- c
Old 12th March 2014
  #70
Quote:
Originally Posted by camus View Post
Are there shakti stones strapped to the output of this thing? Releasing archival quality masters and a portable device capable of playing them is audiophile snake oil? The mind boggles...
The 'snake oil' concerns here I think divide up to two main ones:

1) that, as has happened in the past, content that is essentially CD quality (20 kHz freq bandwidth and no better than 90 dB SNR of actual content) ends up 'repackaged' in higher capacity formats -- but formats whose greater potential accuracy is not exploited by filling it with high quality content

2) while everyone likely sees the benefit of not using lossy data compression (even where it might not necessarily be detected), hard-headed science types are not going to be convinced that higher than 96 kHz sample rates bring anything but the potential for greater measuring error during sampling
Old 12th March 2014
  #71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
Remember the stuff people said when the iPad came out?

- c
Right.

Those who dismiss Apple's eery grip on its core customer base have been fooled again and again. They've certainly had plenty of missteps, as well, but they have a ready corps of willing consumers who rush to buy almost anything they put out -- getting them past the awkward initial stages of consumer acceptance that stymie many a product roll-out from less-savvy companies. But Pono ain't Apple.
Old 12th March 2014
  #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
How anyone in a career supposedly committed to audio excellence can support a product that will improve quality to a degree that no one will ever hear is seriously beyond me.
Er, have you ABX tested every single person on this planet with this against an Iphone yet? I'm not sure how you've arrived at this conclusion.

Quote:
Has anyone heard this product?
Presumably not, so what's the problem? If it truly sounds awful then that's the time to complain.

Quote:
How anyone in a career that delivers music to consumers could care so little about them is beyond me.
Consumers can continue downloading mp3s for free and playing them in their Iphones, I don't see how offering them a choice, or a good sounding headphone amp and DAC, does any harm really.

Quote:
I don't support using a green magic marker on your CDs and I don't support having people buy their music again because they don't know any better.
Please. Folks have been conned into buying crap sounding CD reissues for donkeys. If this 192 stuff means no more brick-walled limited "remasters" then I'm personally all for it.
Old 12th March 2014
  #73
KFW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
And that's just it. WE HAVE HEARD IT!!!!!!

Am I the only one here who's ever been in the control room?

It's not getting better than that.

Am I the only one here not depressed about getting my final masters back from mastering?

Those 8 bits are everything?

From songs with 2dB of dynamic range?
+1

Quote:
Please. Folks have been conned into buying crap sounding CD reissues for donkeys. If this 192 stuff means no more brick-walled limited "remasters" then I'm personally all for it.
Dude, this just proves you don't fully understand. Which is fine, I don't mean it to insult (it's not like knowledge of digital sample rates is intuitive at birth...) but seriously read that article I posted.

The only difference between CD quality and the quality proposed by this thing, is that these new files could potentially allow for frequencies and decibel levels that we not only would be able to hear, but also frequency levels and decibel levels that aren't accounted for in the recording process. It has nothing to do with the "clarity" or "warmth" in the frequencies that we can hear. If we can hear a frequency, it's accounted for in 16/44.1


The thing that truly will give us a better listening experience is new recording/sound capturing technologies, and better hardware. As it stands with current technology, 16/44.1 is literally as good as it gets.
Old 12th March 2014
  #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
And that's just it. Why are you carrying it around? If the files are so great, just let me have them to play on my home stereo. Why do I need this device? A person who cares about audio fidelity should buy a proper DA convertor. Not a yellow triangle so they can carry it on the train.
You surprise me, Kenny. Usually I find you totally reasonable.

For one, you don't have to buy the Pono to benefit from this, as it hopefully will result in there just being more high quality music recordings to play back on any player of your choice......

And also, who are you to say what people should carry on the train. This thing might have a reasonably 'proper' DA in it and make good headphones actually sound great on a train (where you'd notice less difference, likely) and also make a decent speaker setup at home sound rather good. Why are you saying people 'shouldn't do that' and must 'buy a proper' DA' that doesn't go on the train........

I rather like it. Only in an ideal world I would have the thing be part of Spotify, when Spotify can stream 24/44.1 and pays the artists ok for the streams. That's a nice alternate reality where the wee Pono player is constantly refillable from a streaming service, but great quality sound AND people get payed. Unfortunately that isn't going to happen any time soon or ever, but at least this is SOME sort of attempt somewhere towards making better sound the norm.

Whatever. It isn't going to do anything magical to the reality of the music business today, but I like the direction it points in at the very least and the spirit behind it, so there, cynics.
Old 12th March 2014
  #75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
I don't think it will deliver much better quality than 16bit 44.1. Espewcially on anything you would usually plug this thing into.

But my issue is with that video. I've lost respect for almost anyone in it. If they're talking about Analog vs Digital, then OK. I agree with them. I don't love digital "sound" all that much either. But they never tell us what they are listening to or what they are listening to it on. Yet, they're having orgasmic moments of audio fidelity on camera. It's bizarre.

Get me a copy of "Californication" by The Red Hot Chili Peppers at 192kHz and I'll bet that no one hears the difference from the CD.
I'll admit, I didn't watch all the vids. That stuff so tremendously annoys me that I probably would have been totally prejudiced against the product. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they are utterly filled with completely indefensible BS. I mean, that is what that market sector trades in.


Basically, I'm just holding out the notion that one could make a device with good converters and analog components that could help some hi fi enthusiast types bridge the gap.

However, I can't say this looks anything like a mature enough device to do that.

What it REALLY needs is its own WiFi (USB cables ARE a pain) and once you are there, it really ought to be a net-aware device that can be set up to stream from IP addresses and be fully net integrated.

I think there's a potential market that could well be grown around such a 21st century sound system. But I honestly don't think this product is anything close to that. This is, after all, just an mp3 player with better converters.

And, of course, a store service stocked with hopefully higher quality recordings. As I and others have said a number of times, it's really time for all the stores to start offering sales of FLAC or AL or full WAV files to those who want them [or how about 'twin-packs' -- full quality AND phone-friendly 3gps or such]. But if the store is just filled with CD content repackaged in a higher b/w format that the content doesn't even take advantage of, that would just be a rip off.
Old 12th March 2014
  #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
And that's just it. WE HAVE HEARD IT!!!!!!

Am I the only one here who's ever been in the control room?

It's not getting better than that.

Am I the only one here not depressed about getting my final masters back from mastering?

Those 8 bits are everything?

From songs with 2dB of dynamic range?
Well, instead of ranting about now the mastering being the killer and not the little Pono player, maybe let your mind drift in the direction of the same people who might appreciate 24bit files appreciating unsquashed versions enough to make THAT part of the norm, too.....like Reznor is apparently already doing......

So then there is a landscape of squashed and unsquashed versions and players of different qualities and music available at different bit rates. Why not I ask, why not?
Old 12th March 2014
  #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
What it REALLY needs is its own WiFi (USB cables ARE a pain) and once you are there, it really ought to be a net-aware device that can be set up to stream from IP addresses and be fully net integrated.
Yep. Basically make it loadable over WiFi from a large choice you subscribe to at high quality.
Old 12th March 2014
  #78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Yep. Basically make it loadable over WiFi from a large choice you subscribe to at high quality.
The better audio subscription services use all 320 kbps, but the biggest in the US, Spotify, uses a mix that tops out at 320 and Rdio only goes up to 256 kbps as I understand it. Rhapsody was even less when I was on it, maybe around 160 kbps.

But people stream much, much larger HD video files all the time.

I upload FLACs to my Google music locker and, on my hookup, they stream without any flaw. (Actually, Google downloads individual files rather than transmitting streams, which makes it more reliable than say, MOG, which uses/used an actual stream server.)

I'd LOVE to sign up with a subscription stream service that used all lossless compression. For most of us, the difference in b/w is rather negligible, at least compared to video and particularly HD vid.
Old 12th March 2014
  #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post

Get me a copy of "Californication" by The Red Hot Chili Peppers at 192kHz and I'll bet that no one hears the difference from the CD.
Ooh, that's a low blow! The very worst mastered piece of crap I've ever heard (I thought my CD player was broken), followed closely by Van Halen III…

I can get behind better convertors and better filters, that's a good idea. I've spent almost as much on the RossMartin DACs I'm waiting on as this. And I did buy one of those Magnovox decks with the amplifier stages converted to tube… But, right now, all we have is their promise that the filters are going to be better than the average. I thought about the kickstarter, but I think I'll wait to hear how this all turns out in the real world. Since almost all of my mobile listening is in the car thru an iPod 5 (which is reputed to have the best DACs of the iPod line) it's hard for me to imagine that this would better what I already have…

Oh yeah, and is anyone else as torked as I am over the fact that when I buy vinyl, I buy the song, but when I buy ANY digital format I only buy the right to play it on the device it was intended for (so, yeah, ripping my CDs to FLAC is technically illegal) and I'm supposed to REBUY everything I've ever bought for different formats.
Old 12th March 2014
  #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
I don't know if I can watch it again. It was a total bummer. My heroes. People I respect are absolutely lying on camera.

There's no one on this planet that should be blown away by 24 bit 192kHz audio.

Again. Listen to something you've mixed. Then listen to the CD of it. Does it make you cry? Does it make you want to quit being an engineer?

By their reactions, you would definitely hate hearing your mixes on a CD.

Similar to how many of us felt with a cassette. But it's not the case here.

If you have to output to digital. 16 bit 44.1 kHz is 99.9999% of the way there.

Listening to the drummer from the Foo Fighters talking about drums not sounding like drums. That has absolutely zero to do with file resolution. Am I taking crazy pills?

If we want to talk about bring back some dynamic range into music, now that's worth talking about. Turning smashed compressed crushed masters into 24 bit files is snake oil. Period.
Wow kenny.

You said it wont get better than being in the control room and yet you said that 24bit (lets not argue the 192khz, but say this is 44.1) wont sound better than 16/44.1.
I am amazed.

I know i can tell the difference between 24bit/96k to 16bit/44.1. That happen in a mastering session with Dave Collins. It wasnt just me, but the producer as well.

I am glad the public showed interest in a higher quality format and this i hope drives competition with apple as well. So they are pressured to deliver a hi res file as well.
Old 12th March 2014
  #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KFW View Post
Dude, this just proves you don't fully understand. Which is fine, I don't mean it to insult (it's not like knowledge of digital sample rates is intuitive at birth...) but seriously read that article I posted.
Sigh. I don't have a problem with the inherent quality of CD. Unfortunately the medium has been so abused that personally I think it's time to give up and jump ship.

I like the idea of this 192 hi-res stuff for the same reason I like vinyl. The medium, or in this case, expectations of the format, mean that the minimum amount of loudness related manipulation will be done to the music. It's sad that it's come to this, but unfortunately it's true. The labels are not going to undo the damage and re-release unfettered master tape copies on Redbook all over again.

Quote:
The only difference between CD quality and the quality proposed by this thing, is that these new files could potentially allow for frequencies and decibel levels that we not only would be able to hear, but also frequency levels and decibel levels that aren't accounted for in the recording process. It has nothing to do with the "clarity" or "warmth" in the frequencies that we can hear. If we can hear a frequency, it's accounted for in 16/44.1
You probably cannot pass a 16bit vs 8bit ABX test either. Maybe there's even more hard-disk space to be saved? It's a resource crisis for sure.
Old 12th March 2014
  #82
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anyone remember the digitally remastered Miles Davis Kind of Blue ??? it ended up being Vinyl transferred to CD ... not from the original Master Tapes ... good times just keep coming LOL
Old 12th March 2014
  #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camus View Post
Please. Folks have been conned into buying crap sounding CD reissues for donkeys. If this 192 stuff means no more brick-walled limited "remasters" then I'm personally all for it.
Why would higher resolution audio mean mastering differently?

Think about it. Does the pono device have a similar feature to Apple "sound check" that tries to average out RMS levels between songs? Let me guess it does not.

Then why wouldn't people still want to be louder or at least as loud as the next guy? Who creates the standards? The problem is there is no guarantee any of this changes due to higher bit depth/sample rate?
Old 12th March 2014
  #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
The snake oil is that video. These talented artists are drooling all over themselves. They're either evil, ignorant or stupid. I'm hoping for the second one. heh
It was sad to me as well. Confirmation bias is a weird thing.
Old 12th March 2014
  #85
KFW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camus View Post
Sigh. I don't have a problem with the inherent quality of CD. Unfortunately the medium has been so abused that personally I think it's time to give up and jump ship.

I like the idea of this 192 hi-res stuff for the same reason I like vinyl. The medium, or in this case, expectations of the format, mean that the minimum amount of loudness related manipulation will be done to the music. It's sad that it's come to this, but unfortunately it's true. The labels are not going to undo the damage and re-release unfettered master tape copies on Redbook all over again.



You probably cannot pass a 16bit vs 8bit ABX test either. Maybe there's even more hard-disk space to be saved? It's a resource crisis for sure.
The point isn't storage space...the point is that they're marketing it as it sounding better. Which is false.

And I fail to see how this will effect loudness levels. 192/24 won't magically increase the ceiling above 0 db. And it's a weird assumption to think that all of the 192/24 re-releases would be remastered to not have the same loudness. I personally think that'd be great, but that is entirely an assumption and I don't know where you got that from.
Old 12th March 2014
  #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
Releasing archival quality masters would be fine if they were recorded that way.

Would you pay for 192kHz files if they were recorded at 44.1kHz?


Do you think the industry will tell you this before you buy them?
Chuckle. So record at 192 next time. Seriously though, there is plenty of material on hi-res download websites like HD Tracks that are at 44.1. For this honesty we can thank those oft-denigrated audiophools and their obsessive spectral analyzing, who make sure all those inaudible supersonic frequencies they paid for are all there.

One presumes this Pono player will be capable of automatic sample-rate switching to match the material, like many "audiophile" media players already can.

Quote:
The snake oil is that video. These talented artists are drooling all over themselves. They're either evil, ignorant or stupid. I'm hoping for the second one. heh

Do you remember when Pro Tools 11 came out and all those producer's heads were exploding because of how much better it sounded?

Yes. I had ****** chills then too.

We've had plenty of life changing moments with regard to audio quality. This isn't one of them.
If it starts to change the way these talented drooling idiots think when they record, mix and send off their next record for mastering, then it is a massive positive for anyone who remotely cares about audio excellence.
Old 12th March 2014
  #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
Why would higher resolution audio mean mastering differently?
Well, there's no guarantee. From my limited experience buying and listening to so-called hi-def downloads, it certainly is encouraging though. Nary a peak limited in sight and sound. Something like 'Dusty In Memphis' peaks around -12/-10 dBFS for much of the program, something that would be considered unthinkable for Redbook release, don't ask me why.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KFW
And I fail to see how this will effect loudness levels. 192/24 won't magically increase the ceiling above 0 db. And it's a weird assumption to think that all of the 192/24 re-releases would be remastered to not have the same loudness. I personally think that'd be great, but that is entirely an assumption and I don't know where you got that from.
It's not an assumption, I'm merely relating my experience with available material I've had experience with. Yes there are volume differences but nothing ear-splittingly major. Like I said, it appears to be controlled by the expectations of an "audiophile" format. Well, maybe someone can download the Katy Perry album off HD Tracks and let us know, I'm certainly not going to!
Old 12th March 2014
  #88
Quote:
Originally Posted by drbob1 View Post
Ooh, that's a low blow! The very worst mastered piece of crap I've ever heard (I thought my CD player was broken), followed closely by Van Halen III…

I can get behind better convertors and better filters, that's a good idea. I've spent almost as much on the RossMartin DACs I'm waiting on as this. And I did buy one of those Magnovox decks with the amplifier stages converted to tube… But, right now, all we have is their promise that the filters are going to be better than the average. I thought about the kickstarter, but I think I'll wait to hear how this all turns out in the real world. Since almost all of my mobile listening is in the car thru an iPod 5 (which is reputed to have the best DACs of the iPod line) it's hard for me to imagine that this would better what I already have…

Oh yeah, and is anyone else as torked as I am over the fact that when I buy vinyl, I buy the song, but when I buy ANY digital format I only buy the right to play it on the device it was intended for (so, yeah, ripping my CDs to FLAC is technically illegal) and I'm supposed to REBUY everything I've ever bought for different formats.
Actually, in the US, the basic user licensing of grooved records is essentially no different than that of CDs. You don't own the song. You own the right to play the song.

Now, with regard to making copies of (any format) records you have bought and own for yourself, you actually have considerable leeway, as long as you do not distribute them to others or violate digital copy protection in the copying process. It's essentially laid out in the so-called VHS Doctrine, but the Digital Millennium Copyright Act added some provisos about not subverting digital copy protection written in by lobbyists [actually, much of the law was essentially penned by industry lobbyists].
Old 12th March 2014
  #89
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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.
I too am

for Decades Neil Young railed against digital audio - pretty much on principle. In the past, he did not qualify his objection to digital relative to sample rate or bits.

Now all of a sudden digital audio is "wonderful" if the sample rate is higher! even though most humans are having trouble distinguishing between an high-rate mp3 and the CD it was ripped from.

If they were manufacturing some kind of miniature super high resolution analog format, I would expect Neil Young to be behind it. But over the years the stuff he said about digital - whether it was correct or incorrect - kind of lets him out of being a sponsor for ANY digital product, IMO. That bugs me even more than the facts about our ability to appreciate the difference.

a few people have commended the device - again on principle - as being at least a "step in the right direction" toward concern for better audio reproduction, and I suppose caring about better reproduction is what really matters.

But frankly I think the trend to Designer Headphones, though also a bit silly, is a more meaningful step in that direction. Who knows, someday somebody will invent a thing called a "big ass speaker", and place it in something called a "living room", and encourage the concept of "sitting down and listening to music" instead of "having it on in your car".

THAT would be a revolution.
Old 12th March 2014
  #90
KFW
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I'm honestly weirded out at how some people can honestly ignore fact. Scientific evidence posted with examples...

Especially when it comes to the 192kHz part. Unless you never use a high or low pass, and use equipment that is capable of capturing frequencies above 20kHz, 192kHz is absolutely, positively pointless. All recorded frequencies are accounted for in 44.1. Literally everything that you've recorded (at the highest quality studio ever) is accounted for at 44.1kHz.

Recording in 24 bit is ideal for headroom/noise floor reasons. But when it comes to mastering/playback...show me a song that needs greater dynamic range than 16 bit can do effectively, which is 96 dB. Seriously. Does not exist.

This is hard math. Nothing wrong with saying "Oh, didn't realize I didn't know exactly what 16/44.1 meant!" But you DO look pretty strange when you insist there is an audible difference in quality. Especially with arbitrary terms like "warmth" or "clarity".
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